Dafney Harper

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

summer in review

It's so hard for me to believe that summer 2014 has already come & gone!  Even though I feel like we sort of got the short stick on summer-time-weather, the MacKenzie's certainly had a fabulous summer {and the pictures to prove it}!  Here's a look back at how we spent our summer {don't worry, it's condensed...I wouldn't want to bore you with the 1,500+ pictures I took to capture our summer}!

We started out the summer with a trip to Grandma & Papa Mumm's camper for their "Easter weekend":



...then some celebrating the birth of a new baby with good friends:


...a lot of playing with water table and many water fights:


...the hubby and I celebrated our 4th wedding Anniversary with a date to one of our favorite local restaurants:


...spent many hours at local festivals and even had popcorn for dinner {!}:


...had our fair share of ice cream cones for dessert:


...took Dafney to the annual Turtle Derby, where she proceeded to win a cupcake at the cake walk:


...visited quite a few local splash pads:


...put a ton of miles on our bikes:


...rode the train:


...took more family selfies then I care to admit ;)


...went to the MOA and got a picture with Dora:


...took Dafney on her first "real" ride {and she LOVED all of them...she's definitely going to be a rides kind of gal:


...hubby and I enjoyed a lunch date while the All Star Baseball action was in town:


...we had MANY potty training success over the course of the summer:


...we finally got GRASS:


...hit up yet another local festival:


...a certain little girl got her first official haircut {don't let that smile fool you; it did not go well}:


...we went to a birthday party at Choo-Choo Bobs:


...went to a park opening:


...visited Olaf at Barnes & Noble:


...swam at G & G's pool:


...D got her hair colored at a daycare event:


...played with babies constantly:


...and more swimming at G & G's...this time with friends:


...soaked up the sun while playing in the sandbox:


...took Dafney to her first State Fair:


...got excited to cheer on the GOPHERS:


...fixed her bike {okay, not really, but she thought she was fixing it}:


...had a run-in with a Mosquito:


...visited a really cool park in Bloomington:


...and rounded out the summer with a little "back-to-school-shopping":


This is just a taste of what we did over the summer.  To say we had fun is an understatement!  It was one of the best summers of my life!  Seriously!  I hope your summer was as much fun as ours!

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!