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When I tell people that my hubby and I love traveling to Las Vegas, I get a few looks that we might be closet gamblers.

We're not.

We farm, so that is enough of a gamble in itself. Sigh ...

But we do love Vegas. And every time we come home from a trip I feel the need to act as a Las Vegas travel ambassador pro bono.


So let's get to our top five reasons that you should plan your next weekend getaway, girls trip, guys trip, babymoon, honeymoon, or just because moon!!


1. World Class Restaurants - Do you like steak? Yes - best in class. Do you like Italian? Yes - best in class. Do you like buffets? - Yes best in class! The food and the options are endless and honestly it's unlike any other city I've ever been to. And there are plenty of options for every budget - which is a bonus. To be honest, my hubby and I tend to mush meals in Vegas - a late breakfast and early dinner with dessert of course!

Dessert at The Henry at the Cosmopolitan. I think I would go back to Vegas for just this dessert. It was that amazing!

2. Shows and Concerts - What started out as the Rat Pack in the early days of old Vegas has grown into countless legendary performers every night of the week (Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Wayne Newton and the list goes on) and your choice of Cirque du Soleil shows which I would describe as circus and vaudeville to a whole new level. Again options for every size budget and there are always plenty of Discount Ticket wagons along the strip too for the deal seekers!

Britney Spears! Wow! What a show!

3. Hotels & Shopping - Everything in Vegas is walking distance. Seriously, you will get in 20K to 30K steps a day easy. In addition to a casino, just about every hotel on the strip has a shopping center or mall in extreme close proximity. For once it's nice not to have to get in a car to go out to dinner or to go shopping. The hotel we stayed in most recently had 21 restaurants to chose from and the Miracle Miles shopping center across the street has 200 stores!! And there are so many beautiful hotels in Vegas - it's fun to walk through them to see how different and beautifully unique each of them are. And again, hotel options for every budget. You can literally stay first-class on a Holiday Inn-budget. LOVE IT! We have stayed at the Hilton Flamingo, Harrah's, MGM, Treasure Island and the Cosmopolitan.

Out of all the previously mentioned hotels, we loved Treasure Island the most - it is very centrally located on the strip, features tons of great restaurants, home to Gilley's western dancehall and our room was wall to wall glass with a gorgeous view of the strip! The Cosmopolitan as seen below was not too shabby either!






Bellagio lobby celebrating the Year of the Monkey

4. Attractions - If you need a break from the Las Vegas strip there are lots of other fun things to do. Head to downtown (old) Las Vegas for the Fremont Street Experience, a unique light show with a zipline down the center. Also, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon are within easy driving distance. And if you don't have a car, your concierge can hook you up with a package deal.



5. People Watching - I will readily admit I do love to people watch. Vegas people watching is the best free entertainment I can think of. From showgirls in feathers to your classic tourist with binoculars you've got em all in Vegas.It takes all kinds to make the world go round and I swear there are ALL kinds in Vegas!


I hope you enjoyed my top five reasons to visit Las Vegas. And if you're looking for Vegas travel advice - look no further - I'm your girl. Vegas is awesomeness and you DON'T HAVE TO GAMBLE to have a great time!


I don't know when it happened but somewhere along the way, I became obsessed with fish tacos. If it was on the menu - I was ordering it. And I have to say - very rarely was I disappointed. I just love fish tacos! 

But for some reason I never thought I had what it took to make them at home. Well give a girl a new kitchen and you've got her convinced she can cook anything! 

During my 24-day Challenge, I was on a quest to better eating and healthier cooking. I was inspired by this Fish Taco Bowl recipe and knew it would be a tasty keeper. And it did not disappoint! 

Something about the mixture of cilantro, avocado, red bell pepper, cod, lime juice and black beans that just creates an infusion of awesomeness! Enjoy this one!


Ingredient list, directions and printable recipe card is below. Keep scrolling! 


 Coat cod filets with spice mixture (ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper)

Chop those veggies! 

