Archive for August, 2012

Turning my OOPS moment into a good thing!!!

So I am new to the blogging world and I apparently didn’t do my research, I found out that my WordPress blog, can not have any affiliates. OOPS!!! Lol I will have this blog redirected tomorrow to one that can. ūüôā As of yesterday, I took on Two new affiliates! Vitacost and they everything under the sun from Chia seeds to Zinc And Quest Nutrition! ¬†I am very excited about it!!! Quest has “Clean” Protein bars, which we LOVE and they are still tasty! We got a sample shipment in yesterday, so we could try them out before agreeing to anything. ūüėČ

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   There are several flavors to choose from. What really perked my interest about them, was the fact that they are 20G of protein, Gluten free, No sugar alcohols, No added sugar, No Soy Protein, No Glycerine, and just absolutely No Junk ingredients! They are pretty plain looking when you open the package, but for what they lack in looks, I think they make up for in taste! We read to heat them up for 15 seconds in the microwave to get a cookie like flavor. We tried the Chocolate Brownie and the Apple Pie first.

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¬† ¬† ¬†Again, they tasted better than they looked lol. The Chocolate Brownie was okay. I won’t lie and say it was¬†phenomenal. On a scale from one to ten, I would give it a 5 I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. I am not a huge chocolate fan, I actually rarely touch the stuff. However, Josh is a HUGE chocolate fan and he agreed that it was just okay. His actual words were “For being a “clean” protein bar, it was good.” The Apple Pie bar blew us away! it was delicious!!! I wish I had a whole box of just them!!! WOW!!! I was seriously sold after one bite! (I LOVE Apple Pie lol) The biggest selling point to me is that I have an on the go snack that I am comfortable giving my family! Zoe loved them both! She thought they were candy, so that works great for us lol. Links to both places will be on my new site to check out, hopefully tomorrow!!!!!

¬† ¬† I decided to have a “Thank you for reading” Giveaway! It will start on September 1st. One lucky reader can win a prize pack with 2 Quest Bars (Peanut Butter Supreme and Strawberry Cheesecake), 3 of the new Dentyne Ice Split2Fit packs (Peppermint,¬†Spearmint, and¬†Arctic¬†Chill) I am a BzzAgent and I want a lucky reader to try those as well. Gum is actually my only vice. It is by no means clean, but I chew it when I workout or when I have a sweet tooth. And last, but not least, a 10G bag of Brother’s All Natural Fuji Apple Crisps!

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Again, I will wait till I get this switched over to the new site, so please continue to follow me when I make the big move!!!! I will have a re-direct link. ūüôā

¬† ¬† ¬†Today was family fun day, which consisted of hitting the grocery store for some Quinoa, touring Costco, hitting the largest local liquor store for Josh’s special Autumn craft beers, a lovely Mediterranean lunch, and a trip to the mall for some nice window shopping.

¬† ¬† ¬† We having been looking for new places to eat lunch on family fun days. We try to find low cost places with semi healthy choices. Typically I make Josh’s days off my cheat days. Today we found a place called Mario’s Donuts & Cafe. I know it has “Healthy” written all over it lol. ūüėČ We went in and they have a good size Mediterranean menu! Josh was super excited to get a Gyro lol. That was his cheat meal, a Gyro and beer battered onion rings. Zoe chose a donut :-/ Lol not a huge surprise that a 2yr old chose that for her cheat meal. I chose a Gyro salad. It was HUGE and Oh my goodness, tasty!!! I only got a picture of my meal, because the elderly man sitting by us looked a little weirded out since I had my camera out lol.

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†So we give Mario’s 2 thumbs up and we will definitely be back there next week!!!! Overall, a fabulous family fun day!

¬† ¬† ¬†We have been trying to teach Zoe how to use the camera. She keeps taking self portraits. I am fine with that, because I can never have enough pics of my babygirl ūüėČ I thought I would end with those today, so enjoy!

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¬† ¬† What fun things do you do with your family? What is your go to cheat meal? Do you have a vice that you just can’t quit? Do all natural protein bars interest you? I love hearing back from you all so please comment away!!!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Hope everyone has a beautiful day!!!!!! ūüôā

Running, “Clean” eating snacks on the go, Future Giveaways and more!

¬† ¬† Zoe and I went on our second run this morning! I was a little concerned heading out, because my legs are still very sore from leg day in the gym. However, I did pretty good! I beat the first run’s time by almost a minute. Today it was 16:20, still an awful time lol, but better ūüôā Zoe was excited that we were going on a run!¬†

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¬† ¬† I am so happy she enjoys it!!! The weather is still a little warm and humid for my liking. We started our run a little earlier this morning than last time, hoping it wouldn’t be as bad, it was just as hot lol. The first hill is the easiest for me.¬†

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†It isn’t horribly steep and Zoe yells “Go Mama Go” the whole time lol. She hates it when I walk. She has the need for speed! ūüėČ Her encouraging yells keep me going for sure. She is quite the motivator!!! If I slow down too much she does not hesitate to turn around and let me know it!¬†

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        So all in all, my second time out was a success! I need to ditch this stroller and get a decent jogging stroller though! This one will work for now, but I am afraid not for long lol.

¬† ¬† ¬†I am also anxiously awaiting the UPS man today!!! As you know from previous posts, that we are trying to eat as “Clean” as possible. Some things that we still want to have in our diets, but have a hard time finding without all the artificial additives and preservatives. Protein bars being one of those items. I love protein bars, because they are easy when you are on the go! High protein snacks are a must. Ones that you don’t have to keep in a cooler are a HUGE plus!!!! Typically we bring baked eggs to snack on when heading out and about, but you need a cooler for them and they can still be stinky. Baked eggs are like boiled eggs, just baked. They have a creamier texture and with baking them, they come out perfect every time! Zoe refuses to eat boiled eggs, but LOVES baked eggs. The child can tell every time if I try to give her a boiled one.

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Anyway, back to¬†Protein¬†bars ūüėČ As I was saying finding “Clean” protein bars are a little difficult to find! I have had several brands that I LOVE, but they truly are not good for us at all! When I came across a brand that actually is clean, I was not only happy, but super excited to try them! I reached out to the company to see if they would allow me to review the bars and they happily obliged!

