Yes, I’m still here!!!!

Hello all!

When I started this blog back in March, I never thought that only two months into it that my posts would become so far and few between. I also had no idea I would be working (outside the home!) part-time, either. Hey, that’s life. It can throw you curveballs you really never expected or just throw them at you sooner than you expected!

So let’s see, what have I been up to………….besides work and karate!

On May 3rd, Courtney and I ran the 5K I told you guys about! I didn’t bring my camera there since it was expected to rain. It was just Courtney and me, so no one was there to hold the camera for me while I was running either! I did take these pictures before we left for the race:

Ready to race! Wait, where are my shoes? (I know, that towel in the background looks great, right?)

Ready to race! Wait, where are my shoes? (I know, that towel in the background looks great, right?)

Ready, set, GO!!!!!! Seriously, where ARE our shoes??? Check out those socks! Who doesn't love burpees???

Ready, set, GO!!!!!! Seriously, where ARE our shoes??? Check out those socks! Who doesn’t love burpees???

Courtney actually does say "YAY" when Sensei calls out burpees..........seriously.

Courtney actually does say “YAY” when Sensei calls out burpees……….seriously.

We ran with a friend of mine, Michele, and her two daughters, Kaia, who’s 11 and her little sister, Megan, who’s 7. (They are from karate!) We all ran together in the beginning, but by mile one, poor Kaia got a bad cramp, so Michele stayed with her and kept their pace at a slow jog. Meanwhile, Courtney stayed with me and Megan, but it wasn’t long before Courtney was a bit ahead of us and Megan and I ran together the rest of the way. Did I mention it poured?????

In the end, Courtney crossed the finish line first out of the 5 of us, then came me and Megan, and then Michele and Kaia. I hate that Kaia wound up with that cramp, but she still did great! We were a bit worried about her younger sister since Michele told me that last year when they did this 5K, she hated it! Megan really looks up to Courtney, so I know having her there with her helped a lot! We actually didn’t pay too much attention to our times for this race.  This race was all in fun and that’s ok with me, but I would like to clock it next time!

Before I forget, I hope all you mom’s out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day! I had a fantastic weekend! It was kicked off with a super hard, super exciting workout in karate class. It wasn’t the usual. Sensei decided to give us a little taste of CrossFit! For 30 minutes, we did hill sprints, 20 squat jumps, lunge walks and 10 push ups over and over……and over! I counted my rounds and I had just started my 11th when he called time. This was my first CrossFit experience and it will not be my last! I LOVED it!!!!! What a sense of accomplishment! I know with every workout I do, I feel great afterwards, but this was AMAZING!!!! I can’t wait to do it again!!!!!

Later that afternoon, Greg, Courtney and I went to our local skating rink again. They were calling for rain in our area, so Courtney suggested we go. Great idea!!!!!! Greg had to work on Mother’s Day, so we needed to find something indoors that we ALL love to do, and I don’t know of many husbands who want to hang around in ULTA, so we saved that for Sunday.  Anyway, after skating, we went to Panera for dinner. None of us are huge fans of dropping dollars at restaurants, but we ALWAYS get delicious, fresh food at Panera. It is, hands down, my favorite place to eat! It also helped that Ma and Daddy sent me a gift card to Panera……….hence the reason Courtney and I went back again on Sunday!

Like I said, Greg had to work this past Sunday along with the last two Sundays. He had to fill in for the guy who normally works since he had surgery.  Hopefully this will be the last work Sunday for a while! (right, honey?!) It was just Courtney and me Sunday and we had a great day! We went to ULTA ( I got a gift card for ULTA too; thanks Ma and Daddy!) , PetSmart (we LOVE to look at all the animals there!), Off Broadway Shoes and Panera for lunch. Courtney had her usual (Caesar salad) plus a cup of broccoli cheddar soup and I had the new shrimp salad roll with a Greek salad. This new shrimp salad sandwich was delicious. I was a little disappointed because they forgot to put the avocado on it, but besides that, it was fantastic! We sat outside in the courtyard and we felt like we were on vacation; it was heavenly.

