Dafney Harper

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie First Birthday tickers

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Latte with Leah: #8


Hi friends – it’s time again for another edition of Latte with Leah.  I lost my blogging mo-jo over the couple weeks, but I’m BACK!  So, let’s grab a drink and chat…

~ It’s September…which is also known as “ the month of everything Pumpkin”.  Now, I love pumpkin flavored stuff as much as the next guy, but does anyone else think it’s going a bit overboard?  I mean Pumpkin Spice Oreos…really?  I just don’t have it in me to try them, so if you have, I’d love to hear what you thought of them!

~ Okay, even though I think Oreo needs to stick with chocolate cookies and plain white filling, I am dying to try this cookies!  Like NOW.

~ The weather in MN has been crazy this summer.  It was never overly hot and we only hit 90+ TWICE.  WHAT?  I really love warm/hot weather so I’m beyond sad to see the nice warm weather leaving us.  Summer come back, please!

~ I know that Fall is right around the corner (no, not because everything is pumpkin-ified), but because my Thursday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday nights are surrounded by all things Football.  I think I will need to make some of these football themed foods during this year’s football season!


~ Somehow my calendar over the next 2 months is FULL.  I’m in a wedding in early November, am helping with the Bach party & a bridal shower, planning a baby shower for a co-worker – amongst a million other things.  Geez, before I know it, Thanksgiving and {gulp} Christmas will be here!  And in case anyone cares, my daughter’s 3rd birthday is in 86 days…


~ I recently got to change desks and I now have a fabulous view!  Not too shabby!


Alright, this is a short edition {sorry}, but I hope to be back soon!

Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

challenge update + Easy Mexican Skillet Recipe

Happy HUMP day, friends!

Just a quick update on my THREE challenges from the week

BeachBody August Challenge:
So far it’s going well and I’m following the workout schedule and having a shake daily!  My shake has consisted of 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk, 1 banana, handful of fresh raspberries, a couple spoonfulls of Greek Yogurt and my Shakeology protein powder.  I LOVE them!  I usually have it around 6:40ish and finish it by the time I get into work a bit after 7am.  


It keeps me full until 10ish and then I HAVE to have a snack.  My usual mid-morning snack is a KIND bar.  It’s healthy and is plenty to keep me full until lunch around noon.  In the afternoon I tend to have some apple slices or even another KIND bar if I’m craving something sweet.  Dinner has been pretty healthy.  I made a really great dinner on Monday {recipe below} – in fact I even won with said meal in my 2nd challenge!  At night I might have a handful of popcorn or cereal.  I’ve been working out at night and am keeping up with my PiYo workouts!  I absolutely have loved the Strength Intervals and the TurboFire Low 20 HIIT workouts!  They are amazing!  So far so good on this challenge!

7 Day Healthy Photo Challenge:
This has been a really FUN challenge put on by Katie!  Each day there is a new “healthy theme” and we post pictures, etc. on FB. 
Monday = Balanced Plate: I made a butternut squash/black bean skillet…and my picture/meal WON! 



Tuesday = Sweat Challenge: I went for a nice walk with the family and then did PiYo Strength Interval workout…I was definitely a sweaty mess after PiYo!



Wednesday = Water Challenge: I downloaded the app: Waterlogged.  You can set daily water intake goals and even set up reminders to help you keep on track! 


Excited to see what tomorrow’s challenge will be!!

5 Day Clean Eating Challenge:
Alright, this has been my hardest challenge.  I wasn’t very prepared when it started and admittedly, I’ve not done well.  I’m trying to eat clean, but it’s much harder than I thought.  Last night Dafney had a carnival at school and they had dinner for everyone.  I realized that though things might seem healthy, they are definitely NOT clean.  Other than the veggie tray, there wasn’t a single thing I could eat there that was “clean”.  Well, I’m not giving up, I just realized I have a LONG way to go before I can consider myself a clean eater {if ever} and have a TON to learn about clean foods.



