Monday, January 28, 2013

Mom's Advice - Working Out With Kids at Home

Finding time to exercise at home when you have kids has got to be one of the hardest things about being a mom. Sleepless nights, exhaustion, housework, errands, sick days, time outs, and just general stress all work against our motivation to get up and make time to burn calories. 

newborn, exercise, workout, mom
photo by Jan de Graaf

For myself, it often comes down to something like "is the kitchen getting cleaned? or are my biceps getting a workout?". When I was in school it was even harder, I felt like I was constantly juggling three different things: schoolwork, housework, and exercise. You could always look at my kitchen, my grades, or my butt, to tell which ones had been let go the most that month. 

When I was pregnant with Miss M, my first, I gained a lot of weight. Naturally, after I gave birth, I really looked forward to losing all that extra baby fat. Any mom can tell you that working out with a newborn at home isn't easy, and when it's your first it's even harder, in my opinion. 

workout, exercise, mom, kids, yoga
Photo by Synergy by Jasmine


It's so easy to stress the little things with that first baby! I felt like I never let myself relax. When things didn't work out the way I planned I would be so frustrated it was hard to try again later. I had to tell myself to take a deep breath and just roll with the punches. If baby woke up early from nap time and I didn't get to finish my workout, it wasn't the end of the world. The important thing was to not stress out about it. When it comes to weight loss, stress is killer. 

It's true what they say about the second baby. Although juggling two has it's own obstacles, for the most part, you already know what you're doing. You know the tricks of the trade, how to get the baby to sleep, what diapers work best, which toys entertain the most. If I could go back and impart some golden advice on my old self, it would be to chill the heck out! 

mom, workout, exercise, jog, kids
Photo by Ed Yourdon


So if you're having a hard time with motivation, or you're frustrated that you only made it through the first 30 minutes of P90X Kenpo when your 20 month old decided nap time was over (yeah, that was me today), remember to just let it go and try again tomorrow. Sometimes you get to do your ab workout; sometimes the dishes get done. Sometimes you get to do a fun craft with your kids; sometimes nothing goes your way

Just take a deep breath and roll with the punches. There's always tomorrow, and if it takes you a little longer to lose that weight it's not the end of the world. The important thing is to stay relaxed, happy, and stress free. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jelly Arms - Two Arm Workout Videos

I'm really feeling great right now. I have lots of motivation, I'm excited to workout everyday, and I'm doing WAY better in the eating department. I've lost a whole pound since last week! A couple days ago I also got a tad closer to my short-term goal of running 4 miles, I ran 3.6! (Without any music whatsoever I'd like to point out, stupid smartphone!)

I downloaded the app Noom, which I'll do a short review on to share with you. It's really helped me with my eating habits. I feel a lot of it is psychological, but nevertheless, it works! 

Today I was really looking forward to doing the P90X Arms & Shoulders workout. I used P90X to supplement my workout after I had Miss M and was trying to lose the extreme amount of weight I had gained. I liked being able to choose which workouts I wanted to do (like I said I was using them as a supplement), and I always looked forward to "Arms Days". It was like a day off! 

Unfortunately I couldn't find my copy of the workouts. So while I work on getting another set I looked online for something to do in the meantime. 

I found two 10 minute arm workouts on YouTube from Fit Sugar. I planned on doing both but after the Madonna workout my arms were all jellified! So much for doing push ups. 

These videos are definitely going in my weekly repertoire. I'm going to be taking some before pictures and in a month I'll check back and see if there's any visible difference. 

Here are the videos I found. Check them out! If you're a real beginner you may even want to consider using 3 lb weights when they call for 5, and no weights at all when she calls for 3. 

10 Minute Workout for Tank Top Arms

Madonna's Arms 10 Minute Workout

Saturday, January 26, 2013

10 Adorable Valentine's Day Cloth Diapers

I miss having a little baby girl in diapers that I can spoil with cute pink cloth diapers! Cute boy
diapers are a little bit harder to come by, but they do exist! Since I can't use these myself I thought I'd entertain myself by creating a list of 
10 Adorable Valentine's Day Cloth Diapers! 
Enjoy! 

