Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Emergency items for your vehicle

I think it is a good idea to have an emergency bag at all times in your vehicle.  I have been caught too many times without an extra set of clothes, extra wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. that I now make sure that I have an emergency/essentials bag in my vehicle.  Most of the items can be used by anyone, so it isn't just necessary if you have children.

Here is what you will find in my emergency bag:
  • extra set of clothes for the kids
  • extra bib
  • extra pullups, underwear, diapers and wipes
  • a bottle of water
  • snacks for all the kids
  • sunscreen ( in season)
  • bug spray  (in season)
  • extra hair accessories
  • extra nuk
  • sweatshirts for the kids (in season)
Other items that I tend to have in my vehicle:
  • re-usable grocery bag
  • magazine/book
  • sunglasses
  • nail file/polish
  • umbrella
  • boots, hat, mittens (in season)
  • double stroller - if you have room just leave it in your car and you will always have it
  • a bag full of books, coloring books/markers and other items to entertain the kids when needed
It may seem like a lot of "extra" stuff to have in your vehicle but when organized and put into the right compartments, it won't make your vehicle look messy. If you ever need to use any of the emergency items, it will be worth it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Great booster seat

Here is another item that I wish I would have had years ago.  I used one of these Cooshee booster seats at a friend's house early this fall and instantly loved it.  It is perfect for toddlers that can sit well and get on and off the chair by themselves.  There are no straps so for those that still want to get on and off, it isn't the safest option.  It works great on our chairs and stools at home because they are wood and this booster seat suctions well to the seats.  It is lightweight and can easily be moved from chair to chair.  The suction is great to help the seat stay in place, so you don't have to worry about it moving around.  The seats can be a little expensive brand new so I ordered mine off ebay for $15.00  The seat works well for older kids too.  Our 6 year old even uses it sometimes so she can sit a little higher.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I love my mini muffin pan!

I just recently purchased a mini muffin pan - and I love it!  I can't believe I have gone this long without one and it was only 5.99!  I can't wait to try all my favorite things in it.  I don't bake much, mostly because I will eat everything I bake, but I do like to do it.  The girls and I have been doing it more together as they all want to help pour things in, mix, etc. 

We wanted to make chocolate chip cookies but mine never turn out. They are either overdone and hard or not done at all.  I decided to try putting the cookie dough in my mini muffin pan this time.  They turned out great - and so cute too! I had to bake them a few minutes longer than what the directions said for cookies.  They were a little crispy on the edges but soft and chewy in the inside.  I liked that they were thicker than cookies but not as thick or dense at chocolate chip bars.  We found a new tradition in our house!

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A good bib is worth the money!

It took me 8 1/2 years to finally find a bib that I love and that works!  My sister received the snug-ease bib shown below as a gift.  I used it once when I was at her house and was instantly hooked.  Every bib I tried either hasn't worked, the kids got off or it wasn't practical.  When I used this bib, my daughter never tried to get it off, no food got under the bib and her clothes and collar of her shirt were untouched by food! It comes up around their neck so that nothing can fall through but the material is so soft that it doesn't seem to bother them. With other bibs I find that most food either falls below the bib, around their collars or under the bib from the opening by their collar.  This bib prevents all of that.  I don't usually give in to things like this, but I paid $9.00 for this bib. Yes, just for one bib!  But, like I said, I love it and it will save me a lot of money in the long run because I will no longer have to throw out shirts because they are stained. 

In my opinion, this bib is a must-have.  I did only buy one and I often clean it off while she is eating so that it can be used for multiple meals before going in the wash.

Here is the website to order the bibs online - http://www.snugease.com/index.html. I know that local boutiques carry bibs like this too and that is where I ended up getting mine.

This is the bib that we have:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unfinished wood + paint = nice decor for your house

There are a few rooms in our house where I was having a hard time finding the right decor to help accentuate the room.  In the girls room we used bright colors so it was hard to find things that didn't make the room even "louder".  In the bathroom I wanted square accessories, but I wanted them to match the shower curtain.  I took a trip to the local craft store and ended up buying some unfinished wood pieces and painting them myself to match the rooms.  There are so many possibilities and it was so cheap. 

I found these wooden circles for under .50 cents a piece. I bought the craft paint to match for around $1 a bottle.  I had a lot of paint leftover so now I can always add more to their room or change it as they get older.

