Friday, March 23, 2012

Beachbody Challenge

I have this awesome friend. This awesome friend's name is Alice. She is a fitness instructor, a personal trainer and a beachbody coach. And to make her even more awesome she is French. Alice invited me to do the Beachbody Challenge and I (with only mild hesitation) accepted.  The challenge comes in three parts (mostly) the first is nutrition, not only eating healthy also drinking a Shakeology shake every day. Which is honestly not very hard because Shakeology is really yummy. I have only tried one flavor but I am hoping to try the others soon. The second part of the challenge is exercise: I had to choose one Beachbody routine to work on and I chose Turbo Fire because I think it is cool and I already own it. I have been really good at hitting it every day (except for Monday and Tuesday when I was sick - yuck!). Lastly accountability, fortunately I have Alice and the team but it is also good to include family and friends.

My goals are simple. First to follow the challenge (drink Shakeology, workout with Turbo Fire and post on our challenge page). Second I added some simple goals for work. I have a tendency to sit and sit and sit. So I am trying to get up at least twice a day and move. I feel better already just getting away from my desk and walking up and down the stairs. Now that it is so nice I will try and check out the sun every once in a while. Drink water and keep a food journal. I am so excited to be on the challenge. It is time. A big thank you to Alice for inviting me and keeping me accountable.

I have been trying a few healthy recipes (from Pinterest of course)

First I tried Baked Oatmeal.
Baked oatmeal.  Seems like the perfect on the go breakfast!
It was pretty good. The only thing I would add is a tad more cinnamon. It tasted a little bland but it had potential. I halved the recipe the first time just in case I didn't like it but I do and according to Sugar Free Mom it freezes really well. I tried the plain and the chocolate chip one (I don't do nuts or raisins). I think I will be making the regular size version soon.

I have also been looking for healthy smoothies because smoothies can be mischievous, sometimes they can pack a serious calorie punch for not so much full.I really liked this Berry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie:
smoothie with oatmeal
I was a little skeptical but it was really, really good. Grinding the oatmeal to powder before adding the other ingredients is the key. Can't even tell it is there. I really like it. Not that I will have it everyday but now that summer is coming and if I want something cool and sweet and refreshing, I think it will hit the spot.

Next I am going to try the 7 different ways to cook tilapia. I love tilapia but I have never really had success in cooking fish ... fingers crossed.

I also did a few other Pinteresting Experiments:


Decal Transfer Tutorial with Free Printables

Okay mine don't look exactly like these but they are cool and decorative in my microscopic kitchen. Funny digression on Sunday I was making Orange Chicken (from a previous post - yes this stuff is YUM) and I needed a 1/4 cup of brown sugar - oops no brown sugar. The things are see through. Fail!

Lastly I tried a couple flat iron hair things:

First from the Small Things blog a hair tutorial on how to curl hair with a flat iron

So cute and so easy and it actually worked. Huzzah! Okay mine didn't look quiet as polished as hers did the first time but I have tried it several times and I am getting better and better. I like it a lot! I also got lots of compliments which makes me smile.

Okay so the next one, aka chunky beach waves I don't know I guess I am just not smart enough to figure it out but I couldn't figure out how to wrap it around my finger and then flat iron the wrapped curl without either burning my fingers or the curl falling out.
Messy Beach Waves... Easy Tutorial!

I think the final look is way cute and I wish I could figure it out but since I earn my living with my cutsie little fingers I am not going to endanger the digits with a flat iron.

I am having fun with my pinteresting experiment. I am so excited about my Beachbody Challenge. Thanks again Alice for inviting me!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Green Heart

I recently finished reading Green Witch by Alice Hoffman, the second (and I believe last) book in a series about a girl named Green. I adore this book. This book is lovely and lyrical. The imagery is beautiful and the emotion is poignant. There is sorrow, yet there is hope.

When I finished this book I jumped on Amazon determined to buy it because I loved it that much and found that the first and second book are in a volume called Green Heart. Which in a way makes a lot of sense considering both books are very short.

