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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wigs for Kids: I Donated My Hair

So, you may have noticed that my LONG hair is now short. 16 inches gone to Wigs for Kids.

I had planned to donate it when I hit my goal weight, but it was down to my butt (I'm a shortie at 5 foot) and it was HOT. I took the plunge. The short hair is growing on me! I kind of like the craziness about it. I'm embracing my curls and waves.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Don't Tell me Zumba Isn't a Workout!

I've had several people ask if Zumba is "even like a real workout?". Uhm yes.

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B: Today, burned 273 calories in a quick 30 minutes, EVEN THOUGH I accidentally paused my Fitbit Surge for 5 of those minutes. 30 minutes of booty shaking, twerking, FUN. I have a love/hate relationship with running. At 100 degrees F, NO THANKS. Zumba is a GREAT workout that can be done under the AC, and YOU set the intensity. The harder you shake it, the more you burn. I was at like 60% today.



Exhibit C: Yesterday. Check out that heart rate. Check out that sweaty hair.

 


Yes my dear, Zumba IS a workout!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Saucony Shoe Heart


My shoes. Well I am kind of brand loyal when it comes to athletic shoes. Bought my first pair of Sauconys at 290 lbs and haven't looked back. OHHH COMFY.

Comfortable shoes really make a HUGE difference. Do your feet hurt ALL THE TIME? Switch your shoes. You'll feel like a new person!

XOXO
Brandy

Monday, August 17, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 8/17/15 + Deconstructed Chicken Veggie Cabbage Rice Rolls Recipe

 
 
This week I STOCKED UP on the healthy goodies and protein. I've discovered that while I HATE broccoli, I actually really like the shredded bagged veggie packs at Walmart that have cabbage, carrots, and broccoli shredded together. SUPER YUMMY sautéed in a tiny bit of organic Spectrum Coconut Oil.

This weeks meals, to be eaten as we crave it:

  • Deconstructed Chicken Veggie Cabbage Rice Rolls (see pic)
  • Pork Chops and veggies
  • Steaks and veggies
  • Baked Potato Bar
  • Pork Steaks
  • Stir Fry
What's in my Deconstructed Chicken Veggie Cabbage Rice Rolls?

  1. 1/2 cup cooked Knorr Chicken flavored Rice prepared
  2. 3 ounces rotisserie chicken
  3. Bagged shredded broccoli, cabbage, and carrots from the fresh veggie section at Walmart sautéed in a tiny bit of Organic Spectrum Coconut Oil
  4. Extra cabbage sautéed with the other veggies
A nice sized bowl is only 7 Weight Watchers Points Plus or 386 calories. If you're a patient person, you cold roll and stuff them in cabbage (wrap style) instead of chopping the extra cabbage and adding it in.



See hundreds of menu plans and link up over at OrgJunkie.com!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

M by Staples Arc Notebooks and Making Our Own Clips Erin Condren Style


So I went to Staples and spent a million dollars on their M by Staples Arc line. What is Arc you ask? A notebook "system"! NO I WAS NOT PAID FOR THIS POST, this was just something I have been wanting for MONTHS and finally splurged on. :)

This system allows you to BUILD YOUR OWN notebook or planner! You pick your notebook, they have poly and leather and come with paper in them, and then pick your accessories. Instead of spiral, this system uses DISCS. You can pop stuff in and out. You can literally take paper right out and put it right back in! I kid you not! Instead of round hole punches, it's shapes more of a mushroom shape and everything goes in and out.

NOTE: I bought all my Staples stuff when they had a 20% off coupon. Check their website and see if you can signup for email savings or text savings.

Little notebooks start at like $3.99. Letter size poly at $9.99 or leather at 22.99. Hubby got the brown leather and I got the purple. They come with 1/2 inch discs and we both got so many add-ons that we also bought the larger 1.5 inch discs. Everything popped out and right back in. Switching the discs was easy peasy.

They sell a punch for $45ish that allows you to punch any regular paper or pintables and snap them right in your notebook. Levenger sells a punch for $20, but we splurged for the bigger one. We bought some post it tabs and punched them and put our own accessories in. There's a video and tutorials on what kind of Post-It tabs to buy to make your own Erin Condren clips and we just did the same thing for the Arc system.

