Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Get Ready To Bust A Move!

From time to time, I like a to take a little break from my health and fitness journey to introduce you to something that I think is truly great, and a great bargain! Remember, life is more than being physically fit, but also emotionally and financially fit as well! That is why, when it came to saving my sanity on my wedding day, I trusted Dramatic Dimensions Entertainment.

Way back, In October 2008, my husband and I had our Wedding Reception at a barn in Ann Arbor, MI. It was a spectacularly beautiful yet awkward venue. With 20ft vaulted ceilings and gymnasium lighting, it seemed that having appropriate lighting for a wedding was going to be impossible. But, Dramatic Dimensions had us covered. They were able to work within the awkward space and provided with us with ambient lighting during dinner, and festive "party" lighting complete with disco ball, during dancing. It was incredible!

And that was just the lighting!

The music was awesome too! Our guests kept going on and on about how our reception was the most danceable reception that they had been to in a long time. The song catalog that Dramatic Dimensions has is incredible. I swear, they have just about every song--EVER! You can browse the complete selection online and compose your own unique playlist, as well a specify what songs you DON'T want to hear on your special day. So if you hate the Macarena, you won't have to hear it!

But the real sanity savers of Dramatic Dimensions are the owners and DJs Mike and Joe.
These guys know their stuff. They are extremely professional, got back to us in a timely manner when we had questions, and devoted the time to our event that you just won't get from corporate chains.
They also know how to keep the party going, late in the evening, after most of our guests had already gone home, Mike and Joe kept pumpin' the jams and keeping the few of us that had stuck around entertained. With permission, they busted out the Limbo stick, and we had a blast!


I loved working with Dramatic Dimensions for my wedding, I would recommend them to anyone looking for a stellar DJ service! Chose them, you won't regret it. I don't!

Monday, March 28, 2011

These Feet Were Made For Walkin....


And that's just what they'll do!

I had an awesome week this week! Or so I thought! I GAINED another 0.8 this week. The most frustrating part is that I stayed on plan with Weight Watchers all week! This really has me fed up--and upset. Which has had me on an emotional eating bender.

I can't even remember how many pieces of left over birthday cake (Parker turned 1 this past weekend) I've eaten. And I'm disgusted with myself. Enter more sadness, enter more eating. It's a vicious freaking cycle. Ugh.

So I have a new plan (Funny, I seem to have one every week lately). My feet and I are going to start training for a 5k. I have NEVER ran for 3.11 miles, I'd be lucky if I could run for 3 minutes! I'm not planning on running some super serious race or anything, but a mapped out 3.11 miles around the neighborhood small steps. I love seeing the sights, and living near a lake and a downtown, it's a wonder why I haven't got my butt out to see it!

The biggest problem I have with trying to sneak in a workout is that I have a time-sucking infant. But I'm hopeful that fitting in some running and walking will be easy. I can put the baby in the stroller and just take off. And with the warmer weather coming hopefully, it's just a no-brainer to get my fat behind outside.

This small goal of running a 5k is going to help me with my 2 larger goals.

Goal 1
This summer, I intend on walking to my local farmer's market whenever I go. Then hoofin' my whole lot home. 10-25 lbs of produce strapped to my back is bound to burn some extra calories!

Goal 2
Those of you that know me know that I lost my mom at age 8 due to complications of Diabetes. I do the ADA's Walk for Diabetes every year in memory of my mom. This fall, I'm going to run it. The course is 6.8 miles. And I'm going to make my mom proud.

Maybe, I'll be sportin' a sweet new pair of Earth Footwear to all of these places my feet will be taking me!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back at it! And feeling good!


Happy Monday Mamas! I'm having a good day, and I hope you are too! It's no secret that I haven't been "trying" particularly hard to see a drop on the scale lately. But I would like to report that I am officially back on track.

I had a victory yesterday! I tracked my food all day, watched my portions, and met my Points+ goals! Hooray! I can't even tell you how long it's been since I've done one of those things, let alone all three!

The best part about putting in the work yesterday was the reward. I actually feel proud of myself. And with that pride, I feel like I can keep moving forward.