I also found these wooden shallow squares at the craft store and I think they were around $1 a piece.  I used the same craft paint.  They make a great wall decoration.  They could also be used as a picture frame but I chose to leave the white show through.

Our bathroom has a shower curtain with square like shapes on it so I picked up these square mirrors at Ikea for about $2 a piece.  I used leftover paint that we had from our previous house that matched the curtain and we were set with another wall decoration.  I have another set of these mirrors painted to match a second shower curtain, so when I get sick of these colors, all I have to do is switch out the mirrors and curtain.  They both have an olive green in them so the towels and other accessories always match.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Balanced Mom

When I started staying home with the kids almost two years ago, a good friend of mine got me the book 'A Balanced Mom'.  It is a great book. And it isn't just for stay-at-home moms.  It has great advice for any women, whether you work or stay home and some sections apply even if you don't have kids at all.

It is almost more of a workbook and something you can always go back to, re-read and reference whenever you need to. It is also a very quick read.  It talks about making time for yourself, living your values, treasuring your friendships, learning to ask for help, simplifiying your life, among other things.

One of my favorite sections of the book is about setting your priorities - in life, at home, at work, with you family, your kids, your husband, etc.  It talks about the importance of YOUR priorities, not those of others.  Concentrating on what you can do in your life and not worrying about what others have, want, do, etc.  If you live your life sticking to your priorities and values you will be more fullfilled and happy.

Overall, it is a great book and I recommend it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cherish your time

I have been a little MIA on my blog the last few days.  We had a whirlwind week - a lot of events and celebrations happened in the last week or so that really made me think about how I cherish my time and how I should cherish my time even more!
  • Our 20 month old began to talk so much in the last week or so.  It is like something clicked and now she says so many words and seems to understand so much more.  It makes me sad that out baby is growing up so fast but I am trying to CHERISH this time that she is little because I know that she is going to be a teenager and out of the house before I know it!

  • I had my second yoga class that I take at a friends' studio and I completely CHERISHED my hour and 1/2 away from it all and concentrated on a great workout with great friends.  It is hard to walk out the door as soon as my husband gets home and get home right when he is putting them to bed and I know it is a sacrafice for him too and so I CHERISH my time because it isn't easy to get away.

  • We hosted an annual get together with a great group of highschool friends.  Each year we take turns hosting a "Valentine's" dinner.  This year it was our turn and we had the stomach flu the first time we were supposed to host, so it got rescheduled to this weekend.  I CHERISH the time with this group of friends.  We are all about the same age, have kids, have like interests and really have a great time together.  We don't all live close to each other so we don't get to see each other as we would like.  But the time we do have is CHERISHED!

  • I also got to host a birthday party for one of my nieces this weekend.  We had family home for a few reasons so it just made sense for me to host.  I CHERISH the time with my family.  I have 3 sisters and a brother and we all get along so well and truly love each other's company. We enjoyed good food, the boys played cards, we had a few cocktails and watch the cousins play.  It is rare these days for families to be as close as we are and I am very grateful and will forever CHERISH my time with them.

  • Our son received his First Communion this weekend!  He is growing up so fast!!!  He is our first born and it seems like just yesterday that I was holding him in my arms in the hospital.  I CHERISH my time with him.  He is such an amazing son and I couldn't ask for anything more.  He has to put up with a lot with a house full of women and he is such a good sport.  He has such an awesome love for his sisters that I can't even explain.  Of course they get on his nerves and him on theirs but when he comes home from school, the first thing he does is run through the door and say "Where are my girls?" and runs to give them a hug.  I CHERISH my time with him even more these days as he seems like such a little man and not my little boy anymore.