I loved this book. LOVED IT. So when I read on my Goodreads review of the first novel, Green Witch, I was surprised to find that I didn't like it very much. The book is about Green who is haunted by the loss of her family and her way of life. Struggling to survive she find solace in her garden. From the back of the book, "Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also beings to destroy herself, erasing the girl she'd once been as she inks darkness into her skin. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters that Green can relearn the lessons of love and begin to heal enough to tell her story." Here is quote from my review, "It was an interesting story. I may have liked it better if Green could have seen faults in her family ... her moonlight sister was just too good to be true." However, I read it again (since I did buy it from Amazon) and I love it. A lot. I remember when I read this novel I was in a negative place and apparently I was incapable of liking anything, even something beautiful and refreshing like the Green series. (Makes me want to go back and reread some other novels that I didn't like but have been given good reviews by my friends whose opinions I trust. I suppose the opposite is also true. I may be too generous in my reviews of books when I am in a good place. Who knows.)

There was a lot of sorrow and sadness in the first book so maybe since I was feeling the same I didn't want to relate. However, in the second book she finds more hope. I love the 'witches' in the second book. All the stories she finds and records. It moves a bit slowly and then too quickly for me but I love the words. Hoffman has a beautiful way of describing what is happening. The words are lovely.

I still like the second book better.

I hope I can hone my skill so that I can write beautiful words. Now, off to write something of my own.   

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Three Foods and a Shoe Rack

I have been remiss in my duties to my blog, however, I have not been remiss in my Pinterest experiment. Here are a few things I have been trying at home with varying degrees of success.

Better Than Take Out Orange Chicken recipe found at The Noshery Blog
"Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken".
WOW. I halved the recipe because I don't like soggy orange chicken and I knew I couldn't (or shouldn't) eat 6 servings in one sitting. However, after eating the left overs the next day I realized that this stuff is so delicious that I didn't notice any problem with sogginess. So next time I am making the full recipe. I must admit it makes me wish for a kitchen that is larger than a closet. This is now on my EAT OFTEN list. I made it with brown rice which was very tasty too. I can't tell you how many times I have used the rice steamer by brother gave me for my birthday several years ago. Thanks Bro!

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti by Cooking with Kim
Crockpot cheesy chicken spaghetti
Yum. This also made delicious leftovers which is nice because then I fill up a weeks worth of plastic containers and my lunch is ready to go. It had a nice kick to it because of the green chilies but not so much that the boy wouldn't eat it. It isn't the most healthy meal I have tried in the past few weeks but it was yummy. I might try and play with it and see if I can get the calories down a bit. The recipe does call for 98% Fat Free cream soups but I think more can be done. I am definitely trying it with whole wheat pasta.

Healthy Banana Bread from 8 Weeks to a Better You
Pinned Image
The first time I made this it was a DISASTER. But I chalked it up to operator error and tried again, the biggest problem was I did not read all the comments or even a few of them if I did I would have realized that the recipe called for way to long in the oven. Mine burnt. Badly. And I guess I was in hurry and didn't mash up the bananas very well. Remedied that the next time by having the boy mash the bananas - those things were MASHED! It came out perfect. Moist and delicious. It has a slightly different flavor with the honey, a different kind of sweetness. We really liked it. I also made three small loaves which work better for us. After the success of the second try will be making this again and again.

Clear Shoe Rack to Organize Kids Room (from HelloLittleOne) AND Cleaning Supplies (from Pinterest but the link is broken - sad)
clear shoe rack to organize the kid's room Pinned Image
Basically the same idea just different products. I bought two clear shoe organizers.

The first I attached inside the boy's closet door. We filled it with his crayons (wow do we have a lot of crayons! - maybe I should try the popular Pinterest crayon art projects!!), colored pencils, paints and other craft materials. First I was surprised at how many duplicate things I had and second I was surprised at how many things I thought I had we were completely out of (i.e. glue sticks).

