Memorial Day Weekend Recap

I had a fantastic and actually semi-relaxing holiday weekend!  I ended up not going to Galesburg just to enjoy some of that "ME-time" I was in need of (mentioned in last post).  There were many points in the weekend when I was not actually alone, but I got the mental and emotional break I needed!

Friday Highlights
-Dinner with Ryan, chicken tortilla soup, before my night out with the girls!
-Seeing Bridesmaids (for the second time) with my Mom and sister...and I will see it again, and again!
-Grabbing a drink and appetizer at Granite City
-Emily and I meeting Ryan, Mat, Ashley, and Andy out for a couple hours in Davenport

Saturday Highlights
-Getting off work in time to enjoy some relaxing with Ryan before he left for the weekend
-Taking a brisk, 30-minute walk on a beautiful afternoon
-Dinner at the Bierstube in Moline
-My mom incessantly waving at the fake Josh Groban (there's a story)
-The Josh Groban concert...O. M. G. he is an amazing singer!

Sunday Highlights
-Sleeping in! Even though that really only means 8:30, haha
-Watching a movie (Buried) at home during a grand ol' thunderstorm
-ZUMBA for the Wii
-Getting some cleaning done
-My parents house for dinner
-Enjoying my evening with a glass of wine

Monday Highlights

 -Hanging out with my little brother all day
-the Putnam Museum
-IMAX movie, "Born to be Wild"
-Swimming at West Lake
-Ryan came home!
-Grilling amazing, jalapeno-cheddar brats we got from the Farmer's Market

It was a great weekend...I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to, but I did get the "me-time" I was looking for.  Plus, it was long overdue that I spend some good time with my family!  I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Did you do anything exciting or rewarding?


Sarah's To-Do List

You know that ominous creature that you often think you have under control and then it grows to monstrous proportions?!  You know what I'm talking about, the never-ending to-do list.  I have quite the love-hate relationship with this little pest.  I am an avid list maker, I get a load of satisfaction from crossing things off of a list!  Even down to the grocery list; boy do I smile when I know I just picked up the last thing on my list. :-) But this to-do list...what a pain in my arse!  Whether at work or home, I never seem to have enough time to tackle it all, and before I can even come close to finishing it, more items are added to it.  I thought the wedding to-do was going to be the end of scary lists, nope!  At least completing things on that list was usually kind of fun!

I won't bore you with my pesky to-do list; I will, however, ask you how you handle yours?  Any advice for accomplishing things more quickly? I'm a big "one day at a time" advocate at work, but I can't seem to grasp that concept at home.  I think one of my biggest problems is that I probably spread myself to thin.  I don't leave any "free time" to get things done.  I have my routines and on my free days, I fill them up with activities and appointments and never just stay home to work on the little things. But I suppose that's the trade off, because hanging out with friends and family is always a good thing too.  I think I'm still working on finding that balance between husband, friends, family, and ME.  My short-term goal, like next week or so, cross three big things off of my to-do list.  That means making some time for ME!


Sarah is expecting?

OK, I don't know if I can bring myself to actually post pictures of it in my own blog...but somewhere, someone is looking at picture of me and must think I am pregnant!! So I know half of the time, it can be the clothes I'm wearing, but let's be honest, I have a major food baby and it needs to go bye-bye!
I have been slacking in Weight Watchers.  I have apparently decided I think I can get by without actually tracking the food I eat.  What was I thinking? I've gained like two pounds back in two weeks.  I feel like I'm back at square one today.  And though I am a little (or a lot) disheartened by this, I am convinced to look at it as a fresh start, ready to kick some major WW butt this week!
I have been working out a lot more this week, but I've been overcompensating for "points earned." However, I have enjoyed my early morning walks a couple times this week and should make that a habit.  I have also gone for walk/jogs after work a couple times and I just love being outside, so I just need to keep it going.
But back to this nasty "baby" bump! I think I am in need of some truly amazing core work-outs that you can feel in your abs.  Anyone have any good suggestions?  I would prefer something relatively short in time, something I could get up a do for twenty-minutes in the morning.  Something that has a bit of a routine, but also makes me WANT to do it.  Am I asking for an ideal workout here?! Have any of you had any success with workouts lately? Fill me in!!


Wedding Weekend Update

Sorry I've been so behind on blog posts! I don't know why I haven't made time to do it...I just like being outside when the weather is nice and until this past weekend, there wasn't a whole lot going on in my life!  I skipped last week's WW weigh-in due to getting everything together for the wedding I was in last weekend and leaving town.  Also, probably partially because I was worried what the scale might say!  However, I've been working out more this week, and will continue to do so for my next weigh-in on Friday, so we'll see if I have any good updates then! :)

On to bigger and better things: my dear friend Alli got married last weekend!  It was the first wedding I was in, besides my own, and I had so much fun!  She had her wedding and reception in a barn south of Madison and it was so beautiful.  We only wish the weather could have been a little better.  It was cold, windy, and a little rainy sometimes, but that didn't distract us from the important event!  Her ceremony went off without a hitch, and afterwards it went straight to cocktail hour.  We snapped a couple more pictures and then were announced at the reception, which was in the first floor of the barn.  The flowers on the table were beautiful and the favors were little jars of homemade, apple pie jam.  After dinner, we dance the night away and had a great time celebrating the love of Alli and Paul.  Here are a few pictures from the rehearsal and the wedding day!