I know this week will not be without challenges though. On Friday is my son's 1st birthday, followed by his party on Saturday. As if having tons of food around on Saturday isn't going to be challenge enough, I'm also kind of depressed. I can't believe my little baby is already a year old! I've been reflecting back a lot on the past year, and it makes me a little emotional. With all of these emotions flowing--I'm going to try my hardest to stay out of the sweets.

To answer the mamavation question of the week: Am I a sweet or savory snacker? What do I look for in a healthy snack?

I would say that my snacking tendencies change with my mood. If I'm sad or PMSing, I usually prefer sweet. If I'm angry, I prefer salty/savory. It's quite strange that I can decipher my mood by my emotional eating I think.

Lately, I've been trying to eat String cheese, fruit, or popcorn for my healthy snacks. I've been trying to stay away from 100 calorie packs of goodies, because they just perpetuate my sweet tooth. The others seem to kill it!

I wish everyone a wonderful week! Be strong! Be powerful! You can do it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!




Even if you aren't Irish, you're probably "Irish" today, or at least sportin' some green. At least I am.

St. Patrick's day is another holiday where we Americans INDULGE. We eat corned beef and cabbage, and DRINK. And some of us DRINK and DRINK and DRINK. Everyone celebrates in thier own way.

However, as I'm driving around town today, I can't help but be extra alert. I know people have been at the bar since the sun came up, throwing back beer after beer. And I can't help but wonder if one of those people have gotten behind the wheel of a car, particularly because I have my infant son in mine.

On St. Patrick’s Day 2009, 37 percent of the drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, according to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That's more than a QUARTER of all traffic fatalities! A pretty sobering statistic if you ask me.



BUT, what's even more sobering, is that Drinking and Driving is completely preventable! If you are partaking this St. Patty's day, plan ahead. Designate a sober driver BEFORE you leave for your event. And always be ready to take alternate transportation, like a bus, taxi, or even a "designated driver" car service. The cost of these services are minimal compared to the cost of a DUI, or the cost of someone's life!

Even if you will not be celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day, keep in mind that in 2009, 1,119 occupants of other vehicles were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers, so pay attention to others on the road. And remember, you don’t have to be “falling down drunk” to be too impaired to drive safely. Even a few drinks can impair driving…and a buzzed driving crash has the same consequences as a drunk driving crash.

Remember, buzzed driving IS drunk driving. Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and BE SAFE OUT THERE!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm a Cinch! Failure


It's time for me to come clean. I failed the Cinch! Five day fast forward the first night. I ate breakfast and lunch and I felt good! I was satisfied, wasn't hungry, felt "lighter" and had more energy. But by 4pm on Day 1, I was ravenous. I was so hungry that I was getting physically ill.

As instructed in the book, I ate another serving of yogurt, to try and make my hungry subside. But I think the psychological damage of being that hungry was already done. And I went on a MASSIVE binge. I couldn't get enough food!

So I'm a fast forward failure.

However, I am not giving up! Cinch! is not just the "cleanse" portion, and even in the book Cynthia explains that the 5 day 5 food fast forward plan is not for everyone. But you can still do the Cinch! primary program. And that's what I intend to do.

The Cinch! (Main) plan is based on 5 "puzzle pieces", that come together to create your meals. In the book, Cynthia provides the foods that fall into the 5 different categories and the proper serving sizes for the plan.

It seems like I'll need a lot less "willpower" to make it through the main portion of the plan.

As always, I'll keep you updated!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mamavation Monday--When to work out.


To workout, or not to workout? That is the question. I think every mom on the planet has some part of their body that they are unhappy with and would like to change. The only problem, we know that in order to change it, we must get active and workout. Ugh! And who has time for that?!?

YOU DO! Schedule your time! That's what I have to do. It's the only way I'm able to guarentee that I get my workout in. My workout time is when my son is napping. I get an hour and a half to myself to get my sweat on.

When my son is napping is the best time for me. It may not be the best time for you. I like to workout in the mid-morning (that's his nap time). I've eaten breakfast. My food has had time to settle. The sun is out, well, most of the time. And usually, there's nothing on TV anyway, so my distractions are weeded out.

You know yourself better than anyone else, and you are the only one that knows what's best for you! I know that if I don't workout in the mid-morning during my son's naptime, that working out is just not going to happen that day. Sure, I might be able to take my son for a walk in the stroller, but my workout is not going to be anywhere near as intense as it would have been had I worked out by myself in the morning.

