Juice Recipe #1

If you have a juicer and you’re wondering what to juice in it for fear it might taste awful, here’s a recipe to get you started. Please note that there are two steps, firstly the juicing, followed by the blending.

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This recipe makes a good amount, and I’ll be using it primarily for 2 adults throughout the day.

So first JUICE:
2-3 medium sized beets
1 cucumber
5 or 6 celery stalks
4-6 carrots
3 small or 2 large apples
2 lemons

Don’t omit the lemons! They give it a beautiful citrus zip and they help to detox your body.

The second step is to BLEND:
2-3 cups of the juice
1 banana
A handful of swiss chard or spinach
2 spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt.

It makes for a delicious juice, great for mornings to get your body headed in the right direction.

Let me know how you like it!

Barb

Weekly Weigh-In 4

Time for another weigh-in, is it? I was going to post pictures monthly, but I honestly don’t see a change, because although I have lost weight, it hasn’t really been a ton. Usually I lose about 8 or 10 pounds a month, but this month has been quite hard on me. I just got sick, and it seems to be sticking around. I really hope that this isn’t like last year, where every time I would try to go running… it just felt weird to breathe the cool air, and really messed with how I felt.

Also, I woke up a little late today, so I ran out the door to get my daughter to preschool and never got a chance to weigh myself this morning. Not a huge biggie though, I weighed myself tonight and I was still at the same weight. Therefore, I know I have still lost weight this week, but I’ll have a tangible number tomorrow morning instead.

I only did sort of alright with my resolutions this week since I really haven’t felt like doing much. I haven’t been drinking any good amounts of water, and I am getting some light exercise, but not nearly as much as I wish I was getting. I keep bringing my boyfriend into town later at night after the kids are in bed (so that Grampy just has to keep an ear out for them) and we go for some streetlight walks. Last nights walk was wonderful, our town was getting ready for a street hockey tournament so there was music playing and an all around feeling of pride in the community. Usually our walks last from 20 to 30 minutes. Not too fast, slow enough to just enjoy each other’s company and talk, but fast enough to be able to get our heart rates up a bit. Hey, even Aldric is enjoying it… so it’s really a win-win here. I get him to exercise, he barely notices.

Also, new this week. EATING HEALTHY YAY! I made a list last week, and didn’t really stick to it because we never had a chance to go pick up the meat (we shop at two different stores in the area), so I just reused last week’s list again, and it’s going over much better. Last night we had our “Treat meal” which was spaghetti. And this morning I ate some fruit salad instead of cereal simply because that was really what I felt like eating. But either way, it’s still quite healthy. And I never knew I could love fruit so much! I just add a dollop of greek yogurt and a bit of honey and presto, instant breakfast. Just as quick as cereal, but it seems to keep me fuller for longer, and I really love eating it… actually… just writing about it makes me want to go get some more… be right back.

Yum.

Okay, so for this week, again the main focus will be on me getting healthy again. I want to boost fluid intake, because I should anyway since I’m sick. I also need to see if I can fit just a little more exercise in my day. Thankfully my boyfriend will be helping me clean up tomorrow, because a clean house means more time to work out. The living room got a little out of hand since I’ve been sick, but with his help tomorrow it should be back up and running. Lastly, I want to actually really give a good attempt at sticking with this meal plan for the week.

Hopefully it won’t be too hard,
Barb

Healthy Meal Plan & Grocery List (1 week)

So, as promised here is the meal plan and grocery list I was talking about the other day. I just listed “Chili ingredients” as it’s own little section since there are simply too many variations for me to go list the ingredients for. Let me know if you’d like to know my chili recipe!
Anyway, it’s made so that you can just bring the grocery list with you, while keeping the meal plan itself in your binder or wherever you store those things. It’s relatively healthy, and has a spot for you to add a few extras, just in case. Who knows, maybe you can’t survive without pineapple in your fruit salads?
The best advice I would give for sticking with this is simple, pick the day you’ll be least busy. Go grocery shopping, and when you get home, do your food prep! Make the salad, fruit salad, and whatever else you need to do. You’ll thank yourself so much for that when you run into a busy patch in your week and the healthy food is sitting there ready to go! Also, do some prep the night before. Like put your frozen meat in the fridge, cut up some veggies for tomorrow’s supper if you would like. It takes a bit of thought, and it takes some action and work, but in the end it’s worth it.