Cook filets and do not disturb for several minutes.

Remove fish from pan after its cooked. Add red pepper, carrots and onion to the pan (add additional oil if needed)

Add cilantro and avocado and ENJOY!
CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD!

Ingredients:
2-4 cod filets (1 pound)
4-6 whole wheat tortillas
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, sliced and cored (optional)
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder


Directions:
1. Combine chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Sprinkle over both sides of the fish. Add salt and pepper to preference.

2. Coat a large non-stick skillet/wok with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook undisturbed for several minutes per side. Fish should flake easily and be opaque though out when done. Remove the fish from the pan and put to the side.

3. Add another drizzle of oil to the pan (if needed) and add onion, pepper and carrots. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until tender.

4. Add black beans and heat. Add fish back to the pan and mix.

5. Place tortillas on a plate with a damp paper towel covering the tortillas. Place in microwave for 15-25 seconds.

6. Add mixture to tortillas, top with shredded cilantro and avocado. Enjoy!.

7. Alternate: Substitute cooked brown rice for tortillas.



CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE RECIPE!
You sit on the couch and watch your five year-old literally take 67 running laps around the couch and think, "Man, I wish I had that energy!"

There's gotta be some way to bottle up and soak in that kind youthful energy, right?!

Pre-2010, ie before kids, I never really thought much about it. But two kiddos later, I watched my energy level take a deep descent. At the time, I just chalked it up to lack of sleep and a lot more movement than my body was used to. I figured that once my kids were older and I had more time to rest my energy would return. Wrong-o!



By 2015, I had lost the last few pounds of baby weight and was feeling pretty good as a result of just purposely moving my body more (elliptical, tread mill, fitness classes with cardio and strength about 3-4 days a week).

But I was addicted to Dt. Mt. Dew. Like it was a problem. And after reading story-after-story of how terrible soda is for you (empty calories, added unnecessary sugar that contribute to craving more sugar) and how freaking great water was - I was like FINE!

Slowly and painfully, I phased out my Dt. Mt. Dew habit.

Check out this GREAT article to kick your soda habit to the curb once and for all!

Eventually, I was drinking mostly water and some tea. It recommended to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. One problem there, my caffeine intake was nonexistent. And let's face it, this full-time working mamas gotta have caffeine!

I heard about Advocare through a Texas blogger I follow faithfully online. I was intrigued, but pretty  skeptical I'm not gonna lie. I put a note out on Facebook asking for more info and resources and was sorta bombarded by a lot more friends than I thought who were using and loving Advocare.

After doing some research and giving it some major thought, I dived in head first in my first 24-Day Challenge.

What is the 24-DAY CHALLENGE? PLEASE, not another diet! Ain't got time for that!

Essentially, the 24-Day Challenge is not a diet, but a supplementation and nutrition program designed to give your body the jump start it needs to help you reach your goals. The Challenge includes a 10-day herbal CLEANSE phase and then a 14-day MAX phase.

The CLEANSE phase includes three products and aids in proper absorption of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. These products, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, help to rid your body of waste and prepare your body to better absorb nutrients. This isn't the kind of cleanse where you drastically reduce calories or consume only liquids - this is the beginning of a healthier lifestyle!

The Max Phase is about fueling your body in order to achieve maximum results. During this phase you take three products that work together to provide you with sustained energy, appetite control, core nutrition and overall wellness.

At the time that I started my first 24-Day Challenge I was drinking very little caffeine and dragging majorly! I was looking for nutritional products to give me energy, boost my metabolism (safely and effectively) and control my appetite. Remember, girl's got a sweet tooth and a salty tooth and a pizza tooth and a Mexican tooth.

All 24 days of the Challenge include a product called SPARK. I know this will sound a little crazy but SPARK changed my life.



SPARK is a sugar-free drink mix that combines more than 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients to provide a healthy, balanced and effective source of energy that won't overburden or over stimulate your body.