And who doesn't want to get maximum calorie incineration in minimum time!

What's funny, is I know these things. I know that I have to schedule my workout during my optimum time. But I haven't been as good as I could have been this past week. I didn't work as intensely as I should have and I ate some things that I know I shouldn't have. And I've maintained my weight this week. Which, is better than gaining but still unacceptible in my eyes.

And I can't preach finding your optimum workout time and scheduling it if I'm not doing it myself. So that is my goal for the coming week. Schedule my workouts, and when I'm doing them, DO THEM!

***This post was in response to the question:
What time of day works best for you to be active? How do you make sure you stick to those planned workouts?***

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Beginning of an Era...

Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow I commit to the Cinch! 5 day, 5 food, fast forward. And I must admit; I'm scared. I've really wanted to try this method of losing weight since I attended a Twitter party, and spoke with the author, Cynthia Sass.

Cynthia is AMAZING. I first learned of her when she was the "nutrition lady" on The Mike and Juliet show. I loved watching her do her segments that were similar to the "Eat This, Not That" series. And now she has authored her second book (her first was The Flat Belly Diet) called Cinch!.


But, I'm still scared. For the next 5 days, I will survive on 4 meals a day. Each of these four meals will consist of 5 ingredients.

Spinach
Eggs
Almonds
Raspberries
and
Yogurt

Every day I will eat the same meals, seasoned with "SASS" seasonings.

An Egg Scramble
A Parfait
A Salad
and
A Smoothie

As for fluids, I'll be drinking between 64 and 80oz of water and 8oz green tea factored into the water amount.

This "cleanse" is supposed to help detox my body, and re-train my tastebuds and thier eating habits to a healthier lifestyle. Which I deperatly need right now. Over the next 5 days I'll keep you posted on how I feel, and how much weight I lose.

Here's to losing weight and detoxing!

*DISCLAIMER: I AM DOING THIS DETOX OF MY OWN ACCORD, AND I AM NOT BEING COMPENSATED IN ANY WAY*

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Will You Be My #DinnerDate?

On my twitter feed, I try very hard to tweet out a new or different dinner recipe for everyone to try on a daily basis. It so important when you are trying to lose weight to keep your meals fresh. If you don't, chances are you are going to fall off the wagon for one simple reason; YOU'RE BORED! So I thought I would share some of the different ways I keep my meals exciting.

Meat- Let's face it. Chicken every night is boring. Fish every night is boring too, as well as beef, pork, or whatever other protien source you are using. To switch it up, I focus on the marinade. I use Lawry's 30 Minute Marinades a lot. They have a HUGE variety of flavors, and they aren't too bad for you either. I can now eat chicken 7 days a week (if I want to) and not get bored. One night I'll have Lemon Pepper, the next Hawaiian, the night after that Szechuan BBQ, the list goes on!



Produce- Spice it up. I keep fruits and veggies tasting new by changing the way I prepare them. I steam, grill, boil, and bake most of the time. But I also season the fruits and veggies, I prefer to get spices freshly ground whenever I can (I have a local place that I like to buy from). Fruit I mainly use cinnamon or nutmeg, but for veggies, anything goes pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder, cumin, they are all good! But I do try to go light on the salt.



Whole Grains- I buy a couple different kinds of high fiber cereal and cycle through those. And for bread, to switch it up, I top it with different things. Low sugar or sugar free jam and PB2 peanut butter are two of my favs. But I also have been known to use spray butter on my toast.


Water- Water is one of the things I get most bored with. So I change it up by adding a lemon, lime, or orange slice or two for a citrus kick, A slice or two of cucumber to give a fresh cool taste, Green tea for some added antioxidants, or if I'm really craving some juice, I'll use some Crystal Light.


I hope these ideas help prevent you from becoming bored with eating healthy. Also if you would like to join in the dinner conversation, just use the hashtag #dinnerdate on Twitter to share what you are having for dinner! The hope is that it will encourage healthy eating and help us avoid dinner sabotage! Because for most people, dinner is often the largest meal of the day, let's make it healthy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Salt: Taste Bud Thriller or Silent Killer?

