Thursday, July 25, 2019

Skincare and other Snippets of Self Care and Improvement

Hello! It's been a weird week, so much so that the call I got yesterday in the middle of a work meeting from my credit card company asking if I'd make a $7,000 purchase at a Canadian online pharmacy was barely a blip on the rader. (Sadly, I had not made that purchase, though I wondered what the itemized receipt would say. That card has now been canceled, just as I'd memorized all the numbers for my online shopping.)

Happier times with my mamas on Friday

But! I was texting with my sister on Monday night about skincare and remembered a blog commenter had asked me about my routine on this post, so I thought I'd go ahead and write all the things down.

I've written a bit about skincare in the past: this post, asking for recommendations, and then this one, after I started on some new products. This is my routine now, after about 3 years of adjustments, grilling my dermatologist at my too-frequent skin-cancer-related appointments, and trying a new product every now and then (posted with about a thousand extra words and non-affiliated links because I like it when other people make online research easy for me):
  • Morning
    • Cleanser
      • CeraVe SA Renewing Cleanser - my standby; it's gentle, doesn't dry out my skin, and seems to keep things clean.
      • SkinCeuticals Simply Clean - got this one as part of a SkinCeuticals set at the dermatologist and REALLY liked it, just not enough for the price difference from my usual CeraVe.
      • Philosophy Purity Made Simple - possibly the most recommended cleanser I've purchased, but honestly, I found it to be just okay. For a free sample, I'd use every drop, but when it has come to purchasing on my own, I like the CeraVe more and it's cheaper.
    • Vitamin C Serum - a MUST and by far the most recommended product by my dermatologist; it is one of very few things that actually will help repair skin and also protects against sun and free radicals/pollution in the air.  
      • SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ("fountain of youth") - expensive, but amazing and the only one I've used and will continue buying without question. One bottle lasts about 9 months, so I'm on my 4th bottle in 3 years and consider a worthwhile investment.
    • Moisturizer
      • SkinCeuticals Daily Moisturizer - my new favorite; it's cheaper than the other Skinceutical moisturizers I have tried and is much lighter. I use a pea-sized amount of this each morning and evening and am pretty sure the jar is going to last me 18 months or more.

