Friday, October 29, 2010

Salty or Sweet?

You know how after you eat something salty, you want something sweet?

And after you eat something sweet, you really need something salty, right?

This is a dilemma.  My solution: a handful of Dove chocolate with peanut butter and a bag of pepperoni.

Yes, I sat on the couch and read a book with both of these beside me.  Wonderful. (And pathetic.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred: A Review

If one completes 30 consecutive days of Jillian's program you will be shredded, hence the name!  (or so she says...)  There are three levels that get progressively harder.  Each person should move up as he or she is able.  This is a SHORT workout.  Each one is about 20 minutes.  However it is hard.  You move and work the entire time.  There are no static stretches or weights.  The strength segments include cardio as well, because each incorporates upper and lower body and uses light weights with lots of reps.

Here is a breakdown of the video
2 minutes- warm up
3 minutes- strength #1
2 minutes- cardio #1
1 minute- abs #1
3 minutes- strength #2
2 minutes- cardio #2
1 minute- abs #2
3 minutes- strength #3
2 minutes- cardio #3
1 minute- abs #3
2 minutes- cool down/stretching
Total= 22 minutes and you're done!

Each level follows the same pattern.

Some Considerations
  • You might want to do a bit more of a warm up and more stretching.  Jog or march in place while the video is going through ads and credits at the beginning.  When you are done, keep stretching!
  • When this video ended I felt like I was just getting started.  Ideally I would like to run for 20-30 minutes after finishing it!  There was not enough endurance cardio for what I am wanting to do (run 5ks).
  • The girls in the video use 5lb weights.  For some exercises this was great, but if you have heavier weights also they can be used for some sets.
  • If you only have heavier weights, there are some exercises that can be done with one weight rather than two.  Also, feel free to not use weights on the later sets if you are getting sore!
  • In level three the cardio activities (jump rope, butt kicks, jumping jacks, punches) are done with the weights in hand and going lighter might be good.  I'd like 3lb weights for this!
  • Water!  Water!  WATER!  Drink it! You will sweat!
  • I did not need shoes for the first level, but I did for the second and third.  These include mountain climbers and walking push-ups that rubbed my feet!
  • Jillian tells you not to stop and to work at max level the whole time.  This is great IF you have worked out regularly and do not have joint problems.  Listen to your body!
  • If you are like me and this was over too soon, do two (or even three) levels back to back for a more intense workout!
  • If you are a beginner, take it slow!  Move at a slower pace than Jillian.  You can speed up as you build muscle and stamina.  Do less repetitions or use lighter (or no) weights.  Push yourself, but don't over do it.
  • My triceps are weak and there is not an exercise that targets these, although they are worked in several of the chest exercises.
  • Jillian uses language that I would not love for my children to hear a couple times throughout the video.  There is a menu option to turn off the talking and just have the music.
I am NOT a doctor or a professional trainer.  Do not do this program (or any other exercise regiment) without your physician's consent!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fitness Junkies

Eli with his 'weights' working out!  He loves it!
I am planning to run two 5ks in November.  I have NEVER done one before!  Therefore, I must train.  I have not really worked out in about 4 years.  Before I got pregnant with my first child.  That is not to say I did NOTHING for the last 4 years.  I walked at least three times a week and I teach swimming lessons and the occasional water aerobics class.  However, that is different than running for a half hour or doing an hour-long boot camp class with Monica at the YMCA.

When Eli started preschool two morning a week in late August, I decided I would go to the YMCA and workout.  Boot Camp was not my choice.  It just happened to be the class that was going on while I was there.  I love it.  We do a lot of it outside (where there are not mirrors for me to see how uncoordinated I am) and run up hills, do push ups on the ground, jump rope, and many other things in our circuit interval training.

It turns out, two days a week is not enough for me.  I am into exercise!  I had been running once or twice a week.  Still not enough.  Exercise videos are the answer!  I borrowed A LOT from my friend Kim.  I will be posting reviews and commentary on how they are going as I work my way through her collection.

If you have any recommendations, let me know.  I might work my way there!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Markdown Specifics

If you missed it, you can read my tips for finding markdowns.

Here are some of the things I frequently find, the price I pay on average, and how I use them!