By Joe Wilkes

Salt: No fat. No calories. Not to mention it's delicious! What's not to love? Well, as most of us know, too much salt can be a major contributor to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, or kidney disorders. But our bodies also need a certain amount of salt every day, because it's required by all cells to maintain fluid balance and it's vital for proper nerve and muscle function. And because salt is excreted mainly through urine and sweat, the most intense exercisers need even more of it to maintain a proper balance. So how much salt should we be consuming? Read on to find out how much salt you should consume, plus where extra salt gets hidden in food, and some tips on how you can reduce your sodium consumption.

Salt Shaking

How much salt do we need?

While how much salt we need on a daily basis varies with each person, depending on age, size, activity level, etc., it's generally agreed that our bodies each need about 500 milligrams of sodium a day to function properly. That's about a quarter of a teaspoon of table salt (sodium chloride, the most typical source of sodium). The federal government recommends a daily maximum of 2,400 milligrams of sodium. Most of us average about 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day—10 times as much as our bodies require and more than twice the recommended maximum. So unless you're working out a lot and excreting excess sodium, you may be getting way more than you need, which can lead to the myriad health problems associated with high blood pressure. The American Medical Association has estimated that a 50 percent reduction in sodium usage in processed and restaurant food could save 150,000 lives every year. But even if you don't believe in or care about the medical repercussions of excess salt consumption, how about this little tidbit? It's estimated that most of us are carrying around an extra 5 pounds of water weight, retained simply because of the excess salt in our bodies. Drop 5 pounds of water weight just by passing up the salt shaker? Sounds like a good deal to me!
Where salt hides . . .

But passing up the salt shaker may not be enough. Almost all processed foods contain high levels of sodium. For example, that Quarter Pounder® with Cheese at McDonald's® will pump you full of almost 1,200 milligrams of sodium, more than twice what your body needs and half of the government's daily recommended maximum. But even if you eschew the burger for its fat and calories, there's salt in other places, too. One cup of Cheerios® contains 200 milligrams of salt, so you're kicking off your day with 8 percent of your recommended sodium allotment.

Nutritional FactsWhy so much salt? Salt has been used as a preservative for centuries to cure meats and pickle vegetables, among other uses. And while we've developed new preservatives over the years, salt has other advantages as a food additive. It can thicken soups and sauces. It can make breads, cookies, and crackers more moist. It can enhance certain flavors (like sweet and sour) and mask other tastes, like the chemical additives in soft drinks. So even if you're steering clear of salty treats like pretzels, pickles, and popcorn, if you check your labels carefully you may find you're getting a fair amount of sodium from food items that don't even taste salty.

Also, if you tend to purchase a lot of foods labeled "diet" or "light," you may find that they have pretty high sodium levels. Adding extra salt can make food taste better while still allowing them to be advertised as low-calorie, low-fat products. Manufacturers can also sneak extra salt into the ingredient list under different names, like monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium caseinate, trisodium phosphate, sodium ascorbate, or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). So even if salt isn't in the ingredient list or is spread out throughout the ingredient list under different names, it's worth checking the overall sodium content on the nutrition label to determine the total sodium content. And don't forget to take the serving size into account. Many food manufacturers will say that their product contains several tiny servings of salt instead of a couple of regular servings to minimize the less savory elements of the product's nutritional profile.
How to avoid the salt traps

ActiVitShake the shaker. How many times have you seen yourself or someone you know be served a plate of food and mindlessly begin salting it, before even tasting it? I know I've been guilty of it. I love salt and can think of few meals that couldn't be improved by adding salt. But at least taste your food first before you add salt—especially in restaurants, where, for top chefs to fast-food flippers, salt is often the secret ingredient, and adding more of it is probably unnecessary. If you do think it needs a little salt, shake a little salt into the palm of your hand, so you can at least eyeball the amount you're going to eat (not to mention that it'll save your dish from the old unscrew-the-top-of-the-salt-shaker prank). At home, think about dumping the salt shaker and switching to a saltcellar. A saltcellar is a little covered bowl that holds salt. That way you can visually measure a little pinch and not shake out an unknown amount over your food. You might also consider switching to sea salt, or for the gourmets, one of the fancier fleur de sel products on the market. Sea salts generally contain trace amounts of minerals like iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and/or zinc. This doesn't boost the nutritional profile of sea salt (try nutritionals like ActiVit® or Core Cal-Mag™ for effective mineral supplementation), but it offers a more complex flavor, which may make less taste like more.