(p.s. if you like one it would be really nice if you favorited it on Etsy, help a seller out!)







Pink Valentine Hearts OS AI2 Cloth Diaper with Inserts









Small Candy Heart Soaker

















Friday, January 25, 2013

Favorite Spots on Oahu - Ali'i Beach

Mr. Eight and I have decided to really start taking advantage of our new local on the island by heading to the beach as often as possible. We've gone more this month than we did in the last 6 months and it's great! (Minus the major sunburn on my back of course.)

While my mom was visiting last month I found a review on Yelp for Ali'i Beach. I was looking for a place for good turtle watching so she'd have a chance to see one. Let's just say we weren't disappointed! 



I love this beach. We've come 3 times this past week and I haven't gotten sick of it yet. Today we actually saw a turtle come up out of the water right in front of us. He took a nap about 10 feet away from my kids, how cool is that? 

The surf here can be a little rough, but is fine for older kids. I'm not sure I recommend swimming at this beach, just around the corner is a popular surfing location and you can see the huge waves crashing in the winter. So be safe! Keep an eye on the younger ones. The first two times we came I turned around in time to see Mr. C lying on his stomach on the beach with the water washing up around him; not a pretty sight for a mom! I recommend checking the tide schedule before you come, know when high tide is and pay attention. The water can sneak up on you, your digital camera, and your toddler! 



A few notes about the area. There are a lot of homeless people around, you'll see some tents and camp sights in the shade. I haven't noticed any problems though and in spite of the camp sites the beach is relatively clean. 

Also, respect the honu! You should keep to a minimum of 6 feet away from the turtles. They're a threatened species, and they bite. If you were taking a nap on the beach I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate people stopping by and patting you on the back every few minutes. Don't be afraid to tell other people off either, there are signs posted letting you know to give them space. If you decide not to heed these warnings don't be surprised if some local shows up and chews you out. I've seen it happen twice myself! 

Behind the beach is a huge grassy field, there are some picnic benches as well. Perfect for letting the kids run, flying a kite, or playing catch with your dog. Lots to do!



Overall, I like this beach a lot. It's right in Haleiwa, but is never very crowded. As far as island parking goes, it's plentiful, which is a huge plus. I would definitely put this on your list of places to visit in North Shore!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Family Vacation Planning


Financially Taking The Whole Family On Vacation

Affording to take a family vacation when your family has grown to four or more can be difficult. Just because it's difficult, doesn't make it impossible. With a few travel tricks, a good savings plan and a solid budget, you can take a dream vacation without worrying about money.

A relaxing trip to the beach or any other destination can quickly become a stressful event, if you spend the entire time worried about money. Taking the money worry out of your trip will allow the entire family to get the rest and relaxation they deserve. You just need a good plan and a few ways to save money on your trip.

Saving Money and Planning for your Family Trip

Planning your trip ahead of time will not only help you build a travel budget, but also allow you to take advantage of the best prices on travel. Once you know where you want to go and how much you can afford, you can start looking at package vacation deals to help you save money. Often, travel companies will let you package flight, rental car and hotel all in one to help you save money. This is a great way to make your trip more affordable.

If you don't plan to fly or you find it's simply too expensive, you can drive and save money with a hotel or resort package. Some destinations, such as Disney World and Myrtle Beach will package hotel stays with golf, amusement parks and other attractions. This type of vacation package can also help you save money on your family vacation.

Saving Money

Saving money is very important whenever traveling. Even saving $20 here and $10 there can add up to a special night out for the family. Two of the most expensive parts of traveling with a family are lodging and food. If you rent a house, apartment or condominium with a kitchen, you don't need to spend money eating out every night. Often, renting a house or condo if cheaper if you stay for at least a week, anyway.