Easy Mexican Skillet


4 cups butternut squash, diced
1 – 1 ½ cups of shredded chicken {I used some leftover baked chicken}
1 15oz can reduced sodium Black Beans, rinsed
1 red pepper. diced
½ medium onion, diced
1 10oz can of red {or green} enchilada sauce
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
½ cup of cheese {Mexican, Colby Jack…whatever kind you have on hand}


Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add a small {~1 tsp.} amount of Olive Oil.  Once the oil is warm, add the butternut squash, chicken, red pepper and onion.  Let cook until the squash is for tender.  Add the cumin & chili powder and let sit another minute.  Add in the beans, cheese and enchilada sauce.  Let heat for 3-4 minutes and ENJOY!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Beach Body Week 1 + Camper Lifestyle

Happy Monday, friends!  I can’t believe how fast the weekend flew by…now I’m back to work.  And trying to take deep breaths {it’s not even 8am and I’m already stressed, annoyed, frustrated…}; awesome.

Anyway, I’ve got week 1 of the Beach Body challenge is under my belt and it feels GOOD!  I stuck with the PiYo workout calendar that came with my DVDs and had a Shake each morning.  I’ll be honest, after doing the first couple of PiYo workouts I felt a little disappointed and didn’t feel like I was really getting a “good” workout.  But, after doing the SWEAT workout, I felt great!  I loved the workout and really felt accomplished after finishing it.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of extra time to add on to my PiYo workouts; in fact, I’m just happy that I’m finding making time to workout each day!  Believe me, I’d love to take a long {fast} walk or a 3 mile run or even hit it hard with another DVD workout, but fact is, I just don’t have the time.  I find it far too important to spend my extra time with my family.  Fitness is important, but for me, above all is family.  Therefore, I’m only getting in my PiYo workout for the day {along with a leisurely walk or 2 with the dog}.  But, when I workout, I give it 100%...

As for eating, I’ve been trying SO hard to make really healthy decisions.  I’ve been having my shake in the mornings.  I’ve started using FRESH fruit instead of frozen and a cup of Almond Milk and find that they taste pretty good and I feel pretty full until 10am.  I will have a small snack of either fruit or veggies and PB or a handful of nuts.  Something healthy but fulfilling.  I’m trying not to worry about numbers so I haven’t weighed or measured myself since Day 1, but I will say that I feel like I look better.  Maybe it’s all in my head, but I really do think I’m seeing some results and that’s what continually motivates me to make good food choices and PiYo HARD every day!

I’ve been pretty bad at taking pictures of my food lately and that’s something I’m going to work on this week.  I’ve actually joined TWO other mini-challenges! 

The first is a clean eating challenge, put on by my friend Christie {YEP, the SAME friend who is hosting the Beach Body Challenge}!  It’s basically how it sounds – 1 week of clean eating!  Lots of fruit, veggies, healthy proteins {salmon, chicken, lean turkey, nuts, etc.}.  For breakfast, I had my usual shake: 1 cup of unsweetened Almond Milk + handful of fresh raspberries, 1 banana + a scoop of Shakeology protein mix.  


For lunch, I have grilled chicken and pasta salad LOADED with veggies, plus some plain yogurt and a handful of nuts for dessert!  Dinner, I’m making a black bean and summer squash skillet.  Plus my snacks include: apple slices and a KIND bar.  It should all be tasty and fairly clean.  If there’s one challenge that’s really going to CHALLENGE ME is this one.  I try to eat healthy and make relatively healthy meals for my family, but in the essence of time, I tend to use things that are from a can or might not be the healthiest.  I’m definitely NOT the person in the grocery store reading labels.  I just don’t have the time.  Hopefully I won’t disappoint and will succeed with this challenge.