SPARK contains just the right amount of caffeine to give you a quick boost, B vitamins to enhance your body's natural ability to produce and sustain its own energy, and amino acids that help increase your mental focus and alertness.

This stuff is legit. You drink it with a glass of water in the morning and enjoy the energy and mental focus all day. Farm mama and working woman approved! If it's an especially crazy day, you can drink a second glass in the afternoon.

***Now, please know I'm not a nutritionist, dietitian or even a fitness and wellness coach for that matter - I'm just a full-time working farm mama. And this works for me. This is a solution for me. And honestly, I just want to share my love for this product because this has genuinely been a positive energy solution for me and contributed to a healthier overall lifestyle.

I am firm believer that all folks (especially farmers & mamas and dads out there!) need a little SPARK in their lives. SPARK gives me the energy I need to power through the work day and be Mom all-day, every day.

Would you like to try some Spark?

First 5 people who share this post on Facebook and tag the @Hoosier Farm Babe OR on Twitter and tag @MegFoster will WIN A FREE SPARK DRINK SAMPLE!

There are seven different Spark flavors available. My personal fav is the Watermelon! Second is Fruit Punch. And in the winter months I warm up some water, add the Green Apple and a little drizzle of Cinnamon. Tastes just like warm apple cider! Yummy!
  • Watermelon
  • Fruit Punch
  • Green Apple
  • Grape
  • Mandarin Orange
  • Mango Strawberry
  • Pink Lemonade





I think there is a huge misconception that healthy, good-for-you food has to taste awful. That you probably won't like it much and because it's "better for you" you should just choke it down. But what I've been learning lately as I've been experimenting in my own kitchen is that doesn't always have to be the case.

In fact, quite the opposite!

You can make tons of substitutions like greek yogurt for cream cheese and hardly notice the difference!

Take for instance this recipe for buffalo chicken tacos that I was inspired by through my Advocare family. I seriously love me some buffalo chicken tenders, wraps, sauce, dip ...basically anything buffalo-ey (though not in the literal sense because that is something different entirely!).

These buffalo chicken tacos seriously rocked my world and my farmer hubby and kiddos liked 'em too which is a major WIN!

If you love buffalo chicken but want to try a recipe with a bit lower calorie and carb offering then give this one a whirl! You won't be disappointed!


Ingredients:
6 whole-wheat 8-inch tortillas
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced (or cook and shred)
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ tbsp coconut oil
½ tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
Pepper to taste
¼ cup cayenne pepper sauce
2 large carrots, shredded
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
3 oz blue cheese dressing

Eating up those veggies!

Directions:
1. Preheat large skillet on medium-high heat, add coconut oil and swirl to coat. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.


2. Cook for about 10-14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chicken should be golden brown and cooked thoroughly.

4. In a small bowl, combine and stir in yogurt, cayenne pepper sauce, blue cheese dressing, salt and black pepper. Set aside.

5. Pour sauce over chicken in the skillet. Stir for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust spiciness (ie add more cayenne pepper sauce) to preference.

6. Place tortillas on a microwave-safe dish, cover with damp towel, and microwave for about 10 seconds.

7. To serve up, place desired amount of lettuce, carrots and chicken on each tortilla. Drizzle with more blue cheese sauce and enjoy!

PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD





When you need something sweet and indulgent, sometimes you just gotta feed that need.

But that doesn't mean it's needs to be loaded with sugar and carbs necessarily. Now I've got nothing against sugar personally, but in an effort to alter my mild dependency on sweets, it never hurts to find alternatives!

Presently, I am on the Advocare 24-day Challenge and by the way it's in no way a diet - it is part of improving my overall lifestyle and nutritional intake. Good stuff! The fact of the matter is my previous diet was largely made up of carbs, sugar and fat. I always thought healthy food was gross and tasteless, but what I'm finding is quite the opposite. However, that's another blog post for another day. :)

Today, it's all about cookies ... the no-bake kind! These are delicious and guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. This recipe makes about two dozen - plenty to pack one in your lunch bag all week. Now that's what I call #winning!

