Fit Friday: Go-to Snacks

Well, my computer is working… kinda… kinda not. I have a new battery and charger, but it still shuts down on me randomly. Frustrating, but currently it’s on, so I’m going with it.

I wanted to share with you my top 5 go-to snack foods. These are items I always have ready to go in my house for all those times when I just need something… like RIGHT NOW.

So here ya go, my 5 foods you should have in your kitchen always.

1) Hard-boiled eggs

Eggs are fabulous. Eggs fill you up. They are high in protein to keep you full for a while but they can also be a pain to cook if you should have been out the door 5 minutes ago. I usually get 2 dozen eggs when I go grocery shopping; 1 to cook with and 1 for hard-boiling. That way I have all set a super easy breakfast, or snack, or lunch. Have a few minutes? Chop them up, mix in an avocado, add some lemon juice, salt and pepper and you have a delicious egg salad. Or try on top of a salad. Either way, hard-boiled eggs are indispensable in my house.

slashfood.com

slashfood.com

2) Trail-mix

Trail mix is one of those foods I’ve always adored, since I was a kid…. then again, when I was a kid I usually just ate all the  M&M’s, but still, I love it. And it’s super easy and extremely versatile. Plus, it’s almost always paleo. I like to keep a large container all ready to go in my pantry. As it starts to empty, I can add new ingredients so it’s ever changing. I start with nuts of any type (just not peanuts), add dried fruit (no added sugar), unsweetened coconut, dark chocolate chips; the possibilities are endless. Toss a handful in a ziploc and put in your purse for anytime that you feel your blood sugar dropping; or munch on some after a tough workout- your body will thank you for it.

guiltykitchen.com

guiltykitchen.com

3) Veggies veggies and more veggies

I like to keep a good sized gladware container full of ready to go chopped up veggies in my fridge at all times. It makes everything from snack time to dinner prep easier. I try to keep the veggies organic and seasonal, but usually there are carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, etc. It’s easy to grab a handful with some dressing to add to my lunch. A little dicing and they are set for my morning omelette, or a quick saute and they can be added to dinner. I prep a bunch on the weekend so I’m all ready to go throughout the week.

bilo-supermarket.com

bilo-supermarket.com

4) Plain cooked chicken

Chicken is one of those foods that can be used for just about any meal at any time of day. It makes the week run a whole lot smoother if I have several chicken breasts precooked from the weekend ready for whatever and whenever. I can shred it, add some salsa, and wrap it in a lettuce cup for lunch. I can add it on top of a salad. I can toss it in a stir fry. Really, it can go just about anywhere. And since Paleo doesn’t bode well with “fast food” or those frozen meals from the grocery store; it’s nice to have something that can be just as quick.

myrecipes.com

myrecipes.com

5) Fruit

Uh… I don’t think this one needs much explanation, but don’t think it’s not just as important. I can’t tell you how many times I’m about to run out the door when my stomach growls and I stare at the kitchen looking for inspiration. My savior? A peach, or banana, or apple, or pear…. Anything that’s easy to grab and go, I’m all for. For fruits that aren’t so easy, just make sure to have some prepped before hand. When it’s berry season, I like to have a huge bowl of strawberries, tops cut off, to add to smoothies, top a salad, for on the road, etc. Same with pineapple, oranges, or any other fruit that needs some preparation.

fanpop.com

fanpop.com

If you’ve noticed, each snack tends to take a bit of preparation. But I’m always so thankful that I’ve put in the time to have these healthy snacks ready when I need something quick. Just find a day when you have 30-60 minutes, and get your kitchen all set for the rest of the week. You’ll be just as glad as I am when you end up reaching for a cup of strawberries and a hardboiled egg instead of some nasty chemical concoction.

