Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekly Challenge #17

Be Present. This week has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. We took the kids to the park tonight to play and I went to sit down and be a zombie for a minute. Carleton pointed out a mom that was having fun playing with her kids. I jokingly asked if he was saying something. Maybe out of guilt, I went to play with the kids. I had so much fun with them and left with even more energy. So this week, let's focus on being present with our family, prayer, and at least some moment each day.

How did last week go with a healthy start? I have to admit, I kept putting off signing my contract because I kept wanting to eat something not so great. So, now I have signed the contract, and I'm ready to go. I'm going to give myself a sticker every day I do well and after 7 stickers in a row, I'll give myself a reward (pedicure, books I want, shoes, etc.)
Put your kiddos to good use hehehe

After Apollo was born, I used him as my weight and would have weight lifting sessions with him. I got the idea from my friend, Katie. She works at My Gym doing mommy and me classes and gym classes for young kids. As I got stronger and healed, my "weight" increased in size. I sometimes would go out on the porch so he could look out or just do it in my house. The sessions would last as long as he would last. These can be done anywhere (these are taken in Moab UT-our last vacation) and you don't have to bring anything extra. Now, I can exercise with both Annie and Apollo depending on the weight I want (I showed a lot of different kids and weights to show that you can use almost any kids for weights). You're welcome to print these off if you want them for a workout, print your own off, or have this screen up on your computer. These same exercises can be done with bands or weights if you don't have a small child handy.

I rotate between two exercises doing 3 sets of each and then move onto the next two exercises.

1. Squats. The child can be on piggy back or can be held in the front (with younger kids).

2. Back and Biceps. First stand straight, holding the child like in pic. #1. Next, bend over still holding the child close, keeping your back and legs straight. Continue (pic #3) by holding the child in your hands but extending your arms working the bicep (still keeping back and legs straight). Lastly, pull the child close (while still in the lower position) stand up again-working the back.

3. Obliques. Go from side to middle, other side to middle. The tummy is held tight.

4. Triceps. Keep your arms close to your head and elbows in the same place. This can be done laying on your back, with your elbows up and the baby in your hands.

5. Leg Lifts. This is a great tummy workout. It can be done from the couch and if the child is small enough, it can be done laying on the back and lifting the child up slightly with the legs.

6. Biceps. Keep back straight and pull the child up and down. This is fun because you can tickle them or kiss them when they come up.

7. Crunches. Apollo loves this-it's a ride for him.

8. Shoulders. Depending on the age, you can throw the kids up or just lift them up over the shoulders.

9. Lunges. This is a leg and arm workout. Swing the child up as you come up from lunge position or if they're bigger just hold them as extra weight. This is fun to do with my babies.

10. Front, side, and back leg lifts. Stand in place and either do all the front lifts at once or rotate between the three.

Honestly, I am addicted to exercising. I really enjoy it-it's fun for me. I like to vary it up and I hope this gives you some fun new ideas. This past week, my husband had surgery and the day after passed out so we spent a few hours in the ER-I still took the kids running and exercised. It is the way I get stress out and can be a better person and mommy. Other exercises I do with kids: exercise at the park with bands with friends while they play, dance parties, run with them in the stroller, jump rope while they play, and sometimes an exercise tape.

The Dancing Queens.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekly Challenge #16

A Healthy Start. Write down a few things you would like to do starting now to be healthier. Print it out, sign it, and put it where you'll see it every day (even tape it to the inside of a cupboard if you don't want it out). Here's mine for an idea:

*Focus on eating fruits/veggies/whole grains
*No food after dinner
*Only fruits/veggies/nuts/yogurt for my two daily snacks
*Max 2 sugary treats/wk
*Max 1 eating out/wk
*Weekly meal plans
*No sugary treats/drinks for May
*Eat to satisfaction

How did last week go doing an old challenge? We were in Moab doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff so here's what I did:

Something(s) new. I made a headband for Maddy by just cutting out three pieces of yarn and braiding it-knotted at the end.

I did the same thing but made it into a bracelet for Gracy.

I took a bunch of pics of a workout (the one I've done with my kiddos) you can do with kids for an upcoming post.

Hair Accessory. I crocheted a head band for my sister. I bring a craft to work on on long road trips. I had just bought some new red yarn and tried this headband. I might try another one only thicker and put some flowers on the side.

Here's the back. I put some long skinny strands on the end so she could tie it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dress Giveaway. Go here to check it out.

Flower Power.

My friend, Pauline, made these tiny flower clips for Annie- so cute.

This big one came from the hair accessory weekly challenge. Thanks.
Weekly Challenge #15

Review. Go back to an old challenge that you need to work on better or just one that you would like to do again. Feel free to do more than one.

How did last week go showing affection to family? I feel like our family is happier when I make a point to show affection. I feel like my words have more meaning when I bend down to tell Apollo that he is a good boy and give him a hug.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Weekly Challenge #14

Touch. Focus this week on showing affection to family members.

I read a book about toddlers written by a guy that had done therapy for 20 years. Mentioned in the book is a study of people that had committed suicide. It showed that their mothers, in general, were "distant and aloof." He talks about the importance of touch. One mother he worked with, had a son that had a lot of issues (I think he was suicidal-I returned the library book so I can't check) and the therapist told the mother to show affection. It was hard for her but she started just putting her hand on his back when she gave him his meals. The next week she gave him a quick hug before he left etc...eventually he ended up ok. I tried to focus on this the day I read parts of the book and I really noticed a greater feeling of love and joy in our home.