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    I have heard excellent reviews on them so far!!! So, that is what I am waiting so anxiously for today! If I love them as much as I think I am going to, they will become an affiliate of this page! I will also add some to a small plethora of items for a future giveaway, so you guys will be able to try them too! Keep your eyes peeled for that!!! 

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 How often do you run?  What are your favorite on the go snacks? Do you find yourself lugging a small cooler around for your snacks? What is your favorite Protein bar flavor or brand?

   Josh is off tomorrow and Friday, so we are getting ready for our family fun days! Hope everyone enjoys this lovely day!!!!! 

 

 

To achieve greatness, you must set GOALS!!!

So last night I did a Twitter chat with many great people associated with FitFluential and ViewSport. It was fun and I really enjoyed it! The topic was Goals and Goal setting. I did miss some of the conversation, due to trying to cook a late dinner and control an unruly toddler lol. What I did catch was awesome!

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¬† ¬† I have my ultimate goal, which is to be able to compete in Women’s Physique competitions.

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¬† ¬†I have smaller goals to help me get there! One of my smaller goals is to run (with Zoe in a stroller) in a 5k. I think they look fun and would be a great accomplishment for both of us! I know she would love it!!! We started running yesterday ūüôā I had planned what I thought was the perfect route around our subdivision. It was 1.2 miles. I did not take into consideration that I would be pushing a 30lb two year old in a large clunky stroller, or that I routed us to go up 2 large hills lol. To boot, it was super humid out!!! Our time was 17:18. I was proud that we got out there and did it, but I was disappointed with my time. ¬†I do know that I will continue to run 2 or 3 times a week and that my time will improve!

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¬† ¬†I didn’t think that there would be much quality time for us while running. Surprisingly enough, there really was! We were always talking about pretty flowers, trees, dogs, and anything else we saw on our short running journey. I am hoping to get Josh out there with us once a week! I think it would be another great way to have family fun time! we shall see if he agrees lol ūüėČ

 I believe setting goals is a great example for Zoe! I want her to learn that in order to get what she wants, she need to make a plan, set goals, then work hard to accomplish them!

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    We have accomplished several small goals to get us where we are now. Things like: Drinking more water, keeping our sugar intake less than 35 grams a day, cutting out artificial sugars, throwing out anything that has artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, learning to cook healthier meals, and consistently weight training!

We have both (Josh and I) had slip ups and times where we have gotten lazy or off track. The great thing about sharing our goals with each other, is we do keep each other accountable! I believe in marriage you have to work as a team. Supporting each other and pushing each other is very important! In this house we are very goal oriented and love helping each other achieve greatness!!!

Do you have a goal? Do you have smaller goals to help you achieve the main goal? Who in your life inspires and pushes you? Do you involve your family in your dreams?

Get out there and accomplish your goals! Do not let any set back hold you down from your greatest achievements!!!

I thought it was just another “Diet Pill” Wow, was I wrong!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I heard about a product called SkinnyBits. At first I did not pay much attention to it, because I don’t usually fall into a diet pill fads. I started seeing more people talking about. Out of¬†curiosity¬†I looked it up and saw that it was in fact NOT a supplement or “Magic” diet pill. It IS in fact 100% Spirulina Algae tabs. This did actually perked my curiosity more and I was pretty stoked to score a sample to try them out!

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This is the actual sample I received ūüôā

While waiting on their arrival, I wanted to do more research on Spirulina Algae. I have a friend who has been ordering it from a different company and mixing it with their food and shakes for years! What strikes me as amazing, is how high in protein it is! Protein is a huge part of my diet. It helps me build lean muscle mass when I am weight training.

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   Raw protein is not the only valuable benefit though! It is also full of major vitamins: A1, B1, B2, B6, B12 , C and E. It also contains beta-carotene, all the essential fatty acids, as well being 62% amino acids. It is also is full of important minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, and the list goes on and on! Pretty impressive really!!!

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   Upon more research, I found that the blue-green algae is great for several things: weight loss, stress, fatigue, anxiety, diabetes, ADHD, depression, PMS, improving your memory, lowering your cholesterol, increasing your metabolism, preventing heart disease, this list actually goes on and on too!

I even found some recipes that incorporate it! Algae smoothies, Guacamole, even Energy bars!

It is widely available in many forms and in many price ranges. With SkinnyBits or any of their HealthBits, you can order a bag of the tabs and they send a tin (like the sample one) that you can refill and carry with you. There is a smell to the tabs when you first open them. I just swallowed them like pills, but the paperwork that came with them said you can eat them too. It did warn that it is an¬†acquired¬†taste though ūüėČ LOL I wasn’t quite ready to¬†acquire¬†it. I was impressed with the product and will probably be adding Spirulina Algae to our diet. I would definitely check them out!!! By the way,I am not being paid by HeathBits for reviewing their product, I simply am impressed by the health benefits of Spirulina Algae. I would however use/or promote their product, because I do believe in it’s benefits! You will never see a product on my blog, that I would not use myself or give to my family!

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What the tabs actually look like!

Like I said, you can buy it in many forms and many different price ranges. I still have questions about the quality if buying from a different company at a cheaper price? Being a frugal mama, I obviously want the best bang for my buck! Certainly, I do believe it will greatly benefit my family and I, but I always want to make sure I am getting the best price too!

Huge thank you to SkinnyBits for allowing me to sample your product! If you have more questions about SkinnyBits, you can click on their name anywhere in my blog to go to their website. You can also get a 10% discount on any of the HealthBits by using the code BLOG! Definitely check them out!!!!

Have you ever tried Spirulina Algae? What are your thoughts on the health benefits? Would this be something you would add to your family’s diet? I love¬†input¬†from my readers, so if you have comments or questions, fire away!!!

Zoe and I are going to start running today! I have her stroller ready, snacks all packed, and our route mapped out! Should be fun!!! Hope you all enjoy your day!!!