Sometimes, I miss Ames

As much as I was ready to GET OUT when we graduated, I have days when I really miss Ames, and Iowa State, and the lifestyle I had then.  I am definitely not complaining about the life I have now, but just saying that there are some random things I miss:

  • Wednesday night's Name that Tune during the summer
  • F.A.C., especially patio at Element when the weather was nice
  • Good restaurants! The Cafe, Homestyle Chinese, Hickory Park, The Grove Cafe, Dublin Bay, Olde Main, and La Fuente to name a few
  • Bartenders that actually knew me (though maybe that's not a good thing!)
  • Ok, don't make fun of me for this one...but I miss college.  I miss writing papers, working on projects, staying up late to finish homework.  It sounds weird, but I liked being a student.
  • Petersen's Pit on hot days
  • Tailgating
  • Intramural sports
  • Living close to some of my best friends
  • My Macbook
  • Iowa State campus
  • Reimann Gardens
Ok, that list is getting pretty long!  I mostly miss summer in Ames.  I loved the chill atmosphere and the variety of casual activities that kept me entertained!  Luckily, and oddly, I have found some similar activities or at least good replacements for a lot of what I liked about Ames.  I have been surprisingly happy here in the Quad Cities! :) Here are some great things I have loved in the Quad Cities:
  • Wednesday night karaoke with the girls
  • Playing golf with Ryan and my mom
  • Living less than a mile away from the bike path
  • Fantastic microbreweries
  • Great restaurants! Exotic Thai, Los Agaves, The Olive Tree Cafe, Cafe Fresh, Mojo's, Woodfire Grill, The Belgian Village...to name a few
  • Boating with Kyle in the summer
  • A variety of summer festivals on the river
  • The fabulous farmer's market!
  • Being close to my family
  • Getting involved in various community activities: Big Brother's Big Sisters, finding a Church I like, taking voice lessons, volunteering for things at work
  • Living pretty close to Chicago
  • Making some great new friends
  • Having a house, not an apartment anymore
There are a lot of things I miss, but a lot of things I wouldn't trade for the world.  I had a great time in Ames, I'm having a great time in the Quad Cities, and I'm sure we'll have a great time wherever our lives take us next! =)


Our Favorite Meals - Cajun Chicken Pasta

4 ounces pasta (really any kind will do)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (or more if you desire)
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, slice (*SUBSTITUTION ALERT: We don't like green peppers so we used jalapeƱos instead!)
4 fresh mushrooms, sliced (if you don't have a picky eater like my husband!)
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup heavy cream (SUBSTITUTION: We used half-and-half so it was a little "healthier")
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

The first thing I did was start boiling some water for the pasta.  Then, according to the recipe, you are to toss the chicken in a ziploc bag with the Cajun seasoning.  I actually coated the chicken in Cajun seasoning the night before and refrigerated it for 24 hours that way.  Over medium heat, saute the chicken in butter or margarine until cooked through.

In the meantime, I added pasta to the boiling water to cook until al dente.  While the chicken and pasta were cooking, I prepared my veggies.  I sliced the red pepper, chopped the green onions and got out some pre-sliced, jarred jalapeƱos.

Eventually, it was taking the chicken too long to cook through, so I cut it into smaller pieces.  About the same time, was pasta was done, so I drained it and set it aside.  I then added the peppers and onions to the chicken to saute together for a couple of minutes.
Mmmm....smells delicious at this point!
Reduce heat, and add the cream and all of the seasonings.  I didn't actually measure out each seasoning, I just used however much of each one I wanted to.

Stir together and heat through before adding the pasta.  Once it is simmering, add the pasta and heat through again.

Stir it up nice and good and then plate up, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy! :)
I had some grape tomatoes on the side with mine, which tasted awesome with the spicy pasta! Bon apetit! 


May Goals

After reading my friend Ashley's blog and evaluating my own success with my April goals, I'm wondering if April is Latin for FAIL?! Haha, I can't say it was a horrible month, we had some good times.  Unfortunately we also had some not so good times.  And I think both of which are the reason some of my goals were not accomplished.  Let's have a look see:

  • Meet my 10 Pound Goal Nope, it was gonna be easy until I didn't weigh in one week to realize I had gained two pounds and kept on going the next week.  So I had to make up for that.  This is such a slow process!! But I do feel healthier and that I am getting better at making the right choices.
  • Read a new book HA!
  • Ride at least one 15 mile bike ride by the end of the month What a disappointment, I didn't get on my bike at all except to ride it to and from the bike shop which is like one mile away.  To my credit, the weather has been awful, rainy, windy, or way too cold.  
  • Go to Church every Sunday We went two out of four, that's better than nothing!
So I did actually get out on my bike last night and rode 10 miles already!  Maybe that's not a lot to some of you, but it kicked my butt and took just over an hour.  The part of the path I rode has a couple of steep hills, so it was good practice.  I think that's a pretty good start to May, so here are some hopefully more realistic goals (you'll see a pattern, hehe):
  • Meet my 10 pound goal...and then some
  • Read "The Help"
  • Ride at least three 15-mile and one 20-mile bike rides by the end of the month
  • Go to Church when I can
  • Send more mail
I hope May turns out to be the fantastic month I expected April to be!  The weather is getting nicer and my "diet" is getting easier.  Also, my friends and I started a new book/movie club which I think will motivate me a little more for reading.  I hope the few of you that actually read this have a happy May!