 
 
Stores like Hobby Lobby sell Me and My Big Idea Happy Planners. These are just planners on discs, and they have a whole line of accessories to add into their planners that fit the ARC system. I bought the Home Planner shown above (reg 9.99, but they always have 40% off coupons) and snapped it right into my purple leather ARC notebook. Since that pic I have added stickers and made the cover prettier. The home planner has a meal planning section, bills and budget section, house cleaning section, and more.

I bought this notebook system because I wanted to personalize and customize everything. This is how I am keeping my freelance work straight and my home straight. When my Plum Paper Planner gets here I plan to punch it and put it on discs too, because I LOVE this whole Arc system.

If you want a create your own notebook on discs, again you can get M by Staples Arc at Staples, the Levenger website has the Levenger brand but it's pricey, Happy Planner has some cute stuff, AND Walmarts is select locations now carry a super affordable discbound notebook selection called IQ 360 or 360 IQ.

And FYI, we are now ARCing EVERYTHING in this house! So addicting!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Secret to Yummy Kid Pancakes


I can make wheat free banana pancakes like nobodies business, but my kids asked for the kind of pancakes that you get at IHOP. I don't push the healthier eating all the time, and totally believe that kids should be kids and get to eat what "typical" American kiddos eat.

So, I had some Pioneer mix that makes a billion different goods from one box. Just add water and eggs it said. I mixed it up, and then discovered I have no talent when it comes to traditional pancakes. That's okay, everyone has their weaknesses.

I was like if these pancakes are going to be burnt and ugly, I'm gonna throw some chocolate in there. Like magic, they instantly started being "pretty."

What's the secret to delicious yummy kid friendly pancakes? Apparently chocolate chips! WIN!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - August 10, 2015



So, we made this ham Saturday morning, and every time we eat it the thing gets BIGGER. Started at 11 pounds and 4 or 5 meals in I believe it has grown to 15 pounds.

Why did I make so much ham? Because the weeks I do best on Weight Watchers I have pre-tracked my meals, pre-planned them, and I keep it simple by choosing just one or two proteins for the week. Pre-cooked, all I will need to do is add veggies, fruits, or sides. I started that on Sat, and will have eaten the giant growing ham 4 days in a row with a big batch left over in the freezer.

Monday: Work catchup day/garage sale planning in kitchen

Stir Fry Veggies with ham
Baked potatoes and ham

Tuesday: Garage sale planning in kids bedrooms, Freeze the ham

Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches
Beef enchiladas

Wednesday: SKATING DAY, grocery shopping day

Town food
Rotisserie chicken stir fry

Thursday: Work catchup day/garage sale day in my bedroom

Rotisserie chicken stir fry
Hawaiian chicken wraps

Friday: Last day of garage sale prep

Slow cooker chicken enchilada soup x2


See hundreds of menu plans and link up over at OrgJunkie.com!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Alex and Ani It's Not A Spring, It's a Marathon


This seems to be THE most popular Alex and Ani for dieters, weight watchers, marathoners, runners... And really the message is true.

You don't have to reach your goals FAST. It's not about TODAY. If you screw up, that's okay, because it's about going the distance. It's about your journey.

LOVE this bracelet. My BFF surprised me with it Friday night out of the blue. <3 It will be a reminder: It's not a sprint, it's a marathon.

Yazing.com Review: Cash for Mommy Bloggers



I just found this great new service called Yazing.com that makes it easy for mommy bloggers and other experts who make brand and product recommendations online to turn their recommendations into cash.

I recently spoke with Yazing's founder, Adam Viener. He is excited about finally launching the new platform and said “Mommy bloggers, brand enthusiasts, and early adopters have been posting valuable recommendations online for years; we are excited to launch our platform that will enable them to be generously compensated for the valuable transactions they are influencing.”

Yazing’s initial list of 50 brands include Angie’s List, Brookstone, Corner Stork Baby Gifts, eCampus, Expedia, Hotels.com, KitchenAid, MyCorporation, Outdoor Tech, Spenser’s Gifts, PoolProducts.com, Spartan Race and more. The full list of initial brands and available cash rewards can be found at yazing.com/brands. Yazing plans to increase this list to thousands of brands in the near future.