  • And last, but certainly not least, I lost an uncle this week.  He was an amazing Husband, Dad, Brother, Son, Grandpa and Man.  And he was one of my Dad's best friends!  I know my Dad CHERISHED the last few years that they spent together.  They went on many road trips, touring around, visited family members, went on trips to the casinos, etc.  It is hard to see someone you love go, but I know he is in a better place and can now be with his parents up in Heaven. This event will make me CHERISH my time even more with my parents.  I love them dearly and know that someday they will go so all I can do is make the most of today and CHERISH the time we have together now.
It is hard to always CHERISH the time that you have.  But as you read this post, think about one thing in your life that you should or want to CHERISH more and try and make a point to do that.  Right now I am going to go and CHERISH some cuddle time with my family.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ahh.... Yoga

I recently started practicing Yoga and I have to say  - I LOVE IT!!  I have been hearing about it for a few years and a lot of my friends have tried it but I just didn't think I would like it.  I am one that when I work out I really need to FEEL like I am working hard and I have to break a good sweat.  I don't have that much time to dedicate to it so it needs to be a really good workout.  Well, I have found that Yoga is just that.  I get an amazing FULL BODY workout!

I started a few months ago after a friend suggested the Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga DVD.  I borrowed it from her for a few weeks and then Santa brought me one in my stocking.  I love it!  It has 3 workouts that you can do individually or all together if you'd like.  Even just the first 20 minute session is a great workout.  The first time I did it, I FELT like I worked hard, I broke a GOOD SWEAT and I was a little SORE the next day - all good signs that you pushed your body and worked hard!

I just started to take organized Yoga classes from a friend of mine that just became a certified teacher and I love this even more.  It gets me out of the house to a studio for a little over an hour of just time to concentrate on me and my workout.  We have only had 2 classes so far but each time I feel that 'good workout' feeling after and the next day.

I highly suggest Yoga to everyone.  I feel stronger, have more muscle definition and more flexibility.  I think it will help me in the long run with my running as well.

  • Here is some good Yoga information from Women's Health
  • I have also found a TV station that carries a variety or workouts, but mostly in the Yoga realm.  It is BYUTV.  Not sure if all of you can get it but I know Dish Network carries it with one of their more standard packages.
If any of you have tried other Yoga DVDs I would love to hear about them!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Freezing meals and meal making parties

About a year ago I started getting together with a group of girlfriends to cook and freeze meals together.  A few of them had been doing it on their own for a while but thought it would be more fun and efficient to get a few people together to help.  The more people helping to prepare and cook the more meals you would get to take home! We have done it about 3 or 4 times now and it is a great success!!  One person hosts the party, one or more people get all the groceries and then we get together and start the process.  The past two or three times it has only cost each person around $60 to take home 8 or 9 meals and some of those meals can be split into 2 or sometimes 3 meals.  We have a great time getting together and chatting while we cook, we learn new recipes together and the process goes so much faster!  I know there are a lot of companies out there that do this too.  You can go there, put the meals together, etc. But we have found that getting together at someones house is more efficient, cheaper and we can pick our own meals.  You can have happy hour with your girlfriends and cook meals to take home to your family at the same time!  Great multi-tasking!

Since I have started to attend the meal making parties, I have done more freezing of meals on my own too.  It is such a convenient thing when you are in a pinch and don't have time to make something, or if you just don't want to cook again.  If I am going to cook a meal that I think will freeze well, I just double the recipe and eat one that night and freeze the other for another night.  Once you have all the ingredients and you were going to make it anyway, it doesn't take much effort to make a second one.

Here are some of meals that we have made at our meal parties or that I have done that freeze well:
  • Soup - all types of soup freeze well
  • Chili
  • Lasagna
  • Pot Pies
  • Pulled Pork
  • Mini meat loaves
  • English muffin pizzas
  • Baked Ziti
  • Enchiladas
  • Manicotti
  • Pizza hotdish
  • Taco Soup
  • Taco Hotdish
  • French Toast
  • Pancakes
  • Spaghetti
  • Chicken Alfredo
  • Stir-Fry
  • Cheesy potatoes
  • Stroganoff
And I am sure there are many more.  You can either buy freezer containers or use tupperware that you already have to store the items in.  One thing to keep in mind is that the baking times will be longer if the items are frozen when you decide to bake them. 

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weekly Reader/Scholastic News

We have 2 kids in school and they often come home with many papers, projects, letters, etc.  Of course I go through and read and keep most of it but some does get looked at and go in the garbage.  I have to ask first though as they have found some of their things in there without their permission and that wasn't pretty.

