Category Archives: Uncategorized

27 days, 27 things


I have not blogged in 27 28 days. To say I have been busy would both be an understatement and a cop out. I have been busy working my many jobs and loving on my family. I have also been taking pretty good care of myself. My priorities are shifting and I wasn’t sure where this blog fit in and/or if I wanted to continue this blog. Well, I am still here. I like this little place on the internet where I spill my guts. Its a place to talk about the things I need to work through. So, I am sticking around the interwebz and today, I am feeling very random.

In no particular order, here are 27 28 random things about the last 27 28 days.

1. I have switched back to wordpress as opposed to paying a hosting site….this means absolutely nothing to my readers (all 4 of you, lol) but it takes a bit of pressure of me. I don’t have to feel guilty about not blogging regularly when I use the free site.

2. Work. I picked up even more work – a few hours each Monday, I will be teaching a homebound student. [For the last few years, I have earned extra money/salary running a grant program at my school. This year, we did not receive that grant so I lose out on some money. Picking the homebound hours and my other part time jobs has helped offset the lost salary]

3. I like working but I am actually a bit relieved to not need to work the grant program. I had several very stressful experiences last year while working the program. Stressed out so badly, I was in tears on more occasions than I really want to admit. I am happier with a part time job waitressing because I get to leave the restaurant at the restaurant when I leave.

4. School has gotten off to a great start. I am really staying on top of my lessons and grading. To know me is to know this is not the usual case. I tend to procrastinate grading but not this year so far. I am making little to do lists of things to get done every day. I am leaving school on time, not bringing work home with me and all the while, getting more tasks completed each day.

5. Speaking of school….I am focusing on character development and I am loving it. The kids are adjusting to the new Mrs. Newman. I feel like we are being more productive than ever. And only good can come from this!

6. Apparently, I have no idea how to blog. I wrote some of this last night with the intention of coming back to it throughout the day. I didn’t save the post correctly, so I couldn’t find it on my computer at school. I didn’t have that much time but that isn’t the point.

7. I thought about blogging a bunch of times (technical term there) of the past 3+ weeks. I think I came as far as to compose an entire post in my head on a drive to work. I need to keep my phone close by so I can record these thoughts. Go figure, I put my phone in my bag in the backseat while I drive and then get the brilliant ideas.

8. I need routine in my life. Every time I go off my normal routine, I realize just how important routine is to my life. I can handle spontaneity and adventure but in small doses. Or maybe, it would be better to say, I need more control.

9. Me and the big man have not been on a vacation in entirely too long. We finally got a string of days off and the opportunity to visit our friends in PA and hit the Bloomsburg Fair. An away football game, a cancelled homeshow and willing teenagers meant Q and her BFF could join us.

10. I wore my GladSoles for 8 hours at the fair.  Over 17000 steps  (or approximately 8 miles) were logged at the fair with over 21K total that day. In my bare feet. I have been wearing these sandals almost every day to school and beyond. The only time I wear “real” shoes is when I work shifts at AppleBee’s.

11. I never want to wear real shoes again. It may still be 70+ degrees around here but winter is coming so I am going to need to come up with footwear options.

12. I have totally been a bit obsessed with wearing dresses and skirts. I especially love my long/maxi skirts.

13. I may be going just a little more hippie with each passing year.

14. I have written this post in starts and stops and starts again. I just came back to writing after a Leslie walk (me walking in my bedroom with Leslie Sansone and her #walkathome videos). I have been on quite the walking streak. Today was Day #85.

15. I started my walking streak 3 weeks before I started my part time waitressing job at AB’s and that was one month before school started. Sometime during the second week of school I decided my shifts at AB’s (on school days) would count as my walk. I get almost 10K steps on most shifts so it is definitely a walk. I was being stubborn trying to teach, waitress and walk.

16. I started piyo back in mid-July and by the end of the first week in August I stopped piyo. I just did not have the time or energy to continue with my walking streak and piyo and working. Something had to give. At the moment, I am bummed I sacrificed piyo. I really really enjoyed that workout. Last week I squeezed in a random piyo workout in and it was so hard yet so good.

17. yep, I just read that and realized how dirty it sounds.

18. and I said it anyway. and I kept it there.

19. I have been walking every day but I have not been stretching enough. I’ve only been stretching at random times. I can’t even tell you when the last time I practiced yoga.

20. It may be time to set a challenge to yoga every day for the next week. Starting today, this morning after I hit publish. Piyo will count towards this challenge.

21. I need to get more sleep! The six hours I have been giving myself is not enough,  I am crashing on Saturdays (my one day off from jobs)

22, Is it ever possible to truly keep up with the laundry?? I do not know how mamas with more children do it.