  • bagged salad- $1 -lunch for me for the next 2-3 days or added to that evening's dinner
  • yogurt- $.25 or less -snacks or breakfast for Andy or the kids.  Yogurt is generally good for 7 days past the sell-by date.  I usually get the bets deals on the multi-packs.
  • milk- $1/gallon -I get organic or chocolate!  Chocolate milk is a great snack or dessert, with white milk I usually bake a large batch of waffles or pancakes to freeze.
  • refrigerated salsa- $1 -lunch for me, snack for Andy and I, or side dish for mexican
  • whipping cream- $.50 -rich baking or alfredo sauce
  • bread- $2 or less -add to dinner
  • sub-style foot long sandwich- $3 -picnic lunch for the family!
  • juice- $.50 -take to morning Bible study for snacks
  • cookies, muffins, other desserts- $2 or less -snacks for groups like potlucks and Bible study.
This is a great way to add variety or add in foods that are normally too expensive!

Have you found any great markdown groceries?  What do you use them for?  Share your best tips!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Grocery Markdowns

FREE!  That was the cost of my refrigerator salsa and yogurt drinks today.  Not bad!  However, I usually have to pay something for markdowns at the store, but it is a small fraction of the price.

Markdown Tips

  1. Ask!  Not every store will mark things down.  Wal-mart suppliers give them a guaranteed sale on most items.  Some local or chain stores also can return out of date items to the company.  You never know unless you ask though.  Many stores are glad to!
  2. Know what has a relatively short shelf life.  I routinely find yogurt, milk and other dairy products, salad and other prepackaged produce, bakery items, meats, refrigerated juice and dough.  There may be other things you use!
  3. Look for things already marked down.  The meat and bakery departments in my local store are good about marking down items that are close to their sale by dates.  These often have brightly colored stickers that say managers special or bonus buy.
  4. Check the dates.  If it is yesterday, today, or tomorrow I take it with me to the check out line and ask for a manager.  On occasion I have been told no or asked to pay more than I think the food is worth, so I don't get it.  No big deal.
  5. Ask yourself if you have a use for this, soon!  For example, with a loaf of specialty bread I might decide to change tonight's menu to spaghetti and use the herb cheese bread for $1.
It takes a little time, but I have found it to be worth it. 
Another posts is coming soon with some specifics like what I find marked down and the price I expect!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Blogger has recently (in the last few months) added a feature that allows bloggers to check the 'Stats' of their blog.  How many hits each month, week, day, and hour receive.  You can also see the kind of operating system and browser each visitor used and what country they were in.  I can see what posts are most popular and what link a person click on to come to my blog.  So fun.  A little distracting.

Today I reflected on why I blog.  So I can have hundreds of visitors each month?  So every post has many comments?  So I know people are interested in what I have to say?  Um, it should NOT be any of those reasons.  Instead my motivation should be how another is encouraged, even if it is just one person.

Much thanks to my dear friend Brooke for reminding me because of her sweet comment!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Well, Webster says that perfect means being without fault or defect.  The greek word means complete, or having all parts.  Those definitions are a little different, huh?  I will not, in this life, be without fault or defect, and there is no point in trying.  However, I can be complete or have all I need.  I am NOT there, nor do I think I will be there any time soon (like in the next decade), but I can take steps towards completeness.  There are things I can do everyday in a quest to being 'perfect'.

Today I will practice speaking kindly to my children.
Today I will practice spending my time wisely.  (And on that note, I have to get off the computer!)

What will you practice today?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

I know just about EVERY mom who has a blog, has a post about her kids at the pumpkin patch, so bear with me. My kids are quite cute!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Heavy Whipping Cream

 I got this container of heavy whipping cream for a quarter and had to do something with it...

Homemade Alfredo sauce is oh-so-easy to make.  It is more expensive than buying a jar, but it is delicious.  However, we won't talk about the fat and calorie content.  I use Betty Crocker's recipe for many things and she says you need 1/2 C heavy cream, 1/2 C butter, 3/4 C Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Heat butter and cream in a 10 inch skillet until the butter is melted and the mixture starts to bubble.  Then turn the heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in salt, pepper, and cheese.  Done.

I doubled the recipe and there was still over half of the cream left.  So, I made apple dump cake with cream on top instead of butter.  Yum.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Free Books...

I really do love them!

So, here are some more ways to get free books.