We’ve also been watching a lot of movies lately; a lot for us, that is. We rarely rent movies during the school year because we’re always so busy, but when summer comes, we find ourselves at the local video store a few times a week! I know there’s Amazon, Redbox and other ways from home to “rent” movies, but there’s just something about a good old-fashioned video store (would you consider a video store old-fashioned?) that Courtney and I just love! I have the same feeling about libraries, too. For some things, I just prefer “old school.” But I digress…….

Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with movie reviews, but I will at least tell you some of the movies that we have watched recently.

“MAMA”

“Nightmare on Elm Street (original 80’s) (Courtney picked this one!)

“Hope Springs”

“Paranormal Activity 4″

“Rosemary’s Baby”

Those are just a few that I can remember right now. I know, we’ve got a horror theme going on! Courtney LOVES those kinds of movies!!!! Greg and I watched them when we were her age and we turned out just fine. :)

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately; staying busy and making sure I still get that much-needed quality time with my family……….even if some of it does involve Freddy Krueger!

What movies have you seen recently?

Do you enjoy scary movies?

***Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. It’s been too crazy to remember to snap pics all the time here at home let alone remembering to bring the camera with me when I go out! I love putting pictures in my posts, so I am hoping things will be back to normal pretty soon!***

The first few pages

Hey guys! How is everyone’s week so far? Mine’s been pretty crazy! In my last post, I mentioned going for my “trial shift” at one of the local kickboxing gyms. It went great! I was hired and had my first “real” shift today! It’s a lot to take in, but then again, so is any new job, or anything, for that matter, that you take on. I’m super excited about getting to know my clients! The ones I met on my trial shift were happy to see me back today!.
Also this week, I taught my very first karate class completely on my own! (Sensei was in his office in case I needed him……..he didn’t throw me to the wolves!) It was so much fun! My students were kids between the ages of 6 and 10 and were white, yellow and orange belts. These kids were wonderful with me! You know how kids seem to get out of hand when there’s a sub because they think they can get away with it? Not these kiddos! I could not have asked for a better group of students for my first class on my own! The next class was the intermediate students; green, blue and purple belts. I called out the line drills in the beginning of class for them, and then I helped out for the remainder of the class. The past couple of weeks have been amazing learing experiences for me and the coming weeks will continue to be the same. I look forward to each and every minute!
Among other news, I have signed up for my very first……wait for it………5K; and it’s in two and a half weeks!!! I have been inspired by so many of you! All of the spirited posts I’ve read have convinced me that I just HAD to give it a whirl! Courtney even signed up with me, too! I’m not sure if Greg will be able to participate with us this time around. The run is in the evening, and he may not be able to get off work in time to get there. (There’s always next time, honey!!! ;))
To help me with my new and exciting endeavors, I desperately needed a new pair of sneakers. I have been wearing the same ones for four years!!!! I finally got a pair yesterday and I LOVE them!!! Check ‘em out:

SNEAKERS FOR A CAUSE!!!!!!!

SNEAKERS FOR A CAUSE!!!!!!!

"GET YOUR PINK ON"!!!!!!

“GET YOUR PINK ON”!!!!!!

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What’s new in your world lately?

A New Chapter

***Before I begin this post, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the victims and the families and friends of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.***

Hey guys! Hope you are all doing well! It’s been a busy last few days for me with some big changes on the horizon!

For the past two and a half years, I have been “reading” the stay at home mom chapter in my “book of life”. I have enjoyed this chapter immensely. There was a lot of twists, turns, trials and triumphs for the whole family. It has been an exciting chapter, to say the least. Like the chapters of a book, this one had a beginning…….and now, I am at the end.

Before you get to thinking that this is a sad thing for our family, it is actually quite the opposite. Every once in a while, you have to evaluate your life and that of your family. You have to ask yourself if what you chose to take on a couple of years ago is still the best choice now. Sometimes, it isn’t. That’s the case for us.