By the way, most of you know that I’ve been Paleo for a few months now and that I’m working to lose weight for my wedding… well I’ve hit a bit of a plateau (lost 13lbs so far!) and I decided that the biggest push I’m going to get is from sharing even more, so…. now on Fridays I will not only be sharing tips and tricks that I’ve discovered, but … I will also share my weight…………..

OH MY GOSH!… what have I done…. lol.

and maybe a picture… that one still really scares.

So … here goes.

I started at 170lbs. I am now at 157. My goal is between 130-140.

Phew, ok. Not so bad. 😛

Do you have a weight loss goal? Do you have any tips  and tricks? I would love to hear about your journey!

Love!

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Toddler Tuesday: Letter of the Week Update

Good afternoon fabulous people!

I wanted to update you all on Baby Miss’ progress for our “Letter of the Week”. We have been at it for a month now, and we are currently on the letter D.

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Our Alphabet/Number wall

As most of you know from a previous post, I have been working on not only teaching Baby Miss a letter each week, but we also have a color, number, and shape of the week. It’s been going beautifully. I try to do some sort of letter activity each day, and as many number, color, and shape activities as I can (since those cycle through more then the letters on our educational calendar).

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stamp, print, collage, rinse, repeat

She has been having a blast decorating our new letter and number each week. A had apple prints on it. B had beans. C had leftover foam “candy” stickers from Halloween, and D has dog stickers all over it. Each number has a certain type of something on it. For example, the number 2 has 2 cookie monster stickers on it, 4 has 4 star stickers on it, and so forth.

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Green collage

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What do you get when you mix paint with cars? Car tracks!

We have also been doing lots of stamping, collaging, printing, and painting. I try to change it up each day. We also do some color mixing when learning about a secondary color (ie. blue + yellow = green). I am basically trying to “surround” her with the new material and talk about it as much as possible (point out a RED stop sign or a SQUARE box) to help her absorb it.

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B is for Butterfly! Take paper, add paint, fold, dry, cut into butterfly

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letter matching

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touch numbers, number matching

One of my favorite activities that I have come up with is a number matching and a letter matching game. Obviously we couldn’t do it the first week with only one letter, but I like it because it helps to review the old letters and numbers each week while helping her practice the new one. My matching game isn’t fancy, just index cards that I wrote the alphabet on (4x). I could have done the number cards the same way, but I found these printable “touch” numbers that I just attached to cardstock. (I can’t for the life of me find the specific touch numbers that I printed out, but here are ones just like it.) Baby Miss is LOVING it. She’s getting pretty good at it too. We play it two different ways; one where she chooses a card and then finds the match, the other where I choose the card and she finds the match. Both work equally well.

The family also already owned a alphabet/number puzzle that we have been using each week. I only bring out the letters and numbers that she has learned. The puzzle seems pretty old (hand-me down?), but here is one similar.

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sight word dominoes

As for Little Miss, she and I have been hard at work on her sight words. She does get some “homework” from school, so we work on that each day, but I try to add an activity of our own to the mix too. Today we did sight word dominoes. It was a huge success. It got her reading and working with a ton of the words she has learned so far. And she was super proud of the end result (she made me take a picture of it to send to her Mom and Dad). 🙂 I was super proud of her too. She worked really hard, but had fun while doing it.

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sight word dominoes (I, my, we, like, love, you, a, at, it, if, in, is, the….)

I made the dominoes set with index cards as well. Two words per card and I made sure to repeat the words on several cards so the game goes smoothly. I even threw some family names in there (Mom, Dad, her name, her sister’s name, and my own) which she got extremely excited about when she noticed them.

You could also make a memory game (just like I did with Baby Miss’ letter set) using sight words.

Phew, that made me tired just thinking about everything we have done in the past few weeks. 🙂

Are you doing “letter of the week” this year? How’s it going? What activities have you done with your little ones that have been deemed successful? I would love to hear about it.

Love!

Small Change Saturday: Green your Clean

Hello Fabulous People! How is everyone?