AWESOME!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Easy Way to Be Productive

I am super lazy, and most of the time I embrace my inner procrastinator. When I do in fact need to get things done and can't put it off any longer, I make a to do list in my planner. My planner pretty much only gets used when a deadline is close and I am behind.

By making a list of everything that needs to be done (blog, workout, get 10k steps in, refill meds...), I can usually get more done in a DAY then I have been in a week. No joke.

If you're falling behind, or keep forgetting the important things, give planning a try. Sit down tonight and make a list of all the things you need to do TOMORROW, and then see how it goes in the morning. I bet it will rock your world, and you will be hooked!

I'm leaving you with a video that I watched this morning that backs up my list theory. She says it takes her 4 or 5 minutes to make her list and maximize productivity. If it works out for you, let me know. :)


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My First Try With Avocado


How many avocadoes have I bought? Five or six. How many avocados have I eaten in my home? One.

I buy the avo. It's not ready. Wait for it, wait for it. BOOM, too late, avo is bad. NO!

This time I was super careful and today I got to try an avocado. Not bad. I'm kind of neutral on it. Maybe over time it will grow on me more. I LOVE the Taco Bell avocado ranch they put on the chicken burrito, which is what made me want to try one for real.

Breakfast was this bowl. Organic salad mix, onion, avocado, chicken breast, cantina salsa, and 1/2 cup of Spanish rice. I was one stuffed little Weight Watcher. :)

Give Your Kids a Head Start With Web Development Training

Parents start from day one trying to teach their little ones. In the first year there are first words and first steps. In the toddler years there is potty training, colors, and letters. Before you know it, your kids are in kindergarten learning to read and write their names.

Once your kiddo has the learning basics down (letters and numbers), consider giving them even more of an edge by getting them into web developing. If they love playing on the computer and love video games, they usually get a thrill out of web development training; creating their own web pages, sites, and games. Are they too young to be learning this type of skill? No! There’s a growing list of schools that have added coding and tech to the learning schedule in grades as low as kindergarten.

What does this mean to you? There are five year olds out there creating websites and designing programs. What does this mean for parents? If your kiddo isn’t learning these skills now, they could be falling behind. Careers in the future will rely on the kids who are at this time learning to create our future internet and computer experiences. Those who aren’t tech and programming savvy will have a harder time catching up to their peers in the field, and may have a harder time finding a job.

If your school isn’t offering these classes, consider signing your children up for classes and lessons online that allow them to learn from home. One company that offers web development training is appendTo.  The team at appendTo sees the future need of a technical workforce and highly encourages parents to begin building the excitement early. Kids do NOT see coding and web development training as work! They see it as playing and being creative. So while they probably won’t want to do their math homework, they will BEG to get on the computer and learn computer skills.

appendTo offers classes across the board to learn everything from HTML5 to Java. Don’t be surprised if your middle schoolers already know what these are. They offer an assortment of classes to boost skills with each program, with classes suitable for beginners and advanced students. Start your kiddos off learning the simple basics of web development, and allow them to progress onto the harder stuff as they improve. This is also a great opportunity for you as the parent to learn right along with them, so that you aren’t the one in the dark. Give your kids this head start, and they will be prepared for their future!

Photo courtesy of Amelia Wells on Flickr.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

When You Think You NEED a Nanny

As many of you know, I work/blog from home while trying to keep 3 kiddos safe, happy, and entertained. Some days are a breeze, but other days I find myself wishing I had a nanny.  

The closest I have ever gotten was having a babysitter 30 miles away, and I would have to drive an hour round trip to drop my kiddos off and then another hour to pick them up. It wasn’t worth it.

I know many of you are in the same place that I am, juggling work at home and the kids. While some of you are supermom, getting your tasks done, the kiddos cared for, and dinner on the table before six; some of you have to be stressed and behind like I am.

Before you quit your at home job, shuffle the kids off to daycare, or find a babysitter on the other side of the state, consider getting a nanny. A nanny comes to you, and can actually be cheaper then you think. Check out this awesome post I found on the Mommy Edition website called How To Hire The Right Nanny For Your Kids.

How do I know this? I’ve been blogging for a company for years that handles the payroll and tax side of having a nanny, elder caregiver, or household employee. I’ve written numerous articles for them on how nannies can be less expensive then daycare, and all the huge tax deductions associated with having one.