        status after 5 months of 2x daily use
      • SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter Moisturizer- got this as part of a set and it's a great, rich moisturizer, but it's too expensive and ultimately too heavy for my skin. If I was older and lived somewhere really dry, I'd be slathering it on.
      • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer- my fave before I found the Daily Moisturizer, this is a lighter lotion that I liked in the summer but wasn't quite enough for me in winter (my skin is naturally quite dry).
    • Sunscreen - EVERY DAY
      • SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 - I like this one a lot; I first got it in a starter kit at my dermatologist, but I've since repurchased. It's slightly tinted and I use it as a base on the weekends when I don't wear any makeup. (You could also wear it under makeup, I just usually don't.)
      • Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 - my fave. Super lightweight and clear but still zinc-based thanks to the magic of science.  The only sunscreen I can reapply over my makeup and have my face look untouched. I keep one in my purse always. 
    • I.T. Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream- this is actually my first step of makeup, but since it has SPF 50 and it makes my skin look AMAZING, I'm including it with skincare. I use a tiny bit of this, blot it on a with a big brush, and then do a little blush and my eyes, and I'm done. One tube lasts me about 9 months.
  • Evening
    • Cleanser (with Clarisonic Mia 2) - I use the same CeraVe at night (I literally have bottles scattered around my bathroom: shower, bathtub, and by the sink), but I add my Clarisonic to the routine.  After an hour (or six) of yoga with sweat running down my face and rubbing my makeup into my skin with my sweat towel, I feel like the buzzing brush really does clean out my skin better.  Before I started using it I was getting my first ever visible/clogged pores (thanks to using better/heavier face products and makeup) but I haven't had any of that since I started with the Clarisonic about a year ago.
    • Retinol - another must and the only thing besides the Vitamin C serum that can actually change your skin over time. I started using the lightest one (0.25) 3x a week (my skin is super sensitive) for a year, then bumped up to daily use for a year, and have now moved to 3x a week of the 0.50 dose, with the plan to slowly (over the next year) move up to daily use of the 0.5. There are much stronger doses available, but it can have a drying effect and my dermatologist stressed that you're much better off with daily use of a lower dose than sporadic use of a higher one.
    • Moisturizer - same as above, I use the Daily Moisturizer.  (PSA: if you're using Retinol you should wait at least 15 minutes before moving on to your next step to let it soak in.)
    • Eyelash Serum- I added this about 3 months ago after YEARS of deep disappointment and despair over my very short, very invisible eyelashes. And it's working! I mean, my lashes are still shorter than those of most babies (and certainly all 3 of my childrens'), but you can see them! Mascara actually extends them! At night I pet them in front of the mirror and tell them I'm so proud. Sometimes the superficial can bring about great joy and that's okay.
      • Rodan and Fields Lash Boost - I started with this one after hearing great reviews. It's working! But it's expensive, so I plan to try the next one when my first tube runs out (we're on month 4, so it seems to last a while).
      • RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum - Already waiting in my drawer for trial 2.
  • Occasional
    • Mask (SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask) - purchased when my pores were getting clogged from using too heavy of a moisturizer (before I bought the Clarisonic) and I ALWAYS forget to use this, but have liked it the 3 whole times I've remembered. 
    • Chemical Peel- done in my dermatologist's office, this was amazing and made my face all glowy. It took about an hour, wasn't very expensive, and my skin wasn't red after. It was great to sort of "reset" my skin when I just starting to create and stick to a skincare routine.  Ideally I'd do one ever 3-6 months, but so far I appear to be on the "once ever 3 years" plan (because I've done one and it was 3 years ago).
    • IPL Photofacialamazing. Super expensive (to me, I mean, it's way cheaper than anything surgical and lots of other professional treatments) and takes a few rounds (I did 3), but my dermatologist recommended it after I expressed despair for the sun damage on my neck and chest.  She also noted that because the IPL actually pulls damage out from the layers of your skin to be sloughed off from the surface (it's so weird, freckles basically form where you didn't have any and then over the next few days, brush off), it can and does remove damaged skin cells from beneath the top layer of skin that can turn cancerous.  It's not a preventative by any means, but it does have therapeutic elements as well as the aesthetic.  And the aesthetic is huge.  By the third treatment so much of skin damage was gone and my face was so clear and glowy- it really made a noticeable difference, and helped when I was feeling discouraged from skin cancer diagnoses and a past of skin damage even while I was trying to do better in the present.  This made me feel like I was starting from a better place. I plan to do it again in 3-5 years.
So! That's a lot of words, but this has become a big topic for me.  In practice my routine takes up 3 minutes in the morning (cleanse, serum, lotion, SPF) and 5 minutes in the evening (cleanse [longer with the Clarisonic brush], Retinol, lotion, eye lashes) and reapplying SPF throughout the day as needed. The products all last a long time (you use so little!) and I don't waste time or money researching or buying anything different. This is one of the few routines I've really stuck to and people comment on my skin all the time, including strangers, which seems pretty good for a fair-skinned, sun-damaged, cancer-scarred redhead of 36!

makeup-free selfie in my new favorite shirt!

In other bits of self-improvement, it has been 45 days since I last had a Diet Coke. Since I used to have one most every day at lunch, this is a big change. I've long wished I liked the million varieties of sparkling water (I hate them all; yes, even the one you like that you swear tastes different than the others, they all taste like copper pennies in my mouth no matter what the label claims) or that I just liked water by itself more, but I don't and so when I want something different with lunch or at my desk in the afternoon, Diet Coke it was. But then I read this fascinating article about women and Alzheimer's and for whatever reason it did what no other article has done in making me decide I just don't want to drink soda anymore. And so I don't. Iced tea is my "special" drink of choice and the million hours of hot yoga I'm doing a week is making regular water seem far more attractive. I've craved my bitter, bubbly Diet Coke less with every week and now really don't even think about it, even when I'm having a burger or nachos at lunch- two meals that ALWAYS went with Diet Coke for me.

