Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Make My Life Healthier

Every so often around here, Mr. T and I take a good, hard look at ourselves.  Then we sneak a quick glance at our kids, which reminds us how important it is that we exercise and eat right.  Then, of course, we go on a crazy health binge that lasts for a few weeks before petering out to our usual "meh" state of health.

I'm pretty sure that isn't healthy.  For anyone, least of all our kids who are watching that take place.

So when we started getting that feeling again recently, I made a point to start us on a plan that wouldn't result in the same ole thing.

We aren't big people, but that doesn't mean that we are healthy people.  Thin does not equate healthy.  Or fit.  So I started finding little things that we could do to improve our health and fitness without going overboard.

One of the first things that I found was a Facebook group called Simple Health Swaps, that is dedicated to clean eating, being healthy, and making small changes in your life that add up to big health.

This group has given me TONS of great ideas for eating well, getting my daily needed water (not my strong point, as I would much rather have coffee... which I don't drink anymore... we've discussed this, yes?), and just motivating me to be a better, more awesome version of me.  And who doesn't love a more awesome version of themselves?

The next thing I (and by "I" I mean "We") did was to start exercising again regularly.  Well, semi regularly.  See Mr. T and I have a bittersweet love affair with P90X.

Bitter because, well, have you seen P90X?  It's pretty much hell (and I mean that in the nicest possible way).  And when we are in no semblance of fitness, it is next to impossible to do.  And it's sweet, because once you stick with it for the first few of weeks it is almost bearable.  Almost.  And the results really are amazing, if you are dedicated to it.  Which I am not.  But I am going to try harder to be.

But we did decide to start throwing some P90X back into our lives... when we can.  Which means we try to do it 3 times a week, but we aren't being crazy about it.  Mainly because it turns out that in our advance years we don't bounce back the way we used to.  I don't remember being this sore when we used to do this!  Anyway, if it fits into the day, we do it.  If it doesn't, we try to fit in something else.  We walk, or swim, or hike, or do a couple of 10 Minute Trainer workouts.

We just try to fit something in each day.  And yes, I have been sore.  Quite sore, actually, which tends to remind me why I don't like working out in the first place.  But we are getting better.  And maybe even a little more fit.


Next, and this is a big one for me, is to adjust our eating habits.  We eat pretty well, most of the time.  But a big downfall for me is breakfast.  I don't like to eat when I get up.  Which is bad!  Bad, bad, bad!  Because then I am ravenous by mid morning, and eat everything in sight.  So I have made it a point to start eating something every morning, and the easiest thing for me has been my Shaklee Energizing Protein Smoothee.

I like this because it fills me up, and keeps me full until lunchtime, so I don't binge eat my way through the day.  I add some fruit, some milk or almond milk, some ice, and I've got a meal.  A really, really good meal, too.

I also started taking Shaklee's Vitalizer strip vitamins. 

Which has been an experience, since I am not good at taking a lot of pills.  In fact, the first few days, it made me literally sick to take so many pills (there are six pills in each strip, covering everything from  multivitamins to Omegas to B & C vitamins to a probiotic.).  But once I got used to it, and my body started to adjust to what it feels like to have all the proper building blocks it needed, I stopped feeling sick and started feeling great!  No more mid day drag.  No more wanting more and more coffee to get me through the day.  Just good. Which is good, since I quit coffee, remember? (sigh)

Lastly, we have started trying to have a bigger lunch, and then just having something light for for dinner.  A big salad, or an easy wrap or something like that.  Something to give us some nutrition for the night, but not make us so full that all we want to do is lay on the couch like slugs.  This one thing alone has helped me tremendously.  I don't go to bed feeling too full, which means I sleep better, which means I wake up easier... you see how it all is linked?

So what is the goal here?  The goal is to keep introducing things into my life that are low stress, easy to implement, and sustainable.  We want to be around for our kids for a long time.  We want to be able to keep up with our kids for a long time.

And I wouldn't mind being able to do this:

But I think I'm going to need another life to make that happen.

Hopefully, later (much, much later) I can at least be this:

Oh well.  Baby steps.