Enjoy, friends!


Healthy No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
 2/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 peanut butter
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups rolled oats


Directions
1. Add syrup and Advocare Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake powder to a medium sauce pan
2. Heat pan on medium low heat (do not boil), stir with a whisk until syrup and powder mix
3. Add coconut oil and milk
4. Stir with a whisk until coconut oil melts and combines (less than a minute)
5. Remove from heat
6. Stir in peanut butter, sea salt, vanilla extract and oats
7. Drop by large spoonful onto baking sheet covered in wax paper
8. Allow to harden for an hour or until set in the fridge
9. Store in the fridge or freezer (for fudge-like texture)
10. Enjoy! 



It dawned on me recently that I never shared the final Big White Farmhouse kitchen unveil. Well without further ado, let's get right to it!

To jog your memory, here is what we started with.


This is the kitchen (and house) that Big D grew up in. So many memories shared in this kitchen even in just my 13-year memory bank. Visiting his childhood home for the first time in 2003, his parents big Christmas shin-digs over the years, our girls visiting Grandpa and Grandma and much more. This house, this place, is special to us in so many ways.

We started the first floor renovation including the kitchen, pantry, laundry and half-bath re-do in early August and finished a long 2+ months later and that's not counting odds and ends like hanging pictures and curtains.

It was a arduous two months with our master bedroom serving as our family kitchen, dining room and living room. I'm not going to lie it was a bit of a nightmare and not one I'm willing to relive anytime soon.

But it was all worth it to end up with our dream kitchen. I loved it in October after finishing touches and I love it today. I love that I handpicked every detail and design element specific to what we love. It's perfectly us.

I'm so excited to make memories with our family and friends for many many years to come in our beautiful new kitchen in the Big White Farmhouse!


Shiloh Cabinets

Custom granite counters and stools from Wayfair




The kitchen sink is in the same location as it was before before but with a new, slightly bigger window above it.

We were able to keep most all of our appliances (except the counter top microwave) and saved a ton of cash. 

Love the window pane glass door on the corner cabinet and that pretty crown molding.

Custom Mason jar pendent light fixture from Etsy.  LOVE! 

Added a total of 12 can lights in the kitchen and the dining room. The view here is from the dining room. Previously, there was only an open door way because on either side were two covered chimneys. We removed both chimneys and were able to open up the room entirely. We now have about a 40-foot span for the kitchen and dining room space. Perfect for entertaining!



This is the door way we moved (it was on the opposite side) and found a door in the attic with a glass panel at the top. We replaced the glass panel with new frosted glass and had etched stencil letters made to read Pantry. We took the laundry room, reduced its size, took out a small closet and were able to make room for a walk-in pantry. 

Shelving in the pantry. This is slightly better organized now with baskets and well just more food. 


We made the pantry big enough and deep enough to fit our standing freezer. We love to have the extra space for freezer food and for it to be so conveniently located is a major plus. Now if I only had a beer and wine fridge handy!

This is the view from the kitchen to the dining room. Since this photo was taken, we have added curtains. 


This was previously a big beautiful picture window, but with a crack. Picture windows are so  so expensive. So we saved some cash by replacing it with three smaller windows. I would've loved to had the big picture window back but my checking account says this will do fine too. 

There are a few more projects to share ... a half-bath and the laundry room. And for 2016, I have an entry way to tackle and some outdoor entertaining space to work on. But for now, it's cold and I'm going to make some hot tea and cocoa for the girls and I in this lovely new us space!
I remember the doctor's appointment in 2009 when she told me, "You should really consider losing a few pounds because it will be harder to lose weight when you're older."

I was 27.


I nodded like I was in agreement, but in reality I thought she was rude and completely nonsensical.


