Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful, fun-filled day celebrating Halloween! Make some candy apples, have a spooky scavenger hunt or make a fun craft with your boys and ghouls! Be safe!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ten Minutes at a Time

The other day, while struggling to fit my workout in, I asked my kiddos to sit quietly at the kitchen table and play Legos while I was on the treadmill. Who was I kidding?!?! That kind of request is one that crazy mothers make, right? Well, it worked...sort of.  For about ten minutes. Before I knew it, they were moseying over to the treadmill, making requests, asking for help building. I had to hop off and tend to my kids. What else could I do?? I fit in a few more minutes here and there throughout the day and realized that sometimes, that's the only way to get things done...ten minutes at a time. I try and foster independence in my kids by allowing them to get bored sometimes, find things to do on their own and play together but that only lasts for so long. They always make their way back to me, needing help, needing a snack or drink or just needing me. So I've succumbed to this life with kids knowing that if I want to read a book, catch up on a TV show or get laundry done, it will happen- in ten minute bursts. So take advantage when the kiddos are quiet because it won't last!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Three Bite Rule

For those of you who know me, I've been on a health kick for the past six weeks in hopes of shedding baby weight from my third pregnancy. It was easy this far but now, I can feel the last five or so pounds hanging on for dear life. Isn't it always those last five or ten that are the hardest?? Well, I've come up with a plan that seems to be working. In addition to cutting out the junk and walking, I decided no foods would be "off-limits". I think when you begin restricting whole food groups, you fail. It's too hard to say no to everything...snacks, cocktails and desserts are usually the first to go when on a diet. I say, no way! My favorite things: chips and guacamole, cheesecake, coffee with sugar and cream and a nice glass of wine are not indulgences I want to give up. So I thought about the "three-bite" rule. It is simple. Allow yourself a small taste or serving of your favorite treat and stop. Easy enough, right?? Not really. Especially not when you are extra hungry from eating foods like whole grains, veggies and protein instead of your usual carbo-loaded fare. Or maybe that's just me. But really, it's better to allow yourself a small taste of something than to deny yourself completely because then, you'll just want it more!!! So try it with me. Eat as healthy as you can and eat real, unprocessed foods but when the craving strikes, go ahead and allow yourself a little. Just don't overdo it. Good luck!!
What are your diet secrets??

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spice:The Name of the Game

This week, I'm on a bit of a mission to liven things up everywhere: projects with my kids, in the kitchen testing new recipes and, most importantly, with my hubby. I strongly believe that the foundation to a happy, healthy family starts with mom and dad. If we are not communicating, spending time together and putting our marriage first, it trickles down and nobody is happy. So first order of business?? Date night! Thanks to our sweet babysitters, we were able to have a weeknight happy hour date followed by a little cruise on my hubby's motorcycle. Absolute perfection.
Next up? Testing out some yummy recipes for dinner and making homemade granola with my kiddos. As we all do, I get stuck in a cooking rut from time to time...nothing thumbing through recipe books can't cure. I've got some great dinner plans for the week and can't wait to serve the granola in the morning with yogurt. It's a quick and healthy breakfast for us all.
Lastly, crafts! October is a great month to get crafty with the kids. Pumpkins are the perfect ingredient for activities. Teach the kids how they grow, what you can do with the seeds (roast and eat, of course!) and how to make the perfect jack-o-lantern. I like to buy die-cuts from Michaels and let them decorate to their hearts content. Whatever the season, there are always fun projects to be had so get crackin' and add a little spice to your day!
Here are a few recipes to get out of your cooking rut:
Asian beef w/steamed broccoli and brown rice- Place a five-pound roast in your slow cooker on low for about six hours. Once tender, shred and add 1/2 cup soy sauce, two sliced green onions and 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce. I just threw a bunch of my condiments in and it was yummy! Just make sure you add at least a cup or so of liquid or it will be dry. Serve over brown rice with steamed broccoli.
Chicken tortilla soup- Bring six cups chicken broth to a simmer and add one can corn, one can black beans, one can crushed tomatoes and one cup shredded chicken and heat through. Add tortilla chips, shredded cheese and green onions on top before serving.
Homemade granola- Mix five cups oats, one cup cranberries, one cup slivered almonds, one cup honey and one cup unsweetened applesauce until coated. Pour onto baking sheet and bake at 350-degrees for twenty minutes. Serve over yogurt.
What are you doing to liven things up at home??

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Get Real

While I was at the library waiting for my kid's story time to end, I randomly picked up the book "Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food" to browse through. Being at the beginning of a weight loss journey after pregnancy, I became quickly intrigued. Although we all know that the key to losing weight is simple: eat better and move more, it got me thinking how much better I could eat and how much better I'd like my family to eat. I think we do a generally good job, making sure our kids are active and don't eat too much junk. But then, I have to be honest with myself. I often use food as treats and allow them a Slurpee or hot dog to stay quiet during Target trips, destinations ending with juice to stay happy during long walks so mommy can get a workout in and candy as rewards for helping around the house. We also allow too many chicken nugget and french fry meals in our life. But no more!! The past couple weeks, as I've been trying to get my act together, I've been trying harder to get my kid's diets in check as well.
We have been limiting fast-food altogether and making better choices when we do go out to eat and I've been insisting on more fruits and veggies throughout the day. Water is the main attraction as far as beverages go and I feel more in control with my own eating. I don't know about you, but at the end of my pregnancy, I gave myself cart blanche to indulge in whatever fare I was craving at the time. I was just too tired to care anymore. But now, three weeks later, I am feeling amazing. I am officially 32 pounds lighter, have energy to spare and can finally keep up with the kiddos. I think carefully about every morsel of food that goes into my mouth and while it's not fun, it's totally worth it! I'm far from perfect but I'll take it!
How are you doing on your journey to a healthier lifestyle?