Here’s a picture of this week’s haul! Delicious, healthy, nutritious food.
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Remember, if you’re working out all the time and you have awesome abs, they’ll never show through if you can’t lose the fat that’s sitting on top of them, so fuel your body with smart choices (at least most of the time!) So clean up your eating act now by following this meal plan!

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Here’s the meal plan & list in .PDF form for you to save to your computer as well!
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(I just ask that you don’t claim it as your own and use it all over the place.)

Let me know if you’ve got any requests or questions!
Barb

Weekly Weigh-in 3

This week hasn’t been exactly the epitome of health. I’m coming down with a cold of some sort, and feeling like crap. I got addicted to playing the Sims 3 which kept me up late, very late, into the night. Surprisingly enough, I’ve had a good amount of energy during the day, but I know that if I keep these awful habits up, I’ll end up right back where I started. On the good side though, my weight is still dropping. I can’t be 100% sure of how much I’ve lost due to the scale problem, but whaddya know, I FINALLY seem to have found one that works! It’s such a good feeling to know I can actually trust this one, hahaha. So I know I’ve dropped approximately a pound during this week of laziness. Also good news? I went grocery shopping, and bought a ton of good, delicious, healthy foods. Stocking my house with good foods has really helped me eat healthier during the day. I’ll post the lists and more details on that later though. Of course it’s too early for me to have lost any inches, but that’s alright. At least I’m headed in the right direction. I need to take a new set of body measurements anyway.
Also, when I felt like doing nothing, I still put my younger daughter in her stroller and went for a walk while Estelle was in daycare. It wasn’t too long, probably about 20-30 minutes, but it was a whole lot better than the nothing I was going to do originally. I’m just sick and tired, of being sick and tired. I might not be able to do anything about the sick part at this moment, other than rest up when I can and take medication, but I am seriously done with being tired.
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Usually my babe is a little happier when mommy is snapping pictures, but it was a little too close to her nap time.

This weeks goals:
Feel better and get over this cold.
Work out at least three times this week.
Go for at least one walk/jog!

Weekly Weigh-in 2

Whoops, missed a week! Mostly because I seem to have the WORST luck with scales! Seriously, I have two scales sitting next to my garbage bin getting ready to be thrown out, and this time, I thought to myself, “Since I seem to be having such bad luck with digital scales, I’m not going to buy a digital one!” So I bring home my new scale… and it reads 10 lbs. heavier than the last. I assumed that it must be correct, because it was new, and it was zeroed and whatnot… then my father has since found out that it’s simply not correct. Boo! However, it has been giving me a sort of way to track myself. According to my new scale, I’ve lost four pounds over the past two weeks. Not too shabby, but no inches as of yet.
I’m not really depressed about this, however, because I wasn’t expecting a huge weight loss at the start this time. Number 1, I haven’t really changed my eating habits. So sure, exercise helps, but it’s obviously only half of the battle here. I even had a cake-off with my boyfriend! Number 2, I’ve been doing strength training and not a whole ton of cardio like I used to do every time I would start up again. I changed my methods because I honestly enjoy feeling the next-day burn in my muscles. Like after leg day, when I get up and walk around… it’s just a nice reminder, not painful, just… nice. My favorite type of burn? Ab burn for sure! It makes me feel so productive on the one area of my body I dislike the most.
In the midst of all this, a new friend of mine suggested we go for a walk. I sort of imagined like a walk around the area, it takes about an hour or so.. then…. whaddya know… We just kept walking. I didn’t bother asking, and then we had walked much further than I had imagined. Long story short, we ended up walking for two hours round-trip. It was great though! It reminded me of a few summers back when my group of friends would walk everywhere! It was the only means of transport that we all had access to, so we used it. I was in much better shape during that time, so it wasn’t nearly as intimidating!
Anyway, this week I have a couple of resolutions for myself to (hopefully) stick to:
-Drink more water.
-Stop eating after 8 p.m. aside from occasional popcorn.
-Do a little more cardio!
-Buy a new scale…

We’ll see how lucky I get with the last one. I legitimately suck at buying personal scales! Ugh. Oh well.

