Friday, May 31, 2013

What I'm Gaining: Shaklee 180™ Vlog

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating in the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. My opinions are my own. I am also a Shaklee Independent Distributor. 

People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

shaklee 180

I know - two videos of me talking about myself in the same month! You never knew you'd be so lucky, right? Just a quick update of how I'm doing as a Shaklee 180™ blogger.

How are you doing with your health and fitness goals? Any unexpected benefits? And do you have any fun/healthy activities planned for this weekend? The sun is finally out again here and I am stuck in bed with a cold. Have some fun for me!
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Little Chef

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When G was 2, he asked me for an apron. I always wore mine when baking, and G has always loved helping me in the kitchen. I made a pattern based on my apron and gave it to him for his third birthday. He still wears it, but now it's become part of a Mario or Luigi costume (in lieu of overalls). Of course, now little sister wants her own apron. I no longer have the pattern I made nearly three years ago, so I made a new one based on G's apron.
I made big pockets because pockets were always important to G, but N doesn't seem to care if she has them or not. She just cares that she's wearing an apron if her big brother has his on. I guess that means it's a win, right? Because now she's not trying to rip G's head off to get his apron from him? And, I think she's adorable in her apron (to be honest, I think she's adorable all the time, though.)

So because N's apron turned out so cute (in my opinion), I've been inspired to add a few to my etsy shop!
child toddler preschooler apron etsy shop

If you think your little chef or baker (or Mario brother!) would like their own apron, please be sure to check out the listing!

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Potty Trainers for my Potty Trainer

cloth potty training pants options #clothdiapers

Very soon, my toddler will be 2, and we'll be making the big push to ditch the cloth diapers in favor of big girl underwear. Okay, baby steps - I need some trainers first. With G, we almost exclusively used disposables. I'm hoping to cut back on the cost, the waste, and the more-comfortable-because-it-doesn't-feel-wet feeling. I haven't bought anything for N yet, but here are some of my front-runner options:

But first, in the interest of complete transparency, this is NOT a sponsored post. However, some links provided are affiliate links and will benefit me and this blog if you choose to make a purchase through one or all of them.

cloth potty training pants options #clothdiapers

Blueberry Trainers seem the most like real underwear, and that appeals to me. I want N to realize we are making a change from diapers, and not just wearing a different kind of diaper. These trainers are supposed to be good for containing small accidents, but are far from being as absorbent as a diaper. They are partially waterproof, and so not recommended for overnight or naps.

Friday, May 24, 2013

What I Like About You (I mean, Me)

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In my time as a Shaklee Blogger I've had a lot of time to consider my motivation and my goals. It definitely helps to step back and get a little perspective at times.

Very few people can truly say they love every part of themselves. Everyone (I hope) has at least some part of themselves that they like. Cori at Olive to Run did a really great post not too long ago on how she views her body - both good and bad. I would be waking up in an absolute dream to have a body as fit as, so it was interesting to see her take on things.

Clearly, I am not 100% okay with my own body, or else I wouldn't be working so hard to lose weight. I have some other issues with my body that aren't related to the extra pounds, but like I said before my goal is to be more positive.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Facebook, I Haven't Forgotten

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Once upon a time, I had the brilliant idea to start a Facebook page for this blog. and then I pretty much let it die. (Boo to me, but it pretty much speaks to the black thumb I have with houseplants, also...)

I have a few readers who I've only interacted with on there. They inspire me to perform a little CPR on the page.

Other than simply updating my status more often, are there things I could do differently that would make you  interested in participating on the page more? Polls? Discussion questions? Coupon codes for affiliates? An ice cream sundae party?

For the record, I'd vote for the sundae party if I could figure out the logistics. And if you're not already following me on Facebook, you can just click here to find me.
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Monday, May 20, 2013

A New Side to the Blog, and Forget-Me-Nots

lesson on being kind and compassionate toward yourself - uchtdorf forget-me-nots

I've always made a point of keeping potentially controversial topics off the blog. Back in my sorority days, we referred to those as the three B's - beer, boys, and bibles. These days, it more refers to politics and religion. Lately, though, I've been feeling drawn more and more often to share messages with religious overtones. Honestly, though, I think these are messages that just about anyone could take benefit from. Hopefully, you'll agree.

There was a lesson at church recently that really touched me. It was based on a talk given years ago by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. There are five main points, as petals of the forget-me-not flower.
lesson on being kind and compassionate toward yourself - uchtdorf forget-me-nots

Forget not...

1. To be patient with yourself
There is no use comparing someone else's strong points to your weaknesses. I know I have a problem with this. When I see a woman in a gorgeous outfit, I assume they are always dressed with amazing style - whereas, I am not. I don't know how to discipline my children properly, I don't know how to sew well enough, I'm not a compelling enough writer... you see where I'm heading with this, right? Remember your small successes because they count too!

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Shaklee Commitment

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If you've been following along with my Shaklee adventure, you may have noticed a slight change to my disclosure. Or maybe you're like me and don't bother to read the "fine print" on things like that.

