Thursday, January 5, 2017

THURSDAY VLOG


Happy Thursday! It's a snowy and extremely COLD morning here. Schools are closed so the Christmas break has been extended!

Our Thursday VLOG is up - watch it on our YouTube channel HERE or click below to watch!


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Simply Fit in the New Year

It's that time of year again.


People are setting their New Years resolutions and this year so many are jumping on the  One Word bandwagon. I've had a few different "one words" throughout the years and this year's word is one that I just couldn't get off my heart and mind. Consistency. There's many parts of my life which could use a bit more consistency whether it's in my parenting, homemaking, work, internet aspirations, and fitness.

Later I may expound more on how I'm setting little consistency goals this year. But today lets talk health and fitness.

If you've followed my weight loss journey at all throughout the past year you probably know that I found a way to drop a lot of weight. Hooray!

In the past year, though, I learned how to put a portion of that weight back on. Boo!

Basically I lost momentum and consistency. Busyness and laziness crept in. I'd take a day or two off of exercising, skip a day logging my food, and BAM! It's amazing how quickly old attitudes and habit can creep back in. I'd start and stop "eating right again" all the while being okay with cookies after school with the kids or going back for another scoop of seconds.

If you followed my Simply Fit posts from last year I talked about some of the small simple steps that can build on each other to make some great healthy progress. It's time to start the new year off with those goals again. I need little attainable goals to build on if I'm going to stay consistent. I'm not successful with big new years resolutions that will be easy to quit in a day or two.



Here's what we've discussed so far...

Step 1: Increasing Water and Decreasing Sugar

Step 2: Increasing Clean Foods and Decreasing Processed Foods


Step 3: Increase Stamina and Decrease Your Expectations

Step 4: Increase Support and Decrease a Negative Attitude


DON'T try to do this alone. You will find it so hard to commit and be consistent. We all need the support of others to see these lofty weight loss or healthy eating goals make a difference. I find my negative attitude and wanting to quit rush in just a few days into my "fresh start" if I'm all on my own.

2 Steps to Increase Fitness Support


1. Take someone with you


Starting to walk each evening? Ask a neighbor to join you!

Planning to go to the gym every morning? As a friend to meet you there!

Waking up early and sneaking downstairs before the kids wake up to exercise in the living room? Text a friend when you're done and tell them to check in if they haven't heard from you!

My husband is my "someone" doing this with me. We workout together in our living room most evenings. Knowing one of us will be the motivated one and drag the other in front of that TV is what I need. I also have a friend who texts me every morning to let me know she's finished her workout. Because 2 are better than 1 when it comes to keeping those fit goals.

2. Online support


When I was at my heaviest weight, I found my first glimmer of motivation from an online challenge. It was a simple challenge that just required signing up, printing off the exercise tracker, and using a specific hashtag on twitter. The steps were easy and I found motivation and support from following the hashtag and seeing others pushing to the end as well. I logged 1800 minutes of walking and exercise during those few months - a massive accomplishment for me at the time.

After that first challenge I joined a large Facebook group all about support, education, and accountability. I was always eager to log into the large group and let everyone know I did it - I made it through another day of exercise. In that group I learned how to eat, what to eat, and had coaches teaching me along the way. I'm still in that large group and we cheer each other on every day.

In addition to being a part of the large fitness group on Facebook, I also have gone through seasons of leading small online groups and also have a teeny group of 3 of us who log in each day to say we worked out and what we ate. Again - it's knowing someone else is doing it too and they're keeping you accountable.

We are so blessed to live in 2017 and have so much online education and support at our fingertips. Take advantage of it!




**So that's your challenge for the next week. Find the support you need. You'll lose that negative attitude and hopefully stick with it longer to reach those goals to the better you.

I'll share later this week a couple of online support options you can jump into with me. But if these tips sparked ideas, jump on it! Phone that friend and get your bodies moving today!

I'm here if you need someone. I'm cheering for you!

-Jessica
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Monday, January 2, 2017

When You’re Not Excited for the New Year

Bright fireworks were shooting off above the large mountains nearby to celebrate the start of a New Year. We were 15 minutes into 2017 and fear grappled my heart more than celebration. As I laid under the thick blankets in the dark and messaged an online friend, I felt tears sting my eyes instead of joy. She had just lost her son the day before and as she typed words of her pain, I couldn’t help but feel afraid for the New Year. 

I recalled in my mind how 2016 had been nothing like I had expected. My heart ached for the staggering 6 families who had lost their sons to Lowe Syndrome in the past year. As parents, Peter and I ended 2016 with a long list of added responsibilities to care for Zachary. I had no idea our life would be more tied down than ever before to care for our little 5 year old. G-tubes, feedings, the biggest medicine routine he’s had so far, and the inability to leave home much for fear of his emotional breakdowns flooded my mind. 

I didn’t feel excited about a New Year. What would 2017 bring? Would next year end even harder than this year did? It can be so very easy to be filled with fear of the unknown.

I woke up early on January 1 knowing somehow I had to battle the fear and solemness that was darkening my mind and heart. There was definitely so much good in the past year. But sometimes the dark and hard things can consume us more than the light. 