Keep it up, and sweat it out!
Barb

First day of Preschool!

Up until her first day of preschool, my baby girl had never been watched by anyone outside of the family for an extended amount of time! The longest I had been away from her was when I was in the hospital with her younger sister (and Daddy was frequently going back home to spend time with her and Grampy)… and let’s face it, I was in and out of the hospital and actually shopping in less than 48 hours after I had given birth! So really, my little Sweetie-Belle’s first day of preschool was a huge shock to us all!
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We had discussed preschool with her prior to her first day, but I don’t really think she understood exactly what it was going to be like. Honestly, I had no idea what it was going to be like! We got her dressed, packed a bag, brought her lots of changes of clothes since she was still having some potty accidents at the time and brought her in.

Immediately I felt so different! Thankfully, so so thankfully, as soon as we got there, Stelle ran directly into the preschool room and lit right up! She was finally in a room filled with children her own age who she would get to interact with. The greeting we got upon arrival was outstanding. I was so blessed to have found such a great preschool for my daughter. It really helped to put my mind at ease. The only disappointing thing? She ran into the room so quickly, I never got to give her a hug and a kiss goodbye :(. I beat myself up over that for most of the morning, but eventually I told myself I would snuggle with her as soon as she got home to make up for it!

It was SUCH a slow day! I ended up coming home and cleaning, just to try and keep my mind busy on other things. I watched Cake Boss on Netflix afterwards until 10:30, when her sister finally woke up. I had no idea she would sleep in so long on days when her sister wasn’t around. So the rest of my day was filled with a ton of things that I just never really felt like I had had time to get done when I had both children home with me alone during the day. I took the little one grocery shopping, I really spent time just focused on her… hey, it was a new experience for her too! She’s always had a big sister around and I believe that she appreciates the time off to just be alone with her parent(s). The only thing I didn’t have time for was going for a walk with my little one in the stroller.

I would say that after the first few hours or so, the day seemed to go by a little faster… until Amara went for her nap! I kept myself busy working out, cleaning again, organizing! Either way, eventually it ended up being time to pick her up and boys oh boys, I was nervous and SO anxious! I had really considered picking her up early but was advised not to by my friends :). So I went to pick her up, and… you know what? She didn’t want to come home! So had had such a great time, I was so glad to hear that she had had such a great first day.

Now that a couple of weeks have passed (she’s only in two days a week), I think we’ve kind of got this down pat. She really enjoys being there, but she truly loves to come home with us too. I never know truly what to expect as there were a couple of times that she didn’t want to go, but as soon as she was through the doors, she was perfectly okay. I’ve noticed some pretty big improvements in certain areas as well. Since she’s been in preschool she’s totally finished daytime potty training, her speech has improved (not drastically, but.. it has still improved for sure! Which was the whole reason she got into daycare in the first place), and it’s really become a good routine for us now.

Thankfully, it’s only 2 days a week :),
So what do you guys do to occupy yourselves while your little ones are in preschool/daycare?
-Barb

Cherish The Moments (Family Time)

Recently, there have been a string of premature deaths in my area. I can easily come up with 10 people in their 20s who have recently passed away, and this has been affecting me, even if it’s not really manifesting itself in grief. It’s just come to show me how valuable life itself really is.

Three years after becoming a mother for the first time, I can honestly say that I truly love the special family moments we’ve been working on. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with staying at home and making some homemade playdough, but I really enjoy the outings we’ve been having as a family lately. Aldric and I bring the kids out for a walk on a trail, or around in an area they’ve never been before. It gives the kids some time to explore as we let them run a few steps ahead of us. I know it sounds crazy, but these times together have really made me understand just how much my children have grown! Also, it has begun to put my mind at ease about having both children out in public, haha. It’s taught me that they listen way more than I ever thought they would, it’s shown me how much they love being outdoors, and it really allows me to see the vivid reactions on their faces when we explore a new area. Sometimes we keep it more low-key, and have a campfire before bed with the kiddos. The way the kids light up when we bring out the marshmallow roasting sticks is simply adorable.

