I couldn’t live without

This week I’m jumping for joy and can’t live without Apple Blossom Festival! I talked about it yesterday and how we Uncorked the Bloom last weekend which is my favorite weekend except now that I’ve had the chance to take Sydney to the carnival and see her excitement over the simplest rides I think seeing her reaction to this festival will be my new favorite part of Apple Blossom.

Since it was a nice day we went to the carnival and took Sydney on her first big girl ride (that isn’t located at the mall). I wasn’t sure how she would react to them but she did awesome.

Ready for her first ride

Ready for her first ride

She was so excited about riding the train and then was a little disappointed that we just missed it and would have to wait our turn. She waited patiently, but she did try to go through the gate a few times so that it would be her turn haha.

Wheeeee!!!!

Wheeeee!!!!

We also got to ride “the ponies” (the carousel) and she loved that one so much that we had to ride it again right away and she was not interested at all in waiting in line or even waiting for me to get our tickets out so we could get back on!

Happiness is a girl and her pony

Happiness is a girl and her pony

This weekend we’ll be taking her to her first parade as part of the festival and there will be actual fire trucks (which are super exciting to her right now) and we’ll be hanging out at the fire house in town so I think she will be really excited about that.

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Uncork The Bloom

It is my favorite time of year – spring time. And with each new spring we have this wonderful festival in our town to celebrate the coming of spring and the traditional pink and white apple blossoms.

Apple Blossom began in 1924 and it has come a long way from the one day festival it began as. If you’re interested in the full history of the festival you can check that out here on the official Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival page. Today the festival begins with a wine festival, brings us a carnival and various events during the week, and ends with the weekend in the park and two parades! It is a really fun time and if you’re ever looking for something fun and different to do in the Valley and you’re here at the end of April/beginning of May then you should definitely check this out. There is something for everyone and a little bit of everything.

Enjoying live music and good wine!

Enjoying live music and good wine!

The first weekend and probably my favorite thing (because duh) is the Uncork the Bloom wine festival that really kicks off the weeks festivities. There are maybe a dozen or more wineries that come out for the two day wine festival. It’s a really fun festival with live music playing on three separate stages (since there are three separate areas set up with wine/food/vendors set up). It really spreads out the crowds which makes it easier to navigate the festival.

Wine tasting

Wine tasting

I ended up going both days this year but only for a couple hours each day so it isn’t like I went to each winery both days because that would be crazy and I’m no longer that kind of crazy person. The first year I attended the goal was to try as much wine as possible because 20’s and now… well, I wanted to taste some new wines because I like wine and not because I wanted to be hammered… my how life changes haha!

Enjoying some local Virginia wine

Enjoying some local Virginia wine

The best part about this festival, for me, is that they feature all Virginia wine. If you have never experienced Virginia wine then you are really missing out on some really good wine. I encourage you to branch out and leave California behind and head to Virginia to experience all the wine we have to offer.

I’m so excited to take Sydney to the carnival this week and for her to experience her 1st parades this weekend. I’m sure it is going to be a different experience with her in tow, but I’m looking forward to experiencing this whole festival through her eyes because I think that is going to be awesome.

If you’re local here have you ever been to Apple Blossom? Do you have any fun festivals like this in your area? I’d love to hear about them!

Tasty Tuesday: Cheesy Zucchini Bake

I could eat this delicious concoction for days. I have a love for everything cheesy and this is a quick and easy dish to throw together. And it is a pretty healthy dish which is a definite win in my book! The nice thing about this dish is that I was able to throw it together with ingredients I already had at home. It can be very easily tailored to meet your individual tastes or even portion size needs. In the future I would make this with more zucchini but I only had two in the fridge so that is what I used.

Ingredients.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1-2 Green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Cheese
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Oregano

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Wash and cut zucchini and green onion
  • Mix zucchini and green onion with the seasoning
  • I seasoned with salt, pepper, basil and oregano to taste but for the amount of zucchini I used about a teaspoon
  • Add ingredients in an oven safe dish
  • Mix about half the cheese with the zucchini mixture and put the other half on top of mixture
  • Bake 15-20 minutes (cooking time will depend on amount of zucchini; mine cooked for 15 and was the perfect combination of melty-cheesy-zucchini goodness)
Cheesy zucchini bake

Cheesy zucchini bake

Pair this delicious side dish with your favorite main dish and you will have a happy belly!

If you make this please let me know – especially if you try any variations because I’d love to hear how you make this fit your tastes (& it never hurts to have more variety in life!)

 

Fit Friday: T25 Program

Last year I discovered the Focus T25 program and I fell in love! I have spent the last year checking out different programs but I always come back to Shaun T and Focus T25 because of the convenience factor. I work full time, I commute an hour (each way) to work, and I have a little one that keeps me moving until she finally stops for the day. I don’t have a lot of time to squeeze in work outs every day but I always feel so much better when I push play each day even if it doesn’t happen until 8:30pm.