I particually like their Weekly Reader and Scholastic News sheets and booklets.  I have been keeping them all year and now have a library of good information to use for their younger sisters.  They are short and very informative and always current with season, holiday, etc.  I also keep their religion lessons that get sent home. Even though some of the sheets are filled out, it still has good information that even young ones can understand.  All of this information is a perfect mini lesson for the toddlers in the house.  On the days when I know we have a lot going on and can't get everything in, it is nice to pick up the booklet and read through something educational and fun in just a few minutes.

Weekly Reader website - http://www.weeklyreader.com/

Scholastic News website - http://www2.scholastic.com/

Monday, March 15, 2010

Grocery Shopping Spreadsheet

Grocery shopping is one of those things you HAVE to do but I don't know many people that actually enjoy it.  Sometimes it is nice to take your time and go through each aisle looking at the items closely and other times you just have to run in and grab a few things as fast as you can. 

About a year ago I decided that I would walk through our local grocery store with my list of groceries and start putting the aisle number next to each item so that I could organize my grocery list by aisle number.  It took a lot of time at first but it was worth it!  Once I got home I put together my grocery shopping spreadsheet by aisle number and the next trips to the store were a breeze! I still tweak it almost every time I go because I add more items, or sometimes they change locations of items at the store, but for the most part it has been the same since I made the initial categorizing trip through.  And it has really made grocery shopping less of a chore.  I keep a few printed off and hung up in our mud room so that I always have one ready when I need to start checking off items we need.

Sometimes I use this website to create my grocery list for me.  You go through the lists, check the items you want and then input your email address to have it emailed to you.  It is very easy and quick and helps you think of the items that you may not otherwise remember to pick up.

Happy Shopping!

Friday, March 12, 2010

An amazing salad recipe!

One of my best friends brought this salad to our scrapbooking retreat last weekend and it was a hit with all of us!  I asked her if I could share it as I am sure all of you will love it too!

Winter Fruit Lettuce Salad
2 bags lettuce or 1 1/2 heads Romaine Lettuce
1 apple, cored and chopped into small pieces
1 pear, cored and chopped into small pieces
1 cup candied slivered almonds
1 cup candied chopped walnuts
1/4 cup craisins
(I candy the nuts in a non-stick pan with about 1/4 cup (or more) of sugar until sugar is melted and nuts are golden, cool on wax paper)

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup veg oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp diced red onion
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
Combine dressing ingredients in a sealed container and shake until mixed, toss with salad. You may not use all the dressing.

Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!

Also, I want to THANK Modern Mom for featuring me as one of their Mom Bloggers they love.  It was a great article and I am very grateful to be included in the list. I love the site and am honored to be a part of it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Baby wash cloths in the kitchen

We are almost out of the "baby" stage as our youngest is nearly 20 months old, but I am trying to find uses for the baby items we still have around the house.  We seem to have a lot of those little baby wash cloths.  For some reason we didn't use them very long for bathing.... not sure why, but we have them, so I am trying to put them to good use.  I started using them lately to wash the kids faces/hands after meals and snacks. There have been many times when the kids grab the kitchen "rag" that I have wiped the floor or the counters with to wipe their face.... so gross!  Instead of just using a wet paper towel or napkin, which I guess I could use too, I started using these soft little baby wash cloths.  The kids now know that when they need to wipe off their hands or face they use the baby wash cloth instead of the rag that is used for everything else in the kitchen.  The only downfall is that is adds one more thing to the laundry pile but they are so small so it doesn't make that much of a difference.  They are so much softer on the kids' faces that is makes it worth it.

If you don't have any of these or want to purchase more, I just saw them in wal-mart for .94 cents for 5 of them.  You can't beat that deal!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Toys for all ages

When it comes to buying gifts/toys for your kids there are a million possibilities.  It is hard to know if they will like them, play with them, if they are worth the money, etc.