When Greg and I decided that I would become a stay at home mom again (I stayed home with Courtney for the first three and a half years.), I have to admit, I never thought it would get as difficult as it has gotten. It’s hard to live on one income these days, at least it is for us. In the past couple of years that I’ve been home, we’ve had some unexpected expenses (including a new AC unit!!! NOT CHEAP!), made the decision to eat A LOT healthier and things ain’t gettin’ any cheaper! I knew going back to work at some point was inevitable, but I didn’t know it would be this soon. I came home so that Courtney would no longer have to spend ten and a half hours a day in school/afterschool programs/day camp. With no other family living here besides the three of us, it was proving to be difficult when Courtney was sick and I had call out or leave early from work. I also missed out on so many of her programs at school when she was in Kindergarten and first grade. Long story short, I left my full-time job and came home. It was the best decision we made……at that time.

In my opinion, Courtney spent WAAAAAAAAAAY too much time in day care at this age! (She's 4 here!)

In my opinion, Courtney spent WAAAAAAAAAAY too much time in day care at this age! (She’s 4 here!)

Our first Christmas (after nearly 5 years!) with me as a stay at home mom. Finally, no worries over whether or not I'd get the vacation time to spend Christmas Break with Courtney!

Our first Christmas (after nearly 5 years!) with me as a stay at home mom. Finally, no worries over whether or not I’d get the vacation time to spend Christmas Break with Courtney!

Field Day (second grade) at school. I was able to be there to snap this adorable picture!

Field Day (second grade) at school. I was able to be there to snap this adorable picture!

In the past couple of months, I have been mentally exhausted thinking of ways I could work outside the home and still be there for Courtney, then all of a sudden, the ideas started coming and things started falling into place, but not without some courage on my part. I say courage because for the last couple of years, I have gotten very comfortable in my stay at home mom role. I’m my own “boss”, I can do what I want when I want (sort of!) and things around the house were ALWAYS done! (I have to admit that I am a tad nervous about how things are going to be around here when I go back to work!) Anyway, I think I mentioned in one my posts that I have been shadowing my Sensei to learn how to teach karate classes. I am happy to say that has started to grow into a promising endeavor. As fantastic as that opportunity is, I still need steady income. We already knew that I didn’t have to go back to work full-time, but finding something where I can have the best of both worlds was going to be a challenge.

For a little while, before I knew I had to return to work, I kicked (no pun intended!) around the idea of working at one of the local kickboxing gyms. I may have never been a personal trainer before, but I do have the martial arts experience, which involves quite a bit of kickboxing. I was also nervous about asking about a position simply because I had no idea what I was going to do about Courtney. I was adamant about her not going back to after school or day care. A few weeks went by and that’s when I just said to “H-E-double hockey sticks” with the fear, and I went ahead and asked about a position as a trainer at the gym. While I was there, I made sure to mention my “dilemma” with Courtney and requested that if I was hired, I could bring her with me. I would only be there for four and a half hours a day, after all. Give Courtney a charged I Pod and she’s good to go. Of course, it was something for them to think about. A week later, yesterday, to be exact, I got a call from the owner. I am so excited to tell you that I am going to a “trial shift” tomorrow morning! I’ll know more after tomorrow! Fingers crossed!!! Oh, and did I mention that it’s gonna be OK for Courtney to come to work with me?????!!!!!!

Every chapter must come to an end, and it looks like my chapter of being a full-time stay at home mom is in its last few pages. Then comes the start of a new chapter, a chapter you haven’t any idea yet of what will happen, but you still have to read on, and I’m willing to bet, it’s gonna be an interesting one!

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***Note: I do want to mention that I know every family situation is different and everyone has different opinions on working vs. stay at home moms. The statements in this post are specific to MY family and I am in no way judging or condemning anyone who must or chooses to work outside the home. It’s all about what works for your family! :)***

 

Have you ever had to make changes in your family’s lifestyle to adjust to the rising cost of……….everything!????????

What changes did you make?

Liebster Award!!!

liebster

I am so excited to announce that I recently was nominated for a LIEBSTER AWARD by GLORIA AT SIMPLY GLORIA! I would like to take this time to thank Gloria for nominating me. If you haven’t been over to visit Gloria yet, please do! You’re gonna love her!
The Liebster Award is used to recognize smaller, lesser known blogs that have less than 200 followers. It is an award that you accept with intent on paying it forward.

