Monday, February 28, 2011

My Creative Kettlebell...

... Or ghetto kettlebell, you be the judge;)

My sister has used a kettlebell to workout with for a while now, and a good friend of myn recently raved about them too. So I looked up online where to buy one... I know I'm cheap, but I didn't want to invest in a kettlebell right away without even trying it out yet. The price starts around $30 for one, and goes up from there. I got to thinking... could I use something at home as a kettlebell?

Or make my own?

I don't want anything cheaply constructed in fear it might fling across the room during my first attempt to use it! LOL.

I've used kids on my back during push ups...and canned goods for handweights...I have it! Use a milk jug! Just rinse it out when your done and fill it with water. Or you could just buy a gallon of water, it's usually less than $1! Although it's lighter than the 15 lb. kettlebell, at least this will give you a general idea of what a kettlebell is like before blowing your money on one. If you want a heavier version, I'm sure you could fill it with sand... haven't tried it yet, so someone else will have to be the guniea pig ;) O- and make sure the lid is sealed up... either tape it, or hot glue it on... just in case. I'm sure water or sand spewing across the room wouldn't go well with your decor.

I went on youtube and found some really great basic workouts. Here is a 6 minute workout using the kettlebell... you can really feel the burn! lol.
Minute Kettle Bell Workout

My only word of caution is not to use the water jugs to often, I've used it a few times and can feel my hands are a bit sore from where it rubbed the inside of the handle. So after the first try or two, if you still like it, maybe it's time to buy a real kettlebell;)

Here's to working out on a budget!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Raw Food Recipe: Apple Chips and Mango Salsa

Over 2 1/2 years ago, after researching high and low for the ultimate health food, I finally stumbled on "Raw Food". Raw food basically consists of a vegan diet, and all eaten raw, living... and not cooked. I felt like I had found a hidden treasure, why didn't I know about this amazing raw food diet sooner? The health benefits are astounding. I tried raw food out and I was blown away. I had never felt lighter, and more energized in my life. I didn't have that heavy tired feeling that I felt when I ate cooked and processed food, I was amazed.

Unfortunately it can be pretty hard to untrain a lifetime of eating habits, and I slowly fell back into my old routine. Although I eat pretty healthy in comparison to the "food pyramid" (which by the way should be totally re-vamped) I want to have the raw food feeling I did before. I think just like anything, you have to take it one step at a time, and learn one recipe and slowly build on it, until' it's second nature.

Apple Chips and Mango Salsa
I checked out some raw food books recently and have been really inspired. Today I made some Apple Chips and Mango Salsa for the kids and I. They devoured it nearly as quickly as I did! Make the food fun and interesting and it's so much more exciting and delicious to eat.

Apple Chips:
Slice Apples into chip size pieces

Mango Salsa:
Dice a ripe mango, and ripe banana. Drizzle with a bit of raw local honey, and a dash of cinnamon. Serve over apple chips.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Baking Day!

I try to bake regularly so I can make a batch or two of muffins, breads, pancakes and other snacks, but sometimes I just never get around to it. So that is when a baking day comes in handy! On a slow day when I don't have much to do, I schedule in a baking day, and yes I have to write it on my calendar, lol. You can spend as much or as little time in the kitchen as you like, yesterday I baked 4 dozen muffins and spent about 2 hours in the kitchen with prep, baking and cleanup. However I could have probably doubled the amount of muffins I made with just a bit longer in the kitchen. You might as well make alot while all of your baking pans, and measuring cups are out, and the mixer is on the counter, ya know?

The benefits of planning a baking day is that you can bake a lot of food on a day that's pretty slow, and then have snacks on hand for those days that are extra hectic! We love muffins for breakfast, and for snacks paired with some fruit. I keep some of the muffins in the fridge, and package the others in freezer bags in the freezer to store until' I need them. Then I just thaw them and go!

Carrot Muffins
Here are some baking tips that might come in handy:
  • Replace oils and butter with homemade applesauce
  • Add a banana for a bit of sweetness, and reduce the amount of sugar
  • Add raisins to add sweetness to your muffins
  • Use honey as a sweetner instead of sugar
Here are a few of my muffin recipes, they can also be baked as loaves, just cook longer:

Carrot Muffin Recipe

Vegan Banana Zucchini Muffin Recipe

Now schedule in your baking day so your family can enjoy homemade baked goods too! Happy Baking! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"The Love Dare"

Love. What is love? It's not a feeling... it's an action, something you do, or don't do in some cases.

Love is Patient, Love is Kind, Love is not Selfish, Love is Thoughtful, Love is not Rude, Love is not irritable...

This 40 day journey will help you dig deeper into what unconditional love truly is. Each chapter of "The Love Dare" is filled with wonderful insight about what Love truly is. At the end of each chapter there is a question, or "dare" for you to complete each day,and an area to journal your answer. This is such a wonderful book because not only will it help to transform your relationship with your spouse, but for me, it's bettered all the relationships in my life.

I know that marriage has it's definite ups and downs, but you have to do what you can to always better it. I love this quote, and it is SOO true, "The grass is greener where there is water and fertilizer, you need to water and fertilize your marriage." In other words, you need to invest time, and effort to better your marriage, and this goes for any relationship. So give your spouse the best Valentine's Day gift, that will last a lifetime... a better relationship, with unconditional love.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Get your life in Order

Trust me, as a mother of 4 I know time management can seem like it's near impossible. My mission today is to get my life in order, and manage my time appropriately. First things first, make a schedule. I've found that when you have each minute of your day already scheduled you get so much done and with a great flow. When do you wake up? When do the kids eat? When do they do their schoolwork? What about the housework? And the mending and the sewing? ok... I got a bit carried away, lol. But you get the idea, think of all the things you need to get done in the day, and what times they need to be completed.
In the morning we try to complete most of our chores, flylady is great for mom, and a chore chart is perfect for the kids:

A great resource for keeping your house nice and tidy is I know her system can be a bit overwhelming but pick and choose what works for you.

Also, I found this great chore chart for the kids at Confessions of a Homeschooler

Use every minute of the day to benefit you the most, and it will be a super successful day:)
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