Take processed meats out of the process. I'm devastated to say that this includes bacon. Just two delicious slices contain about 400 milligrams of sodium. One beef hot dog contains 600 milligrams of sodium (a quarter of the recommended daily allotment) and a turkey dog is only a little less salty, at 500 milligrams. One slice of bologna gets you about 300 milligrams of sodium. Most turkey breast lunch meat is as salt-heavy as bologna. And if it's labeled "smoked," "oven-roasted," "mesquite-flavored," etc., it's usually code for "extra salty." Try looking for low-sodium varieties, or save money by roasting your own whole turkey breast so you can control the salt content.

SoupSoup's off. Soup is a great low-calorie meal or snack. Unless it's a creamy variety, it's usually low in fat and a good vegetable delivery system. But watch out for the salt content! One cup of Campbell's® Chicken Noodle Soup contains 1,780 milligrams of sodium. That's almost three-quarters of your recommended daily maximum. Their Healthy Request® version is better. A cup of that has 940 milligrams of sodium. You might think about making your own chicken broth from scratch using fresh vegetables for flavor instead of salt. Make a big batch and freeze it or can it for later.

Freeze out the frozen dinner. Men's Health® magazine recently published a survey about some of America's saltiest foods and found that Swanson® Hungry-Man® XXL Roasted Carved Turkey packed a whopping 4,480 milligrams of sodium. That's approaching 2 days' worth of the maximum recommended allowance. It also has 1,360 calories and 70 grams (more than a day's worth) of fat, so there're plenty of reasons not to eat this dish. But several of the lean frozen meals on the market also contain high levels of sodium to make up for the lack of fat or sugar for flavor. And frozen pizza? Fuhgeddaboutit! Two slices of pepperoni will run you about 1,000 milligrams of sodium.

VegetablesCan the canned vegetables. Or at least the ones that aren't low-sodium. Manufacturers add as much as 1,200 milligrams of salt to a can of vegetables for flavor and preservation. Try buying no-salt-added varieties or frozen veggies, which usually have less salt. Or at the very least, make sure to drain the canned veggies well and rinse them in water to try to get some of the salt out.

The usual suspects. I won't even bother depressing you with how much salt fast food restaurants put in their food, even the healthier ones. I found out that a single flame-grilled chicken breast from my much-loved El Pollo Loco® has 617 milligrams of sodium. Adding up the sodium from my sides of pinto beans, mashed potatoes, and trips to the salsa bar, and my "heart-healthy" grilled chicken meal has racked up over 3,300 milligrams of sodium. No wonder I have dry mouth all night when I eat there.
No salt? No problem.

So the most important thing to do is check the labels of everything you eat and make sure you're not getting more salt than you bargained for—or as I call it, committing to a life of bland, joyless eating. But with a little ingenuity, you can find ways to replace salt with other flavors, or at least maximize your enjoyment of the salt you do allow yourself. It's also important to remember that as you start to remove salt from your diet, your palate may miss it a lot at first, but if you stick with it, you'll be amazed how much better food starts to taste as you get the salt monkey off your back. Here are some ideas for replacing salt with flavor.

HerbsHerbs. And let me say for the record, I know every article about sodium talks about Mrs. Dash®, but I don't think it tastes very good. I'd much rather have fresh herbs, either from my local farmers' market or my balcony garden. With herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, chives, etc., I chop a bunch of my favorites on Sunday and keep them in a zip-lock bag in my fridge for when I want to sprinkle a little flavor on something. Fresh herbs give foods a lot of zing, and it's fun to experiment with different flavor combinations. Some of the herbs even have their own beneficial properties.