Apropos of nothing: new rainbow yoga pants!

And speaking of healthier choices, having teacher training every night has also meant that I'm not drinking any wine during the week, which was another goal. And doing 85 million hours of yoga has made me very deliberate about my food choices- hearty and healthy and not too heavy is all that sounds good, and the few times I've had fries or something less than nutritionally substantive midday, I've been shocked at how blech and yucky I feel later. Not that I won't still eat the occasional fries or nachos, but I'm implicitly less interested in the indulgence when I know I'll feel it like a load of lead in my belly on my yoga mat. So I'm working out more and eating and drinking less and feeling much stronger and lighter (7 lbs. lighter!) and really truly BETTER than I have in a while. I'm hoping eight weeks will be enough to set the routines enough to not completely revert when training ends!

Which is not to say there isn't still time and belly space for fun and celebration. I went out last Friday to a new local winery with my mama friends to celebrate a birthday and it was glorious. 5 wines to taste for $12, I found myself joining the wine club and now greatly look forward to my leisurely glasses of the local red I brought home on Friday-Sunday nights.

Going to bed earlier is the next goal, but we can only make so many changes at once, and getting home from teacher training at 10:30 with a need to unwind and cool off does not lend itself to a pre-midnight bedtime. There's always next month!

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Landon Dozen

So! This guy turned 12 last Monday!

A dozen years ago we had a skinny baby with chicken legs and bruises all over his chest and head, still hanging out in the NICU trying to decide when he was going to commit to a lifetime of regular breathing, instead of remembering just 90% of the time. Baby Landon came home with us another week from now, which seems crazy now that I've had two babies who left the hospital at the same time we did. He was an adorable and exceedingly difficult baby, turned adorable and exceedingly easy toddler, enormously enthusiastic big kid and big brother, and an emotionally volcanic pre-tween.

He remains smart, sociable, athletic, and enthusiastic about most everything, and we are enjoying the year 12 very much.

On his birthday (a Monday morning, which is a little rough, but the traditions pulled us through), he woke up to our decorated table, the promise of an early morning donut run with dad, and his presents.

Donuts procured, we moved on to gifts, where he is always the most joyful of receivers.

From us he got his climbing bag monogrammed (he got the bag at the end of last season when the team made them, but it was always an early birthday gift), a new chalk bucket (as opposed to chalk bag; the difference is both important and somewhat unclear to me, and a certificate for a new pair of climbing shoes (his coach had told me he needed the next level of shoes to do the harder routes he's ready for, but they are PRICEY and so he has waited since May). He was VERY EXCITED about all of these things.

My parents got him a new Kindle (also very exciting; his old one was a first generation Fire and so slow I hated having to load new movies on it for our car trips, not that his gift is about me) and case, and my grandparents gave him money he used to buy some new books at the Rocky Mountain National Park book store, a drone at Target, with a few dollars left to agonize over how best to spend.

It was a great morning.

(Card from Claire:
Hey Siri, who is the best big brother in the whole world?
One result found: Landon Fike

His day was spent at climbing camp and his chosen birthday dinner was smoked turkey sausage, "the mac and cheese in the blue box with the big noodles and squishy cheese in the packet," and raw orange bell pepper. Dessert was cookies from Great American Cookie company. And tiny animals holding birthday candles, of course.

His party was this past Saturday and he invited about a dozen friends to come over for swimming, games, terrible snacks (i'm looking at you neon orange, chemically-laden, esophagus-burning "Sticks"), and ice cream cake.