The news is, I am now a Shaklee Independent Distributor! This does not mean my blog will become a 24/7 infomercial. It DOES mean you can now come to me directly if you're interested in trying any of the Shaklee products for yourself. I truly believe in this company. Like one reader said at the beginning of all this "Losing weight is hard, yo." The Shaklee 180™ system has given me a leg up on this.

If you're feeling the least bit inspired by my experience so far, or if you're just curious about the weight loss program beyond what I've shared so far, please head over to my official Shaklee website here or click on the Shaklee button in my sidebar.

I know I have a lot of readers who are trying to get in shape - either because your pregnancy weight is not coming off as easily as you'd like (hello-my story!), or you just want to jump start a healthier lifestyle for you and your family. Whatever your motivation, I would love to be a part of your success story.

I belong to the Shaklee Corporation blogger program.  I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating in the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. My opinions are my own.  I am also a Shaklee Independent Distributor.  

People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Way I Meal Plan

simplified meal planning

Meal planning in general is an awesome option for getting more organized and also for taking control of your grocery budget.

I meal plan much the way I cook -- fast and loose. Okay, that was a little dorky... but true. Based on the way my family eats, I pretty much only plan for about 4 dinners each week. The remaining nights are generally a combination of leftovers. I don't normally assign specific meals to specific days, either. Oddly, I feel like it puts too much pressure on me dinner. Instead, when it comes time to prep for dinner, I decide which meal on my list I feel like making or eating. If it's a day when I know I will be especially pressed for time, I might choose a slowcooker recipe (if I have one on the menu), or some kind of yummy (and EASY) sandwiches.
simplified meal planning

This is just what works for me, and it is way more organized than what I was doing before. I know people have lots of different ways they plan, and I think it really is a matter of what works best for you and your family.  I admire the women who are able to plan a month in advance. Maybe someday I'll give that a try, probably around the same time I'm finally organized enough to prepare all those freezer meals I keep pinning. Not any time soon, though.

I had a blogger friend who scheduled a meal for each day of the week and loved how easy it made things for her busy family. For instance, every Friday was Pizza, every Monday was pasta, every Wednesday was Mexican. She is able to use different meals each week while keeping the theme for each day the same.

Do you meal plan? What tips or tricks do you swear by? Any favorite recipes you'd like to share? And have you done freezer meals? Monthly meal prep seems awesome to me, so we'll see if I ever get to that point. 

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Me!

I totally missed my first bloggiversary last month, but today is my wedding anniversary - so yay me!
wedding photo

Married 7 years and two kids ago. Look how young we were! I'm not going to write some long, emotional tribute to the man I married. It's not that he doesn't deserve the kind words. Even though I finally told him about the blog, I prefer he not read it. It just makes me feel awkward. So, instead, I'm posting this picture of one of the happiest days of my life just for me. And for you too, apparently.

Happy anniversary to me and to the husband who belongs to me!
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Friday, May 10, 2013

Easy Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

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I'm sure I would be the worst and least sought after food blogger of all time, if that's where I put my focus. Or even if I don't. For starters, I don't measure anything. I mean, I do if I'm trying a new recipe for the first time. Otherwise, I'm all about the chop-and-drop. Second, I apparently cannot be bothered to take decent (or almost ANY) pictures of my creations. So what am I doing with this post? I really couldn't say, but let's just agree that you have been warned.

Spaghetti carbonara is a dish I don't make very often but I absolutely love. It's simple, and it's rich, and it's yummy. A lot of times if you order this at a chain restaurant, they don't use actual carbonara sauce. Maybe they don't want to worry about the eggs? I don't know, but if I wanted alfredo sauce, I would have ordered alfredo sauce...

Anyway, here is my version:

Set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. When ready, salt the water and cook spaghetti al dente to instructions (staying on the firm side).

While you're waiting for the water to boil, heat up a large heavy-bottomed skillet medium to medium-high. Chop an entire package of bacon and drop into the pan. You can use whichever kind of bacon you want. If you use something like turkey bacon, be sure to add some olive oil to the pan first.

Next chop and add a small onion (or more, if you like onions) to the bacon. Occasionally give the mixture a brisk stir. Once the bacon starts getting a more crisp texture, add about 8oz of frozen peas. At this point, I also add some freshly ground black pepper. Continue with the occasional brisk stir.

(*note I do not drain the bacon grease - I hope that doesn't gross you out. I promise you won't notice it in the end!)

When the pasta is done, drain and set aside, but not before reserving at least a cup of the cooking water.

In a small bowl, whisk two large eggs. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved water to temper (warm up without cooking) the eggs, and whisk some more. Then set aside. You'll understand soon enough why you want these warmed up a bit before throwing them into the mix!

Add the spaghetti to the skillet with the bacon mixture, along with about a cup of the reserved pasta water and half a cup of chicken (or vegetable) broth. Go ahead and throw in half a cup or more of grated parmesan now too. Stir until the noodles are well coated and the bacon is distributed fairly well.