It’s time for our 3rd installment of Small Change Saturday. Have you been flossing? Have you spent time outdoors? How are you feeling? I would love to know how things are going.

Ready for your next challenge?

This week I want you to Green Your Clean. I am going to share with you some simple recipes and products that will give your home that clean feeling without loading it up with a bunch of yucky toxic chemicals. Plus, it’s safer for you, your kids, your pets, and the Earth.

Now remember, I’m on the same journey you are. I have recently purged my home of my regular go-to cleaners and replaced them with easy to make, easy to use, natural homemade cleaners. I have tested them, and they work. Plus, I want to make your cleaning routine easier, simpler. It’s hard to make a new change stick if there are barriers in the way. I want to give you the tools to succeed. So here goes…

Ingredients:

white vinegar

baking soda

hydrogen peroxide

That’s it- just 3 ingredients to clean your whole house.

I recommend picking your ingredients up in bulk… they’re cheaper that way, and you will find yourself using them for everything!

 

Recipes:

All purpose cleaner- (and I mean all purpose- floors, windows, counters, etc.)

realsimple.com

realsimple.com

1 part vinegar + 1 part water

For really strong cleaning- you can use vinegar undiluted. Don’t worry, the smell will dissipate relatively quickly. 🙂

 

 

 

 

All purpose scrubber-

Baking soda + water to form a paste

wisegeek.com

wisegeek.com

Got something super yucky? Say really gross soap scum in your bathtub? First use scrubber, then spray with all purpose, then scrub again.

 

 

 

 

Disinfectant

hydrogen peroxide- use anywhere you would use bleach

*only keep hydrogen peroxide in a container that is opaque. Light can break down the peroxide making it uneffective*

equimedic.com

equimedic.com

If you have an item that you need to make sure is completely disinfected (ie cutting board with chicken juice); wash with soap and water, dry, spray vinegar solution and hydrogen peroxide (keep in separate spray bottles), scrub, let dry. The mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide has been shown to be better than chlorinated bleach.

 

Deodorizer- 

baking soda…uh that’s it

Sprinkle in trash cans, on carpets before vacuuming, in your gym shoes, and anywhere else that gets gross. Wait 15-30 min, depending on stench, and shake or vacuum up. Tada! No smell.

 

If you want to get super fancy… or feel the need for extra credit (silly over achiever you!), you can add essential oils to your vinegar mixture or baking soda. Here are some ideas.

Tea Tree Oil

campwander.blogspot.com

campwander.blogspot.com

Lemon

Lavender

Rosemary

Peppermint

Eucalyptus

or a mixture of the above

I’m currently working on creating my own “signature” blend for cleaning and body products. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

So what should you use with your new cleaning products?

There are only a few items that you need to really clean your whole home.

1. A good handheld scrubber

2. A small scrubber (or an old toothbrush works well too)

3. Microfiber cloths and/or old t-shirts cut up into rags

          You can gather the items above, along with your two spray bottles, and         your box of baking soda in a handy carryall like this one.

4. Extendable duster for ceiling fans and cobwebs

5. A floor “mop”– use something like a swiffer that you can attach the microfiber cloths to. You can even use the “wetjet” and just add your vinegar solution to it.

Extra Credit- a steam cleaner. These things are fabulous for floors, curtains, anything. They sanitize with no chemicals. yay!

Love! (and cleanliness!)

majid39.wordpress.com

majid39.wordpress.com

What I have learned from a year with a child

As a nanny (or parent, or caregiver of any type), I’m always thinking about what knowledge I can impart upon Little Miss and Baby Miss. My brain is always attempting to use each moment to teach them something; be it education, spiritual, a life lesson, etc. But after reflecting on this past year, I must say, and I know it’s a bit clique; I think I learned more from them then they have from me. Children have a way on making everything simpler and more concrete. Through their eyes, one can really see a world full of wonder, curiosity, daily challenges, and fun. I wanted to share with you the top 5 lessons that I have learned this year.