Here are a few items that we have in our house that have been a great investment and all of the kids enjoy them!  We have children that range in age from 19 months to 8 years old and all of them really do use all of these toys.  They are also great for both boys and girls. 
  • Kangaroo Climber - We put this outside in the spring/summer/fall and it goes in our basement in the winter.  The kids love to play on this as well as use it as a house for their babies, animals, etc.
  • Easel - The kids use this to play school and it is a great way to play pictionary with the kids too!
  • Ball Pit - The ball pit we have is a little different than this but it is a hit with the kids! 
  • Picnic Table - We use our picnic table all the time!  It is outside for the warmer months and we have it in our basement when it is cooler.  It isn't very heavy, so you can easily move it wherever you want it.  We often have it in the sandbox and the kids play kitchen in the sand.
  • Teeter totter - A great item that can be used inside and outside.  This has mostly been used by the bigger kids but I think the little girls will love it this summer
  • Sand/Water Table - Yet another inside/outside item!  There are endless possibilities as to what you can put in this table and the cover has a track on it to use for little cars, etc. 
  • Play Tent - We have a fold up tent that we got at Target but these are great as well.  They use it for hide and seek, pretend it is a home for animals/babies, bring toys in to play, etc.
  • White board - We have a giant whiteboard and we often play pictionary as a family. It is a great way to engage everyone on a cold winter night!
  • Play Kitchen - You can't go wrong with a play kitchen set, food and accessories.  All of our kids play with this for endless hours.
  • Bike Trailer - Not everyone likes to bike but if you do, I would suggest getting a bike trailer to pull your kids in. 
  • Play Tunnel - This is great for kids when they start crawling but it is also great for kids as they get older. 
  • Little Tykes basketball hoop - These hoops are great because they adjust to your child's height so it can work for many ages
  • Graco Play Strollers - Even our son plays with a stroller once in a while.  They are a great toy to help your little one learn to walk.  They are mostly used for the kids animals and babies. They also use them to hold many other things; play shopping, house, etc.
The items listed above are bigger items that may cost more than you want to spend, so here are some inexpensive items that serve the purpose of being useful to many ages and both boys and girls:
  • Balls - the kids are always up for dodge ball, catch, etc.
  • Coloring books/markers/paint  - coloring never gets old.  For the older kids they have coloring or painting by number which can make it a little harder for them
  • Puzzles  - big and small  - they make puzzles for just about any age now.  And the older kids can help the younger kids
  • Legos - there are so many possibilities for legos!
  • Blocks
  • Play animals
  • Stuffed animals/webkinz  - our older kids love playing with their webkinz and the little ones just think they are a normal stuffed animal so all can enjoy.
  • Play doh
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Scooters
  • Jump ropes - the big kids use these the right way and the little girls use them to drag each other around!
If your kids are anything like our kids, just spending time together is a gift in itself.  They love to hang out at home watching movies, going for walks/bike rides, going to the park, playing board games, etc.  One thing we incorporated this year for the older kids was date night around their birthday.  They get a special date with mom and a special date with dad.  This special one on one time was the best gift we could have given them!  And it was a gift to us as well!  Next time it is time to give a gift, think of something to do together, chances are they will like that even more than any gift you could buy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Scrapbooking scraps come in handy!

I just returned from a scrapbooking retreat and completed 50+ pages!  I used to work for a scrapbooking company so I have been doing it for many years.  I do a book for each child and try to do a family book as well.  I really love preserving their every move in a scrapbook.  I just finished one of our daughter's 3rd book and she isn't even 2 yet.  I should really count how many I have done in total - I am sure it is around 30 or so.  Although it takes a lot of time, I think it is so important to preserve our family memories.  The kids love to go back and look at the pictures and stories from back when they were younger.  I know I will cherish them when all the kids are grown up. 

As I was working on my books this weekend, I found that I had a lot of scraps left over - extra paper mostly.  Most of the paper is oddly shaped, ripped, etc. so the likelyhood of it being used again on a page isn't very high.  However, I do not throw these scraps away.  All of my scraps go into a special container so that they can be used again.  They are especially great for the kids!

Here are a few ideas to use your scrapbooking leftovers:
  • Use them for the kids art projects
  • Frame the paper if it can add decoration to any room
  • Have your young ones practice cutting
  • You can cut out shapes and have your kids play a game with the shapes or just go through them to learn their shapes
  • Use the scraps into a memory game
  • I use most of my scraps to make cards! You can let the kids make their own cards as well.
  • If you have a cricut, you can use your scraps to cut out different things with this machine either for future pages or for your kids
Whether you scrapbook or not, I hope you preserve your family memories in a way that suits you!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A good cup of coffee doesn't need to cost you $4.00+

Since I started drinking coffee about 4 years ago I have been trying different things to get the perfect combination for my morning cup of Jo.  Don't get me wrong, I love to occasionally get a latte from Caribou but that only happens a few times a year. The cost and calories deter me every time as well as the fact that I can (almost) make the same thing at home for the fraction of the price and calories.  People that drink their coffee black would say that what I put into my coffee doesn't even make it coffee anymore, but that is just fine with me.  It tastes great, has few calories, isn't really "bad" for me and doesn't cost much at all!  Plus, if it helps me get out of bed in the morning with a smile on my face it is all worth it!