What YOU need to know about nannies:

·        There are live-in and live-out nannies, they do NOT have to live with you.

·        You can have this type of employee on a full time, part time, or as needed basis.

·        They come to your home, so you WILL NOT be packing up the nursery and driving the kids across town to drop them and their 47 pounds of diapers, toys, clothes, and snacks off.

·       They come in all ages, shapes, sizes, genders, and nationalities. Just for giggles, a male nanny is called a “manny.”

·        Some have special skills like a second language, playing a musical instrument, or athletic specialties that they can actually teach your kiddos. Imagine having a caregiver for your 6 year old and a piano teacher all wrapped into one! Or a caregiver that is great at soccer to teach your kid how to improve their game. Some may be good at things like baking, and that is pretty sweet too. The options are endless!

·        Some families share a nanny to cut costs. The caregiver will have set hours at each families home, or they will keep kids from both families at a designated location.

If you decide you want need a nanny, you are not alone. I only have a few weeks left of summer, and then things in my messy home will be back to normal and I can get caught up. If your kiddos are still little, homeschooled, and/or you need a second set of hands, hiring a nanny can keep you sane. Make sure you do your homework, do a background check, check references, and pick someone that really meshes with your family. As an added bonus, all of your mommy friends will be super jealous that you have officially hired a nanny. ;)

Guest Post: Get Real, Get Sexy (The Busy Mom's One-Stop To Get Back on Top)

About this post: This is a guest post written for me GetRealGetSexy.com. I LOVE promoting businesses for and by women, and this one focuses on getting healthy, which as you know is something that's a major focus in my life right now.

Are you a mom juggling ALL the demands of life and motherhood, while trying to get fit and healthy? It's tempting to reminisce on those pre-baby body days, but what would you say if I told you, your Sexiest Is Still Ahead Of You?

Regardless of whether you're a new or seasoned mom, the demands your kids put on you can seem to never end. The cooking, the cleaning, running errands, finishing all the normal daily to do lists, and--not to mention--a career, if you're a working mom! If your focus is purely on your kids and family, over time, you may start to neglect YOUR needs and YOUR health.

But now I've developed a highly transformative program that has been created specifically for busy moms just like you and me: moms who want to feel sexier, more confident and full of life. When these powerful methods totally transformed my life, I knew I had to share this same information with other moms like you.

Introducing The Get Real Get Sexy Program For Today's Busy Moms!

If you're serious about getting results, then you're going to want to take a look at this program. Whether you're expecting, a mom of tiny ones, or a mom of older kids, there is a program for you in Get Real Get Sexy.

The Get Real Get Sexy program is not a one-sided solution like other programs. It goes much deeper and takes into account both your mind and body. In fact, The Get Real Get Sexy Program encompasses a variety of core areas to help you achieve a realistic and ideal balance in your life. This not only includes the physical and fitness side of being a mom, but also areas such as: Time Management, Stress Management, Self-Discipline, Boosting Motivation and so much more.

When you feel stronger physically, you feel stronger mentally.

With focus on BOTH the mental and physical elements of your life so you can achieve a true transformation in all areas of your life, that will continue well beyond the 12 weeks within the program. In fact, these 12 weeks will be just the beginning glimpses of the strongest, sexiest mama you can be!

GetRealGetSexy.com

Monday, August 3, 2015

Menu Planning Monday - August 3, 2015

Years later I am still menu planning. Having a plan has saved me repeatedly from spending ALL my money on fast food. I still spend way too much eating out, but the days I have a plan and know what's for dinner are the days I can usually skip the drive thru and eat something healthier.

My menu plan for the week has:

East 5 Ingredient Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker (see the recipe here)
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken Breasts and Veggies
Pork Chops and Veggies
Baked Potatoes
Leftovers

I'm linking up with Organizing Junkie because it's FUN and I like seeing what everyone else is eating!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August Weightloss Goals and Planning


This month's goals are as follows:

  • Enjoy the last month of summer break with the minions.
  • Meal prep
  • Meditate to control the stress
  • Eat out less
  • Save more
  • Cook!
With the kids home we have been eating convenience freezer food, fast food, and I haven't been making the best food choices. I need to get that in check. :)

My friend said 19 Fridays to xmas. BOO for that! I need to spend less and save more!

What are your goals for this month?