Now this is important: REMOVE FROM HEAT. You can leave it in the same pan; I usually pour it all into a very large bowl. Now pour you eggs over top and stir well. Be sure everything is coated well and you're not creating chunks of scrambled eggs. I know it seems somewhat counter intuitive, but the eggs will cook.

Serve immediately. Then tell me you loved it.

What are some of your favorite dishes? Do you hate using actual measurements for cooking too? I always measure exact for baking, but cooking seems to call for a little more artistic license in my kitchen. Also, do you hate me for not bothering to take an "after" picture? I kind of regret forgetting that part, too. 

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shaklee 180™: Beginning Month 3

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It's that time again! For review, this is where my journey started as a blogger for Shaklee at the beginning of March: 
Weight: 170lbs
Bust: 41"
Waist: 36"
Hips: 43"
Arms: left: 14"
           right: 14"

And here are my numbers at the beginning of May! 
Weight: 160lbs
Bust: 38"
Waist: 34"
Hips: 40"
Arms: left: 13"
           right: 13"

Ten pounds and ten inches! I'm only 1/4 of the way to my goal, but - I'm a quarter of the way to my goal! Admittedly, I fell off the proverbial bandwagon a few times, but it was a pretty rough month in general and for weight loss. There were two deaths in my family, a fun trip to Seattle, and a handful of life's garden variety hiccups. 

If you hadn't figured it out, the game plan here is to STAY POSITIVE. One plus to being on the Shaklee 180™ turnaround program are the yummy smoothies. Even my kids beg for me to share with them. I eventually had to start making them their own. It's been a great way to get some extra calories into my picky eaters. Today, I'm going to share a couple of my favorite smoothie recipes! 

Shaklee 180™ smoothie recipes

Peanut Butter Banana
1 banana 
1 tablespoon PB2 chocolate powder
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 scoops chocolate flavored Shaklee 180™ energizing smoothie mix

Peaches and Cream 
1 cup unsweetened frozen peach slices 
generous sprinkle cinnamon 
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
2 scoops vanilla flavored Shaklee 180™ energizing smoothie mix 

1 cup unsweetened frozen strawberries 
1 hand full baby spinach 
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
2 scoops strawberry flavored Shaklee 180™ energizing smoothie mix

Shaklee 180™ smoothie recipes
cinnamon on my fruit!!!

Another plus to my new, healthier routine is that my husband has started making healthier choices too. This doesn't just include the fact that I'm cooking healthier meals and buying healthier groceries and not giving him the option. He always has the option. He's also started doing that insane workout, you know the one. Anyway, it's been a good thing.

Do you have someone to help or inspire you to be healthier? Have you tried any "insane" new workouts lately? Also, my recipes are not the most adventurous out there, but they do taste good! I'd love to hear your favorite mixes. In fact, I've heard there's even an entire smoothie recipe book I need to get!
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This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program.  I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating in the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. My opinions are my own.  I am also a Shaklee Independent Distributor.  

People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fitness Bloggers Blogging

In my last Shaklee 180™ vlog, I talked a little bit about the dangers of getting stuck in a rut with your workout routine. I've taken advantage of a few workouts that bloggers I follow have posted, but recently, I reached out and asked my followers on Twitter where they find their favorite blogger workout routines (and no, I do not mean keyboard speed drills... although, truth be told, I did win third place in my county keyboarding timed skills competition back as a junior in high school. Proud day. #geekproud)

Here is a short list of some of those great bloggers who are kind enough, and talented enough, to put together workouts for mere mortals (such as myself) to use every day. Please check them out, then get back to me with which routines are your favorites! Or, if you already have a favorite fitness blogger, I'd love to hear all about them too!

Julie @ A Better Life with Burgers
Fit For Moms
Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers
Cori @ Olive to Run

I've added these links to my Pinterest board too! If you're not already following me on Pinterest, please do. I still have my Fitness Fridays board going strong, and you never know what else I may come up with!

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

May the Fourth

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If you are #geekproud like me (or simply have access to the internet), you already know that today is Star Wars Day! May the fourth be with you...

And to tickle your funny bone - a text I got from my big brother yesterday:

I hope you have a great weekend everyone! What do you have planned? Any fun trips? Let me live vicariously through you since I'm cleaning, packing, rearranging, and other not so fun things for the next week... 

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Shaklee 180™: Keeping Motivated

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I've just completed my second month as a Shaklee 180™ blogger! This isn't the first time I've tried to lose weight. Some attempts have been successful (ie right before I got pregnant with N, I managed to lose 25lbs... just to put it all back on and then some, but the reward was worth it.).

Here is a short video of how I stay motivated:

What motivates you to be healthy? How do you stay motivated? Why does YouTube always choose the MOST ridiculous thumbnail options for my videos? Seriously. This was my best option. 

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program.  I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating in the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. My opinions are my own.  I am also a Shaklee Independent Distributor.  

People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
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