After being nominated, the nominee must:
1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
2. Tell 11 facts about themselves.
3.Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
4. List 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers (as far as you can tell!), and who you feel deserve the recognition and inspiration to continue blogging.
5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers that you nominated to answer.
6. Let all of the bloggers that you nominated know you have nominated them.
***You cannot nominate a blogger who had nominated you***

11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT MYSELF

1. I eat the same breakfast every morning.
2. I had a huge crush on Dr. House…….and have one on Dr. Oz, too!
3. My favorite movie is “The Forty Year Old Virgin”.
4. I don’t use a Smartphone. (yet)
5. I’d rather have cake than ice cream.
6. I have exceptional self-control when it comes to shopping. Really, I only have 5 pairs of shoes.
7.
I only like listening to music when I’m driving……..or on the occasional run.
8. I’ve met kickboxing legend, Joe Lewis; and also Paula Deen.
9.
I’m in workout clothes or a karate gi more than I’m in regular clothes.
10. I need AT LEAST 9 hours of sleep at night to function normally the next day. Thank God I started drinking coffee a few years ago!
11. My ideal vacation would be Gilad’s week-long fitness camp in Hawaii. That would be a dream come true!

GLORIA’S QUESTIONS FOR ME

1. Why did you start blogging?
Each time I would visit a new blog, I am always inspired and motivated by the encouraging, uplifting (and often times humorous!) stories I read. I love that there are so many people out there that I can connect with that share similar goals for their families and themselves that I do. With my blog, I can be part of that inspiration, motivation and encouragement that I get from so many others. The blogging community is amazing!
2.
If your blog was a soundtrack, what would your title song be? “Welcome to My World”.
3. Who inspires you? My daughter, Courtney.
4. How would you describe yourself in one word. Determined
5. Who would you like to play you in the movie of your life? Kelly Ripa (Watching her on LIVE!, it seems we have similar personalities, so I think she’d be perfect! Plus, I’m not a big “movie star” fan).
6. What are you most passionate about? Family, happiness and health.
7. What is one thing you want to accomplish in your lifetime? To be one of the exercisers in Gilad’s fitness DVD’s.
8. What is your biggest pet peeve? I only get to pick one? Ok, I’d have to say when my husband accidentally uses my bath towel or wash cloth instead of his.
9. What is the farthest you’ve traveled? The Florida Keys.
10. What is your favorite hobby? Karate
11. What is your proudest moment? January 29th, 2003, 11:28 AM – the moment Courtney came into the world and forever changed my life and made it the best I could have ever imagined.

MY 11 NOMINEES

CourtneyBeauty Cutie Courtney
ErinThe Elliptical Chronicles
StephanieNow I Run
MeredithWhat Meredith Makes
Emily - Love a Latte
CarlySnack Therapy
RebaNot So Perfect Life
Nina - Too Hottie For That Body
AngelaNutty For Life
LucieFit Swiss Chick
AshleyLife and Fitness By Ashley

MY QUESTIONS FOR MY 11 NOMINEES

1. If you could spend a day with anyone, real of fictional, who would it be and why?
2. What is one goal that you are currently working on to accomplish?
3. Coffee or tea?
4. What’s your favorite way to exercise?
5.
 Which do you prefer? A quiet evening in or a night out on the town?
6. Would you rather cook or bake?
7. What’s your favorite dish/dessert to make?
8. Name 5 famous people you would love to meet.
9. Do you have a nickname?
10. Who’s your favorite singer/band?
11. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

*** IF I’VE NOMINATED YOU, PLEASE LINK BACK TO THIS POST IN THE COMMENTS SO I CAN READ YOUR ANSWERS!***

I did start a blog, didn’t I???