23. Two weeks ago at my back to school night, one of my students brought her newborn baby brother. I held that itty bitty squishy baby for over an hour. I totally fell in love. If Q wasn’t 15, I think I might want more babies.

24. I can’t tell you when the last time I went to the movie theater to see a movie.

25. I watch a lot of TV shows with Big Man. And even though we haven’t been out on a date in a while, we have made some of our TV time, date time. We eat dinner and watch a show. And we chat. Its like our date version of a staycation.

26. We have been broke for a long time, and even though we are starting to come out of it, we are still getting there. We don’t/won’t go into debt for fun. I think it has made us stronger as a couple and as a family.

27. But I still constantly struggle with the “am I doing this thing right, am I doing enough for Q” questions and insecurities. Thankfully, Big Man is my partner and I can talk to him about this and he ensures me we are doing great!

28. I needed to add another number here….It took me a day and a half (not straight thru) to get the post written!

And there ya have it! 28 things for the 28 days I have not blogged. I am going to push myself to blog at least once a week. Not too much to cause any stress but enough to at least get a brain dump out. I promise, my next post will have lots of pictures! I will blog about the Fair and my mini-vacation.

DID YA MISS ME?!?! What have you been up to?


august already


The calendar is telling me it IS August. The weather is not what I would call normal August weather. but I am not going to complain. Yesterday morning on my way into work, the weatherman on the radio said it was 63*

63 in August. AND the humidity was LOW. Unheard of and I totally took advantage of it. Yesterday, was the last day of my summer program and I had two girls working in my office. as my assistants and I worked them hard. Lots of copying, compiling and filing. With the last half hour, I decided we needed to get out of the air conditioning and go play in the sun. We walked around the whole school & field perimeters. We wound up walking a little more than a mile.

For me, that was walk #25…in a row.

25 days with a walk .In. A. Row.

I didn’t start July with the intention of walking almost every day. I started July wanting to continue June goals….you see at the end of May I joined a 90-day challenge with some girls in a facebook group. For those 90 days (which ends in September) I set the small, reachable goals of losing 5 pounds, walking 30 walk, 30 yogas and 30 selfies.

I also joined a walking challenge where I set a goal of 325,000 steps for the month of July

As of July 31 my totals are:

  • 5 pounds lost
  • 11 yogas (which includes the last 4 days of PiYo – I am switching goals here)
  • 22 selfies
  • 34 walkies
  • July steps: 338,886

WOO to the muthafrackin’ HOO!!

I feel like a ROCKSTAR!! I set goals and I accomplished said goals!! Some goals have changed a bit (the weight goal is non-existent at this point. I will still step on the scale once every month or two but I don’t know. My yoga goal has morphed into PiYo goal…more on that in a minute)

It’s funny, a few months ago, all I would have focused on would be that 5 pound weight loss. I am so over that number. It is just not important to me at this moment.

I think I might be on a roll.

You see, in the past I would have posted big, huge goals then had a freakout of some sort followed by complete failure. THIS time I didn’t set huge goals. I figured 30 of anything in 90 days is only 1/3 OR totally doable…not huge but realistic.

Then around July 11th, I realized I had walked the last 4 days and I wondered if I could go for 7. I hit Day 7 and tried for 10…then 14…then I just kept asking myself if I could do one more day. Somewhere along the way, I secretly wondered if I could make it every day until I go back to school (well, full time).

It is NOT a secret anymore. I am setting a goal to continue my walking streak every day in August., every day until I go back to school full time, September 2nd.

PiYo just sort of happened. I had been seeing rumbles of this workout online. Some people I know and follow recently became teachers or coaches and this word PiYo kept popping up in my streams. I watched a few videos and dang, if it didn’t look superfun. A friend is a BB coach and had a good deal going, so I splurged a bit and bought the videos.

IMG_20140730_211232I have survived the first four days and I loving all the sweat and hard moves. I will write more about PiYo in another post but I am glad I splurged. I am glad I am pushing my body again. AND, PiYo is hard but it is SUPERFUN!


August Goals:

  • 10K steps every day
  • walk (inside or oustide) every day
  • keep going with the PiYo calendar (I am going to repeat week 2 while Q is in band camp and then we will move forward to week 3)
  • keep taking selfies and keep falling in love with all that is Jen!
  • practice guitar at least 30 minutes every week
  • read 12 books
  • go on 15 bike rides or walks with Big Man
  • plan out September lesson plans.

I am finding a rhythm. I am finding comfort in myself. I am going to keep moving and grooving. I am going to keep reminding myself to keep being awesome!!

Until next time,

Mad Love & HUGS,



another gluten free update: it’s working


Another update

I have now been gluten free for 15 days. Two whole weeks of NO gluten and I must admit, I am feeling better. My symptoms are not completely gone but they have noticeably lessened over the last two weeks.