If you are interested in finding out more about how I am transforming my life with simple steps and Shaklee, shoot me a message!  I would love to talk to you about it!  You won't regret it!

For more info on how Shaklee can make your life and home healthier (and wealthier!), visit here!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Green Spring Cleaning With Shaklee Specials

It's March!  Spring can officially come (thank goodness, because I need spring to come.  Badly.).  And with Spring comes Spring Cleaning, which is definitely NOT my favorite part of Spring, but needed nonetheless.

And, hooray! Shaklee's special from February is continuing through March, so spring cleaning is greener, easier, and just generally a more pleasant experience.  I hate chemically smelling cleaners, so Shaklee's natural, non-toxic cleaners are my saving grace.

Seriously, people, I'm a mediocre cleaner at the best of times.  It takes something impressive to get me to look forward to spring cleaning.

So here are the details:

Remember this post a while back about cleaning my oven without nasty chemicals?

I used my Scour Off:

 I am still using that SAME tub of Scour Off to clean not only my oven, but to scrub tubs and sinks, to get the burnt goo out of pots and pans, to give my stainless appliances a facelift (but only using it very lightly, remember, so I don't scratch my stainless!).  I use it all the time, and still have tons left!

And remember how I use my Basic H concentrate to make my all-purpose cleaner, my degreaser, and my window cleaner?  I have been using this bottle of Basic H for everything, including bathing kids and dogs, washing produce, making a daily shower spray, EVERYTHING!  It's my go to cleaner, I've been using it steady for 18 months, and I still have this much left in the bottle:

Economical much?  I think so, yes!

That only partially covers the cleaning line, but there are also all the amazing products for my health.  Vitamins, meal replacement shakes, supplements to boost my immune system, supplements to battle the winter blahs, everything.  So in one swoop I have made my home healthier and our bodies healthier.

So here is another chance for you to give your family the same gift!

Visit my website, just click here, and get your own Get Clean Kit, and with it you'll get a free lifetime Shaklee membership and a canister of my favorite protein smoothee (a $67.95 combined value).  No monthly minimums, no membership renewals.  Buy what you need when you need it. There is even a 30 day money back guarantee.  Not that you will need it, because I know that you won't! 

So, to recap, buy this:

 Get this:

Join Free

and this:

for free.  Yay!

For more information on my Shaklee March Special, visit my website here.

Or feel free to contact me to answer any questions!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Afternoon Protein Snack Without The Crash

Sometimes afternoon finds me starving.  I mean, open the pantry, and just start eating kind of starving.  Eating whatever I see kind of starving.  So I binge out on anything and everything, from pretzels to Pirates Booty to Granola Bars to fruit to Halloween candy to... you get the point, right?

And with that eating comes exhaustion.  I read once that when you eat, your body focuses all your energy on digesting what you just ate, which is part of the reason we get so sleepy after a big meal.  Truth?  Got me.  But it sounds reasonable for me to start eating several small meals throughout the day, and to start trying to put food in my body that will give me lasting energy, rather than a quick pick-me-up that leads to a fantastic crash afterwards.

Which lead me to energy bites.


These puppies are really dangerous in my house, what with the binging and all, but they take the edge off quickly, and don't seem to lead to a crash afterward.

So, here you go:

In a micro safe bowl, combine 1/2 Cup of Peanut Butter...

... and a 1/3 Cup of Honey...

Microwave the two in 15 second intervals, until they are melted and gooey (technical term).

Don't panic when it looks like this:

Just keep stirring, and it will end up smooth and purdy, like this:

Add to the goo 1 cup of Oats (regular or quick, whatever.):

1/4 cup ground Flax Seed:

1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder:

I use Shaklee (of course I do):

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips:

...give or take.  I definitely gave.

And 1 tsp of vanilla:

You can also add 1 cup of shredded coconut to the mix.  Mr. T isn't a coconut fan, so I skipped this step, but next time I'm going to try it. 

Now put the bowl in the fridge for, oh, maybe 30 minutes.  20 minutes if you have an impatient streak like me.

Now take it out and start rolling the mix into balls.

Maybe sneak one into your mouth while you're at it.  You know, for quality control purposes.

Now pile those little balls into an airtight-ish container, and store in the fridge.