How did last week go connecting with three old friends? I contacted three companions from my mission-one still lives in Argentina-thank you Facebook. Heidi contacted friends through Facebook too. I need to do this more often. Not as part of the challenge, but just because I was thinking about her, I talked to my aunt Susan this week-I've always loved and admired her.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More fruits and veggies please.

Since last week's challenge was to eat a fruit and/or veggie with each meal, I looked through some cooking magazines, through a kid's cookbook (from the library), and my family's cookbook. Here are some old and new recipes and ideas that all have a fruit and/or veggie in them that we made this week.

Butternut Squash Casserole (homemade mac & cheese) -thanks Suzana. So so good.

1/2 butternut squash peeled & cut into 1/2" cubes (2 cups)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. whole wheat elbows
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
1 1/2 cup reduced fat milk
1 3/4 cup low fat white cheddar cheese, shredded & divided

1. Preheat oven to 375. Toss squash with oil & salt on a foil lined tray. Bake for 20 min. or until tender. Set aside.
2. Cook pasta for 2 min less than package directions call for; drain & place in bowl with squash. Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour; cook for 2 min.
3. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring mixture to boil, then simmer. Cook 3 min., stirring occasionally. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese; stir until melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta & squash.
4. Put everything in a casserole dish and add salt to taste.

The kids and I tried some recipes from
My First Cookbook. I got a couple cute kid cookbooks from the library.

Ambrosia Salad (from Paula Deen's).

15 oz. can mandarin oranges
1 cup mini marshmallows
8 oz. can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup pineapple

1. Drain the liquid from the oranges into the sink and put the oranges into the bowl.
2. Drain the liquid from the pineapple and put the pineapple into the bowl.
3. Add the marshmallows, coconut, and sour cream.
4. Mix gently with the spatula and serve.
Makes eight 1/2-cup servings.

Fruit Kebabs (from Paula Deen's).

pineapple cut into chunks
red grapes
green grapes
(save left over fruit for shakes or freeze the red grapes-so good)

Apollo had fun putting the fruit on the skewer. Usually wooden skewers are used, but we used are big barbecuing ones. A fun presentation for any fruit.

Yogurt Pops (from Paula Deen's).

1/2 cup orange juice
8 oz. carton yogurt, any flavor
1 Tbs honey
six 3 oz. paper cups with wooden pop sticks (we just used a plastic Popsicle mold I bought from the dollar store instead and froze the extra in a paper cup that can be ripped open)

1. Into the bowl, stir together the yogurt, orange juice, and honey. Pour the mixture into 3 oz. paper cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Put these in the cake pan to keep them steady. Put the pan in the freezer. Check the yogurt cups in a about an hour. When they have begun to freeze, stick a pop stick in the center of each one. When they are ready to eat, just peel the cup away (or use the plastic Popsicle molds to totally skip this step. I love mine. You can turn any drink or healthy shake into a yummy dessert).
2. You also can just freeze the yogurt in the cup with no stick and eat it with a spoon, like an Italian ice. Let it sit at room temperature for about 10 min. before you start eating so it's not hard.

Spinach & Sausage Egg Bake (from Simple & Delicious magazine).

Prep time: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.

1 lb. bulk pork sausage (we just used the Jimmy Dean)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (we used fresh raw spinach)
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
10 eggs
3/4 cup 2% milk
2 tsp. snipped fresh dill or 1/2 tsp. dill weed
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Spoon into a greased 13 x 9 in. baking dish. Layer with spinach, bacon, onion, red pepper and cheese.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk and seasonings; pour over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 min. or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 min. before cutting.

Chicken salad sandwiches. Super easy. We used the left over red grapes from the fruit kebabs-just cut them in half. Plain yogurt. Nuts (pecans are great-we used sunflower seeds). Canned chicken. Mix and serve. Add any seasonings that you like.

Summer Zucchini Casserole (family cookbook)

2 lbs zucchini (6 cups) (I leave the skin on for more fiber and it's easier)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can creme chicken soup
1 can dairy sour cream
1 cup shredded carrot
8 oz. Pepperidge Farms herb stuffing mix
1/2 cup melted butter (I use half of it)

Preheat oven to 350. Cook squash and onion in salt water for 5 min., drain. combine soup and sour creme, stir in carrots. Fold in squash and onion. Combine stuffing mix and butter. Spread 1/2 the stuffing mix on bottom of a 9 x 13" pan. Spoon vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle remaining stuffing over veggies. Bake for 25-30 min.

Fruit Smoothies. We make these all the time. Carleton made a delicious one last night with lots of raw spinach, our left over strawberries, Jello instant fat-free sugar free powder, yogurt, and milk. Shakes are great because we can use up all our fruit before it goes bad for the week and even throw in veggies and they are better than Jamba Juice's. Let me know if you want any ideas for shakes-I just sent an email out to a friend that asked about making shakes and I can forward it to you too.

With our leftover fruit/veggie smoothies, we poured them into a muffin tin and threw them in the freezer. I'll run some hot water over the bottom and we'll have a frozen dessert this week.

If you have any fruit or veggie recipe, I would love some more so please send them my way.