Heat. As much of a salt addict as I am, I'm even more of a "hot tooth." And the good news here is that most spicy peppers and hot sauces are actually good for you, or at the very worst not bad for you. Some hot sauces add too much salt, so it's label-reading time again, and the peck of pickled peppers are better left to Peter of the rhyme. Besides, once you start enjoying chopped fresh (not pickled) jalapeƱos, you'll wonder why you ever liked those salty old pickles. If you're lucky enough to live in a city with a Penzeys® or a similar spice specialty store, they're a great resource for coming up with salt-free seasonings, rubs, and exotic paprikas and curries to give your dishes flavor without a side of hypertension. Another tip while you're weaning yourself off the salty stuff is to make your own seasoned salt blend. Mix a batch by combining a small amount of salt with a variety of your favorite herbs and spices. Every time you make a new batch, decrease the ratio of salt to spice more and more, until one fine day you're not including any salt at all. It's like a nicotine patch for saltaholics.

CitrusCitrus. While your salt-loving taste buds may be crying foul, you can delight the sour part of your palate by adding more tart flavors to your food. I'm a big fan of those little plastic lemons and limes (Sicilia® is a good brand) full of juice that you can keep in your fridge for a little squeeze of flavor when you don't feel like chopping up the whole fruit. I avoid the reconstituted juices, though—they taste a little funky to me. Think about what other veggies, sauces, or dishes could benefit from a little bit of juice. I love lemon juice on rice or couscous. It makes me totally forget about high-sodium soy sauce.

Other condiments. Other good options from the condiment aisle include mustard, vinegar, and no-salt-added ketchup to make your sandwiches perk up when you're using low-sodium lunch meat and bread (yep, you gotta check the bread labels, too). You can get out the blender and make your own spreads by grinding up ingredients like roasted red peppers (low-sodium variety, of course), chickpeas for hummus, or whatever other foods your imagination can come up with. Who needs the salt?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Workin' it Out--Michigan Motherhood

I'm a Michigan Mom. What's a Michigan Mom, and why should I care you ask? A Michigan Mom is from the Great Ol' Mitten State, where it's freezing from October to April, rains from May to July, and is mild for August and September. Which leaves approximately 100 days out of 365 for me to get outside. Which is approximately 27.39726% of the year. That's just not conducive to weight loss. Life is hectic, with work, kids, husbands, and maintaining a household, you can always find something else to do instead of workout. Which sadly leaves me looking like this:


As you can see, it's not pretty.

I wish there was a way for me to lose weight in Michigan, because let's face it, moving costs a lot of money. Money that I don't have.

But why not join a gym?
I'm a excercisethatmakesmybuttjiggleonatreadmillinfrontofmajorhottiephobic. Well, not really, but I never have liked the gym. I bought a membership in the past, and went 3 times. And of course I got fatter. I think every woman can agree that you have to find a type of exercise that you can enjoy, or you won't stick to it.

My favorite exercise is actually free. I love to walk and run outside. Love it. But Michigan weather just isn't predictable enough to get a good workout in regularly, well, at least to get in a workout that I actually enjoy. Not to mention I live in an apartment. There aren't any stairs for me to do, and it's too small to really walk around to get exercise in. It's about 5 steps wall to wall. Talk about claustrophobic!

Enter my knight in beautiful brushed metal frame, pulse monitor hand grips, and AeroSoft cushioning system:

The Horizon Fitness T100 Treadmill from Hayneedle.com!


I could do so many things with this bad boy! There's six workout modes, so that takes up six out of seven days a week! I already have my apartment mapped out as to where I would put it. Right in front of the doorwall, the baby's playpen is going to have to take a back seat to this stellar piece of machinery. I'll feel like I'm running outside, with the climate control of the indoors. The only rain would be my sweat raining down! Not to mention, I won't worry about anyone staring at me and won't need to hire a baby sitter just to get a work out in, that means being able to workout at a moments notice! Who knew a treadmill could do so many things!

This treadmill, would change my life. Here's an interpretation of what I could look like after using the The Horizon Fitness T100 Treadmill from Hayneedle.com.


What an extreme transformation! But that's the transformation I intend to have. I firmly believe that with the right tools, and hard work, anything is possible. I've got the drive, I just need the right tool! And I know that the right tool for me is a treadmill from Hayneedle!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Bookieboo and Hayneedle Treadmill blogging program, making me eligible to win a treadmill. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mamavation Monday-- Where's My Motivation?




Well folks, my motivation is gone. I can't find it. I think I ate it with the paczkies last night. If you can help me find it, that would be wonderful, because I gained 0.2 lbs this week. And after a week of being stagnant on the scale, this is not a good sign.