Focus T25 is a quick workout (at 25 minutes) and it is SO GOOD. It has pushed me much harder than I’ve ever thought possible and I love every single second of this program. I’ve lost inches everywhere and I’ve gained muscle and strength in my arms and legs. When I look in the mirror I definitely do not see the girl that packed on 40 (!!) pounds during her pregnancy and got completely out of shape. I see someone strong and healthy.

Progress.

Progress.

 

Focus T25 has three phases – Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Alpha and Beta are both five (5) weeks long and Gamma is four (4) weeks which totals fourteen (14) weeks of fitness fun. Over the next 14 weeks I’m going to detail this program a little different than I did Insanity Max 30. There are differences with the two programs and how I’m measuring my results which makes it a little different to talk about. I’ll be blogging about my progress each Friday for Fit Friday and I’ll be highlighting a new workout each week. 

I love who I am and what I’ve become over the last year and I’d love to help you discover how fitness can be so much fun!


GET IT DONE: IN  25 MINUTES A DAY!

Interested in learning more about Beachbody or taking the plunge and trying T25 yourself and working through the program with me? Check out my Coach’s page and I’ll be more than happy to give you advice and answer any questions you may have.

I Couldn’t Live Without

Life has been a little rough around here lately and I’m having a little bit of a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

The one thing that keeps me going and keeps me smiling is this little girl. She is the bright spot in my day and the light of my life.

My love.

My love.

I don’t know how I got so lucky to be her Mama but I am so glad that she’s my little girl. She’s the one thing in this world I know, for sure, I cannot live without.

The bright spot in my day.

The bright spot in my day.

I’m linking up with Lindsay at the Pursuit of Pink for her I Couldn’t Live Without link up.

Dinosaur Land

Dinosaur Land

Dinosaur Land

Now that the weather is warming up I’m excited to get us out of the house and explore the wonders that Virginia has to offer. I’m excited to share all the places I remember from my childhood with Sydney. I remember going to all kinds of fun places with my family as a child and I really want Sydney to have the same wonderful memories about spending time with her family that I have. Plus, there is so much to do around here that it would be a pity not to share them with her.

Petting the dinosaur

Petting the dinosaur

Over the weekend we went to Dinosaur Land and Sydney had a great time running around and seeing all the dinosaurs.

Showing Mommy the dinosaurs

Showing Mommy the dinosaurs

It was definitely… different than I remember but it was still a lot of fun. If you’re looking for something different to do with your little ones I recommend taking them to experience the wonders of Dinosaur Land.

Exploring with Nana

Exploring with Nana

It’s a pretty quick trip through the park. The lady at the entrance said it can take about 40 minutes to make your way through the whole place. We didn’t stop and read every placard at each dinosaur so we made a pretty quick trip so we went back to the beginning and let Sydney play in the shark again because she really loved that part.

Inside a shark.

Inside a shark.

What are some of your favorite things to do with your kids? I’m open to all suggestions to fill our summer weekends with fun!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

I love Mexican food, but we try to eat a little bit of a healthier diet around here so we don’t make a lot of tacos. Sometimes though, I’ll make taco meat to make taco salads. I had recently made some taco meat (using ground chicken instead of beef) for taco salads and had some leftovers but didn’t really want to have another salad. I wanted something different. And then I remembered the versatility of the spaghetti squash and thought this would make a delicious, and healthy, combination. I was correct!

It was also very easy since I had leftover taco meat and didn’t have to cook it from scratch. Two points for ease! I kind of just threw this together so I don’t have any real measurements for the ingredients so these are all “guesstimates” and feel free to adjust them as you need to in order to feed just yourself or your whole family.

Ingredients –

  • 1-2 large spaghetti squash (each squash will feed 2 people)
  • 1lb. taco meat
  • 1 pepper, diced (red, green, orange, yellow, whatever floats your boat)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 small can corn (drained)
  • salsa (to taste)
  • green onion (to taste)
  • cilantro (to taste)
  • shredded cheese (to taste)

Directions –

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Wash your spaghetti squash and cut off the top and then cut squash in half lengthwise
  • Cook spaghetti squash for 30-45 minutes, depending on size. The larger the squash the longer it will cook.
  • While the squash is cooking prepare your taco meat
Taco mixture

Taco mixture

  • Heat oil in skillet and saute onions and peppers
  • Add beans and corn to skillet
  • When squash is done remove from oven and shred about 3/4 of the squash
Shred the squash

Shred the squash

  • Mix the taco meat, peppers and onions, and corn and beans with the shredded squash
  • Fill squash “bowl” with mix
  • Top the mixture with green onions, cilantro, and cheese
All ready to go in the broiler

All ready to go in the broiler

  • Place in broiler for about 5 minutes to brown cheese
Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

Enjoy!

Do you have any other good variations for spaghetti squash? I really love it and am always looking for a new way to enjoy it. If you try this let me know how you like it!