My kids each get a book from Dolly Parton each month through her Imagination Library.  This program is not available in all areas, but it is worth checking!  If it is available in your area you can sign up your child if they are between birth and age 5.  Then a books is sent to you each month.  We have gotten a couple of repeats with the second child, but they switch them up frequently.  (Thanks to Amy for reminding me about this!)

Review books for a publisher.  Usually all you need is a blog, which are so easy to set up if you do not already have one.  I review for several Christian publishers, but I would suspect secular publishers would have similar programs.  Search their websites for 'book review' or 'media requests'.

Bethany House

Thomas Nelson


Garage sales and thrift stores are not free, but they are inexpensive and have many undiscovered treasures.  You can get a steal on a book that has barely been read.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Free Books

I like books.  It's true.  I am cheap.  Also true.  And books are expensive.  I review books so I can can get them for free.  However, there are other ways to get free books if you do not want to be obligated to review them.

Amazon routinely offers free books for Kindles.  Classics, like Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice, and Little Women are always free, but there are other books that come and go.  The easiest way I have found to know what these are and not miss a good deal is  You can click on the 'Free Kindle Books' tab at the top of the page and see what books are currently free!  Amazon also has a list of the current top 100 free books.

You don't have a Kindle?  Because they cost $139 and up.  Yeah, me either.  Don't worry.  Amazon has free apps for your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android.  You download the app to your device and you can order books that are delivered to you wirelessly.

So easy and FREE!

Monday, October 11, 2010


If anyone thinks himself (or herself) to be religious, and yet does not bridle his own tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
James 1:26

Worthless means of no use, importance or value.  Good for nothing.
James is so straight forward.  He tells is like it is.  I. need. that.
When a believer does not 'walk the walk' they do NOTHING for God.  Sure, I'm still saved if I say unkind things to my friends or the clerk at the store or bank, but I am not helping them.  Worthless.  When I yell at my kids, worthless.  Telling my husband exactly what he did wrong, worthless.  Talking about my boss or coworkers behind their backs may not get me in trouble at work, but does it edify?  Nope.  Worthless.

James goes in to much more detail in Chapter 3.  What does he say about my tongue? Well, here is just a snippet.
The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity, it cannot be tamed, it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  Need I go on?  Sounds so positive...
So how do I make what I believe NOT worthless?  Ephesians 4:29!
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need at the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Serious Stuff

I have been privilaged to attend two wedding in the last month.  Our friend Nathan was blessed to marry a wonderful woman, Lindsay.  I get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside when I think of them because Lindsay is perfect for Nathan and I am excited!

The other wedding was very special to our family.  Andy's younger brother, Luke, married Bekah Blume!  We love Luke and Bekah tons and it is amazing to see them grow and learn in love!  Eli was the ringer bearer for them, making that day even more meaningful.

photo by Scott McEvlain
While I was watching the beautiful ceremonies both couples had, I was struck by the seriousness of marriage and the vows a husband and wife make to each other.  When a couple exchanges rings, they place the ring on the other person's finger while saying, "I wed thee in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."  That is intense!  Quite a group of witnesses!  In my vows to Andy I pledged to love him when it was hard and we had no money and I didn't feel good and I was tired and he was annoying.

I love being married to Andy, but am I living up to my vows?  Do I love him?  Unconditionally?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What to do with those crowns?

As I mentioned last week, I am doing Precepts Upon Precepts study of James and learning so much!  My 'nugget' this week?

James 1:12 says when believers persevere under trial they will be approved and receive the crown of life that Jesus promised to those who love him.  Several other verses reference crowns that Christians can receive when the Lord comes back.
Believers receive an imperishable wreath when they run the race. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
The crown of righteousness is laid up for all those who loved Christ's appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)
Teachers will receive the crown of glory when the Chief Shepherd has appeared. (1 Peter 5:4)
The crown of exultation is for those who spread the good news. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)

The BEST part of what I learned came in Revelation 4:10-11!  Twenty-four elders are worshiping Jesus on His throne in Heaven and they throw their crowns, the ones they earned for being faithful, enduring trials, preaching and teaching God's word, at Jesus' feet!  The only right and proper and acceptable thing to do with those crowns is to give them back to the One who is worthy!

All I have ever had or will have comes from God and is because of God.  What is my reasonable act of worship?  the only thing that makes sense?  To give ALL I have to my Savior!  After all, it was His to begin with!