Baby Sign Language Q & A

I get a ton of questions about baby signing and ASL (American Sign Language). Mostly about teaching sign to your baby or child. I figured today was a great day to address a lot of the questions I get!

The most popular questions are: How old should we start?, Is it too late to start?, How do we start?, and Will it interfere with or delay their speech development?

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¬† ¬†I believe that it is never too early to start!!! I started signing to Zoe when she was born. She obviously had no idea what I was doing, why I was doing it, or was able to sign back, but she was absorbing the information. ūüėČ I sign and speak to her as much as I can. Be it in songs, reading, or just having a normal conversation with her. For a beginner, It would be best to learn a few signs that you know you want your child to use often. With a baby it would be things like Mom, Dad, Milk, Eat, Wet, Potty, Diaper, Sleep, Play, and other signs you want them to use to make¬†communicating¬†with you easier. There are a plethora of books, Dvd’s, and flash cards that make learning easy and fun for both of you! You will be pleasantly surprised one day when your child begins signing back! Zoe started between 4 and 5 months old! Some of her favorite Dvd’s are: Signing Time, WeeHands, ¬†and¬†My First Signs¬†She actually has a ton of books and dvd’s, too many to list lol. We also pull videos up on Youtube.

Here are some of Zoe signing when she was younger!

Zoe’s baby signs, More signs, and yes even more lol¬†She actually has several lol At the age of 26mths she knows well over 150 signs, not including her alphabet.

Is it too late to start? Never!!!!! Anyone can learn sign language no matter what age! Baby, child, or adult! It is a beautiful and fun language! I grew up watching my parents teach friends who wanted to be able to communicate better with them. Some even went on to make it a¬†profession! There are even classes in most areas for every age level! Just imagine the parents who learn and teach the¬†siblings¬†when they have a deaf child enter their family ūüėČ

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       For infants, will it interfere with their speech development? The answer to that, is absolutely not. If anything, it helps them learn to speak quicker! Believe it or not, several speech pathologists use sign to help children who are struggling with their speech.

I found this on MSNBC:

Q: Baby sign language has become extremely popular recently. I’ve heard only wonderful things about it, including that it eases frustration and promotes verbal language. However, my niece has been taught baby sign language and is now 18 months old and has yet to speak a word. She seems content to just demand food and drink with her hands. Does baby sign language actually delay verbal language in many cases?

A:¬†The short answer is no, according to Dr. Lynn Mowbray Wegner, a pediatrician in Chapel Hill, N.C., and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. In fact, signing is a very good … err … sign. It means your niece is communicating effectively, which is a major step at this point in her life.

The exact form of this communication varies. Some parents rely on gestures based on American Sign Language. Others create their own signs for everyday objects and emotions.

Signing has not only opened up communication for my daughter and I, but I think it is a wonderful bonding tool! With both of my parents being deaf, I grew up in essentially two different cultures. Knowing sign language opened many doors for me, and I hope it does the same for my daughter.

Have you taught your children a different language? Are you interested in learning sign language or teaching it to your kids? Do you have any questions about ASL or baby signs?

I am happy to answer any questions you may have! Feel free to ask me anything, or leave a comment!

Hope everyone enjoys this beautiful Saturday!!!

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Finally got to treat ourselves to some UNREAL candy!

We had a wonderful family fun day at home just relaxing! I am a BzzAgent and received a BzzKit today for UNREAL candy, so obviously, we had to make a quick trip to Walgreens to check these out. You can click on the link below to read more!

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this kit!!! We love to treat ourselves and like I stated in my previous blog, “Food or poison? What are you feeding your family?”, we are striving to keep our diet, as well as Zoe’s, as clean of artificial colors and preservatives as possible!!! We got to try what is called Unreal 54, which is like peanut M&M’s. Zoe just loved them!!! The colors were a little different, but she loved them just the same. I thought they were pretty. I didn’t get a good picture of the actual candy, because Zoe gobbled them all down so quick lol.

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Josh had the Unreal 77, which is like Reese’s peanut butter cups. He thought it was awesome they didn’t have all the junk in them! I tried Unreal 8, which is comparable to a Snickers bar. I was in heaven!!!!

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¬† ¬† ¬† The price was¬†comparable¬†to the junked up versions too! We will definitely be purchasing them again! They are a perfect sometimes treat for my family! ūüôā

    Has anyone else tried these? What are your thoughts on candy that has no artificial flavors or colors?

Would you like to be Unjunked? If you would like to try some, I have a few coupons for buy one get one free that I would be happy to send you! If you are interested, comment here and follow me on Twitter and I will get your info from there! Remember, I only have a few more coupons, so first come first serve!

Have a happy day!!!!

The Good, The Bad, and The Butter…..

My whole life I have been taught that all saturated fats are evil. I was told that processed vegetable oils and margarine spreads were the healthiest way to go. I think everyone has been sold on this idea of “healthy” for the past 30 years! Since my family and I have started eating clean and researching what we are putting into our bodies. We are learning, or I should say, relearning what is actually nutritionally sound for our own personal health.

Margarine has been sold to us as this heart healthy option right? Let’s dig a little deeper shall we….. we will see the process in which Margarine is made:

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Basically, they process the cheapest GMO vegetables into a gray smelly grease, clean it back up, bleach it, dye it, remove the smell, and add that “butter” flavor and call it health food. Wow, REALLY???

        We prefer saturated fats and so do our bodies! The types of fats my family consumes are: Coconut oil, Palm oil, Butter, Animal fats, Heavy cream, Olive oil, and Organic lard. Are we concerned that we are going to increase our risk for heart disease and high cholesterol? Absolutely not! There are several reasons that these saturated fats are great for you!