As always the kids take their games very seriously and it cracks me up.

We did a coin toss in the pool and it's the best game because it is very very quiet.

Landon picked out a very enthusiastic candle that his friend Zoe was 100% there for him in trying to blow it out.

Zoe was the first kid we met in Fort Worth when Landon ran up to her at the playground at the age of 5 and started jabbering away. Her mom is now one of my best friends.

I love these kiddos.

After the party James and I took a MUCH NEEDED date night to a favorite restaurant down the street and, for the first time in 12 years, did not hire a sitter! I'd texted several of our regulars, but when they were all unavailable I remembered that I used to babysit at 12! For other people even! Landon could surely "babysit" his two sisters for 90 minutes in broad summer daylight while his dad and I grabbed dinner less than 10 minutes away. He was cool with it and off we went. They watched a movie and I'm not entirely sure they realized we were gone for most of it.

I was giddy about the whole thing. No babysitting fees = extra drinks and dessert! It's a looooong tunnel, but lo the end of it is bright when you get there.

We ended the date playing Memory with the girls because we were back an hour before bedtime and Landon went to a sleepover at a friend's house. Maggie was on everyone's team.

But back to Landon. I gave him a quiz to capture him at 12 and recorded his answers word for word:

Favorite color: Orange, green, grey.

Favorite food: Pizza, with very little cheese.

Favorite drink: Dr. Pepper, water, Gatorade

Favorite dessert: Chocolate chip cookies

Favorite candy: Skittles

Favorite restaurant: Mellow Mushroom pizza, Chick-Fil-A, Pizza Snob

Favorite TV show: Johnny Test

Favorite book: Unbroken, Spy School (whole series)

Favorite movie: Avengers Endgame, for sure. [Me: But you haven't seen it yet!] I know! But I know it's going to be my favorite! Okay but also Captain America and Indiana Jones and I have seen those!

Favorite song: High Hopes by Panic at the Disco

Favorite animal: Chameleon

Favorite sport: Swimming

Favorite activity: Playing with my friends

Favorite game: Video game? [Me: I guess] Okay, Fortnite [laughs because he knows I hate it...] hee hee hee and more Fortnite! Except I never get to play it as much as I want to.

Favorite subject in school: Math

Best friends: Caden, Santino... I have a lot of them, can I say them all? [Me: You can answer whatever you want.] Okay good, then also Neil, Owen, Blaine, August.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I have no idea. I want my work to be fun. And with animals.

What is your favorite memory? Hm, I have LOTS of favorite memories. This is just one of them. I guess the plane ride to Jamaica. [Me: not the whole trip?] Oh, well that too, but also just the plane ride.

What was your favorite vacation? Jamaica. And Costa Rica too. And Arches National Park.

If you could go anywhere where would you go? That place that you're going with the tiny houses on the water. [Me: Bora Bora. (Side note: James and I are planning our first kid-free vacation there for our 15th anniversary next year and the kids cannot comprehend us going on a trip without them.)] Yes! We should ALL go!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Yoga Teacher Training: Halfway Point (Plus Swimming! and a Bulldog)

You guys, this week has been A LOT.

The most A LOT I've had in quite some time. In five days I worked 40 hours, went to eight yoga classes, and attended 11 hours of yoga teacher training. My real work has been busy and satisfying- I got a case approved to go before the Commission, drafted a press release, and finalized the draft of a different case memo. My yoga has been strong and powerful and sweaty and not nearly as sore or painful as I expected. And my teacher training - including 8 hours of anatomy lecture! - has been filling my brain and spilling out my ears, only to be scooped back up and squished in again. On Tuesday and Wednesday I left the house at 7 a.m. loaded down with bags and snacks and liquids and changes of clothes and pulled back in my driveway at 11:45 p.m. needing to repack and refill it all. I have had very little sleep and even less time with my family, but we've all made it and my training is halfway over with the longest, hardest week complete.