Because I have to want to help myself, before I can actually receive help. I thought I'd share how I'm going to get back on track. It's something that I've fallen short of doing lately, about the time my motivation went missing, and is an excellent time management too as well. I haven't been getting much done without it either. Because it's no secret, being a mom is tough!

That excellent tool is my To-Do List. And I'm putting it back into effect today!

I learned how to make To-Do lists from Chalene Johnson when I took part in her 30 day challenge . And my life changed dramatically. I was able to see exactly what I needed to do! And knowing exactly what I needed to accomplish that day, gave me the push I needed to get things done.

Every time I was giving myself Twitter Butt, I referred back to my list, and found something that I could be doing instead. My to-do list is my little reminder to make sure I'm using my time effectivly. And of course reminds me of things when I'm suffering from the dreaded mommmy brain.

As a matter of fact, by writing this, I just checked off Mamavation Monday Post on my to-do list! Yahoo!

This post is sponsored by Earth Footwear and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Groupon--Saving Money on New and Old Favorites

I've fallen in love. But I'm not cheating on my husband. I LOVE GROUPON!



Groupon is a fabulous site that is saving people like you and me buku bucks every day! And who doesn't love a good deal?! Groupon serves a bunch of states and territories across the US and Canada.

Groupon is a name derived from the words "Group" and "Coupon", and that's exactly how the site opperates. A given amount of people, a group, if you will, purchase a coupon, and once that amount is reached, the deal is active. And everyone who purchases the groupon recives the Groupon. I have never seen it happen, as the daily groupons are very popular, but if a groupon fails to sell the set amount, those that purchased it before it was active are not charged. Groupon even offers the convience of sending "The Daily Deal" to your inbox, so you wake up to a new bargain every day! You can even buy the bargain for someone else as a gift if it's something you think they might enjoy.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much money Groupon has saved me. These are just some of the deals I have bought:

$15 for $30 worth of Groceries at Plum Market
$24 for $285 worth of yoga classes at Yoga Shelter
$5 for $10 worth of frozen yogurt at Swirlberry (I got one for a gift as well)
$16 for $33 worth of organic produce from Door to Door Organics
$15 for $30 worth of spices from Milford Spice Company
$39 for $179 worth of excercise classes at Jazzercise
$10 for $20 worth of merchandise at Barnes & Noble
$20 for $40 worth of merchandise at The Body Shop

As you can see, there are groupons for just about anything! And these are just the ones I have bought myself!

If you'd like to sign up and what you can save, click here! It's a great way to afford something that you may not have otherwise been able, try something new, or treat your family to some fun family time together. So check it out! You can thank me later! ;)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lady Luck

I've never thought that I was lucky. It seems that I was always on the "poopy" end of the stick, up a crick without a paddle, you name the euphemism and that was me. I was a glass half empty kind of gal, I never saw the good that was around me. And I felt as unlucky as they came.

I focused on the things that shaped me. I lost my mother at age 8. Which lead me to a life of rebellion, because god knows, that I was screwed, and nothing was ever going to change that, so I might as well make my life into a non-stop party. I dated the bad boys, which lead to smoking, drinking, drugs, and sex. All by the ripe old age of 13. And I got away with it, while I know my dad cared about me, I think he turned a blind eye because I was the "All-American" teenager on the outside. I got good grades, participated in extra curricular activities, and was responsible despite the life I was hiding. I had, and still do have, the most immense desire to please people.

Most of my teenage years are a blur. School in the morning, parties on the weekends. I had a really good time, at the expense of my self esteem. My partying got more and more raucous and love blinded me from the emotional turned physical abuse of my then fiance. Yes, I was engaged to this guy and that lifestyle by the age of 18.

Once I moved to college, I developed the notion that since I was paying for my schooling, I should probably take things more seriously. I studied profusely, as I was in Nursing school, yet I still partied on the weekends. This lead to laziness, skipping classes, and passing classes by the skin of my teeth. I moved back home, and left school.

Once home, I landed a little library job as a Circulation Clerk at my local library. I was working with my best friend, and made several new friends. Friends that were not part of the group I was running with. However, within the first week, I called into work sick.