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I want my children to have memories, not only day to day average activities. I want them to really have fun times that they can look back on, filled with love and devoted attention. Not only that, but it really brings Aldric and I closer together as well. It’s nice to actually see him actively parenting the children and interacting with them. I strongly believe that a strong bond between father and child is special. It’s one thing that I missed out on when I was younger, which I realize is probably why I find myself making sure that Aldric is a really actively-involved parent. It’s one thing for a parent to be around, it’s another thing entirely for a parent to be actively-involved (and no, I’m not referring to helicopter-parenting).

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I think it would be unrealistic for me to believe that every moment of every day is special. So much of it is filled with the mundane, cleaning, organizing, getting ready, working, and all that jazz. As soon as I made it clear to myself that this was what I wanted in our lives, and that this was important to me, I was able to find the time for it. I’ve changed my attitude to take one solid day a week, not just an hour once in a while, to put aside any major projects, I just do light cleaning, and we just “make a day of it”. We do whatever we would like, but we do it together. It’s really our own, personalized version of stopping to smell the roses.To cherish the time we have together, because I do realize that before I know it my children won’t be babies anymore. True family time is something that Aldric and I missed out on when we were growing up, and instead of bringing up another generation like we were, we decided to put an emphasis on memories, telling our children (and each other) “I love you”, and really solidifying the bond that holds us all together as a family.

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I totally understand that sometimes due to scheduling, or where you’re at in your own journey can make devoting an entire day somewhat tough. Up until the past few months, I would’ve thought that this was nearly impossible! So make sure you’re really cherishing the moments that you DO have together. Tell your children, and those around you that you LOVE them. Spend at least 20 minutes a day on your child’s level. Play with them, colour with them, converse with them. In time, if it’s truly important to you, you’ll find more and more time to spend with your loved ones.

I feel like I could go on all day about this topic, and I’m not going to. You know your own personal scheduling, I’m just hoping that maybe this post will sway you to spend a little more time as quality time… you never know how much you have left.

Until next time,
Barb

Organize Now! – Week 4

So week three is done now. I’ve found that I accidentally left my planner in the car though, and never seem to have brought it back into the house… don’t fret! I’m bringing it in tomorrow. Things are really going to change (two days a week anyway) as my oldest daughter will be starting preschool this Thursday. I’m not sure exactly what that’s going to entail… but hopefully she’ll make some new friends and get ready for school.
There’s not much else to say about week 3…

So on to week 4!
Yet again it’s another fairly boring week. So this should be quick. To be honest, I have accomplished more just by setting my mind to it than I have because of this book so far. It’s good to get your life organized, don’t get me wrong… maybe it takes others a full week to do these things? But seriously… this week is about organizing my cleaning schedule, something which I already accomplished 3 weeks ago when I had a few moments in the morning one day.
So I’ve already gone through and figured out my daily, weekly, monthly chores for the different rooms around my house.
I made a bare-minimum list for 4 days a week. I have decided that I will do this bare minimum list once a day, so if I sweep in the morning, and then one of my kids drop a few cheerios on the floor, that’s tomorrow’s problem. This way I’m not cleaning ALL of the time, but yet my house still remains reasonable-looking because I’m not getting so frustrated at my lack of a spotless house that it builds up. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays get a little extra tacked on, like putting away laundry, bringing out the recycling/garbage and those extras.
I’ve begun taking 15 minutes a night before bed to tidy up. I usually do this about 30-45 minutes before bed though, that way I can relax for 15-30 minutes again before bed. In these 15 minutes I usually refill and run the dishwasher, give a quick wipe to the kitchen surfaces, and pick up any stray toys that the girls missed. It just makes it that much nicer every morning when I wake up.
I do extra cleaning whenever I can, like I just recently did my porch, my bookcase, the top of the entertainment center, the top of the wardrobe, basically a large portion of the clutter-holding surfaces. I fit this in to my 15 minutes at night usually if I only spend a couple minutes putting a few dishes into the dishwasher.
The rest of these things are already done. Quick little things, like switching to an all-purpose cleaner, keeping disinfecting wipes in the bathroom, etc. Those are all pretty good little ideas.