(me when my alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m.)

It feels amazing.

(yoga studio parking garage, 11:30 p.m.)

It's completely selfish and it's taking time away from the only place where time can be taken away- the hours I spent with James and the kids, and that sucks. But the kids are in climbing camp during the day and going to swimming practice (with Coach Dad!) at night and are doing just fine over the past four days I have basically been away. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights I got home near midnight, full of new anatomy knowledge and an urge to read all the google results on fascia, and dragged myself into a kitchen that was sparkling clean, checked in on kids who were sleeping peacefully, saw laundry that had been switched and folded and a life that had just generally been HANDLED and just felt... good. Good, thankful, dying to hug my fast-asleep hug. This is a thing I'm doing for me, something I've wanted to do for five years, and it's okay. My family is good. I do most of the things most of all the time and so, I tell myself when I doubt, this is okay. I miss James like crazy- he's already been asleep when I've come home each night, but we'll make it up and he's fine. He's the one who secretly saved up to give me this opportunity in the first place. We support each other in our dreams, in making our lives what we want them to be, and I'm halfway through a big dream of mine.

(snapshot of my car at the end of Wednesday)

The training itself is also amazing. I've learned so much- my yoga has already changed, my form fine-tuned, my adjustments more personalized, my knowledge about my own body- despite years as a competitive athlete and group fitness teacher- so much greater. Did you know my hips CAN'T square to the side wall in warrior 2? Did you know they don't need to? Did you know that when I try to make them do it anyway my knee wrenches way inward away from where they should be and it's OKAY because that's how my body is built. I've done approximately one million warrior 2's in my 5 years of yoga and I'm just now doing them right for me. And it's the same with so many other poses. On Thursday night when I sat my sweaty self on my mat for class 2 in a row after 3 days of doing 2 evening classes in a row right before lectures begin I thought, I should really feel more tired. This should feel overwhelming. I should NOT be excited about more yoga. But it feels GREAT. I held a forearm stand for the first time and my journal is full of exclamation points.

(teacher training dinner)

The actual training syllabus consists of 3 lectures a week for 3 hours each (or 4 hours each during anatomy) for 8 weeks. You must also take 60 yoga classes (55 vinyasa flows at CorePower, 2 class observations, and 3 outside classes) and journal each class and training. There's an extra weekend lecture sprinkled in there (chakras!) and outside reading, essays, and journaling are done throughout. It adds up to 200 hours and that's the certification I'll have when it's through (assuming I pass the written and practical testing, which I will, because studying yoga is my new favorite). Then I can teach yoga! And remain an enthusiastic, now better informed yoga student. 4 weeks to go!

But on the opposite of yoga and not spending time with family - I spent all of last week at a pool faraway cheering on my quartet of swimmers. James won everything and will be going to state in all of the things. The girls swam Saturday afternoon and did GREAT!

Little Cora Bunny dropped 2.5 seconds in her 25 free and improved 5 places to get 2nd and qualify for State! Our first five-year-old to go to state! She was SO excited.

She's sat and watched three years of state meets and now she gets to be competing! I can't wait.

She dropped time in her 25 back and 25 fly and very nearly qualified for state in backstroke too, jumping from 35th place to 7th! It was a great meet for her, and in between her fast swims, she made sure to stay on top of her hard work.

Clairebear also did great, dropping time and winning all THREE of her events! We'd joked that she could have a giant scoop of ice cream if she won an event, so apparently that was very motivating. She was so proud and it's so great to see her killing it in the pool- a place her brother tends to dominate the conversation.

On Sunday morning it was Landon's turn! He's aged up to longer events and bigger, stronger competitors and he had to step it up! He won his 50 Fly, got 2nd in his 100 Free, and 4th in his 100 IM and 50 Free. He was wiped out, but glad to have qualified for state in all four, even if maybe a little surprised he did get his usual set of golds. The competition is good for him.