That fiance of mine and I got into a fight. A bad fight. A fight in the middle of the street from 12-3am. The kind of fight that wakes up the neighborhood. It was bad.

While I was at home, nursing the emotional wounds of the early morning (it didn't get physical). I got a phone call from my best friend. It turns out that a guy that I worked with (the security guard nevertheless), that I barely knew, was really concerned about me. After getting permission from my BFF, he got in contact with me just to make sure everything was alright, and offered to help in any way he could.

It was the first time that I felt that kind of kindness from a stranger. And it changed my life--my luck had changed in a moment. I let that guy into my life. He became my friend. I quit my "wild ways" and most importantly, I broke up with my fiance. Yet, I still didn't know that this "stranger" who entered my life would increase my luck infinitely.

That stranger, Phil Vanstone, became my husband October 11, 2008. And on March 25, 2010 we welcomed our first child, our son into this world. The love I receive from both of these blessings is a high that my previous life can never compare to. I can definitely say that I am the luckiest lady in the world to have both of them in my life.

Phil and My Wedding Day

Our First Family Photo

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. With the love and support of my husband, I made it back to school and got my Bachelor's Degree. Not in Nursing, but in my real passion, English, with Honors. :)



"I wrote this blog post while participating in the Bookieboo and "Earthies Wants You to Feel Lucky" blogging program, making me eligible to win a pair of Earthies shoes and American Express Gift Cards. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Thursday, March 3, 2011

PB2 Peanut Butter--a Multitasking Miracle Worker

Last night I recived my first ever jars of PB2 Dried Peanut Butter. I've been wanting to try it forever, and I'm elated that I finally get to try it!

What it is:
PB2 is peanut butter powder. It's made by Bell Plantation. Basically, it's peanut butter with the oil wrung out of it, so it has 85% less fat than normal peanut butter, and only 45 calories in a 2 tablespoon serving! That equates to 1 Weight Watchers Points Plus value for all of my weight watchers friends! Awesome!

However, if you prefer "classic" peanut butter flavor and texture, Bell Plantation also sells oil to reconsitute the powder with as well. Then you can have "classic" peanut butter, but also be able to use the powder in different ways! 2 ways to use one product, is 2 thumbs up from me!

What to do with it:
On the package, it says to reconsistute 2T of the powder with 1T of water to turn it into a low fat peanut butter. And you do get peanut butter. It's not greasy like normal peanut butter, and tastes pretty good for 45 calories.
However, I've used it in several different ways already. I've put it in my oatmeal with some apple slices, making peanut butter apple oatmeal.
You can also put it in smoothies, I put it in my chocolate Weight Watchers smoothie to make it chocolate peanut butter flavored. You could also put it in your daily Shakeology (I recommened Chocolate), to make a Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor, it's a favorite of Coaches and Beachbody customers alike.
I also think it would be excellent to use as part of a breading for chicken, making a lower fat, lower cal, version of peanut chicken.
There are so many ways to use this product, I can't even count. So I must say, this product is definately worth the money.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Homemade Asian-Style "Lean Cuisine" Dinner!

Here's your healthy recipe for the day! I made this the other night and I must say, it's delicious!

Ingredients:
2 6 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 cups rice, you can use either white or brown
5 green onions
2T Sesame Seeds
Lawry's Sweet and Sour BBQ marinade

Prep:
Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes
Once cut up, marinade in the Lawry's Sweet and Sour BBQ marinade for 30 mins.
Chop up green onions, I just cut mine with kitchen shears, and set aside.

Cook:
Cook rice according to package directions, or in your rice cooker.
While rice is cooking, cook chicken until cooked through, or 165 degrees farenheit for food safety.
When rice is done cooking, add in the chopped green onions and sesame seeds, and mix throughout. Let sit about 10 mins for flavors to infuse.

This recipe makes approximately four servings, 3 oz of chicken and 1 cup of rice per person. You may end up with more than enough rice though. I had about one serving extra. I haven't quite figured out the calories, but it is 9 Weight Watchers Points Plus. I usually eat mine with a little fresh fruit, tonight is cantaloupe, so the meal is extra filling and satisfies my sweet tooth (so I'm not running for chocolate and hour later) and the BEST part is the the fruit is FREE on WWP+

Enjoy!