New Adventures

Has it really been two weeks since I last posted?

Let’s see what has happened the last two weeks…

Fitness

In terms of fitness goals the last two weeks have not been the best due to traveling and then my stomach deciding it did not like me anymore. I have started working on the C25K program using the elliptical and I love it! The biggest positive for me right now is controlled temperature vs humid weather outside and inside there is not as many things that make my head spin. I dislike allergies and one of these days I want to get tested so I know what to stay away from.

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Planks have suffered a set back but I did get to my goal this last week of holding a minute plank :) I found that adding a little movement or switching up the plank by using the sofa helped with my focus. I think planks are going to stay in my life and I am excited to continue to challenge myself even though the official challenge is over. Through this challenge I realized that I was stronger than I thought and I also learned when I could push myself and when I needed rest. I loved adding it into my daily schedule and I found that two or three reps. was a good amount for me at this time. There are so many different variations to a traditional plank so I know in the future I will not get bored and can personalize the plank.

Life

Two weeks ago I had a very busy week. On Monday I drove down to my parents house since I had an interview near by Tuesday morning. It was nice to relax and touch base with my parents for the evening. The interview went well and a few minutes after I drove off I had a phone interview for another job. Talk about a busy morning! Since I had some time to waste, I drove a few hours and then camped out at a Starbucks, caught up on blogs and then stopped by to visit a college friend who is currently working at a music store selling pianos :) Back on the road I headed north to visit another college friend and spend the night. I am so thankful that her parents opened up their home to me since it considerably cut down my morning drive for another job interview. The evening was rounded out with live music outside!

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One of the things I miss most about college is being able to go to free or really cheap music events almost any evening. My Wednesday morning interview went well and was followed by a phone interview for a position in Iowa. Four interview in the span of two days left me exhausted!

The story doesn’t end there though! I had only been home for about thirty minutes when I got a phone call from the school I interviewed with in the morning a few hours earlier. They were offering me the job! I was so shocked that I honestly did not know what to say! I asked if I could have a little time to think about it which I am sure they were not expecting but they gave me two days. I was shaking! When M and V got home I told them the news and asked them to pray. I also texted several friends that I knew would pray for me as I made a decision. I also called my other sister-in-law and parents and asked them to pray. My head was spinning! After praying, thinking and talking things through with M and one of my professors from college I made my decision. I accepted the job! I actually left a message that afternoon and then talked the next morning with the principal. It will become official after the board meeting on the 29th.

I am so happy to know where I will be teaching and am now able to start planning. At the same time, it is strange knowing that I no longer have to apply for a teaching job this year. The entire process was very positive even though I got tired and wanted it to be over most of the time. I had seven interviews plus four phone interviews. I learned how to search for jobs and that it is important to apply to jobs that still require paper applications instead of online applications. The job I got was actually a paper application.

So now my summer consists of finding a place to rent, organizing materials for my K-12 vocal program, working on my sight reading materials, picking out music for concerts, research and learning all I can about show choirs! I have started writing down all the questions I have and ideas or things I want to do or teach. I have realized that even though I have lived outside of my parents house for the last four years, this will be the first time that I am truly out on my own. Even though I have lived on my own, I have always gone to church with my family, whether that was with my parents at my home church or with my brother’s family the last six months. For the first time in my life I will be going to church on my own. I am not sure why that hit me so hard but it did. I have been blessed by a supportive family and have been given great resources for growth in my faith. The entire time I was searching for a job I prayed that if God moved me away from the church I am at now, that he would lead me the church he wants me at and would continue to help me grow.

As much as my head is running around with questions and ideas, I have peace. I know that God has provided and will continue to provide.

Question for you: what was a big transition in your life?

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Planks & Experiments

What a wonderful week! It was laid back but I felt like I actually accomplished something. I am not sure what I accomplished but the days felt balanced for the most part.

I had fun picking strawberries with V

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I think we have picked over five (sand) buckets full of strawberries in the last week!

Hanging out with her and trying to convince her to play a game or dance with me. She thought that was boring. But as soon as I would need to leave the house she would say: don’t go! She makes me laugh ;)

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Do you like the smiley face she created in my hair?

I took a road trip for an interview, got to see my parents and broke in my gift card to the cheesecake factory. I still have some money left on the card and I think I will save it for when I get a job or my birthday. Whichever comes first.

The highlight of my week was going out swing dancing with a friend from church. It was my first time learning how to dance let alone swing dance. Willowbrook Ballroom had a very nice set up and even had lessons an hour before the live band started. The Flat Cats was the band and I really enjoyed the live music. It really added to the atmosphere of the night. I was thankful that I was asked to dance several times throughout the evening. I think I danced close to ten different times throughout the night :D My dancing was by no means perfect but I enjoyed myself and had some wonderful leaders/teachers. Several of the older gentlemen (aged seventy and up) were especially patient and kind and really knew how to lead and cover any of my mistakes :) Maybe its because they were raised in the eras where social dancing was taught and a regular occurrence.