We went out for an ice cream celebration for all and still had an hour before bed for games and reading.

It was a great way to close out an exciting weekend and prepare for a BUSY week ahead.

Maggie's barely been able to keep her eyes open, but she's here for us anyway.

Oh! Also this week- Landon turned 12! On Monday! We celebrated with all the traditions and I'll recap after his birthday pool party tomorrow afternoon. I really already forgot that even happened all of four days ago- seriously, what a week. Maggie's exhausted just hearing about it, but hopes you're having a great week too!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Sinuses, Bulldog Sleepaway Camp, and Swimming

Good morning! We've been back in the hot and humid land of Texas for 5 days and I've been sick for 3 of them. Apparently I'm allergic to Texas summer weather and my body needs to me to return to a mile+ above sea level immediately. But since little things like jobs, a home, and a full busy life appear to be keeping me here for the time being, a steroid shot, 150 gallons of hot tea, and daily Claritin D and Flonase are making it almost bearable.

Something surprisingly more than bearable? (It's important to have smooth transitions in writing.) My new head shot for my barre studio's website redesign! The pictures were a while ago and I remember the weekend being its usual hectic self. I dry my hair like twice a month, so this was a big lift for me on a Saturday, and I find solo pictures so horribly awkward. My smile is always strained and fake and my already too-small eyes get even tinier and I don't think my mouth forms smiles properly and I'm so self-conscious I end up viewing the final product through webbed fingers. But on that Saturday- a rainy Saturday, which did not bode well for my quickly straightened hair, the photographer just sat with me on the studio floor by the window. A class was actually going on in the main area so we whispered quietly to each other in the corner. She asked about my kids. I told her some stories about them that make me smile. She snapped a picture.

And I love it. I feel like I can see the stories I was telling and the warmth and happiness I was feeling when she took it and that is such a gift.

Semi-related to barre teaching head shots, yoga teacher training continues apace, with no rest for the throat-swollen and sinus-infected. I took 7 yoga classes and had 9 hours of training in the last 5 days and I can't believe how much I continue to feel grateful for every second. I am learning SO much and my knowledge-soaked brain is luxuriating in this new tired, over-taxed, totally FULL feeling.

I've been practicing with the kids, doing my yoga homework essays on long car rides, and have started taking myself through the hour-long sequence each morning. I've never had a sequence memorized before and it is such a peaceful and zen-like way to start a day.

This was my teacher trainee dinner between my double yoga classes and 7-10 p.m. training session on Wednesday. I came home that night at 10:30 p.m., all sweaty and drained and exhausted, to write in my journal, make James stay up to talk to me, and then take a bath with my salts and candles and latest paranormal romance and force myself to bed to do it all again.

Just five weeks left to go and though this schedule is obviously not sustainable, I already know I'm going to miss the intensity- the doing something new and exciting and frankly a little selfish. I feel my body building new muscles and my brain firing new synapses and after 11 years out of school it is everything I hoped it would be to be a student again. It's like a yoga immersion program and it's stretching every part of me in the best way.

But it's also so nice to have a morning at home. Right now it's 9 a.m. on Saturday and I just finished my morning yoga practice. James is at a swim meet (we're meeting him there at noon for the girls' session), Claire is emptying the dishwasher, Landon is scooping dog poop, and Cora is feeding Maggie. After a small but short battle over instituting regular summer chores a few weeks ago (the phrase "well what's left for you to do?" was uttered and NOT well received [insert actual brain exploding emoji]), things are humming along nicely. We have a list on the fridge, so everyone knows what is expected of them and does their part (and can be mentally soothed by seeing their siblings' duties as well), and there are repercussions listed out that go into effect after the first freebie reminder (which we have yet to have to give!) that are helpful for the adults and children alike.

The kids have always had general chores and helped out anytime we are doing any kind of house or yard work, but now that most of their camps are over and they're home more, we realized we needed a more set system instead of the admittedly somewhat random system we'd been using before. Everyone likes clear expectations and fair, age-appropriate divisions of responsibility.