They won't last long.  Not because they will go bad, but because I dare you not to eat them all in one sitting.

Now, go be productive with your crash free afternoon.

What is your favorite afternoon snack to get you through?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My daily bread

No, seriously.  This is about how I make bread, daily.

I often get fed up with the complicated state of my life, and changing my habits is making me want to simplify everything.  Starting with bread.  I love bread.  And I love fresh baked bread best of all.

Which is why I was so very happy to find this:

See, between the covers of this book is the secret to having fresh baked bread throughout the week, which sounds more complicated, not less complicated, but I promise you that it is actually very easy.  And the beautiful thing about it is that the dough made from this book can be used to make bread, pita, pizza crust, all manner of things.  From scratch.  Without funky preservatives.  With only ingredients that I can pronounce.

It's fantastic.

And it goes like this:

You make a large batch of dough and store it in the fridge.  The basic recipe is easy as pie (er, bread.  Whatever.) and only has four ingredients.  But today we are using a slightly more complicated recipe, that is still ridiculously easy, and has a whole six ingredients.  Here they are (well, here they are, minus the most basic, flour and water):

That's right.  Flour, salt, sugar, olive oil, yeast, and water.  I grind up a bit of wheat and mix whole wheat flour with all purpose flour, but using just all purpose flour would work just as well.

That's it.

See this bowl?

Sorry if the picture makes you feel seasick.  I apparently was feeling tilty today.

My mom used it when I was a kid for all manner of things, not the least of which was bread dough, and then she gave it to me.  And it sat in my cupboards for many years, sad and unused, because really, who is going to use a tupperware bowl that big?  Me, that's who.

I just mix up my ingredients right there in the bowl, let it sit for a couple hours, slap a lid on it and toss it in the fridge.  Let me repeat that:  I mix it up, in the bowl with a big wooden spoon (and my hands, when it gets too thick to stir), without dragging out a mixer or any other kitchen gadget.

One. Bowl.

Then it looks like this:

I let it sit, covered, on the counter for about two hours, and then it's ready to go.  I could use it right that minute, but I never do.  Because it is so, so much better after it's been in the fridge for at least overnight.

Just for the record, I had a picture of the dough in its risen state, and it really is a sight to behold.  It filled that whole giant bowl.  But the fact of it is, that by the time it had risen enough to put it in the fridge, the sun was down and the light was bad and I just couldn't bring myself to end with that pic when the one above it was so much better.  So just trust me that it easily doubled in size and was amazing.  Then go look at that first picture of the dough and marvel at how well that pic came out.  For a girl who has no idea what she is doing with a camera I was pretty happy with it.
*End Sidenote*

Then whenever the mood hits me, I grab a chunk of the dough, form it up (no kneading involved), let it sit while the oven heats up, and bake up some fresh bread.  Which I then eat a lot of, so in hindsight this might not be my best plan, but it is working for me now.

Before I forget, make sure that the bowl you mix and store your dough in is not air tight.  While rising, it's giving off yummy, bready gasses (which sounds gross, but I assure you is good) and your bowl WILL explode.  How do I know?  Because I just went ahead and put the lid on mine, sealing it all way up (even though I know better!), and just a moment ago I heard a *POP* from the kitchen.  Sure enough, it had popped the lid off my bowl.  So I'm pretty sure letting this rise in, say, a large sealed mason jar would be disastrous.  Not to mention dangerous.  So don't.

A large batch is enough for four loaves of bread.  Or many, many really good pizza crusts.  Or a whole lot of pita.  Yum.  Imagine what you could make if you doubled it!  The dough gets better throughout the week, and is truly spectacular by the end of the week, or even into the second week.  

And it's easy.  No rise times.  No all day baking.  Just simple, easy bread.

This recipe is very forgiving, and can be adapted six ways from Sunday by adding ingredients (nuts, garlic, olives, etc.) when you bake.  Mmmm, garlic...  And seriously, can you imagine this fresh made pita with some homemade hummus?  Yes, please.  In fact, let's do a hummus recipe to go with the bread next week, wanna?  I do.

I'll share some pics of actually baking the bread when it's time.  Which it isn't yet.  Maybe I'll even give away a copy of the book, I love it that much.  So stay tuned...

