Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wellness Wednesday- Mad abs March & Cardio Pandora stations

Hope fully you all have not lost your New Years fitness fever already.  To keep you going strong I am posting this ab workout schedule (found on pinterst of course!) that will hopefully help keep things fun and fresh. Thank you http://perf-fect tumblr.com for this great plan! Best of all it is attainable but challenging.  Heck, if you do only half of it you are still moving in the right direction!

Let me know  who is up for the challenge and how it goes.  I am hoping to incorporate this into my workouts.  I am also planning on using this great workout guide from Melavond to help me focus my workouts.  If I have a goal in mind it is easier to fill my workout time with continuous exercise without standing around wondering what I want to do next.

This is so do-able!
To get in the groove and get motivated you gotta have the right music, so here are a few of my favorite pandora playlists
to keep you moving!
Christian Rap Radio - clean, Jesus promoting lyrics 
Pop Fitness Radio - great variety of fast paced cardio or dance music, but watch for clean lyrics.
Dance Cardio Radio- Love the motivating beat but can't promise uplifting lyrics.
Grits Radio- Totally clean, godly lyrics with a great hip hop style.
Latin workout- Fun cardio music with a great latin beat. Again, you have to watch for lyrics.
Have a favorite Pandora station or song that really keeps you motivated?  I would love to hear from you guys!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Sewing - a guide to altering the bodice to achieve different styles.

I love this helpful drawing! I have been trying to learn more about sewing clothes, and altering or up-cycling clothes.  The drawing here is a helpful overview but if you go to the link below the photo you can find a detailed chart on each alteration. I love the idea of altering clothes I already have or thrift store finds to create what I want.  With 4 small children and a very limited budget I need to be creative to wear the clothes I want.  So I am learning to make what I want.  I am only in the beginning stages but already I am excited about what a few simple sewing skills can net you.

схема моделирования вытачек лифа
From make-handmade
So go check out the link above and get chopping!  Let me know what you are making at the moment.  I am working on a little black dress but it not turning out as flattering as I want it to, and a fun bright sun dress from a simple "new look" pattern.  Make sure if you are new to sewing and picking up a pattern to start creating that you take your measurements and compare the exact measurements to the pattern and NOT just the size number!  I am about 6-8 sizes larger than my normally size when I buy a stock pattern,.so pay close attention to that!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One of nature's best healers! 20 NEW reasons to love coconut oil!

I have only recently found out how amazing coconut oil is and it is astonishing!  When I first bought it I was planning on using it like regular cooking oil to help eliminate unhealthy fats and leaving it at that, but now I use it in so many ways.  I am reading a GREAT book called "The Healing Miracles of coconut oil" by Bruce Fife N.D., and doing some other research to find out all I can while we make the full switch over from other oils to coconut oil. I do however continue to use olive oil for my salad dressing as coconut oil becomes a solid at room temperature.   Please note that you need to buy the VIRGIN coconut oil that is the least processed.   It should be whiter, smell like coconut, and not say RBD or be cheap. Walmart sells a cheaper coconut oil that I bought in a pinch waiting for mine to arrive from Vitacost.  It says 100% pure coconut oil, all natural, etc.. HOWEVER it does not say virgin or organic.  I compared it to my virgin organic coconut oil that I get from vitacost and it is yellowish, does not smell like coconuts, and appears to be more processed.  I featr that it may be partially hydrogenated.  SO DO NOT GO CHEAP!! Buy the good stuff.  It is cheap for a reason.  Use the cheap stuff for a moisturizer but not medicinally or internally.  I spread coconut oil on my toast in place of butter and sprinkle it with a cinnamon and Xylitol mix (tastes great but the cinnamon is great for regulating blood sugar too), eat it in oatmeal, I use it as a moisturizer, for earaches, as a skin wound healer (antimicrobial), hair conditioner, etc..., but before I get ahead of myself here are my favorite 20 Reasons to love coconut oil. 
1. You can eat fat and lose weight!!
Coconut oil actually contributes to weight loss!  Fat is essential for beautiful hair, skin and nails as well as proper body function.  You NEED the right fats though, and coconut oil is a lower calorie fat that is digested and utilized different than other fats.  Other fats that we eat always end up as fat in our cells because of the way they are broken down.  Once eaten they are broken down into individual fatty acids and repackaged with protein into lipoproteins that circulate through the blood at which point the fatty acids are deposited directly into out fat cells.  Coconut oil is different in that they are NOT packaged into lipoproteins and DO NOT circulate in the boodstream.  Instead much like a carbohydrate they are sent directly to the liver to be immediatly converted into energy!  So rather than store the coconut oil as fat it converts it into energy!  They have done many studies that prove that switching from other dietary fats that are made of long chain fatty acids to the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil results in a decrease of weight gain and a reduction in fatty deposits.  Get rid of your processed polyunsaturated vegetable oils and replace them with coconut oil, and see what a difference it makes.