Another great way to save money when traveling is choosing the attractions you want to enjoy ahead of time and scoping out ways to get discounts. For example, if you want to take the entire family to Disney World, but you cannot afford to stay on the property, you can take a tour of a timeshare and get a couple free tickets to one of the parks. This can save you over $100 and all you have to do is put up with the high-pressure salesperson for about an hour.

Planning

The planning part of your trip can actually save you money because you won't find as many unexpected expenses, while traveling. Start as soon as possible and you will find it's easier to afford your trip. Many financial experts believe you should start planning your next trip shortly after you get back from the most recent one. This gives you time to work the savings into your regular budget, scope out the best deals and research ways to save money while traveling.

Start your planning as soon as possible and pay attention to the top travel websites. This will help you find the best deals on your next trip.

This is a guest post featured on Eight Days a Week.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quick Workout at the Playground

Really getting back into running this week and boy am I all over the place. Ran 2.5 mi on Monday and it was terrible! I felt awful. I was sluggish and tired, and I really believe the only thing that kept me going, and weaseled an extra sprint out of me was Zombies, Run! 

I held onto hope it was just an off day, and was rewarded on Wednesday when I ran 2.3 mi with Mr. C in the stroller. What an awesome run! I felt fantastic. I really could have kept going, and only stopped because he was getting ancy. We stopped at the playground and I did 2 sets of a quick workout (see below). That's how motivated I was! 

I wasn't satisfied though. I really wanted to break 3 miles. Tried again on Friday, yeah, no such luck. I did the same 2.3 mi distance, only this time I didn't have the stroller with me and it actually took longer for me to finish! Afterward I was tired and beat. (I blame it on Little Caesars and the soda I had the night before, not a good choice.)

Hopefully today I can get my act together and try again. Hydrated a lot more yesterday which should help immensely! 

Here is the workout I did at the playground with Mr. C. Kids love these kinds of workouts. My daughter is ecstatic whenever I start doing jumping jacks. 

Plus, playgrounds are great for things like incline push ups, there's always bars or benches around you can use!

jumping jacks, mountain climbers, push ups, lunges, quick, workout, easy, playground

How many sets can you do? Don't be afraid to workout while your kids play, they'll probably get into it too!

A Gift For My Grandfather

Photo by left_stab


I came to a realization today: I have never bought my grandfather a birthday present. Not once, in my life. In fact, I don't think I've ever purchased a birthday gift for either of my grandparents. 

My grandfather's birthday is coming up next month, and it really hit me today that I have never done this. I guess growing up it's the grandparents job to spoil the grandchildren, not the other way around. 

However, now that I'm an adult, with children of my own to spoil (or not), I feel like giving a gift would be a very adult thing to do. Not to mention unexpected. And thoughtful. Which grandparents adore

Unfortunately, we don't live anywhere near my grandparents. I've never lived near them, only visited in the summers. This has lead to a sad scenario where I am not entirely sure what my grandfather would like for his birthday. Men are hard enough to shop for, leading me to think that grandpa's must be especially hard! 

After a little thinking I concluded that my main memory of my grandpa, the one thing about him that I am sure of, is his love for watches. He has so many watches! He keeps them in simple little boxes in his closet, and I recall bringing them out sometimes when I was young and going through them, trying them on, and listening to them tick. 

I even received a watch from him once as a birthday present in the seventh grade. A lovely, quartz, Mickey Mouse watch. I wore it everywhere. 

I knew I was on the right track. Using this idea I did a quick search and discovered beautiful boxes for displaying watches at Price Grabber Watch Accessories. I remembered my grandpa had really simple boxes for his watches, but nothing to display them in. Perfect! 

I wish I could have been there to see him open his gift. (My grandparents still need to be taught the ways of Skype). I feel like this is a milestone in my adulthood, giving a beautiful, birthday gift to my grandfather, letting him know he is in my thoughts. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Secret Shopper Scam #Fraud #Scam

I received an email tonight for a secret shopper scam. Beware any emails for job offers that do not include a company website, use poor grammar/English, or asks for your information!