How can we battle the fear?

1. Remember the good. Make a list. What do you have to be thankful for from the past year? When I start to think about all God did do in 2016 I suddenly feel like buckling to my knees in awe and praise. 

There is so much required to care for Zachary. Even before getting him out of bed in the morning the “to-do” list seems long. But my baby has been healthy and is even growing for the first time in 3 years. We have tremendous doctors, therapists, school teachers, and the closest progress to learning to walk so far. It’s all so good. I’m thankful.

2. Remember Jesus. Because I have Jesus - there’s always joy to be found. He gave his life for me. Our pastor said yesterday “Jesus gave his life for me. That is the greatest news and nothing can top it!” 

Circumstances can bring pain, heartache, exhaustion, fear, and lots of unknown. But I can get through what I may face this year because ultimately I have Jesus. Nothing can trump that. He’s not going anywhere. He’ll be right there with me through it all!

3. Remember to pray. Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” 

The anxious stuff is going to come this year. How do you and I combat that? Prayer! Jesus wants me to tell him about what’s causing my anxious heart. What am I afraid of? What’s hard? Tell him! I’m not saying praying is going to give me the answer I want - but through prayer I find peace. His peace is what I need. Each day. All year. 




I closed my favorite spiral bound planner I’ve used all year long and open my brand new 2017 calendar. The pages are blank and fresh. I have no idea what I will be writing on those pages in March, July, or even October. 

I don’t know what’s ahead at all. But I do know there’s been so much good to be thankful for, I have Jesus with me, and I’ll cling to him in prayer all year long. That’s all good. SO very good. 

Happy New Year!

-Jessica
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What a Day :: Special Needs Stories




As you may know, our family has dabbled in sharing our stories in video form.

As I sat down the other day to download and edit footage from a fun day we had just had, I sifted through clips from the day before. Zachary and I had gone through a busy and stressful day and I almost deleted it all. I hadn't even filmed a whole lot and it was a plain emotional day.  

But before deleting I remembered our "why" of YouTube and my website. I remembered the people who have reached out to us for questions about our journey and experiences after sharing our stories in both video and written words. 

If you also live this crazy life - just know you're not alone! 

Here you go...a glimpse into a not so perfect day. WATCH BELOW...








Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Newland Chronicles :: Beachballs and a Trampoline




Our family is truly having a blast learning the world that is YouTube. We felt the nudge for about 6 months before we took the plunge, bought our camera, and decided to just give vlogging a try.

Here's a video we did a couple weekends ago after we got our new trampoline.

We'd love for you to watch and subscribe to the Newland Chronicles to keep up on all the fun!




A few of our other favorites...









Monday, November 7, 2016

Beef Pot Roast :: 31 Days of Healthy Freezer Meals




This is comfort food at it's finest. Maybe it's because the leaves are golden and falling from the trees but I am so ready for a good pot roast. This meal always makes me think of Sunday afternoon dinner growing up. To stay on track with my heathy eating I tend to skip the potatoes when I eat this, but my kids LOVE the potatoes so I throw them in.

Beef Pot Roast

Ingredients:

1 chuck roast (3-4 pounds)
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut up
2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut up
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1 cup beef broth (for cooking day)
2 T. steak seasoning blend
1 T. salt
1 T. thyme
1 T. rosemary

Directions:

Combine seasoning in a large freezer bag. Add meat, close the bag, and rub seasoning onto meat.

In a separate bag combine the vegetables and freeze.

Thaw and throw both the meat and vegetables into a slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth.

Cook 6-8 hours or until done.

Serve with a salad and fresh bread for the kids and call it good!

**Missed a recipe? Catch up HERE!**





Monday, October 24, 2016

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup :: 31 Days of Healthy Freezer Meals



We love Stuffed Green Peppers. It's the perfect fall and winter comfort food. Sometimes (i.e. most days) I don't have the time to make the full recipe, which is why one day I thought maybe I could turn the flavor of stuffed green peppers into a soup. It's now one of my favorite fall and winter soups that's just as tasty as the original, but in a "dump and simmer" form. When I started trying freezer meals I wanted to include this one as a freezer alternative. So here it is - Stuffed Green Pepper SOUP!


Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Ingredients:

2 large green peppers, chopped
Pinch of salt
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1- 2 cans beef broth
Water
Cooked rice (for the day you eat this meal)

Directions:

Brown ground beef with onion and if freezing set aside to let cool.

Place chopped green peppers, salt, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire, oregano, and beef mixture into a freezer bag. Freeze.

Thaw when ready to make and place beef mixture into a large pot on the stove. Add 1-2 cans of beef broth and here's where I just eyeball it - I usually add what broth I have and add water until it looks like enough for our family. Roughly it comes out to 2 cans of broth and 3 cups of water.

Let simmer for 1-2 hours. I used to add rice while it cooks but I never liked how the rice turned out. Sometimes it was over cooked, sometimes it was under cooked. I much prefer to just add cooked rice to the pot right when we serve.