I mean I saw myself in the mirror and thought sure I'm not a skinny minny, but I'm not too big either. I'm just fine - I'm average.

I thought people who worked out didn't have better things to do with their time. I certainly did.

I thought people who ran for fun just liked to live in misery. I only ran when being chased. Duh!

I was blessed with a decent metabolism (props to good genetics!) so I ate whatever I wanted and however much I wanted and I worked outside with cattle and horses regularly so I considered that enough physical fitness for me.

But five years and two children later, I was the heaviest I'd been in my whole life. My energy level was deplete and I could no longer eat whatever I wanted without having to unbutton the top of my pants after a meal.



At that time I drank probably close to 64 oz of Dt. Mt. Dew a day and considered myself a connoisseur of fast food French fries. My mid-day snack was a King size Reese's PB cup or Little Debbie swiss cake rolls.

I changed jobs in 2013 and my new employer had a gym with a personal trainer and lots of free fitness classes to choose from. I started going to Beginner's Boot Camp and messing around on the elliptical machine a few times a week.

I remember how I felt after the first Boot Camp. My muscles hurt so bad that I physically could not walk up my stairs at home. I had to crawl. For reals.

And then I crawled right back into the gym for more.

Thankfully after that it got much better. But I thought at the time this is crazy and my muscles freaked out too - I don't blame them. Remember I have not one athletic bone in my body and was the one who absolutely despised gym class growing up.

I tried running once and could go about 2 minutes without having to slow down to a walk. The personal trainer told me I would do better to improve my endurance and burn more calories if I used the treadmill.

Fine, I'll try it ......

So I started slow, going only 5 minutes jogging (4.8 mph) on the treadmill at first and about dying. My knees hurt and my body told me to stop. I bought new tennis shoes and my knee problems went away.

I started taking a daily vitamin and the painful cramps during running went away.

And I kept moving.

Gradually, I increased the duration of time I jogged and eventually I didn't feel like I was going to die every single step that I took.

It's all about starting at your own pace. And it's Ok if that pace is slow. Honestly, I'm still pretty slow. You don't want to make it a painful experience that you have no desire to subject yourself to.

Sure, you should push yourself but have fun too!

So how do you get started?

First, you have to make the decision and the commitment to change your life. Find a reward to give yourself when you accomplish your first goal. Hello new purse!

Maybe your first goal is a weight loss (5 pounds or whatever) or inches lost or just working out 3 days a week for 3 weeks solid. You need to make some achievable goals, meet those goals and then set newer higher ones for yourself.

I am testament to the fact that you can do anything you set your mind to! You really can!

Find your inspiration. Find someones story that you can relate to. I was inspired by this amazing lady's story three years ago and I have been following her faithfully ever since. I love reading other women's stories of triumphs - it feels so empowering as a woman to know you can do anything!!

And find a buddy to join you. Working out with a friend who can keep you accountable makes it all that much more fun!

Oh and yea ... start replacing some of those unhealthy habits with better ones. Try one less soda a day and one bottle of water in its place, but don't go cold turkey. (I think I've been in Indiana too long - I used to call it pop!)

Start slow and make a plan.

More grilled chicken less fried and switch out the French fries for a side salad.

Don't keep the junk aka swiss cake rolls in the house. You'll be less likely to eat them if you don't having them staring at you in the pantry.

True story.

Big D still has to hide his double-stuff Oreos from me - I could eat an entire package in a week's time.

Girl's still got a sweet tooth.

But ultimately it's about feeling good in your own skin. I was fine for a long time but decided for my girls that I needed to make a change if I was ever going to keep up with them. There is a lot of running happening with a 2 and 5 year old y'all.

And I want to make them proud and be a good role model for them in any way I can! For me that makes it all worth it!



I know there is a ton of pressure in our society to look a certain way or be a certain size but let that NOT be your motivation.

Find your motivation within and from above.

Be the best form of YOU in whatever size or shape that is!