Sent from morgmatt@windstream.net

Subject: SSN-2013

Hi
We have an assignment in your area and we would like you toparticipate.
It's fun and rewarding
You will Get-paid $380.00 for each Work You do You need not to pay ANY fee
before you can work as an-evaluator.
After you sign up you will have access to training materials.

Please reply this email with the following information below to sign up

NameFull:
Complete Address-(City,State and Zip):
.#Contact Number-(cell&Home):
Email:
Age:
Works:

Regards,
Head-Recruitment.
Chuck.D.Jackson

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Packing Food & Freezing Food: Learning Some Basics

One of my New Year's resolutions is to stop throwing away food. The majority of what I throw away is fruits and vegetables that have gone bad. The solution? Prepare food so it's easy to grab on the go or throw into a meal, and freeze food before it goes bad, so it's equally easy to thaw and cook!

Packing Grapes

Preparing pre-packaged food yourself is one of the best ways to ensure your food is eaten before it spoils, and to lose weight! Not to mention saving money on snacks while you're out and about. A triple whammy! 

To start off I tried something simple: grapes! 

Be sure to wash them well with some vinegar water to get the germs off. (Did you know that grapes are on the EWG's Dirty Dozen list? You can avoid pesticides by buying organic when possible, however EWG's tests are done after the produce is carefully cleaned. Even washing doesn't get rid of the toxins!)



Pull all the grapes off the vines. 

Separate into little baggies. 



That's it! Just store in the fridge, and now you have a little bag to grab on your way out the door, or whenever you feel like a quick snack! 

Freezing Green Beans

In my search to avoid wasting good produce I discovered that you can freeze fresh fruits and veggies! It's a really simple process of washing, blanching, packing, and freezing! Do it while you're in the kitchen already making dinner and it'll save on clean up. I prepared this half pound of green beans while I was cooking the other half for dinner! I found a great site with tons of resources on freezing and canning your own food where I found info on how to freeze green beans

Have a bag ready with a label including info like what the food is and the date. 

Wash and sort green beans. Cut off both ends. 



Blanch for 3 minutes. (This means 3 minutes in boiling water, if the water stops boiling when you add the beans wait to start timing until it starts boiling again.)



Spoon into ice water, leave there for same amount of time as blanching. 

Put into freezer bag and suck out the air. A straw is a great method for getting the air out! Just zip the bag until there is a hole big enough for the straw, exhale all the air out of your lungs and suck in through the straw while slowly pulling the straw out of the bag. It helps to roll the bag or compress it while sucking the air out. As soon as the straw is out zip it up! 




Isn't that easy? It's seriously as easy as it looks, I can't believe I've never done this before! To think this whole time I could have been eating fresh, preservative free, produce without having to buy those frozen bags of cardboard-pretending-to-be-green-beans!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Organizing Food - Going Over My New Years Resolutions

This month my main focus is really on spending less. It's one of my New Year's resolutions. The first place I'm really hitting hard on is organizing my refrigerator and pantry so we're actually eating the food we buy, wasting less, and eating out less. 

This also ties into losing weight. We plugged our banking info into a Mint.com app (I really recommend this if you need help with your finances and own a smartphone!), it can show you all your spending patterns, one of which is money spent on fast food. Wow, what an eye opener. We weren't always this bad, but this past month or two it really got out of control. 

So, to get back on track I've come up with a really revolutionary idea. Let's buy food to eat at home, and then let's actually eat that food! Wowza! 


new year's resolutions, blog, lose weight, food
Ok, so that's not all my resolutions, but some of the more important ones! 


I cleaned out my fridge a few days ago and was appalled and ashamed at the amount of fruits and veggies I tossed out. Yuck. 

In the coming month I'll try different methods and ways of buying, organizing, preparing and cooking food that will solve these problems, and I'll of course share everything with you! 

