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!