The second is a 7 Days of Health Photos challenge.  It’s all about healthy eats & habits and is being put on by another super health conscious friend, Katie.  I actually “met” {via email, FB, etc.} her last December through the Lean Green Bean's #Elf4Health challenge.  She was my partner and we became friends.  She’s from the same area as I am and we seemed to have a lot of the same interests.  Each day she is posting a “healthy theme” and our challenge is to post a picture that represents the theme.  For example, today’s theme is a well-balanced plate.  We need to show how we eat well-balanced meals: fruits/veggies, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fat, etc.  Should be fun and I’m excited to see what others post for each day’s challenge!

With the 3 different challenges I’m in, I’m hoping I’ll not only eat healthier and make better choices, but will learn a thing or 2 about making good decisions!  Excited to see what this week brings!

Alright, enough about food {it’s making me HUNGRY}, let’s get on to the weekend!  Friday night was fairly low key in our house.  It seemed like we were constantly running around last week, so it was nice to have a night to relax.  Saturday morning we got a fairly early start and headed to my parent’s camper!  It’s always so relaxing up there.  We got up there around 11:30am on Saturday morning and headed off to a little party for a friend of my parent’s.  We only stayed for a short while before we headed off to watch the BELLY FLOP contest…yes, you read that correctly.  I mean, who doesn’t love watching larger men flop on their bellies….


 After some playing at the campground’s park it was time for a nap.  Except someone wanted to play and sing and well, do just about anything BUT nap.  Finally, after an hour + of playing, signing, jumping and watching Mom “sleep”, Dafney FINALLY fell asleep.  Unfortunately, her nap was short lived because the dogs barked and it woke her up.  I also think she was excited for what was happening next!  Did I mention it was the campground’s HALLOWEEN weekend?  No, well, it was!  The kids {& adults} dress up and then quite a few of the campground tenants bring candy, snacks, etc. to give out to the kiddos.  It’s actually pretty impressive and Dafney walked away with a BUCKET FULL of candy!  She had a great time and we had fun watching her!


 Saturday night they hosted a Dance {probably to allow the kids to dance of some of the sugar the consumed}, which is always fun.  Except when your 2.5  year old is out.of.control.  Seriously, she was running around like she was on something more than SUGAR and then would fall to the ground and laugh.  Then she’d get up and was GONE.  Can I count chasing her around for over an hour a “workout”?  Because it was.  Needless to say, by 10pm, we left. 



 We went back to my parent’s place, started a small fire and relaxed a bit before bed time.  The night started off okay, but by 1:30am, Dafney was up – and was ALL over the bed.  She tossed, turned, whimpered, tossed & turned some more until after 4am.  Awesome.  We were pretty tired Sunday, but we powered through.  We left around 1:30pm and Dafney was out 3 minutes after we left and slept the whole way home.  LUCKY!



 It was a fun weekend and I’m always so glad we can spend some time up there.  It’s definitely one of my happy places and I look forward to our next trip!

Will be back with updates on my THREE challenges for the week, until then; hope everyone has a great week!  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Latte with Leah: #7


Happy Friday, friends!  I cannot believe that we're almost to the middle of August.  I mean, there's a Vikings pre-game on TONIGHT.  I can't believe that I'm already hearing all about: football, MN State Fair, Labor Day plans and Fall TV previews. AH.  No.  Summer can't be over yet.  Well, without further ado, let's grab our favorite drinks {alcohol is fine; I don't judge :)} and let's get this FRIDAY party started!

~ This past Tuesday was National Night Out and after 8 years of living in our house/neighborhood, we finally joined in on the fun. Wow...I can't believe what we missed out on in past years!  We were officially invited to one party, but decided to party hop and went to 3 block parties {party animals!}.  The first we went to had a GIANT bouncy house...every kids dream :)  Dafney bounced, we met some neighbors.  A win-win for everyone!




Then we went to the next party where we know a handful of the neighbors.  Dafney had fun with the other little girls {there are a bunch on that block that are all around the same age}.  We chatted and met some more people and we even found a BABYSITTER! Seriously, this is HUGE.  She's in college, was a nanny this summer and loves to babysit...SCORE!  