My next post will be a quick tip on washing produce and preparing it for later. See you soon!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Quick French Toast Casserole for Two



I woke up Christmas morning and it hit me. I wanted french toast. However, there was no way in hell I was about to spend 20 minutes in front of the stove flipping bread. The kids were ravenous for presents, Mr. C had a nasty rash which required running to the Shoppette for 'sposies, and well.. it just wasn't gonna happen. 

Most french toast casserole recipes are an overnight deal. You have to be proactive and plan ahead. That is not me. 

Luckily there are other procrastinating, last second decision making, french toast lovers out there! I found a really simple recipe at Not Derby Pie that was simple to work with. So, with smart phone in hand, I began rummaging around the kitchen for supplies. 

You can really play around with this recipe (I sure did). So feel free to add whatever yummy bits you find in your cupboard! 

My recipe is for just two people, but you can easily expand this to accommodate more by using a bigger pan and more milk and eggs. It's really a lot like preparing the bread to be put in the frying pan, but instead you're  laying it neatly in a greased baking dish and shoving it in the oven while you do other equally important things (like putting on mascara).

Supplies:


  1. 8x8 baking dish

Ingredients: 


  1. Bread (I used regular old sandwich bread, however if you have something higher quality it will taste even better!)
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 2 cups milk (I used fat free since that's what I had on hand)
  4. 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  5. cinnamon to taste
  6. Yummy Bits (nuts, chocolate chips, etc..)
  7. Butter

Preheat oven to 425F. Beat the eggs and combine with milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Grease baking dish and line with first layer of bread, pour half of mixture over bread. If you have yummy bits to add then go ahead and throw some across this bottom layer. Drop a little butter here and there over the bread. I don't think this is necessary, but some mornings I like to pretend I'm old school Paula Dean. 

Repeat with second layer. Not Derby Pie recommended tearing up a piece of bread to fill in the gaps, I agree wholeheartedly. Do it. Throw on more yummy bits and some butter for kicks. 

Stick it in the oven. Your house will begin to smell amazing approximately 10 minutes in. 

Bake for 25 minutes. 


YUM!


Tips: 


  • 3 layers are a no-go. The top layer turns out dry because all the liquid has soaked to the bottom. If you really need 3 layers either get a bigger dish and stick with 2 layers or add more milk and egg. 

  • Play around with this, Not Derby Pie's recipe includes alcohol. Unfortunately I was baking for my children as well, otherwise I would have gone that route. In fact, I almost did go that route anyway. I added pecans and dark chocolate chips to mine. Mr. Eight thought it was too much but he's boring. It was ab fab! 

  • Let me know if this works out for you in the comments below! 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Buying a New Bed

Photo Courtesy of MAZZALIARMADI.IT


We really, really, need to buy a new bed. It's not there is even anything wrong with it per se. Experts claim you should purchase a new mattress every 5-7 years, and in a couple months it will be only 4 years old. The problem lies in the size. We only have a queen mattress, and let me say that we should have graduated to a king size 2 children ago! 

I like sleeping alone with my husband in my own bed, but am also not opposed to co-sleeping when it's called for. Well it's been called for a few times this week, and let me tell you that sleeping with a 19 month old's feet between your shoulder blades, and his head between your husband's shoulder blades, while you both cling to opposite sides of the bed, is not a fun (or comfortable) way to sleep! 

Shopping for a new bed can be daunting. I've only done a little research and there seems to be so many things to consider, and so many things I didn't know! I always thought that a California King was the bigger and better bed, but did you know that a California King is actually 4 inches longer than a King size, while a regular King is 4 inches wider? I don't know about you, but I'm definitely more worried about how wide my bed is, not how long. 

I think the most important thing to do is decide what kind of bed you are looking for. Many stores and websites offer a variety of beds such as divans, sofa beds, children's mattresses, guest beds, and futons. Do some research and decide what is best for you. Be sure to read reviews and try out the bed if you have the opportunity! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

After Christmas Loot!