  • ¬† ¬†To promote stronger bones. How you ask? Saturated fats help your body absorb calcium and regulate your calcium levels. Very important for women!!!!
  • ¬† ¬† They¬†contain fatty acids such as lauric acid, myristic acid and caprylic acid, which are antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral, and all contribute towards a stronger immune system which in turn is more¬†vigilant against the development of cancerous cells.
  • ¬† ¬† Saturated fats are more stable at higher temperatures than other fats, so they are less likely to become oxidized and turn into cell-damaging free radicals, as polyunsaturated vegetables oils frequently do.
  • ¬† ¬† They are the most valuable source of Vitamins A, D, and K which¬†are necessary for hormone regulation, reproduction, immunity, bone health and much more.
  • ¬† ¬† Supports a healthy brain!¬†A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally. Your brain is made of fats. ūüėČ

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     The list actually goes on and on!!!  There are several links and studies that have been done that coincide with what I have learned. Here are a few of the links: MuscleHack, Nourishing Days, Natural Bias, The Oiling of America, and The Four Hour Work Week

We have chosen these saturated fats, because of all of the reasons above, as well as a few more I did not list. They are part of a natural and clean diet.

I always find this subject to be an interesting topic of discussion! What are your thoughts on Saturated fats?

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Food or Poison? What are you feeding your family???

When I was pregnant I was very¬†adamant about not consuming artificial colors or additives, due to the risk of it harming my baby. I got a lot of guff from friends and family!¬†¬†Even at my baby shower!!! I didn’t want to eat the cake lol. It was a cute cake, I was just scared to risk anything. I had waited a long time for this blessing!!! I did end up having a piece out of guilt lol. ūüėČ

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      Having a horrible craving for fruity candy. As you may have guessed, I had the hardest time finding anything without all the colors. I was told Red 40, Blue 1, and Yellow 6 were the worst. Well, you would not believe how many things, not just candy, have these colors in them!!!! Cereal, candy, chips, juice, soda, yogurt, cheese, Lunchables, heck even pickles!!!

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Needless to say, I was not a happy pregnant lady lol. I did my best to stay strong. At this point in my life, I had never heard of “Clean Eating”. My diet before pregnancy was anything but healthy! ¬†You ask, what could I have possibly read that made me decide to have a more restrictive diet?

As CSPI reported:

“Almost all the toxicological studies on dyes were commissioned, conducted, and analyzed by the chemical industry and academic consultants. Ideally, dyes (and other regulated chemicals) would be tested by independent researchers.

Furthermore, virtually all the studies tested individual dyes, whereas many foods and diets contain mixtures of dyes (and other ingredients) that might lead to additive or synergistic effects.

In addition to considerations of organ damage, cancer, birth defects, and allergic reactions, mixtures of dyes (and Yellow 5 tested alone) cause hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in some children.

… Because of those toxicological considerations, including carcinogenicity, hypersensitivity reactions, and behavioral effects, food dyes cannot be considered safe. The FDA should ban food dyes, which serve no purpose other than a cosmetic effect, though quirks in the law make it difficult to do so (the law should be amended to make it no more difficult to ban food colorings than other food additives).

In the meantime, companies voluntarily should replace dyes with safer, natural colorings.”

      If you click on the CSPI link you can get everything in more detail. It basically says that after extensive testing, they linked artificial colors to organ damage, cancer, birth defects, hyperactivity, difficulty focusing, allergies, learning disabilities, and this is just the tip of the iceberg! What is even more astonishing is that if you buy food products in the UK, their government will not allow these artificial colors in the food without a WARNING label! Why? for health reasons of course! So why is the FDA allowing it in our food? Why is our country being poisoned?

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I am not gonna say that in my household,we never eat artificial colors. I can honestly say, we have nothing in the pantry or fridge that has artificial colors! We don’t buy things with them. I love to bake, but have put my colorful cakes on hold till I can figure out a way to naturally color them. (My chocolate cake has always been the favorite anyway. No added color needed lol)

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I do get frustrated a lot, because I get labeled “The mean mama” ¬†or “The over protector” when it comes to birthday parties and children’s gatherings. I don’t want Zoe having the junk, even if it is only once in a while! Zoe is a very active child on her own, without sugar or artificial colors! Anyone who knows her, knows she never sits still. She can focus and is very smart! She has impressed every doctor she has seen with her knowledge!¬†Josh and I noticed a huge change when we allow her to have colors or¬†preservatives. She spends more time in “Time-Out” than actually playing.¬†We have seen first hand what it does to a child! She rarely has colors or preservatives now. Unfortunately, we can not help what people give her when we are not there or when we aren’t looking. (Grandparents always get a pass on spoiling her lol)

     When she was about 1 year old, we started learning more about eating clean. It opened a whole new world for us! Zoe up till this point was on a pretty clean diet already, because we made her baby food. Josh and I however, were not. We thought we were eating healthy. Boy were we wrong!!! I have since been learning ways to cook and serve more clean meals! We do still have slip ups here and there. Zoe has even had some too. :-/ With everything, there is a learning curve. We are certainly learning more and more everyday!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Until you start really reading labels, you never realize how much toxic stuff is in our food supply! ¬†Did you know that the dyes in your food, are also in your toothpaste, mouthwash, medicines, shampoos, some vitamins,etc. and even worse, the dyes are made from petroleum! Yeah, the same stuff that fuels your car! Horrible to think that if you feed your child the wrong brand of cheese, you could be giving them something you would put in your car’s gas tank! YUCK!!!

   You may be asking yourself, why do they put dyes in foods? They put them there to make our food look more appealing. Basically make-up for food. They believe it will make the food more palatable for everyone. For instance, cheesy chips should have that orange/yellow color that comes off on your hands, so you believe that it is in fact cheese. It is actually nothing more than cheese flavored powder. The chips themselves are flavored too artificially of course! All junk and all horrible for you and your kids!!! Our children are our future, so why are we feeding them the worst trash possible???

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Some say it is more expensive to eat healthier. Well, it is true in the fact that your rarely see coupons for fresh veggies or fruit. All the sales are always on soda and chips. I will definitely agree with that! However, my family is on a very fixed income and we make it just fine. We never buy junk food. Everything is homemade in our house. That brings me to the next excuse I hear a lot “I don’t have time to cook!” Our meals do not take any longer than 30 to 45 mins to prep and cook. Snacks in this house are fruit, veggies, nuts, or something we concoct. If we want chips, we buy clean corn tortillas and we bake our own. Nothing is ever that time consuming and it keeps us from needlessly eating, as many people do when they get bored. If you have time to sit in front of the computer or Television, then you have time to make something for your family. (It is actually a gesture of love to get off your tush and serve your family)

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Lemon and blueberry sorbet. Made in my kitchen!