The second I attached to the hall closet. The best thing is that I do not have a lot of space in my house and with this little clear shoe organizer I cleaned off an entire shelf - may not seem like a big deal but it was a big deal to me.

I feel so organized!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hot Soup in the Clean House Tonight

I was not expecting to have the weekend to myself so when I discovered I would be alone of course the first thought is CLEAN HOUSE. Okay, I know most people would not be as excited, well no, lots of my friends would be excited so maybe I am not as nuts as I thought. Because I work full time and I try to be a super good, focused, quality mom sometimes the house takes the back burner but not this weekend.

The funny things is that I cleaned like crazy and THEN I started organizing and pulling things out and rearranging things so if you came over to my house today you might look around and think 'this is clean?' well yes and no. If you look at my super clean shower head then yes, super clean!

I tried this shower head cleaner idea I got from Frugally Sustainable I thought it looked easy so I gave it a try. I was amazed at how clean it was but even better how much better the shower sprayed. This is a keeper. Plus I think my son will love to watch the vinegar and baking soda reacting! (Maybe it will help him want to clean - one can dream!)

After a weekend of cleaning and organizing I wanted something yummy to eat and hopefully on the healthy side. So I tried Broccoli Cheddar Cheese soup. Now, I know what you are thinking - healthy?!? And you would be right. When I got this recipe from Pinterest it said, 'Broccoli Cheddar Cheese soup (light)' and I thought maybe it showed a lighter version of something with cheddar cheese in it. Well sort of this is the lighter version instead of heavy cream and tons o' butter. I still removed the '(light)' from the recipe card because it isn't, not really. I did use skim milk (as suggested - couldn't bring myself to try almond milk) but then adding four cups of cheddar cheese probably didn't help, not to mention the butter. Oh, well it was yummy and it has broccoli and carrots it is so it can't be ALL bad. It was easy to make. I love when recipes call for things that confuse me. Nutmeg for example. Who knew putting nutmeg in broccoli cheddar soup would give it that extra something special. Angie McGowan knew that's who - she wrote the recipe. I loved it - this one is a keeper too.

In my last post I said I was going to try healthy banana bread and a craft. I couldn't find 'almost' over ripe bananas at the store so they are ripening at my house as I type. Craft - hmm just could not bring myself to do it this weekend. Cleaning was so much more fun. Maybe next weekend. Since I call myself Mama Bookworm maybe the next post will be about a book or the very least Legos!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I discovered Pinterest. It's like Columbus discovering America. The site is amazing and interesting and oh so fun. I found this quote "comparison is the thief of joy" (on Pinterest) and I wanted to make sure that I utilize Pinterest and enjoy it without allowing it to steal my joy. Thusly.

I decided to take something I find on Pinterest and use it - weekly. Whether it is making a scrumptious recipe or trying out a craft (which would be fun to watch, seriously me and crafts are like vinegar and water) or attempting a new and improved cleaning method or even (gasp) undertake a new exercise routine - I am going to USE my new knowledge not abuse my curiosity and interest in clothes or perfect homes.

So sit back and enjoy my "Pinetersting Experiment"

Experiment 1

Success! I tried the Over Baked Parmesan Seasoned Fries Holy Toledo! In a word - YUM. Even my child who is notoriously fickle about his fries asked me to make these delicious spuds again. Practically fool proof too, as I mentioned on Facebook, I was half way through baking - yes baking these little tots are good for you! - when I realized I forgot the Parmesan, truly a disaster as they are called oven baked PARMESAN fries. I pulled the tuber sticks out of the oven dumped the whole thing back into the Ziploc bag I used to get the other seasoning on the fries, added the parm and placed back in the oven. Even with my culinary skills these little darlings made this Idaho Potato smile. This recipe is now on our permanent love list.

Additional Note: I made this again last night and they were even better than the first time!

Experiment 2

Disaster! Here are the exact directions: Section hair into 5-10 big sections then braid each in a loose braid. Run a flat iron over each braid, let them cool down, spray hairspray and undo braids. Okay I don't know if I don't braid correctly or if my hair is just too short but my hair was kinky and frizzy and out of control, except on the top of my skull which was stick straight. I looked like the Mad Hatter without his hat!