Hey guys! Yes, I have been away for quite a while……again! With the rest of Spring break and Courtney being out of school, and catching up on housework, I’ve been exhausted; like going to bed at 9:00 PM exhausted! Since I started Fun With Family and Fitness, I had been writing my posts after Greg goes to bed (9:00PM!), but it just couldn’t happen this week.
The last post I wrote was somewhere around this time last week. We’ve been super busy (in a good way!) since then! My parents went home and it was just Courtney and I during the day for the rest of Spring break. We made plans for Thursday and Friday to go see a couple of our friends from karate. Thursday, we went to see my friend, Amy. She is one of the moms I met when Courtney joined karate. Courtney quickly formed a friendship with Amy’s daughter, Alyssa, who was a karate student also (Amy has a son in karate too.), and Amy and I struck up a friendship of our own. Anyway, Amy is studying to become an esthetician, and part of her assignment is to have a portfolio of photos taken of individuals to show makeup applications that she has done. She knows how much Courtney LOVES makeup,(Alyssa’s not interested!) so she asked Courtney to be her model! They had a blast! The three of us all hung out while Courtney had her makeup done and I must say, it came out gorgeous! What do ya think???

Simply beautiful! I love her hair, too!

Simply beautiful! I love her hair, too!

Friday, we went over to another friends house. Yeah, we met them in karate, too. I know, everyone’s from karate; what can I say, we’re always there! Anyway, while Courtney was playing with Emma and Braden, us moms were downstairs flappin’ our yaps like all us gals love to do! Everyone needs girl time once in a while, right? So that was our Friday. I am leaving the boring parts out of this, so if it sounds like we weren’t that busy, I promise you, we were!
Now Saturday was something totally different; something we have never seen in person before. Courtney and I went to see our Sensei at his power lifting competition! As much as we enjoyed it, it turned out to be a long day! Everyone thought his division would be finished by noon, but we were there until 4:00; and there was still the whole afternoon of the really heavy lifting to go! We didn’t stay to see that, although it would have been pretty neat to see a skinny boy from the country squat 810 pounds! (That’s what we heard had happened!) I gotta say, Courtney and I are so proud of our Sensei. It is wonderful to see the people who you trust to teach you self-discipline and perseverance practice it themselves. It was great for Courtney to see.
We didn’t stay all that time and not find out the final numbers. He had a 405 lb squat, 315 lb bench and a 465 lb dead lift! Way to go, Sensei!

Just a quick picture I took at the power lifting competition; I don't think he'd mind my posting this. The face is blurred anyway!

Just a quick picture I took at the power lifting competition; I don’t think he’d mind my posting this. The face is blurred anyway!

Sunday was family day! We went hiking at the same park we went to a few weeks ago, this time on a different trail. When we got there, they were having a kayaking event (that we were not prepared for!) so I just took some pictures of it. One of our local health food grocery stores had a tent at the event, so when we walked down to check out what they had, we scored free bananas and some coupons! $5 off of a $35 purchase, I’ll take it!!!

I wish we'd been prepared for this; it looked like alot of fun!

I wish we’d been prepared for this; it looked like alot of fun!

They always look like they're up to no good!!!

They always look like they’re up to no good!!!

We even met this guy along the way!

We even met this guy along the way!

One of the funny things about this day was this soda machine.

The infamous SODA MACHINE!

The infamous SODA MACHINE!

A few years ago, on our very first visit to this park, for some reason, we were either very unprepared and didn’t bring anything to drink with us or maybe we did and ran out. I can’t remember, it was so long ago! Anyway, Courtney, who was around 3 at the time, kept telling us she was thirsty. We came up on this soda machine and it was that day that Courtney has her very first…………soda. Yep, I said it, soda…..at 3! I know what your thinking, but gimmie a break guys, the kid was thirsty, it didn’t offer water (at the time) and we were desperate! :) (In case you’re wondering, I learned my lesson a LONG time ago….NEVER leave the house to go anywhere without water!!!!! )
Back to the soda machine. Sunday, as we were walking past the lake, we came across that same soda machine, and just for the heck of it, I took a picture if it. After I snapped my picture, Courtney was fooling around pressing on the buttons, and when she got to the 7Up button, we heard a rumble. It was the rumble of a (FREE!) soda can dropping down after she pressed that 7Up button! Here we go again; another soda! At least this time, Courtney didn’t guzzle it down like it was liquid gold. Oh wait, yeah, she did. We really need to stay away from that soda machine; it’s a bad influence.

.......and the FREE 7Up!

…….and the FREE 7Up!