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Clean Garlic and Dill chips made fresh!

¬† ¬†There are some companies that make candy, chips, cookies, and several other foods that do not have all the crap in them. You just have to read labels!!!! ¬†My pregnancy go to candy was Mambas. No, they are not healthy, but they also do not have artificial colors. They always got me through my craving for fruity sweet treats! I have recently discovered UnReal brand candy! I haven’t tried them as of yet, but Zoe and I are going to treat ourselves very soon!!! Once we do I will let you know what we think!!! Stacy’s brand snacks have all natural chips! So, as you can see there are options out there! You just have to do your research.

     People need to be aware of what they are actually consuming or having your family consume! I am astonished at how many kids and adults live on Hot Pockets and microwave dinners!!! It is disappointing to know there are parents out there who would rather be at the bar, watching television, or sitting on Facebook than providing a healthy meal for their family. We make cooking a family thing. If Josh is working, then it is just Zoe and I. She is always eager to help! Whatever she helps make, you can guarantee she is gonna eat too!!!! When Josh is home we all three tackle the job! It is fun and it keeps us close as a family! The meals are made with love, which makes them perfect for us!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† We like knowing what we are eating! I hope this opens at least one person’s eyes to what is going on with our food in this country! If they have to put “make-up” on your food, what are they covering up???

Have your children been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD? Have you tried changing their diet as opposed to drugs?

We are always looking for new healthy treats! Do have any all natural snacks that you like to indulge on?

 I hope everyone has a healthy and happy Wednesday!!!

Starvation diets are all the rage!!!!

So while l perusing Facebook yesterday, I noticed someone posted this picture….

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† At first I thought it was a joke, then I realized some people are actually doing this! I don’t know why I would be so surprised, with all the crazy diets out there. I thought the HCG diet was pretty bad with it’s 500 calorie limit. I find it so hard to understand why someone would want to literally starve themselves! What is more messed up is they believe it will speed up their metabolism! (In case you didn’t know,it will actually do the opposite!) I am not gonna lie, these fad starvation diets infuriate me!!!

         I personally know quite a few people who were or are selling the HCG products. They would always argue the weight loss is from HCG itself not starving yourself, thus it is healthy! Yeah, because that makes perfect sense! :-/ In the disclaimer in fine print on every HCG product packaging and website, They state that they can not guarantee their product. Wow, that is surprising!! LOL

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† In 1944, during the World War II era, there was an experiment done called The¬†Minnesota Starvation Experiment. They wanted to look at the effects of starvation’s effects physically and¬†psychologically. They started the subjects (all¬†volunteers) on a diet of 3200 calories. All of the subjects were healthy men. They took some down as low as 400 calories a day! Some of the symptoms they discovered were¬†dizziness, extreme tiredness, muscle soreness, hair loss, reduced coordination, ringing in their ears,¬†sunken faces and bellies, protruding ribs, and edema-swollen legs, ankles, and faces. Other problems such as anemia, neurological deficits, and skin changes became apparent. It took 3 months of rehabilitation for these men to get back to almost normal. Most still complained of extreme fatigue, lack of sex drive, and severe psychological distress. All of the men who started the experiment were around 165-150lbs at the beginning. They were less than 98lbs at the end.

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¬† ¬† ¬† I completely understand the want to be fit and have the perfect body. Fitness is one, about health, but there is a¬†superficial aspect to it too. We all, men and women, want to be beautiful! It is understandable with all that the media shoves down our throats as the “Perfect” people. All toting the perfect butt and abs. It makes it hard to look in the mirror sometimes. Fact of the matter is, most, if not all are photoshopped to look perfect. None of them are either! ūüėČ

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      They like the rest of us, they feel the pressure to be beautiful too! Starving yourself is not the way to go! You can develop all the same problems as the men in that experiment, or worse. Starvation diets will lead to nothing, but an eating disorder, destroying your internal organs, or even death. There is nothing beautiful about any of it.

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          Skinny to me, is not attractive. I am not sure when it became the norm to see women walking around with ribs showing, but I do remember as a teen feeling the pressure to be skinny. Not healthy, but skinny.

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         I believe now, that Strong is the new skinny! I am thrilled more women are starting to get into strength training, rather than just cardio or in some cases starving themselves skinny.

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¬† ¬† ¬†Your desire to want that perfect body is the first step to¬†achieving¬†your goal. Use that feeling to GET YOUR BUTT UP and start changing things in your life! Clean your fridge of all the crap. Start researching healthier food options, unplug your microwave and start learning to cook. ūüėČ It is actually fun! We all love to eat, so eat! You can have a healthy body and lifestyle without starving yourself! Healthy eating isn’t just salads lol I have discovered many ways to make the foods I love by just changing how they are made or changing certain ingredients.

¬† ¬†These are healthy meals….

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¬† ¬† ¬†Look tasty right? Trust me, they were all¬†scrumptious¬†dinners! ūüėČ They weren’t hard to make either! On an average day I eat between 2000-2500 calories, some days I do eat more! Your body needs food as fuel. If you have an empty tank you aren’t gonna go anywhere.

     If you put crap like sugar, grease, or leave it empty, your car would shut down right? So why put junk in your gas tank or worse leave it empty. If you are gonna fill it, put the premium stuff in it! YOLO (You Only Live Once) is all the rage right now, so why would you want your life to be cut short by being unhealthy. Fad diets and eating crap are going to shorten your life. You want to live long and be happy, change your diet and your lifestyle and I promise you, not only will you be happier with your body you will be happier with life in general! Once you change your diet and start seeing and feeling results, it will motivate you to want more! Next thing you know, you will be in the gym. Trust me, healthy living is addictive!!!!

  What is your normal calorie intake? Do you know anyone on one of these crazy starvation diets or worse with an eating disorder? What ways would you try to help a friend see the light?

  I hope and pray that these diets will stop, or people will wise up and see that they hurt more than they help! If you have a friend or family member with an eating disorder or on one of these diets, get them help before it is too late!