Don't you love after Christmas sales? I was really worried this year because my local Kmart, Wal Mart, BX, and PX had all sold out Christmas decorations about 2 weeks before Christmas. It was nuts! There was nothing left except a few rolls of wrapping paper and $300 trees. Yikes! Where was I going to get my decor for next year?? 

Luckily Target had my back, I got tons of Christmas lights there, plus a few cute ornaments for the kids. The day I went everything was 50% off, but a friend said that a few days later it was at 75% off. I'm resisting going back.. but I'm not sure how long I can hold out! 

My big break came at the craft store though. If you're local on Oahu you've got two options in the craft store department, Ben Franklin's (the one off Nimitz is my favorite), or Craft Supply in Pearl City. Craft Supply is small but it's local and a lot friendlier and quieter than BF. I was there yesterday picking up some felt and was able to pick up a bundle of Christmas decorations for 75% off! SCORE! 

Don't you love after Christmas loot? I got this whole stash (including 3 1/2 yards of felt) for just $20! That ribbon was originally $7.99 and it was marked down to under $2! 



I received some really great advice from the sales associate there. She said a lot of people come in after Christmas and stock up on their decor, deciding on the color scheme and theme they'll use next year just a few days after Christmas is over. Genius! You could easily do this at Target since they seemed to have a ton of ornaments left over. You'll be a season behind in the Target Christmas decor styles, but if you pick out a few from there and a few from your local craft store you could really come up with something cute

Check out these cute rustic looking ornaments I picked up at Target! 



Did you see any good sales this year?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Homemade Foaming Baby Wash How-To

homemade, natural, baby, body, wash, soap


I first saw this at Crunchy Farm Baby. I really love this blog! I've been meaning to do this since she posted it but wasn't really sure where to get the ingredients. I hadn't been introduced to Hawaii's Down to Earth stores yet, and wasn't big on driving across Honolulu to go to Whole Foods. 

(If you're on Oahu the best place for all things natural is Down to Earth. I love this store! It's pricey but for a lot of things this is the only place you'll find it. Try some food from their deli while you're in there, they serve vegan and vegetarian so check it out!)

I finally ran out of the J&J crap that I had bought ages ago, and decided now was the time to act! The supply list is short, which is good for you and for baby's skin! 

Tools: 

Foaming soap bottle. I used this old Method soap bottle that I've had laying around. You can find foaming soap bottles at Wal Mart (so I'm told), and at craft stores (although I've never seen these at Ben Franklin's). 

Ingredients: 


  • Water (I chose to use distilled water *see below for more*)
  • Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Castile Soap
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Essential Oils (optional)


Here we go... 

In the soap bottle combine 1/4 cup of Dr. Bronner's Baby Soap, 3 drops Vitamin E oil, and 10 drops Essential Oils. Crunchy Farm Baby recommends Tea Tree Oil (for cleansing) and Lavender for the smell and calming properties. I didn't have any Lavender on hand unfortunately so I tried Sweet Orange instead. The Sweet Orange has a really faint smell so it's barely noticeable, but still nice.

(I have seen a few comments on other blogger's posts regarding the possible danger of applying lavender and tea tree oil regularly to male babies. I did a little search [and I mean just a little!] and came up with this article. The claim doesn't seem to be too legit, but it's entirely up to you to decide!)

Fill the rest of the bottle with water (distilled or otherwise) and give a little shake to mix it up. 

That's it! Wasn't that easy? Now that you have all the ingredients on hand it'll be much easier, cheaper, and safer to make your own soap at home! Try it on yourself and see how you like it!

*I chose to use distilled water because where I live in Hawaii everything seems to mold very, very quickly. Bath toys develop mold and a slimy film after just a week or two, so I figure soap bottles hanging out in the tub wouldn't be immune. If you don't have mold issues then you may not have a problem. If you are worried about mold but don't have distilled water, just boil some tap water then let it sit and cool to room temperature before combining with other ingredients*