Finally, we hit up the party we were invited too!  Again, I was shocked at how many little girls there were!  The girls were ages 3 to 6, so they were a bit older than Dafney, but they were all SO sweet with her!  Bottom line: I am so glad that we finally ventured out and enjoyed NNO!  I'm already looking forward to next year's!

~ This past weekend, Hubby and I had a day/night to ourselves!  Yes, Dafney went to Grandma & Papa's!  What a treat, for real!  My parents picked her up around 11am...once she was gone, we both just sat there wondering what we could do with all our free time.  The possibilities were ENDLESS!  Hubby decided to test drive cars and I did a little shopping.  Afterwards we went to dinner and bowling.  It was so nice to have some Hubby time!  We definitely need to do this more often :)


~ Sunday was spent at my parent's house in their pool!




...oh and JUMPING.  Lots of jumping!


~ Before summer leaves us {sniffle}, I want to do this with Dafney!

~ Has anyone tried Stitch Fix?  I've thought about trying it, but would love to hear some more of what others thought!

~ I also think I should stuff my face with these in the mornings to help keep myself full {along side of my Shake, of course}!

~ I'm on Day 5 of my Beach Body Challenge.  So far, I've done surprisingly well.  I have my shake in the morning for breakfast and try to have a light snack mid-morning.  Then a light lunch and a veggie loaded dinner.  



~ I'm on the lookout for some healthy and satisfying snacks to get me through the day.  Thoughts?  

Your turn!  What would you like to share with me?

Whatever your plans are, have a fabulous weekend!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Beach Body Challenge: Day 1

Happy Tuesday, Friends!  Hope the day is treating you well so far.  Remember when I told you I was participating in my friend Christie's Beach Body Challenge?  Well, it's officially started...day 1 is DONE!  I actually received my Beach Body kit in the mail yesterday.  It came complete with my PiYo DVD's, my Shakeology mix, some shake recipes, tape measure and a Get Lean Eating Plan.  

Last night, Hubby helped me with my measurements...ugh, some of those numbers were a tiny bit scary.  I forgot to bring them with me today, so I'll post them in my next update.  

I decided that I will follow the PiYo workout schedule {as best as time allows}, so last night I started with the Align: The Fundamentals.  It was very low-key, but it was worth taking the 40+ minutes to do.  It showed the basic moves and explained what your body should look like, etc.  Totally worth it for me since I'm not big into Pilates or Yoga.

PiYo Workouts

  • Align: The Fundamentals - breaks down the most important moves from the program so you can get the best results.
  • Define: Lower Body - lengthen and strengthen your lower body
  • Define: Upper Body - shape your arms, triceps and shoulders
  • Sweat: dynamic conditioning, fast paced cardio, yoga flows and body weight resistance...strength training!
  • Core: help build your core, flatten and sculpt your tummy as well as strengthen your back
  • Strength Intervals: non-stop body carving, calorie burning workout
  • Drench: endurance and will help kick start your metabolism
  • Sculpt: works on muscular endurance to transform your body
  • Buns: Focuses on the glutes...obvi :)
I'm really excited to get into these DVD's and hope to see some results!  And, more importantly, I hope to feel better in general. Working out really does help my mood and my all around attitude! Plus, I love having "me" time to workout.  It's an extra added bonus!  

Shakes
This morning I had my first Shakeology shake.  It was okay.  Let me preface this by saying I'm not a shake lover.  Never have been {unless I'm sick and have a sore throat}.  I ordered the Strawberry flavor thinking it might mask that powdery taste...um, it sort of did.  I mixed the shake with 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of strawberries, blueberries and cherries.  It wasn't horrible, but I was pretty glad when I finished it all.  I think tomorrow I will plan to mix 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of juice.  I think it will help even more with the powdery taste.  Thankfully included in your package is a long list of different shake recipes...and I hope to try a bunch of them!