                                            Hope everyone has a beautifully happy and fit day!!!!

Fitness Myths: True or False?

There are a lot of myths when it comes to exercise, diet, and losing weight. Do this, don’t do that, you have to eat this, steer clear of that, most of the time you are being told the opposite of what someone else has told you or you have read…..It can really make things very confusing for a beginner! I have had many trials and tribulations during my journey. Many had me busting some long time fitness myths that I always believed to be true.

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†This is Myth number 1 Crunchers are the best way to burn belly fat…..Something I have always wanted, and am still working towards is the illusive six pack! I always thought I just needed to do crunchers and ab exercises in excess and they would just pop out.

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  While working your abs and core is awesome and important! You will never see an actual six pack without leaning out. If you have a higher body fat percentage you need to do cardio and really watch what you eat! There is a saying that Abs are made in the kitchen. I do in fact, believe it!!! Cleaning up your diet is a HUGE step to seeing a more defined body.

    Myth 2 is Cut your Carbs. I have talked about this before. You definitely need your carbs for energy! Without them you will crash before you even start your day.  Complex carbohydrates are a very important part of a well balanced diet.

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¬† ¬†Simple Carbohydrates are the ones you want to steer clear of. As far as fruits and the sweeter veggies go, keep those as energy boosters before or after a workout! Instead of storing the sugars as fat, your body will burn them as fuel. ūüėČ The rest of them, you can just throw them in the trash!!! (Well, except milk for the little ones)

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¬† ¬† ¬†The 3rd myth is, to tone up, you just need to do a ton of cardio and lift light weights with high repetitions. Yes, cardio will help burn fat. Lifting light weights will not tone you up unless you are absolutely fatiguing the muscles. Meaning you just can’t lift anymore. I see it all the time. Women just spinning their wheels curling 2lb dumbbells. Your groceries weigh more than that! Come on now, you know better! In order to see muscle tone, you have to have muscles!

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     Cardio is awesome for your cardiovascular health, but like everything, you can do too much!  There are several aspects to consider when planning the perfect workout regimen, Strength (weight training), Speed (High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT), Agility (Team sports or agility drills), Endurance (Marathon training or cycling), and Flexibility (Yoga). All of these are important! If you balance them well, you will have a healthy physique!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Myth number 4 is “NO PAIN NO GAIN” You want to work your muscles to fatigue. Obviously, you will be sore.

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    Sure feeling a little sore is normal, but you should never be so sore that you can not function with your normal daily activities. There is a such thing as too much!!!

      The 5th myth is Stretch before your workout. While stretching your muscles is great, you should save the stretching for post workout.

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    Stretching while your muscles, tendons,and ligaments are still cold, can lead to injury. It is a great idea to warm your muscles before working them! You can do this by marching in place, a brisk walk, or even half squats with just your body weight. A good stretch after a workout can be a fabulous and relaxing way to end!

     Myth 6 You can lose weight fast swimming. Swimming is a great activity. It will boost your lung capacity, tone muscles, and even help with tension, but unless you are swimming for hours and hours non stop, you are just again, spinning your wheels.

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¬† ¬†With the buoyancy of the water supporting most of your body weight, your body is doing less work than if you were to jog or run. Another reason, is they say that swimming in Cold water makes you eat more when you are done. Therefore, you cancel out any calories you may have burned in the pool. This one had me for years! I love swimming! ūüėČ I still think it is great for agility and endurance training, just not for weight loss.

¬† ¬† ¬†Myth number 7, If you aren’t sweating you aren’t working hard enough.

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Everyone’s body is different. When Josh and I hit the gym, he can just look at the equipment and sweat rolls off him lol. I typically don’t start sweating till mid to end of the workout. Sweating is just your body’s way of cooling off. You have a great workout and barely break a sweat at all!

  These are all busted myths that I have learned on my journey to becoming fit! Most I wish I had learned the truth about sooner! Do you have any busted myths to add to this list? Do you disagree with any of these and why? Did you find any of these to be true in your case as well?

   Hope everyone has a fantastic Monday!!!!

Stop Hating and Start Motivating!

We all have days where we just don’t wanna get up and do anything! Some people have more of those than others. ūüėČ Sometimes, you just need some way to get that motivation and kick your butt in to gear!!!

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¬† ¬† ¬† I see many who spend more time sulking about what they are unhappy with than getting up and doing something about it. I get it, I have been there! You don’t have to go through life unhappy, angry, depressed, and all around hateful? You CAN change!

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¬† ¬† If you really want to change things and how you feel about yourself, posting your self hate on social media sites probably won’t get you there. ūüėČ Another approach is getting up and getting started! Making small changes in your daily diet and activities is a great start! Maybe cutting soda out or walking in the evenings after dinner. Start with small steps and small goals that will help you get to where you want to be!

¬† ¬†STOP making excuses!!! If you want to be fit and be happy with your body, you have to be willing to make the changes! Making excuses is just saying it is that it isn’t important to you. It took me a long time to get beyond my excusititus (that’s what I call it lol) It is an illness, spread by negative thoughts and in some cases negative people. You have to not only start changing how you think, but you may also need to separate yourself from the negative aspects in your life. You start thinking more positive, you will stop making excuses!

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¬† ¬† ¬†I try to surround myself with positive people. In the past I had people in my life who would give me reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something and others who were so caught up in finding the negative in their own lives and expecting me to help pick them back up. I couldn’t do it for myself, let alone others around me. When there is no positive people in your life, who will pick you up when you really need it? I have seeked out several motivating and positive fitness minded individuals on social media sites. Some are like me, just regular people looking to change their body and life, some are professional¬†athletes, fitness models, body builders, etc. ¬†Most professionals are more than happy to answer questions and help you get where you want to be! Seeking guidance from a personal trainer at your gym can also be a huge help. Most of them have made quite the life transformations themselves!!!!

 Foe example, this is Kelsey Byers. I follow her on Facebook. She is a fitness model and a super friendly lady! She is a great example of a motivating person to follow and is always glad to lend some advice or a friendly word.