How do you like to make bread?  Maybe a better question is do you like making bread? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Detox Cleanse

Remember when I mentioned that I was doing a detox back in January?  I did it, and it was awesome!  Five days got me more energy, clearer skin, and a general feeling of lightness that I assure you had nothing to do with lack of food.

It was a great reset for my body after all that Christmas cheer, and I am going to be doing it again in March, for anyone that is interested in joining me.  Here is what it looks like:

More to the point, the week looks like this:

As you can see, this detox is powered by Shaklee, because you all know how I love and trust Shaklee!  Done right, this detox is gluten free, dairy free, caffeine free, and of course free of nasty chemicals or preservatives.  There is even a facebook group to give you support along the way!

And here is the beauty of the situation - for the month of February Shaklee is giving a free membership ($19.95 value) to anyone with an order of 50 PV or more, AND a free canister of the 180 Smoothee mix ($48 value) to boot, which is used in the detox!

Ordering with Shaklee will make you, your family and your home healthier.  And in case you were concerned, there are no minimum monthly orders, and a 30 money back guarantee.  Which means you have nothing to lose.

So come join me in March, and kickstart your health. Let's get our bodies and our homes healthy and happy for the coming summer, because even if it doesn't feel like it, spring is right around the corner and summer isn't far behind.  It's coming and I fully intend on being healthy enough, fit enough, happy enough to enjoy it!

For more information about Shaklee's February special, click here.

For more information about joining me in the detox, shoot me an email and I'd love to answer all your questions.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Life as I know it


I am sitting at my kitchen island, reveling in the fact that I am the only one awake for just a moment.  The sun is just coming up over the mountains behind us, and starting to light up the mountains in front of us, and it is a truly exceptional sight.  It's easy to be thankful when surrounded by such beauty!

So, let's get down to it:  How was your 2013?  Mine was a whirlwind!  When I sit back and think about everything that took place over the last year... WOW!  Want a quick recap?  Here you go:

January 2013:  Mr. T lost his biggest consulting client.  Actually, that isn't true.  He didn't lose them entirely.  He had his hours with them drastically cut, resulting in us scrambling to make up the difference.  It isn't the first time we've dealt with cut hours or layoffs, but it is never a good feeling!  Especially after having put most of our savings into building our house!  Yikes!  But when one door closes another one opens, as they say, and Mr. T found himself with the opportunity to start a brand new company.  Without pay, yes, but that will all be resolved.  Someday.  I hope.

February 2013:  Dealing with the realities of having our income cut by 75%.  The less said about that the better.

March 2013:  Mr. T stopped consulting to focus entirely on the new company.  I, in the meantime, started my Shaklee business with the amazing Project Dream International.

Oh, and we traveled to California for Easter with the family.

April 2013:  Got our sweet doggie, Twister!

Who is quite a lot larger than he is here these days!

May 2013:  Mr. T still working his behind off (for free) to get the new company in order. 

June 2013:  Mr. T started consulting again, when we realized that starting a company doesn't pay for a good long while.  Still working his rear off on the new company, now consulting as well.  School got out.  Let the fun begin!

July 2013:  Nugget turned 4, and we spent the day at the water park. In fact, we pretty much spent the month at the waterpark.  FUN!  Traveled to California for a trade show to launch the new company!!  Hooray!!

August 2013:  Traveled to Washington for a much needed break with my parents.

Dang.  I want to go back there.

September 2013:  Decided to skip going back to school and just teach 'em at home.  Homeschool, here we come!  Split a TON of firewood to burn in our woodburning insert for the winter.  I love to split wood.  Best exercise/aggression outlet ever.

October 2013:  Found God (again, for me.  For the first time for Mr. T), and joined a church.  Baptized and all.  Didn't see that one coming!  Coincidentally, we quit caffeine.  Probably why I needed God.  Our health thanks me.

November 2013:  Turned 39.  Oof.  Split more wood, because a TON didn't seem like quite enough.  Traveled to California for Thanksgiving with family.  Launched the website for the new company.

Definitely check it out.  Because it rocks.  Yes, I'm biased.  Yes, it really rocks.