This week started off terribly. The winds swirled pollen around enough to wreak complete havoc on me. Allergies reared their ugly head and I had about just enough energy for school and family. I felt it was better for me to rest, eat health and get to bed early. Self-care was the only mission.

I haven’t blogged about anything but going gluten free. It has sort of consumed me lately. Good thing I like cooking and I like food. Going gluten free has almost been fun. I really do enjoy scrolling thru Pinterest  seeking out new recipes. Going gluten free has given me a new reason to search and test new recipes. I knew I liked cooking before but I have gained a new appreciation.

Gluten Free (especially since my husband and daughter are not) takes a lot of planning. My first week was more of a struggle but this week I spent Sunday planning and prepping. Guess what?!? I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen. My prep list included: hardboiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, turkey/chicken stock. chicken rice vegetable soup, fritatta, roasted sweet potatoes, and grilled chicken for salads. I still have two quarts of stock in the freezer but all the other prepped food made it until Thursday. This week I am aiming to make it until Friday. I really just prep for snacks and lunches. I am home almost every night with plenty of time to make dinner and I enjoy making dinners as long as I have a plan. Every few days, I make it a husband-cooks-dinner night. I make the menu plan most weeks, and I find the recipes, so I usually cook. But every once in a while I need a break, so I plan nights for AJ. He is the grill man, the chili man, and a few other specialties. side note: I do know just how lucky I am to have a man who cooks!!

I love seeking out new recipes. And now I have an excuse for my Pinterest addiction. It makes grocery shopping *fun* and I shop at several stores. I enjoyed the new tastes coming out of my kitchen this week, And this week was an experiment. I tried two new meatball recipes: bacon & maple sausage meatballs and gluten-free swedish meatballs. I LOVE meatballs!! I love cooking and recipes. As long as the ingredients are *normal*  and there aren’t too many of them, I don’t mind *complicated* recipes. I like cutting and peeling and grating.  The kitchen calms me.

maple sausage meatballs

bacon maple sausage meatballs

I have been eating a bit more mindfully. I am tracking nearly every day and I am almost hitting my calorie goal. My calorie goal is set at 2300 – I am not in lose weight mode but rather healing mode. My body needs at least 2300 calories to have enough energy to live and to heal. I have to admit, it is weird calorie counting from this side of the fence. I am working on balancing eating mindfully and counting the calories. I am tracking using MFP so I can see if I am eating enough, not before I eat things but after. I usually log in at some point after school and start tracking. I have come to learn, on most days, I am barely hitting 1000 before 5pm.  I am working on eating a bit more during  the early day.

I have been looking for snack recipes or quick grab snacks, depending on the time of day. I need to eat something snacky between breakfast and lunch. By the time I teach five classes I usually can’t get out of my classroom fast enough. I take a stroll around the building and I don’t  eat my lunch until after 1:30 every day . Most mornings breakfast is at 8:30 and I get out of bed around 6:30 (I set my alarm for odd, random times like 6:17 or 6:33). I should be eating breakfast sooner and I should be eating something in between breakfast and lunch.

I am learning as I go, for sure. 


Friend Makin’ Monday…yep on Tuesday!


friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!


The Holidays and More: Part 2

1.  What state/country do you live in?  New Jersey, good ole USA.  live about 10 minutes from the hospital where I was born.

2.  Where were you born?  Were you raised there? I was born in Somers Point, NJ which is right over the bridge from the island, Ocean City, where I grew up. I lived in OC until I graduated and then I traveled between OC and Florida. Now, I live 2 streets over from my grandparents’ house (where my mom was raised) and a few towns over from OC.

3.  How do you feel about stores like Wal-mart opening on Thanksgiving Day for pre-Black Friday sales?  Will you participate? Black Friday is seriously pissing me off this year. Opening on Thanksgiving?!? That is just NUTZ. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day to spend with your family….and so is Christmas…but all this greed is totally overwhelming. I am stressed about it.

4.  Have you ever participated in a Turkey Trot? No, I have not. I have never been a fast runner and nowadays I am struggling to get my fitness groove going. I am trying to rediscover my passion…and for me that starts with walking. I love to walk…at least, I used to love it. I am going to participate in a virtual Turkey Trot. I walk a 5K as a way to help support my friend, Roni and her mom’s challenge of raising money for a service dog. you see, Roni’s mom is awesome and is raising her special needs granddaughter but the girl needs a service dog. Wanna help??

5.  What was your favorite toy as a child?  I always had to share toys with my sister. Books were my best friend!! With my crazy family, books helped me escape the chaos. To this day, I prefer books to most gadgets.