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¬† ¬† ¬†Sometimes just chatting with other people on the same journey or looking at their before and after pictures motivates me. Other days, putting on my workout gear and shoes will make me hit the gym! You have to change the mentality of I don’t feel it, to let’s do this!

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¬† ¬†No one can do anything about your body, but you! No one can make you love yourself, that is something you have to want to change. It took me many years to learn that! It’s funny, 5 years ago the only bar I would hit served liquor. Now my happy hour is lifting the bar in my gym! ūüėČ

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¬† ¬† I made changes not only for my well being, but to teach my daughter that she needs to love herself. I can’t set that example for her if I continue to hate myself. Right now, she looks in the mirror and says “Mama I so pretty.” That is something I want to here her say every day of her life!

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     Moments like that, also get my butt in gym. I want to show her that I love myself too!

What motivates you? Do have negative people in your life? Are you willing to let go of your negative lifestyle to get the things you want? Making the decision to change my life, made me happy! What is gonna make you find your happy?

           Happy Sunday to all of you and much love and blessing to you and your families!

Plan to avoid the plateaus…

So this week was chaotic for me and I only hit the gym 3 times vs my normal 5-6 times. I tend to beat myself up about it, when in all¬†actuality¬†sometimes a break isn’t a horrible thing.

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        This week I am changing my routine up a little, mainly because I think my body has hit the dreaded plateau again. I actually love change, because it makes everything new and exciting again! I am adding some cardio drills to my routine and changing my lifts around.

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     I workout at home and typically, I research online to figure out a new plan of attack. Josh is a huge help too! He knows a ton about lifting and has taught me a lot about how to work muscle groups properly. When lifting, I do one muscle group a day. For example today is shoulders, so I will do 4 lifts. I only do one muscle group, so I can concentrate on every aspect of the muscle rather than rushing through a full body workout. I have experienced in the past, that less is more. With the shoulders there are 3 main areas you want to hit, the Anterior head (Front portion of the shoulder muscle), Middle head (Middle side of your shoulder), Posterior head (or your rear delt, back of shoulders)

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†That being said, each muscle group has certain areas that get worked with certain exercises. I research each muscle group like this and find different lifts to change up my routine. With having the internet, it is quite easy to come up with a different routine every month or so. I typically use Bodybuilding.com, because they are easy to navigate. Plus, they have a ton of info not to mention a bunch of ¬†free 12 week programs already written up. However, now I just like to write my own. ūüôā

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I started to add a bit of cardio this past week, but like I said I slacked, so didn’t see a change. I am writing up some cardio drills to start doing. I am not a fan of cardio, but I know in order to burn off a little extra body fat I need buck up and do some lol. I have built a ton of muscle over the past few months, but it is somewhat hidden under a layer of body fat. In a perfect world, I would own a treadmill and or swimming pool lol, but alas I do not. It is hard for me to go run, because I have an overzealous toddler who doesn’t like to cooperate and a hubby who works long hours, so my other option is to come up with cardio drills that I can do here at home. It actually works out great, because Zoe does them too and enjoys them very much! Kids and cardio mix quite well!!!

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¬† ¬†As much as I hate cardio, it will mean the difference between me looking like this…..

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† To something more like this……

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      I have small goals I need to accomplish before I can get to my ultimate goal. I know every week when I look at my pictures, I am getting closer and closer!!!

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     Do you have a plan of attack to accomplish your goals? How often do you change your routine? Do you involve your kiddos or family in your workouts?

Beyond my Daddy’s smile….

   My Daddy is the happiest, funniest, and strongest person I have ever met! You would never know from seeing him that every Thursday, my dad has chemo treatment. He has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. He has had it for a few years now. When first diagnosed we were told that it is a very slow progressing disease and that he would probably pass from old age and not from the leukemia. He of course got a second opinion and was told differently. He has an aggressive form of CLL and had to start treatment right away. 

  He has done well with treatment up until recently. He has, for the most part just been sleepy and losing some weight. Nothing really horrible. This is my dad about a year after he was first diagnosed.

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¬† ¬†My dad got to skip treatment last week due to his White Blood Cell count being low. All they did was give him a G-CSF to help raise his WBC so he could continue treatment. Chemo does a number on your body. One of the things it does is lowers your WBC, which makes it hard to fight infection. Since being¬†diagnosed, my dad hads had a problem with infections. We are all very¬†cautious around him, so he won’t get sick. Flus, colds, and staph infections have been his past down falls.¬†

  He started to do a little better when I got a new dog in 2009 lol. I strongly believe in pet therapy. He was still getting treatments, but they were more spread out and he seemed happier!

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   Then he found out I was pregnant, he seemed to miraculously feel better! His treatments stopped and he said he felt great!  He is the proudest Grandpa!

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¬† ¬† ¬†He went treatment free for about 9 months. His lymph nodes and spleen started to become more enlarged and they decided to start treatment again ūüôĀ The doctor decided this treatment needed to be a little more aggressive than before. My dad was a champ with treatment! He said he still felt fine other than being tired. I know sometimes they tell me he feels fine even when he doesn’t, just because they don’t want me to worry. I am a worrier, that is just how I am. :-/ I worry so much about random things Josh has made my theme song Pat Benetar’s “I am the Warrior”, but we change Warrior to worrier. I know, I know we are dorks ha!

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¬† They installed a Chemotherapy port in his chest, back in March. They said it is¬†necessary¬†for chemo patients whose veins are no longer easily¬†accessible and some of the treatments they wanted to try on him could only be administered via the port. This is what it looks like…..

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¬† ¬†¬† Well, this week they made up for the missed day last week. I assumed he wouldn’t feel very well after treatment. It seems that every week since March his treatments sessions have been more aggressive and longer. Vomiting, nausea and extreme tiredness seem to be what he is suffering from now. It is just hard knowing you can not do anything to make your parents feel better. My greatest wish is that he does not have to suffer. I love my daddy very much and this whole process has been hard on our family since day one.

  Something I admire about my dad is that he is a very positive and happy person! Even with everything that is going on, he typically keeps his humor and has fun! 