Here are a few combinations that I use and look forward to each  morning:
  • Folders Classic Roast coffee - Sugar Free CoffeeMate French Vanilla Creamer (liquid) - Equal
  • Folders Classic Roast coffee - a scoop or two of French Vanilla Capaccinno
  • Folders Classic Roast coffee - Vanilla Carmel CoffeeMate Creamer (liquid) - Equal
  • Folders Classic Roast coffee - a scoop or two of hot chocolate mix
  • Folders Vanilla Biscotti coffee - Sugar Free CoffeeMate French Vanilla Creamer (liquid)
I am trying to wean myself from using the artificial sweetners as I know those aren't the best for you.  I have also tried the Folders French Roast coffee and Breakfast Blend which I recommend.  I think the liquid creamers taste and blend better than the powder creamers but they also cost a little bit more and don't last as long.

I know there are endless possibilities and I would love to hear your favorite morning coffee combinations.

Now its time to fill up my cup.  Have a great day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Enjoy and Be Grateful

I am just about to walk out the door to a wonderful 3 day weekend of scrapbooking with 16 other girldfriends!  I can't wait!  I spent most of the day yesterday packing and organizing so that I can be as productive as possible. 

As I am about to leave, I think about how I am truly going to ENJOY my time away from everything!  I do not feel guilty about saying that either.  I think it is very important to get this time away.  I believe it makes you appreciate the things you are leaving behind that much more.  I am also very GRATEFUL for my wonderful husband as he will tend to our four kids while I am gone and I know I don't have to worry about a thing!

ENJOY and be GRATEFUL today!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jergens Tinted Moisturizer

As it warms up here and people are going on vacations to tropical places, it reminds me of summer and having a nice tan.  I don't know what it is but when I have a little color it just makes me feel so much better.  I used to use tanning booths and lay out in the sun a lot when I was younger and I really hope I didn't do too much damage to my skin!  The past few years I have been much better about sunscreen at all times. However, I do still want a little color. 

Last spring/summer I started using Jergens Tinted Moisturizer on my body and the Jergens lotion specifically for your face. I have tried quite a few self tanners and haven't been impressed but this one really works!  It gives you color gradually.  You won't get a very dep tan from it but enough color that makes it look like you just got back from vacation and used sunscreen so you just have that newly sunkissed glow!  I used it almost every day so that I would keep my color and so that it would look smooth and consistent.  You do have to be careful if you have dry spots and make sure to blend well on  your elbows, knees, etc.   I don't feel that it left me looking organge at all, which can be a big downside to a lot of self-tanners.

Here is a before and after picture.  It isn't a drastic difference but just enough.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Weight Watchers

Diet is a word we hear often but really they never work. As I learned in Weight Watchers, you really need to change your life, change the way you eat and add exercise into your routine. There are many days I wish this wasn't true and I could just take a pill and lose 2 or 3 pounds in one day! But I know this would not be healthy and it would not last.

I joined weight watchers after we had our first born. It was an eye opening experience and a very good one. It has forever changed the way that I think and look at food. If you are not familiar with Weight Watchers - each food has a point value and based on criteria, you are alloted a certain amount of points each day. If you exercise you can earn points and eat more - YAY! I loved that part. I think it is one of the best "diets" out there, although I don't believe it should be put into that category. It basically teaches you that you can eat whatever you want BUT if you want to eat that burger and fries for lunch you should have a light salad for dinner and that is it. Portion control and eating smaller portions of the "bad" things and larger portions of the "good" things is the key.  It really makes you think about what you want to eat and what you should eat. I have been loosely following the program for the last 8 1/2 years and I still believe it in. I was and still am one to exercise more just so I can eat more. The good thing about this program, is that it is ok to do that. If you are eating more it should still be fairly healthy, but the deal you make with yourself is that if you want to work extra hard you should be able to reward youself too!