An added bonus was getting a couple of things in the mail. I got a fun sticker from Tina at Carrots ‘N’ Cake and I won the Made From Earth Giveaway at Turby and John. I love getting mail :D

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How cute is that sticker! I especially the nice touch of having the products individually wrapped in colored tissue paper and embroidery floss!

Looking back at my recent kitchen experiments the last few weeks I realized that they all have one thing in common. Katie. Specifically Chocolate covered Katie!

I first tried her Snickerdoodle Blondies but used ground chia seeds instead of ground flax seeds. This resulted in a slightly darker bar but very tasty! I had to stop myself from eating all of the dough before baking it. I was in disbelief at how much it tasted like a Snickerdoodle!

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Next I decided to experiment with the recipe. The goal: Chocolate Banana Blondies (or I guess they would be brownies since I added cocoa). Instead of peanut butter or apple sauce I added one banana. I added 2 Tbs. Hershey’s Cocoa Powder, 1/8 tsp Vanilla and used 1/4 cup ground Chia Seeds. I also reduced the amount of Brown Sugar to 1/8 cup instead of 3/4 cup. Overall I thought it worked. It was a little heavy and had just a hint of sweetness. In the process of mixing it in my food processor I am pretty certain I overworked the dough. Next time I would experiment with a little more cocoa or maybe even chocolate chips and a little more brown sugar.

My parents have a Sunday evening tradition of eating pancakes or waffles. When I was visiting them over Memorial Day weekend I decided to make the Sunday meal. I was in the mood for cinnamon so I made Katie’s Snickerdoodle Pancakes. I had mine with a cinnamon-sugar mixture on top but my parents and friends that were over topped theirs with syrup. I ate the few that were leftover the next day on the road ;)

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But that wasn’t all I made that night. I was in the mood to experiment in the kitchen! I also made a variation of Katie’s Raw Cookie Dough Milkshake for everyone. I didn’t have the ingredients for the Raw Cookie Dough Balls but even without them, the milkshake was a success. I actually made it again tonight with the addition of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder for a Chocolate Cookie Dough Milkshake. Three cheers for healthy milkshakes!!!

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If you are not convinced that sweets can be healthy then I am not sure what to do with you. The last recipe I tried was Katie’s Raspberry Cobbler Bars. I used spelt four and frozen raspberries and honey instead of maple syrup or agave. The only trouble I had with the recipe was splitting the dough so that there was enough to cover the top. Oh well, I guess there is a reason I am a musician and not a pastry chef ;) I took these to small group and everyone seemed to enjoy them. The few bars that were leftover I quickly froze before I ate the entire pan in the span of a couple of days. I might be slightly obsessed with Katie’s recipes but I don’t care. Healthy recipes that satisfy my sweet tooth, I can’t say no to that!

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(sorry for the uninspired picture. I was so excited to eat something with raspberries that I kind of forgot to take a picture until I was ready to freeze the remaining bars. Oops!)

If you are still reading I will briefly update you on how I did this last week with the Plank Challenge. The third week I felt great doing three reps six days a week at thirty seconds for each rep. This fourth week was hard for me. I could not make myself hold the low plank for forty seconds :( I felt frustrated and did walk away for a day but then I decided to adjust my expectations and work through the wall. I did planks a few days at thirty-five seconds and then moved up to forty seconds. I am not sure what got to me this last week but I am working through it. Maybe the uncertainty of the job hunt finally go to me. This week I am going to continue working in between the thirty-five and fifty second mark and see what my body does. It should be interesting since I have several days of traveling due to job interviews. Due to the different schedule I am aiming at doing Yoga 3 times, Elliptical or Bike 2 times, Arms 2 times, and Planks with arm movement 6 times (I am hoping that adding a little movement to the plank will help with my focus).

I am looking for summer reading suggestions since I got my library card last week! So far I have looked through the cookbook section at the library. It has been awhile since I read a good fiction book so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)

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Goals and Life

Okay, so you know all this free time I have now that my student teaching is over?

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I’m going to say it….

I don’t like it *gasp*

I thrive when I have a set schedule.

Not jam packed but not loosey-goosey like it is now.

Now that I have said that, I feel like this week is going to be better.

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I have written down my goals for the month and am in the process of writing them in my planner. I will learn how to manage my life while going with the flow and being flexible! I want to feel productive again ^_^

Job searching will have a set time as will time for fun things like reading, playing with V and family and sitting in the sun for far too long (I will remember sun screen this time though!)