Hm, guess this week was quick!

Talk to you soon! I’m starting my weekly weigh-ins this Thursday, so stay tuned!
Barb

10 things you should do now!

Really life is simple. At the end of the day, if you’re happy, you’ve got it made. With that in mind I just wanted to post a small list of ten things you should do for yourself, so at the end of the day (or week), you can feel happier. The happier you are, the better off you’ll be. When people are happy, they accomplish more… and this list is a good one to get you well on your way!

1) Tell yourself how awesome you are. Everyone is awesome at something and it’s time you appreciated what you’re awesome at. Admitting you’re super at certain things is an amazing confidence booster, and confidence (not cockiness) is sure to bring you a long way in this world.
2) Make a list of goals. Make sure that some are long-term, like going back to school or getting that raise/promotion at work. Or maybe for you it’ll be saving up for that kitchen renovation. Whatever it is, make sure you write it down. Then take the time to break it down into smaller, more achievable steps. Include some short-term goals as well, maybe try drinking more water each day, or get in a few minutes a day to work out. This will make sure you have something to work towards, and give you a sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed it.
3) Organize a corner of your room. Spend no more than 30 minutes at a time trying to clean and organize whatever section of your home you’re working on. Then once it’s done, make sure you keep it that way. Every time you see or use the area, you’ll feel better about yourself and it’ll help give you the motivation to work harder and get something else done too.
4) Find the time to exercise. Everyone should be able to take 15 minutes a day to work out. http://www.youtube.com/blogilates has a good number of quick workout videos that you can do in the comfort of your own home without any additional equipement. No more excuses! You’ll feel better, and over time you’ll learn to live the burn and enjoy the extra energy you’ll have in your day to day life.
5) Organize your finances. Whether you’re in good financial standing, or maybe you just have a few bills to take care of, figure out the easiest way to get it done, and pay your bills on time. If you’re going through a tough time, break it down and work it out slowly. You’ll feel better and sleep easier knowing that you’re working on getting yourself to a better financial standing.
6) Take a moment for yourself. Maybe this means getting up a few minutes earlier to enjoy your cup of coffee before your kids wake up to get ready for school, or maybe just before bed just sit down and spend a moment by yourself to collect your thoughts. If you think of anything you need to do, or any ideas you have, jot them down in a notebook so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them later on.
7) Teach your children how to do some chores. Usually the homes of parents are sorely in need of some extra helping hands, your children are usually the biggest mess-makers, and they should be learning how to take care of their living area. This will give you an extra set of hands to help out, while giving your children more self-confidence and teaching them important lessons.
8) Treat yourself. Every once in a while, make time to do something special for yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it could be as simple as staying home and painting your nails or trying out a new hairstyle. Take this time to rejuvinate yourself whenever you can, if you give yourself more time to relax you’ll feel much less stressed and able to focus on the task at hand more often.
9) Stay connected. No, I’m not talking about Facebook. Clicking “like” on someone’s status simply does not equate to spending time with another person. Make sure you have actual conversations with your friends and family to keep yourself connected. Make a lunch date, or take a coffee break with friends once in a while. Also, make sure you have time for your other half. Spend time together bonding and solidifying your relationship. Make sure you’re both on the same track and have an open line of communication. The best way to do this is to set time aside to just be together and talk. Sitting next to one another watching t.v. every night isn’t truly keeping yourselves connected.
10) Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Do something you don’t do often, or have never done before. Sign yourself up for some classes, belly dancing, rock climbing, canoeing. It doesn’t have to be high risk either, go check out that new restaurant you’ve been dying to see. Whatever it is, doing new things, going to new places and meeting new people are always good things to do for yourself.

So seriously, get on this! These are things that will really help you feel better, and start living your life as a 10!

Barb