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Clean Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is my favourite season of the year!  There is something about the smell of…

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The first year that my husband and I were married we decided to take a trip to New York City at Christmastime. I was really excited about this trip! We booked our plane tickets and booked a hotel in New Jersey that ran a shuttle into the city each day so that we could save big money on hotel costs. We had a late flight that landed at the airport in New York around midnight. Once we had landed and retrieved our luggage, we realized that we had overlooked planning a very important detail. We did not plan how we would get from the airport in the city to our hotel in New Jersey. At first we weren’t very concerned, after all, we were in New York City; how hard could it be to catch a cab? We took a shuttle from the airport into the city and started to try to hail a cab. It seemed as if everyone else in the city had that exact same thought, and hailing a cab was becoming much harder than we had anticipated. We started walking from street to street in the freezing winter snow, pulling our luggage. By this point it was 1am and we were exhausted, frustrated and freezing (not a great combination). My poor husband spent the next hour trying to convince a cab driver to take us to our hotel, but none of the drivers wanted to leave the city and make the trek to New Jersey. Finally, around 2am we decided to just get a hotel room in the city for the night and check into our hotel in New Jersey in the morning. Have you ever been to New York City at Christmastime?! It is crazy busy! We walked from hotel to hotel trying to find a hotel with vacancies. I was starting to feel like Mary in Bethlehem there was just no room at the Inn. “I don’t think I can do this anymore” I squeaked out to my husband. It was now 3am-my feet were frozen and wet, I couldn’t feel my toes, I was exhausted. “Let’s just try one more” my husband replied. I half consciously stumbled up the hotel stairs, into the revolving door, and into the hotel lobby. My husband asked once again, if they had any available rooms. The receptionist clicked away on her key board and then replied “yes, we have a room available…” “Did she just say YES?!!” I could suddenly hear Handel’s Messiah Christmas chorus playing in my head. “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” My husband then asked the cost of the room. “It’ll be $450.00” she confidently replied. My husband and I looked at each other. I didn’t say a word. My husband gulped slowly, “We’ll take it”. We stayed the night in that hotel and then caught the bus to New Jersey the next morning. Because of our lack of planning, we blew through most of our spending money on that hotel room that first night! 🙁

At the start of every new year in highschool each student received an agenda. On the cover of the agenda it always read “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail“.  Making an efficient plan and sticking to it can really be life changing!!  I’ve learned (often times the hard way) these past few months that sticking to an organized plan is crucial to my success.  

Life is so busy right?  I have people ask me all the time “How are you doing this? Aren’t you too busy?” and truthfully there isn’t really a simple answer.  Over the past few months, little by little, I have implemented many different plans and strategies to promote healthy lifestyle changes in my family. As I mentioned in my previous blog http://cleanlifehappywife.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/fat-so-on-the-loose/, I’ve tried to make a new “plan” one small step at a time. One of the really practical plans I’ve been doing lately is taking 20-30 mins one day each week washing and chopping fruit and veggies and putting them into containers in the fridge. I will also spend an hour or so once every few weeks and bake healthy muffins and cookies and other “snackie” type foods and then put them in the freezer.
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Don’t you find the times you have a “weak moment” are the times when you are tired or in a rush and there is no plan? What do we do in those moments? We just grab the quickest (often unhealthy) thing we can find and eat it! Or, we can’t ever seem to squeeze in a workout because we do not plan to block that time off and instead fill it with other things. It can “feel” like we don’t have time to workout, but really, we just have not planned a time to workout.

I encourage you this week to actually take a minute, sit down, and write out a simple plan that you can begin to follow. Whether it’s a time to workout or a meal plan of healthy meals for the week, try to incorporate one new planned healthy change you can focus on this week!
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8 Weeks ago two friends of mine convinced me to join an “8 week challenge”  at a gym here in St.Catharines.  You can read more about it in my previous blog “Dodging Fly Balls and Other Ridiculous Excuses”.  
The ladies participating in the “8 week challenge” started with a weigh in and measuring.  At the end of the 8 weeks all of the particpants would weigh in and measure again and the team with the most inches and pounds lost would be the winning team.  At the beginning I wasn’t really focussed on “winning”.  I was totally engrossed with my fear and anxiety about exercising this intensely.  I wasn’t confident I could make it through one class- forget trying to win the challenge! After all, I was the most unco-ordinated, clumsy, out of shape, inexperienced exerciser! 