This last week was good in terms of staying active. That possibly could be because I had to do something before I started climbing the walls :)

I completed six days of my plank challenge successfully! I was up to three reps at thirty seconds for each rep. It felt good! I even attempted a few straight arm planks as an added challenge :) I also had two or three days of yoga, one day of mowing the yard, one day of trying to dance with a DVD (eek!) and Saturday I attempted my first focused walk/jog (heavy on the walk, light on the jog).

The dancing was fun but I was laughing at how ridiculous I felt! I love the idea of dancing and I want to learn but I also know I will never look as graceful as the dancers I see on Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance.

My walk/jog was a great adventure! I tried it Saturday morning, hopefully before it got to hot but unfortunately the heat had already risen. I found out the hard way that there are not enough trees along the path I took. I was using a C25K method and did not make it the whole way through but I finished. I was able to do about half of the jogging intervals but then I knew my body wasn’t going to make it. My front of my thighs were hurting and I was dizzy when I would transition back into my walking intervals (possibly not breathing deeply enough?). I was proud of what I accomplished but I now know I have more work to do before I try that again…and I need to run either earlier in the morning or latter when it is cooler. For now, I plan on using the elliptical here at home and riding my bike to strengthen my muscles and build up my stamina

Now onto the fun stuff!

Last week was Memorial day and as I mentioned in my last post, I went home for the weekend.

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Friday I drove home, spent time with my parents and attended a friend’s High School graduation party!

Saturday I celebrated with friends at a beautiful wedding. The food was delicious! They had Bourbon Peach and Cranberry Orange sauce for the pork. The Bourbon Peach was wonderful!

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Sunday my home church had a cookout potluck (yummy!) and then I did yoga with my mom

Monday I traveled back north, visited with a friend and made it home before dark and without melting (my van no longer has AC)

It was a wonderful relaxed weekend even with everything happening. My other weekends home were always jam packed and this one, was more relaxed and spaced out.

This last weekend I went to a birthday party/game night and brought my Vegan Cheese and the next day some of the young adults from my small group “crashed” the high school graduation party so we could meet and connect with the graduating seniors :D

Goals set for this week, days scheduled. I think this is going to be a great week!

Do you prefer your days scheduled or loosey-goosey?

And I have been trying out some new recipes and experimenting so food dedicated post will be coming this week!

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Planks

My days are no longer packed with teaching and planning yet somehow, a relaxing week was gone before I knew it!

Since I have an interview tomorrow morning I am only going to recap on the Plank Challenge. This was my second week in the Plank challenge. You can read about my initial goals here. And you did read that correctly, my initial goals ^_^ After connecting with a few more partners via twitter and facebook, and realizing what I could do in yoga, I realized I could push myself more.

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I completed my increase goal and did planks SIX times this week with two reps at twenty seconds!

They are still hard but I can actually say I am excited to do them every day and feel challenged and encouraged!

I visited my hometown this weekend (more on that latter) so while I was home I had my parents check my form. My dad is a chiropractor so I knew he would help make sure I wasn’t hurting myself. My form was pretty good but I did lift my waist slightly and I knew right away that I had fixed my form :)

I also had my first experience with a live yoga instructor this weekend. A lady in my hometown teaches yoga twice a week but I am never home or available during her classes. I was able to arrange a session with her and I talked my mom into coming with me. It was my mom’s first experience with yoga and I am very proud of her for trying it! We did Hatha yoga which is slower than I prefer but once in a while I don’t mind it. It was a nice way to relax on a Sunday afternoon without sleeping the afternoon away.

Time to finish unpacking and making sure I have all my papers lined up for my interview tomorrow. Take care!

Do you prefer to exercise on your own or with others? Most of my exercise history has been done on my own at home. I have decided that I need to learn how to dance so I will probably have to go out and socialize to accomplish that goal ^_~

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Plank Challenge

On my last post recap I mentioned that I had participated in the Pipes Challenge. Honestly I didn’t push myself as much as I could have and wanted and I can make up a really good excuse if you want one. The Plank Challenge started my last week at my high school placement and I am excited to be able to focus more the activity side of my health now that student teaching is finished and job searching becomes my full time job for the moment.

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My friend Nicole is my partner in this challenge and I am really excited to have someone I know doing this challenge with me (even though we live in different states).

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My initial test was a very low seven seconds :( I guess that means I can only improve from there!

Here is my plan for the challenge:

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In the first week I was still trying to figure out my goals and plan but I did get two days of planks in but sadly no yoga. I did push myself the first week in holding a plank for close to thirty seconds so I know I am capable of doing it :) This next week I will be adding in a rep and increasing my time to twenty seconds for each rep.

Feel free to join in on the fun! It is never too late to start a challenge! If you need some tips, variations, modification, etc. on planks check out this post.

What was the last fitness challenge you did or what is your current fitness challenge?

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