On divisions and responsibilities, I'm sure you were all wondering what happened to Maggie while we were in Colorado.

She was shocked to discover she would not be hiking at high altitude, but we found a wonderful in-home boarder for her and after many discussions with the owner I knew she was going to LOVE doggie summer camp.

And she did!

I texted regularly for updates (#HelicopterMom) and my messages quickly went from "how is she doing??" to "do you think she'll remember us?!!". Mags got homemade dog food, a new pack to roam with, unlimited indoor snuggle time, carefully monitored outside time (she will overheat herself in minutes if left to her own devices), and LOTS of love. Her camp counselor sent me this message on night 2 and I knew she was in loving hands, “Maggie is the absolute best... She has my heart. She has every reason to turn away from humans yet she has such a loving and kind heart. I love her so much! Thank you for sharing her.”

James and the kids picked her up. It was a joyful reunion, though she was disappointed by the lack of boiled chicken, potatoes, and rice for her dinner, and the bath I gave her as soon as I got home from work. She then slept 24.5 hours a day for the next four days.

Summer sleep away camp is EXHAUSTING.

I tried to make her join me in the kitchen Tuesday night while I cooked dinner, but she fell asleep sitting up.

She started waking up yesterday and we've been very proud of her every move since.

"Gooooob morning family!". She has been smothered in love and is back to following us around to various rooms in the house during the whole FOUR hours she's now awake each day. (Ish. When you add all the awake time together.)

It's almost time to leave for the swim meet - Regionals/State Qualifier! - so I need to go verify that caps and goggles and swim suits are actually packed. Landon swims tomorrow, but he'll be along to cheer on the girls this afternoon.

I'll leave you with two of my favorite pics from the last swim meet we went to before our trip. Cora and her Coach Dad. Love them- and this sport that brings all of us together each summer.

Oh! And a bonus chapter I typed up earlier - the meals from the last week! May you all have a great one ahead.

Mon: Verde Chicken Enchiladas (cook frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot all day in verde salsa, shred (in your mixer!), roll into tortillas with shredded monterrey jack cheese, spoon over a thin layer of sour cream, sprinkle with monterrey jack, and smother in green enchilada sauce; bake at 375 for 20-25 mins), Black Beans, Brown Rice, Diced Tomato and Avocado on the side.

Tues: Fettucini with Prosciutto & Peas (this recipe with 16 oz of whole wheat spaghetti, with frozen peas thrown in the pasta water 3 mins before time and sliced up prosciutto added at the very end). Cora declared this her new favorite meal of all time and the one she will choose on her birthday in November.

Wed: Crockpot Red Beans & (Brown) Rice. So good and completely fool proof. On Wednesdays I got straight from work to double yoga classes to training, so I like knowing there's a yummy dinner waiting for my loved ones at home. I use smoked turkey sausage in this one and TJ's bags of frozen brown rice (which will change your life if you don't already use them).

Thurs: Turkey Tacos (ground turkey browned with onion and garlic, taco seasoning, and a can of drained pinto beans), flour tortillas, mexican rice, refried beans, toppings.

Fri: Whole Wheat Rotini with Meat Sauce (ground beef browned with onion and garlic, then mixed with one jar store bought pasta sauce, one can tomato sauce, small handful of basil and oregano, big handful of shredded parmesan), sliced raw vegetables.

Sat: Gyros (from TJ's refrigerated section), Naan Bread (from TJ's frozen section), Greek Orzo Salad (Orzo, sliced cherry tomato, diced cucumber, diced orange bell pepper, kalamata olives, crumbled feta, homemade Greek dressing from this recipe), Tzatziki sauce.

Sun: Salmon (broiled with this rub), Roasted Potatoes (with extra of the rub from the salmon), Carrots and Broccoli (probably roasted, possibly steamed depending on oven space).