December 2013:  Cleaned out my office.  Okay, started to clean out my office.  It's almost done.  Celebrated Noodle's 8th b-day by seeing Frozen.  Again.  Because we loved it.  Celebrated Christmas Eve with dinner at our dear friends' house.  Had Mr. T's mom with us for Christmas.  December was good!

Looking at this, the year was good!  It's funny, I know that there was a lot of stress this year.  Financial stress, physical stress, emotional stress.  But when I think back on it, there is just so much to be thankful for!  We had a amazing year!  We launched Mr. T's company! We started an at home business!  We got a dog!  We traveled, and spent time with family!  We went to church, and made a million new friends!  Amazing!

So, now, looking at 2014.  I don't do resolutions.  Do you?  What do you resolve to do?

This year I am going to do habits, rather than resolutions.  I am going to pick a new habit to work on every month, things that have been eating at me for the last several years, and this is my year to fix them.  To change my habits.  To change my life, because you know that small changes, one on top of another, can change your life completely.

This is the year.  

So, January starts the habit of making healthy choices.  Of choosing to eat fruit rather than fruit flavored skittles.  To exercise, rather than watch TV about exercising.  To take the stairs rather than the escalator.  To eat breakfast of some variety rather than waiting until lunch and then eating everything in sight.

Healthy choices.  I can do this.

To kick my healthy choices month off, I am doing a five day detox.  A little kick start to clean out my system, clear up my skin and up my energy level.  Wanna do it with me?  Or maybe wait and see if I survive it, and recreate it on your own?  Either way, I'll tell you all about it.  It looks like this:

Again, I can do this.

Just for the record, I thought about starting with the habit of doing things now, rather than procrastinating.  But then I woke up and it was January, so I decided to save that one for February.  Or maybe March.  Whatever, I'll get to it.

We'll talk list of habits and other goals for the year in another post.

I hope your 2013 was wonderful and your 2014 is even better!

What are your goals for 2014?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Pot Pasta In A Flash

Since we are eating bigger lunches and itty bitty dinners these days, I was looking for a good, quick pasta dish to make the other day (I will not live in a world without pasta, I don't care how healthy I am trying to be), and I came across this one.  After tweaking it a bit for my family, I tested it, and it was a hit!

I hope it is for your family too!

Here goes:

In a good sized pot, dump a bunch of uncooked pasta.  I used roughly 12 oz, and I think I will be eating it all week.  Also, I used penne.  Because I love penne.  Feel free to use whatever you love.  Here it is:

To the uncooked pasta add a handful of fresh basil:

Just chop it up and throw it in there.  It's pretty.  See:

Guess what?  I got that basil right off of my own basil plant.  Grew it right on my porch.  I guess I can grow something after all. *Stands back in amazement, nearly collapses*

Than add a can of diced tomatoes:

You could use fresh tomatoes too, if you have the time.  I didn't, so canned it was.  Would it help if they were low sodium?  In the interest of full disclosure, they weren't.  Oh well.

A whole lot of fresh garlic.  Really.  A. Whole. Lot.  Because garlic is good:

About a 1/4 cup of white wine, give or take (mostly give, of course.  Duh.):

And 1/2 a sliced onion:

Now give it all a good mix...

...And add about 3 1/2 - 4 cups of broth.  I used chicken, but you could use veggie if that is your thing:

A drizzle of olive oil:

And a pinch of Oregano, which I forgot to take a picture of.  *Sigh*

Give it all another good stir, bring it to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and let it go for about 7-10 minutes, stirring it every few minutes.  Remember, it is going to keep cooking after you turn off the heat, so better to stop a little underdone than to get it just perfect and have it be mushy 5 minutes later. 

That's it.  Seriously.  The pasta cooks in the broth, and what you are left with is a saucy pasta dish chock full of flavor.  Add whatever you want from there.  I plan to add some grilled chicken next time.  Oh, and sprinkle some parmesan over it.  That would probably make it perfect.

Quick.  Easy.  One pot.  What more could I want?

Except maybe some bread to go with it.  Because we all know how I feel about bread.  Very similar to how I feel about coffee.

What is your favorite fast lunch?