Short guy was like whoa, what did you do to your hair! Fortunately I had plenty of time to straighten it before work! Now, I wouldn't dismiss this as it is highly likely that this was operator error but I don't think I will try it again.

Experiment 3

Indifferent. Slow Cooker Smothered Chicken. Eh.

I wasn't impressed but I didn't gag it up either. Chicken is always good in the slow cooker because it is so moist and just falls apart. I love that! But the combo of soups and flavors was just, well like I said, eh. The boy ate a couple bites and then proceeded to create his butter and salt rice creation. If I don't watch carefully he will dump WAY to much salt on it. I think I will move on to a different slow cooker chicken recipe. Call me a website snob but I also thought the website looked a bit amateurish. Not that I could do any better but I would figure it out if I was pandering to the masses.

I am excited to try my next Pinteresting Experiment. I think I will try 'healthy' banana bread - sounds mildly frightening. And a craft - sounds terrifying!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vocal Point

I am sitting at my desk on Thursday afternoon and get a random email from one of the secretaries in the building. That happens more often than one would think, I was about to delete when I thought hmmm could have some interesting information. So I pop open the email and open the first attachment, classical music on a Saturday afternoon, hmmm no. Not that I don't like classical music, especially in the afternoon on a Saturday but I never know when I am or am not going to have Sam and he can only take so much classical music. Thinking that yes, I should just close the email and get back to work I open the next attachment. Vocal Point in the small theater - just across the street! Awesome. Not so awesome it is on Saturday, this Saturday. I call up the ticket office thinking they will be sold out. NOPE! I scored three tickets. I invited a friend that I was supposed to go see a movie with on Saturday but then I ended up having Sam so no movie for us but fortunately or unfortunately - depending on how you look at it - she couldn't go. Sam wanted to invite his friend Aiden.

We had perfect seats, not that there are any bad seats in a theater that seats 1,000 people. After we sat down my boss sat down next to us so I told the kids, "Be REALLY good!" I didn't really need to tell them that, they were well behaved gentlemen.

The concert was so fun. It was funny, uplifting, high quality entertainment. I asked the boys what their favorite songs were: Sam said his was Game Day which is very entertaining to watch and Aiden said his favorite was when 'that guy' (that would be Tanner) did the beat boxing thing. I have to admit that was one of my favorite moments too. I loved every moment but I thought it was hilarious when the 'deep base guy' (that would be Robert) did an Elmo voice, the best Elmo impersonation I have ever heard and then when one of the other members said "What part does Elmo sing?" He said in an Elmo voice, "Elmo likes to sing..." And then in a really deep rich base "BASE" So funny. They also sang some spiritual songs.

At the end they said they would be signing autographs at Deseret Book both Sam and Aiden looked at me with big eyes and pleading faces. Oh alright, we'll go. Happy children!

 Tanner and Robert were so cute with the kids asking them their names and what their favorite songs were both Sam and Aiden asked to see Tanner's 'neck' mic - I have never seen anything like it! We learned a lot about beatboxing!
 I wish the pics weren't so blurry but everything happened so fast. Sam was so excited to shake McKay's hand. They were all so friendly and great with the kids.
 Smiley happy people!
I couldn't pass up the chance to buy a CD and let the boys get signatures. Both of them were like "I am going to keep mine forever", "I am going to protect it from the ninjas" Seriously they were so funny about it.

The night was so fun. Thanks Aiden for coming with us we had a FANTASTIC time!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Party Planet

Sam got lucky this year. We found a groupon for Planet Play with the best deal. Seriously the best so Sam got to take three friends to play laser tag, bumber cars, lots of video games, eat pizza and generally just have a good time. We all had so much fun. Even I wanted to try out the laser tag it looked so fun and non threatening. We were all exhausted when they day was over but it was so much fun. Let's do it again!