I have pledged to myself that I am going to TRY really hard to follow the program again. I have a few pounds that I have been wanting to lose for a few years now and I really need to kick it in gear and just put in the hard work!  My sister and I are going to do weekly weigh ins and keep on each other so that we both reach our goal!

Along my weight watchers journey I have found some great companion sites that have helped me with point values, recipes, etc.

Daily Plate
If you are looking for a free way to track your food and exercise, again the Daily Plate on Modern Mom is a great way to do that!

Weight Watchers Site
http://www.weightwatchers.com/Index.aspx - Main Weight Watchers site

Dotti's Weight Loss Zone
http://www.dwlz.com/  - This website is a little hard on the eyes but it has great information.  Under the restaurants section you will see hundreds listed out and when you click on them it lists out all the food and the point values for each item.
http://www.dwlz.com/WWinfo/0point.html - 0 point foods
http://www.dwlz.com/WWinfo/1point.html - 1 point foods

Weight Watchers recipes and information

http://www.dietfacts.com/fastfood.asp - another site similar to Dotti's Weight Loss Zone
http://www.sparkpeople.com/ - another site where you can input food, exercise, get weekly emails, etc.

Here are a few of my favorite low point foods:
  • Apple/Bananna - 1 point
  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese - 2 points
  • Fiber one Strawberry yougurt - 0 points
  • Market Pantry Fiber bars (Target) - 3 points
  • Arnolds Sandwich thins - 1 point (use these instead of buns)
  • Most vegetables are 0 points! (eat with a little dip and it can still be under 2 points)
  • Low Fat popcorn - usually 2 to 3 points for the whole bag
  • Salad with low fat dressing - usually 2 or 3 points total
  • Yoplait light yogurt - 2 points
  • 1 cup of honey nut cheerios - 2 points
  • 1 chicken breast - 3 points
  • Strawberry/banana whey protein shakes  - 3 points
  • Smart Ones frozen meals  - have tried many and they are all really good!  Lean cuisine is also good.
  • Snack size 100 grand - only 2 points!!
  • Jello with whip cream - 1 to 2 points
  • Pretzels, Fiber/Wheat Thins, Triscuits - serving is 2 to 3 points
  • Low fat string cheese - 1 to 2 points
  • Toast - 1 to 3 points
  • Mini bagels - 2 points
And lastly WATER is very important to your success.  I try to drink between 70 to 100 ounces of water a day.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Liz Lange Maternity Camis

No, I am not pregnant.  Does that mean I can't wear maternity clothes?  I know most of you are probably gasping and asking yourselves, "Why would you want to wear maternity clothes if you weren't pregnant?"  I wear these camis because I LOVE them!  And because they come in extra small, so even though they are maternity they actually fit me.

You can find these Liz Lange maternity camis at Target or online.  I have a hard time finding camis that I like that don't have the shelf bra in them.  These tanks have all the features I have ever wanted in a cami - adjustable straps, no shelf bra, cotton and spandex [which makes the fit snug and so comfortable] and a square front and back cut. They are long enough for layering and they come up high enough so you don't have to ever worry about anything falling out.  They also come in a variety of colors - what more could you want? 

So even though the tag says maternity, I will continue to buy them unless I find a "normal" cami that has all of the features I love. The best part is that I can wear an extra small, that doesn't happen too often!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A girl can never have too much jewlery!

I have a LOVE for jewlery!  For the past few years, as I expanded my collection of jewlery, I was in need of a better way to organize it so that I could see everything that I had.  I saw this idea first in Real Simple (1-year) - one of my favorite magazines!  The boards above are actually picture boards.  I am using pins in the boards to hold up my jewlery. It is such a great way to display your jewlery to see all of your pieces.  I have these hung up in my bedroom but you could put them in your bathroom, closet - whereever!  I usually go pick out what I am going to wear and then walk over to my jewlery boards and find the matching accessories!    They are easy to hang up, and as you can tell by my necklace board, they can hold a lot!  Also, I think I spent under $10 for each board! 

I also have a belt wall hanger inside my closet that holds older necklaces that I don't where as often or that don't go with as much. The belt hanger is a great organizational tool for necklaces, belts, scarves, etc.  Again, a very inexpensive item.