You're cringing, I know.  Did I mention it was FREE?????

You’re cringing, I know. Did I mention it was FREE?????

So that was the rest of our Spring break in a nutshell. I do hope that I can get back on my regular schedule for blogging now. I’m playing the catch up game with the chores now. Today was sweeping and mopping floors and tomorrow’s good ol’ grocery shopping. I’ll probably use my coupon that I got while we were at the park!

Have you had to take a break from your blog to “play catch up” on other things?

Have you ever had to “give in” to your kids when you had no other choice?  (I’d rather drink a soda than be thirsty if that was my only option!!!)

Ever been to a power lifting competition before?

Spring break is half over…….already???!!!

Sometimes I just don’t believe how fast the days fly by! My parents arrived for their visit with us this past Saturday and they are already leaving tomorrow morning, Every time they visit, we always run out of time before we get to do everything or go everywhere we wanted to. But I guess that’s what happens when they live 700 miles away! It’s ok though. Since they’re retired, they come visit often! We did manage to do a few fun (fun to us, anyhow!) things while they were here!
Anytime my parents come to visit, we ALWAYS go shopping together. Now, we don’t go on any crazy shopping sprees and spend a zillion dollars (where would I get the zillion dollars to spend???!!!), we’re mostly browsing and treat ourselves to a few things. One of our favorite places to go, and I’ll bet one of your faves too, is Kohl’s. This time Ma and I both had $10.00 Kohl’s cash that we could use, and Ma went to the first place she always does in ANY Kohl’s she goes to, the clearance jewelry! Seriously, I can’t believe some of the deals we’ve gotten! I didn’t get to snap a picture of the bracelet Ma got before she packed it up to take home, but this watch down below that Courtney got was originally $40.00 and she got it for eight bucks!

Jennifer Lopez watch from Kohl's for only $8.00!!!

Jennifer Lopez watch from Kohl’s for only $8.00!!!

I got a few great deals myself, too! I’ll just let you check out the pictures below with the clearance price tags so you can see them. Now these are what I call sweet deals!

Perfect crossbody for when I don't want to carry a huge purse!

Perfect crossbody for when I don’t want to carry a huge purse!

.....and the sweet deal I got on it!

…..and the sweet deal I got on it!

Not something I would normally use, but for five bucks, I'll get used to it!

Not something I would normally use, but for five bucks, I’ll get used to it!

Can you get any better than that???

Can you get any better than that???

Pink, sparkly, AND on clearance? I'm sold!

Pink, sparkly, AND on clearance? I’m sold!

I could NOT pass this up!

I could NOT pass this up!

Another thing we always do when my parents come to visit is go out to eat. Rather than fancy, expensive dinners, we always opt for inexpensive, relaxing lunches. There may be a difference of opinion on which place we all like best, but for me and Courtney, it’s Panera Bread all the way! Our orders are ALWAYS the same when we go; a Greek salad and whole grain baguette for me, and Courtney’s is  a Caesar salad and a regular baguette.

One of my favorite lunches!

One of my favorite lunches!

I know it's Caesar, but all I can say is I'm glad my kid loves salad!

I know it’s Caesar, but all I can say is I’m glad my kid loves salad!

I think the most fun we have when my parents visit is when we play Apples to Apples! Have you ever played that game? It is hilarious!!! We could play for hours!!! It’s just the four of us, though; Ma, Daddy, Courtney and me. Greg’s not one for games, so he’s usually watching TV in the next room listening to the rest of us act silly! I keep telling him he doesn’t know what he’s missing!

If you haven't played this yet, you're missing out!

If you haven’t played this yet, you’re missing out!

So that has been our Spring break so far! It’s no Disney vacation, but to us, spending time hanging out, shopping and eating lunch is even better as long as we’re all together! :)

What do you like to do when you get together with family?

What’s your favorite place to shop /eat?

Have you ever played Apples to Apples?

What games do you and your family love to play?

Back to blogging!