6.  Will you count points/calories on Thanksgiving Day? Nope. I stopped all that nonsense (its nonsense to me, I understand other people don’t think the way I do) a while ago. I don’t want to teach my daughter to stress calories in a holiday meal.

7.  Will you watch football Thursday? LOTS of football!!! We will start the day off with a local high school football game. My daughter is in the marching band and her high school football team is playing my high school (well, I teach at the alternative school but same district). Then there is NFL….I am a Cowboys fan so we will watch that game during dinner

8.  Do you decorate inside/outside of your home for the holidays? I have a small house with a small yard and a large lab….so no outside decorations. I decorate the inside but I keep it small. I may or may not have a huge, bright red fake Christmas tree.

9.  Do you have allergies that prevent you from eating traditional holiday meals? Not a single allergy that I know of. I have some tummy issues I have been dealing with for the past year but I have decided to put all the stress (of figuring out what is wrong) on the backburner until after the holidays.

10.  Is it snowing where you live?   No. Thank goodness there is no snow! We get the occasional snow storm but more often we get hit with nor’easters. AND the weatherman is calling for a nor’easter to hit my area tonight. so….we shall see.


Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments.

RRD, until the water heater springs a leak





Or so I thought!

Last week when I set goals, my intentions were to get to the gym 3 times, yoga 3 times and blog 3 times.
I didn’t come close to reaching these goals.
I’d like to say I had some good reason. Or I was sick. I have no such excuse. AJ hurt his back and the doctor put him on muscle relaxers… so he’s been kinda useless (she says with all the love in the world)and I’ve had to pick up the slack. Then the water heater sprung a leak.
And then I had a minor freakout/meltdown.
It seems like one thing after another after another is in need of repair. Grrrr.
I may not have completed my goals last week…
I did not turn to food.
I did not fall apart.
I handled what needed to be handled.
I realize, at some point last week I gave myself permission to feel whatever I was feeling. In doing so, I didn’t feel weighed down by the negativity of the situation. By not pushing to make the gym or a blog happen, I was able to focus on what needed my attention with feeling overwhelmed with doing everything.
I did what needed to be done at the time, in order of importance. I set priorities. And last week eating good for me foods and taking care of my family was the best thing for me to do.
Its weird, initially I was mad that I missed the gym. Then I felt guilty. But instead of beating myself up, I thought of the things I was happy with, the things I could be proud of or be happy about accomplishing.

This week, I am working on adding in the physical movement. I have been to the gym 3 days after school. I made it to a new yoga class. I’m still eating good for me foods. This week is about getting to the gym. I bought a 6-month membership and I must use it.
Plus, when I’m active I want to be active. When I’m active I want to eat better for me foods. When I’m active I sleep better. AND when I’m active I am more productive all around.
So the moral of my story….stay active, it does my body and soul good. But remember to slow down when life gets in the way. And most importantly, take care of me the best I can each day.
I am a work in progress for sure!

The weekly planning



Monday: chicken thigh stew
Tuesday: skirt steak and brussel sprouts Wednesday: meatballs and spaghetti (squash for me)
Thursday: Cajun chicken over hash Friday: cheese steaks, oven fries and a salad
Saturday: 40-clove garlic chicken
Sunday: bolar roast

Monday: kettlebells, walking DVD, yoga DVD
Tuesday: stationary bike, gorilla app, yoga class
Wednesday: walking dvd, yoga dvd, kettlebells
Thursday: stationary bike, gorilla app, yoga class
Friday: walking DVD, yoga DVD, gorilla app
Saturday: outside walk/run, maybe outside yoga.
Sunday: join the gym – elliptical, kettlebells

Food notes:
Later in the week you will notice I only noted the protein. I will pair with the veggies we have left based on what needs to be eaten first.
Fitness notes:
I’m working on fighting through some confidence issues (that’s another post entirely) but I am going to keep plugging along until I bust through my self doubt. I am rejoining the gym on Sunday but for now I don’t trust the treadmill at school. And I’m just not ready for outside walking/running, as lame as that sounds.

I decided to add in a workout plan so I’m not being willynilly about my workouts. When I don’t plan its easy to get sidetracked by life, kid, well, everything. This became very evident last week. Q was home from school all week, sick again! AJ had a toothache that actually was infected. My car stopped working. Guess what suffered?!? I did one real workout. I also did a lot of yoga stretching-yoga poses and stretching while doing other things but no real yoga practice – following a video out going to a class where the 20-60 minutes is focused solely on yoga.

Planning is good for me! With a plan already in place, I can pack my good and clothes the night ahead and workout at school before AJ comes to pick me up! With a plan I stay more organized and less scatterbrained. See, it works all the way around.

Did you plan your meals? What about your workouts?