1. Sometimes all you need is a nap.

As adults, we are expected to constantly be doing something. Our society praises people that stay up late to finish a report, miss dinner to go to a meeting, and spend their weekends catching up, or running errands. All that busy work can cause us to be (obviously) tired, cranky, and unproductive. Instead, I say, let’s do as the “babes” do. After lunch, when we all tend to get sleepy anyways, let’s take 45 minutes to close our eyes, count some sheep, and give our bodies and minds a much needed rest. And you know what? Studies have actually shown that those that take a mid-afternoon siesta are more productive, feel more refreshed, and are actually smarter. Check it out here!

2. Being silly is ok, and actually necessary

I don’t know what it is about being an adult and being on automatic serious mode, but I hate it. Sometimes all I want to do is blow bubbles in my chocolate milk, jump on the bed, and make a huge mess with finger paints. And you know what I’ve discovered? Being silly is ok. In fact, it’s good. I’ll take Baby Miss to a music class and all the other grownups are being so serious, but when I allow myself to sing and dance along, I and Baby Miss enjoy ourselves so much more. Who cares what other’s think? Who cares if I look dumb, or immature, or unsophisticated? Fun is good. Silly is good. Laughter is good. In fact, laughter has been shown to relieve stress, increase immunity, decrease pain, strengthen relationships and so much more. So go ahead, read the comics in the newspaper, watch funny Youtube videos, and join your kids when they are pretending to be a rock band. Be silly. You’ll thank me for it.

3. Go outside

Has anyone ever noticed that kids tend to crave time outside? It doesn’t matter what the weather is or the time of day; when given the opportunity kids love the outdoors. And yet, when you become an adult, it’s all you can do to get a few minutes during your lunch break to soak up some sun. Why is that? Is it that we have forgotten how great it is to be surrounded by nature. Have we just not given the outdoors it’s dues? In fact, many studies have shown the positive affects that nature can have on us; including but not limited to reducing anxiety and depression, better sleep quality, and immunity. So be more kid-like; take a recess, walk your dog, spend lunch outside, play touch football with friends at a local park; anything, just get outside. It’s good for you! 🙂

4. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full

You know the old saying, “Clean your plate!”; well it’s wrong, and it’s time we stopped it right here and right now. It’s so funny how old sayings like that can come out of you so automatically. Both Little Miss and Baby Miss are huge “grazers”. They eat a few bites, want to play, a half hour later, come back to eat more. It used to bug me to no end; but I’ve come to peace with it. In fact, I’ve decided it’s a great way to eat for myself. I always feel such guilt at leaving food on my plate that I usually just plow through it; but if I slow down and take a moment, I realize that there really is no reason to feel guilty. In fact, I should feel proud for listening to my body. As adults we get so out of sync with our bodies that sometimes it’s hard to tell when we really are hunger, or full, or just perhaps bored. If we eat like a child, we spend more time enjoying the food and in turn have an easier time listening to what our body is telling us.

5. Enjoy each other.

If there is one thing that I could say my years with children has taught me, it would be that what children crave most often is time with their parents. Most of a child’s learning actually comes from unstructured time spent with family members. When they are surrounded by family, they feel secure, loved, trusting, and have a higher self-esteem. That connection goes the same for us; when we are surrounded by family and friends that love us we are better able to handle the stresses and complications that life brings. Just like children, when we have strong relationships with others we feel more secure, loved, trusting, and have a greater self-esteem. But, and that’s a strong but, that does not mean just connecting with people of Facebook, through email, or even over the phone. That means face to face connections. Make family dinners a priority. Join a book club. Meet up with friends once a month for dinner. Spend time with others, and enjoy their company.

Have any other lessons that your kids have taught you? I’d love to hear about them.

Love!

PS. If you’re in my area (Northern CA) I’ve started a children’s literature book club through Meetup. Email me if you’re interested. 🙂