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¬† ¬† ¬†I know things can and will get worse and I know that there are others in much worse situations than ours. I have been trying hard to be as strong as my dad has been, last night was just a rough one for me. Knowing he just wants to be alone and sleep¬†lets me know that he is really just not feeling well. I am a daddy’s girl! he is the first man I ever loved….

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         Does anyone in your family suffer from cancer? What does your family do to cope with the stress? How do you explain what is going on to children? 

¬† ¬† ¬†I have many friends whose families are going through the same or even worse situations right now. We are lifting you all up in prayer! Thank you to all those who have done the same for our family!!!! Hope everyone enjoys the day!!! ūüôā

Family fun day at the Zoo

We chose to have our family fun day this week at St Louis Zoo! It is by far the best Zoo we have been to in the country so far! Not only because it is quite large and has many animals, but is is also one of the few FREE Zoos left in the country! I have been to quite a few in the past 10 years and none have compared to this one, well not yet anyway!

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¬† ¬† Josh and I grew up coming to this zoo, but Zoe’s first time was back in October. Zoe was one and a half and at the time we didn’t live close. We actually took a detour to visit with family and friends here while on our way to KC on a business trip. Zoe didn’t care much for looking at animals or even being at the zoo, so needless to say we walked one big loop and left. We were barely there for an hour. This is the only picture we got that day at the zoo lol.

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       We moved back to the STL area in December and were anxious for when we thought Zoe would be ready for a return visit! Josh and I are like giddy kids when it comes to seeing animals. It is rather silly since we end up feeling bad for most of them for being caged up. I do give STL zoo credit for giving the animals more space than most zoos! I have been to some that were pretty bad!

¬† ¬† Zoe had learned quite a few ASL signs for several animals in the zoo last fall before we went the first time, so we spent the week brushing up on the ones she knew and adding quite a few more. Once she realized we were actually going to the zoo, she was stoked!!! She just couldn’t wait to see some animals! She wanted to show them what she knew lol. She has matured quite a bit since turning two in June, so we thought she was ready to try again!

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¬† ¬†With a recently potty trained toddler and an hour drive, we made a mad dash for the entrance so we could get her to the potty before an accident¬†occurred. ūüėČ

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   After the close call we were ready to venture in! She was pretty convinced that the Malaysian Sun Bears were monkeys lol.

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   Her favorite exhibits were probably seeing the monkeys, penguins, hippos, and elephants. It would have been better had many of the adults stepped back to allow the small children a chance to see the animals, but it is what it is. I was proud she waited patiently for her turn.

¬† ¬†Seeing the penguins was pretty cool because you could actually touch them. Josh said I probably wasn’t suppose to lol, but they didn’t seem to mind the attention. It was by far my favorite exhibit, just because it was SO hot and humid outside!

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¬† ¬†Needless to say we had a blast today! We also all got quite a workout in walking around the 90 acre park to see as many of the 700¬†species¬†of animals as we could before Zoe needed a nap. ūüėČ ¬†I was pretty proud of how independent she was today. She was very polite with everyone she spoke with and wanted to walk and explore everything on her own.

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   Not sure when our precious little baby grew into such a big girl, but we are beaming with pride either way!

Do you have routine family fun days? What types of things do you like to do together? Where do you love to have your family outings?

 Get out and get active with your family! Family fun days are a wonderful time to catch up after a busy week and spend some great quality time! Hope you enjoyed your day as much as we did!!!

Cha Cha Cha Chia…….

¬† There are several super foods we love and eat daily. One is Chia seeds. Whenever I tell someone I eat Chia seeds they immediately ask…. Do you mean like Cha Cha Cha Chia? Like a Chia Pet???¬†

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¬† I actually had someone ask what we do with all the ceramic figures lol. They are the same seeds, but we buy our Chia seeds in the organic/health food section of our local grocery store. You can also buy them online. This is what they look like….

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 They are not a new food by any means, they were actually a staple of the ancient Aztecs and Mayan diets. In Mayan, Chia means strength. 

They have high amounts of:¬†Omega 3 fatty acids,¬†Protein, and when I say protein I don’t mean just protein, this protein is complete it contains all the essential amino acids.¬†Antioxidants,¬†Vitamin B’s,¬†Minerals, and¬†they are low in calories and gluten free. So, you can already start to see why they are a super food!!

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¬† The health benefits list of Chia seeds is longer than one might think! Increased energy,¬†Improved mood,¬†More sustained energy levels,¬†Improved concentration and clearer thinking,¬†A decrease in aches and pains,¬†A decrease in food cravings and less need to eat between meals,¬†A feeling of well being,¬†Better regularity,¬†Supple, smoother skin,¬†Glossy hair and stronger nails. That have even done research that has shown chia seeds improve high blood pressure, high cholesterol, which in turn improves your cardiovascular health! They have even found that the seeds benefit neurological and brain functions as well arthritic conditions!!! They are super high in fiber so they promote bowel health. They also¬†stabilize¬†your blood sugar. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, that is HUGE!!!! Who wouldn’t want to reduce their prescription drugs, or better yet stop taking them all together? I personally believe adding super foods like this to your daily diet, makes it possible!

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  Now the most common questions I get are: what do they taste like? I think they have a slight nutty flavor. I would compare them to Flax seeds. How do I eat them? Well there are several ways to eat them and several recipes! You can find a plethora online!  

One universal recipe is Chia gel. It can be stored in your fridge and added to salad dressings, smoothies, puddings, etc…..¬†

1/3 cup Chia seeds mixed with 2 cups Water then you can just pop it in the fridge.

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¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† It doesn’t look very appetizing, but I assure you, it will not affect the flavor of your food. ūüėȬ†

  I add the raw seeds to my morning oatmeal. You can add them to soups, sauces, muffin mixes, breads, eggs, the possibilities are endless!!! 

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Image                      Chia seeds are one of the many super foods we love and consume on a daily basis! 

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 What are some of your favorite super foods? Have you tried Chia Seeds? Would you like to see some Chia seed recipes posted here? 

I love feedback and to hear your thoughts! Hope everyone enjoy’s the day!!!! ūüôā

 

 

 

 

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