My Goals
  • MAKE time to workout and follow the calendar of workouts {to the best of my ability}.  Obviously being a mother, wife and having a full time job can hinder my "free time" a bit, but I am going to make every effort to workout daily {with a rest day each week}.  
  • Veggies and Fruit!  I'd really like to incorporate more veggies and fruits into my daily diet.  I know that I don't currently get the proper amount of either each day and I want to make a conscious effort to do so.  I plan to add extra veggies when I cook dinner {last night I added red/green peppers & corn to a meal that didn't call for many veggies}.  And, I plan to switch out one snack {chips, popcorn, etc.} with a piece of fruit or a handful of fresh veggies!  This alone will help me feel better, I'm sure.
  • Stay positive and not worry about NUMBERS.  I think too often we {me} get to hung up on the "numbers".  Am I losing weight, have I lost inches...yes, numbers can be somewhat important, but I don't want to get hung up on them.  I want to enjoy this challenge while working hard.  And, if in the end I lose some pounds or shed some inches that would be an amazing added bonus!
  • Water, water, WATER!  I'd like to drink at least 64 ounces of refreshing water every day.  I really do love a  big glass of iced water, so I'm hoping I can guzzle water down like crazy!
  • Have fun!  Yes, no one said working out should be easy, but there's no law against having fun, too!  I want to work hard and give it 100%, but in the end, if I'm not having fun, it just isn't worth it {in my opinion}.  I definitely love a little friendly competition {especially when I'm competing against ME}, but I don't want to get so obsessed that I stop enjoying things.  
Alright, well, that's how Day 1 started out for me!  Excited to really get into the workouts and feeling healthier, stronger and better overall!  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bakin Friends Reveal!



Can you guys believe today is the last day of July already?  This summer is flying by way to fast.  

Well, with the last day of the month comes the Bakin Friends reveal!  This month's secret ingredient was a little different, but my friend, Dawn, did an amazing job!  This month we were to use BASIL.  A little weird, right?  

Dawn sent me some super tasty Lemon-Basil scones!  One of my favorite things to eat are scones and these did not disappoint!  They were super Lemon-y {which is one of my fave flavors lately} with a hint of basil.  I had them for breakfast and they went perfectly with my coffee {and as Dawn suggested, they'd be perfect with TEA}!  Thank you, Dawn, for the amazing treats!



Interested in joining, email me at leahmarie.mackenzie@gmail.com!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Latte with Leah #6


Hi Friends!  It’s time to grab your favorite coffee& listening ears {ha, if you have a kid, you totally use this saying 100 times a day…admit it.  Please.}…let’s begin, shall we?!

~ Exciting news…I recently joined my friend Christie in her new beach body challenge!  Seriously, I am PUMPED!  It’s sort of pricey, but I am hoping it will be the motivation that I need right now to work-out and get back into shape!  If you know Christie, you know she’ll be the PERFECT beach body coach: healthy, motivating and FULL of energy and positive vibes!  I hope to update often on my challenge successes {ßsee positive attitude} so check back! 

~ I’ve recently given up getting Starbucks in the morning’s.  Ugh, it breaks my heart, but I know going everyday was not a fiscally responsible decision…$4 a day will surely add to the savings account!  If you see me and I seem out of it, you’ll know why.  I apologize in advance.

~ Seriously, this is not only brilliant, it completely blows my mind!  I’d probably end up losing a finger.

This is on my list of things to stuff in my face!

~ We finally have grass!  And some plants.  The house really feels like a HOME now and we absolutely LOVE it!  Building has truly been one of the best decisions ever!




~ I just finished up 2nd book in the Maze Runner series, The Scorch Trials.  Loved it.  Easy read and it totally sucks you in.  I’m on the waiting list for the 3rd book…I can’t wait to read it!  What are some of your favorite reads lately?


~ One of my new favorite songs!

~ I love, love, LOVE Farmer's Markets!  Nothing better than fresh and healthy fruits & veggies!  Oh, and gorgeous flowers!


So, if we were actually having coffee together, what would YOU tell me?