To my complete surprise the trainers at the gym, Keith and Cody were AMAZING!!!  Have you ever worked out and feel like you are spinning your wheels and making little to no progress?   We are all so busy these days, so when we carve out time to workout- we need it to be worthwhile!  This gym is AMAZING and I can tell you from my personal experience; their workout classes REALLY work!    

8 weeks later my partner Becky and I WON the challenge!!!  

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Between the two of us we lost 50lbs and 30 inches in just 8 weeks!!!!  

*I have a SPECIAL DEAL for my blogs readers!!!  The owner of U can B fit gym has made a special offer to the first 12 people who sign up and mention my blog.  He is offering 20% off monthly membership fee and will give you free registration ($65 value).  If you are looking for a program that actually works, you’ll want to jump on this deal! 🙂  Feel free to message me for more details!! 

I hope that you find success with whatever workout regime you work into your schedule!! 

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  When I was in grade 12 I signed up for a class called “English Writer’s Craft”.  All of the extremely “artsy” students took this class.  As I looked around the room I quickly realized I was the odd one out as I sat there in my teal Northern Reflections sweatsuit and french braided hair.  (yes, you are correct in your assumption that I wasn’t exactly part of the “cool” crowd! 🙂 )  As I glanced around I saw lots of dark black eyeliner, facial piercings, vintage clothes and multi colored hair.  This class was definitely filled with the extremely creative artsy types.  On the first day of class, shortly after taking attendance, the teacher (whom had never taught me before) called me out into the hallway for a little “chat”.  I nervously slipped out of my desk and walked towards the door. It felt as though all eyes in the classroom were burning into my back.  As my teacher began to talk, I noticed she had left the door open and I was quite confident the entire classroom was eavesdropping on this “private” conversation.  Miss “T” was nice, but was very blunt and often times a little abrupt. She began explaining all of the expectations for the Writers Craft course. She explained that in order for a student to succeed in this class, the student would have to be creative and imaginative. She wasn’t sure that I possessed the creativity needed to succeed and suggested I drop the class. She assured me that if I dropped the class that day, I could do so without any academic penalty. As I stood there quietly listening and nodding my head, my mind was swirling with questions. “Why didn’t she think I was capable of succeeding in this class? After all, my previous English classes had all been advanced and I had great marks! I was on the Principal’s Honor Roll and was even Student of the Month.” As we returned to the silent classroom it felt as though everyone was staring at me. I could feel my cheeks burning as I quickly slipped into a desk at the back of the room. I sat there wondering if I had a pierced nose, vintage t-shirt and ripped jeans on, if her assumption of my abilities would be the same. As I was walking home from school that afternoon, I couldn’t stop thinking about what Miss “T” had said to me. I would love to say that it didn’t bother me and that my confidence had not been shaken, but the real truth is, her words were hurtful.

By the time I made it home from school that day, I knew what I had to do. I was going back to Miss “T” in the morning to tell her that I had decided to stay in the class. I was going to stick with it, work hard and show her that she had misjudged me. And, that’s exactly what I did! Throughout the year Miss “T” had a box where students could submit poetry and short stories that she would eventually compile into a book for students. I had anonymously submitted many poems during the year to Miss “T”‘s box. At the end of the year Miss “T” was talking about some of the poems that someone had submitted. She thought they were very good and was quite curious to know who the author was. When she showed us the poems, my stomach fluttered- they were mine! I decided not to say anything to Miss “T” that day. It didn’t matter anymore. I had worked hard all year and had proven to myself that I could succeed in that class.

It’s difficult when you don’t get the support and encouragement that you are hoping for. I learned a very valuable lesson that year. When something is important to you, you just have to go for it!! Hopefully people will rally around you and encourage you, but sometimes they won’t! Sometimes it can be your closest friends or even family members who respond to successes you achieve in an unsettling and hurtful way. I’ve learned that EVERYONE is battling something. For some it is addiction, some it is depression or insecurity, jealousy, temptation, lust…and the list goes on. Perhaps the issues that people are facing in their own lives, make it difficult for them to respond in a positive way to you.

It’s often easy to let others’ insecurity, jealousy, or misjudgement keep you from making positive changes in your life. When I first started to change my lifestyle, I was surprised by some of the reactions I received in response to my new approach. I noticed some people withdrew and distanced themselves, while others have become huge supporters. Make a decision to improve your life and then stick with it. Believe in the amazing abilities God has created you with! Know that you can do it-no matter what! Even if you don’t get the encouragement from others that you are hoping for, keep going! Don’t ever give up on yourself! 🙂

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