I know, I know, I’m supposed to have been doing this whole blogging thing for a while before I take a four-day hiatus! I guess with Easter coming up and getting ready for my parents visiting, the last few days and evenings just got away from me. It’s Spring break for Courtney this week and she’s super excited to have her grandparents here for the next few days while she’s out of school (finally!). I’m gonna see if I can bang this post out fairly quickly since this morning, I’ve got a chicken to roast, a workout to do and the usual morning chores before my family and I can head out for the day.

Courtney picked these out at Whole Foods Market. Aren't they beautiful?

Courtney picked these out at Whole Foods Market. Aren’t they beautiful?

Since yesterday was Easter, I thought I would just put up a few pictures of our Easter breakfast, dinner (that didn’t go completely as planned!) and dessert. Breakfast was a low-fat version of  french toast casserole. I got the original recipe from “Chubby Vegan Mom“, but I had to modify it because the wet ingredients didn’t do what they were supposed to. The tofu just would not blend with the other wet ingredients! I think it was the brand of tofu I had, so by all means, try the original recipe. If I had the correct tofu, I’m sure it would have been perfect! Luckily, I had plain non-fat Greek yogurt  (not vegan anymore!) on hand and replaced the tofu with that. In the end, it turned out great, and that’s what matters, right?

French toast casserole

French toast casserole

Everything's better with maple syrup!!!

Everything’s better with maple syrup!!!

My original plan for dinner was to make a roast chicken for our main dish, but the men (Greg and my father) preferred ham. Not us girl’s first choice! So I bought both, a ham and a chicken. I put the ham in first around 11:00 a.m. knowing that it would only take 2 hours……..yeah right; this dang thing would not heat through! It had been a while since I cooked ham (I don’t really care for it) so I just read the directions on the package. It said heat at 325 degrees for 20 minutes per pound which turned out to be about 2 hours. Long story short, I wound up taking it out after the 2 hours, baking my cake and then putting it back in afterwards. I’d have been there forever waiting for this stupid ham to get done! Since I still had my asparagus and potatoes to roast after the ham was (finally!) done, I wound up skipping the chicken, hence the roasting of it this morning. Everything turned out great. Everyone was happy with the ham (even me, I guess) and we had a delicious dinner.

Ham isn't my first choice, but it was still a nice dinner.

Ham isn’t my first choice, but it was still a nice dinner.

My favorite way to eat potatoes! Roasted with salt, pepper and olive oil!

My favorite way to eat potatoes! Roasted with salt, pepper and olive oil!

Let’s talk about dessert. I had been looking for a while for Easter desserts, and I wanted to make something I had not made before. Last year I made coconut cupcakes courtesy of Skinnytaste (Thanks, Gina!) that were fantastic, but since I made a coconut dessert last time, I wanted something different. I thought of a lemon trifle so I could use my new trifle bowl that Ma (that’s what my sister and I call our mother!) got me, but Greg’s not a huge lemon fan. (I know, I can’t believe it either!) Then I decided to check out my favorite dessert site, Chocolate Covered Katie, to see what she had for me. I’ve made several of her recipes (a couple I’ve posted on my blog!) and trust me, she will NEVER disappoint! I found this recipe for “Crazy Ingredient Chocolate Cake“. I am not going to tell you what the “crazy” ingredient is……you gotta go visit Katie to find out! I love to try these recipes out on my family! They are the perfect “guinea pigs”! I will tell you that EVERYONE loved this cake……including my father who would have never in a million years given it a try if he knew the “secret” beforehand! It is super rich and super moist and I promise, if you try it, you will LOVE it!

This is one delectable chocolate cake!

This is one delectable chocolate cake!

This just melts in your mouth!

This just melts in your mouth!

The rest of the day between cooking and baking, we all just hung out and visited. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get everyone together for a picture yesterday (my parents aren’t fond of getting their picture taken and neither is Greg; come on people, it’s Easter for goodness sake!) I would have liked to get a shot of the Easter basket we got for Courtney, but I didn’t think about it until after she took everything out of it! Oh well, there’s always next year!!! :)
I did snap this picture of Courtney after she got her new Spring purse! Don’t you just love the color coordination?

My little "fashionista"!!!!!

My little “fashionista”!!!!!

Did/do you have family visiting?

If it’s Spring break for you, what are your plans for the week?