2. Coconut oil help with hypothyroidism and slow metabolism.
Those with hypothyroidism suffer from a slower metabolism and a loss of energy.  Unlike carbohydrates or triglycerides like long chain fatty acids, coconut oil a medium chain fatty acid does not require special carrier enzymes to permeate the cell walls to reach the mitochondria in order to produce energy.  So it does NOT deplete your enzyme stores, and requires less of a drain on your body to turn the coconut oil immediately into energy.  Because coconut oil is easily absorbed by the energy producing parts of the cell your metabolism increases!  The burst of energy stimulates the entire body and can be physically noticed by a slightly faster heartbeat, higher body temperature, and faster metabolism.

3. Coconut oil keeps sugar cravings at bay!  
Coconut oil helps you regulate your blood sugar levels which can be the cause of sugar cravings.  In fact several studies have now proven coconut oil as an effective remedy for hypoglycemia and sugar addiction.

4. Coconut oil helps to increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals while decreasing the absorption of carbs.  

5. Coconut oil decreases your risk of heart disease, stroke and hardening of arteries. More info on this here.

6. Coconut oil increases your immune system, killing viruses, bacteria and parasites. Read here for more on this.

7. Coconut oil has been shown to be effective in slowing the progression of Alzheimer and even preventing it. Check out this article by CBN news , and this articlethat goes into more detail.

8. You can swap it out for butter or shortening in your cookie recipes and not only is incredible better for you but it even tastes better!  This is a tasty way to add in some of this delicious healing food into your day.

9. Coconut oil lowers your bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol because it is a PLANT based saturated fat which is UNLIKE saturated animal fats.  More info on this here.

10. Coconut oil has been shown to have such a remarkable effect on HIV that is is currently undergoing trials in the Philippians for the treatment of HIV.  Bruce Fife author of "The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil" has this to say regarding coconut oil's effect on HIV "Unlike the standard drugs that attack human immunodeficiency virus's genetic material, MCFAs in coconut oil simply break the virus apart. Because MCFAs in coconut oil mimic the fatty acids of the virus's coating (called lipid membrane), the antimicrobial MCFAs are readily absorbed by the unsuspecting virus, weakening its protective membrane until it breaks apart, killing the virus. What is significant thus far is that the most drug-resistant superviruses don't develop immunity to a natural mechanism." More on this here.

11. Coconut oil Gives a quick energy boost! Because coconut oil is not processed like other fats that go through the blood stream but instead is processed immediately by the liver you get an instant energy boost.  The best part is that unlike many carbohydrates and energy supplements there is not the sugar rush and crash effect.

12. Coconut oil taken daily has helped many diabetics reduce and in some cases eliminate their dependence on insulin!  Diabetes reduces the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin that is used to get glucose into the body's cells where the body will convert the glucose into energy.  Coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids that are smaller and lighter than glucose enabling them to easily enter the cell for energy production with out the need for insulin. Read more here.

13.  Coconut oil Makes a great deodorant especially when mixed with cornstarch or arrowroot and some baking soda.

14. coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer for hair and skin.  Simply apply it to wet skin or hair to lock the moisture in. When applied topically it is also an effective treatment for most skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis.

15. Coconut oil replaces expensive face moisturizers.  I quit using traditional  store bought face moisturizers and find that coconut oil works way better.  I wet my face and then apply the coconut oil.

16.  Coconut oil is an effective acne treatment.  Contrary to what it would seem applying the coconut oil directly to the affected area is not only not harmful but extremely beneficial.  Coconut oil kills bacteria and acne is a bacterial infection.  Coconut oil draws out impurities so you may break out with some small white heads the first time you use it as it detoxifies, but following that your skin should begin to clear up.  Coconut oil mimics your skins natural oils and does not clog your pores.

17.  Coconut oil makes a very effective bug repellent when mixed with peppermint oil and applied to the skin.  MUCH safer than deet and said to be more effective!

18. Coconut oil all by itself makes an excellent sun screen.  Coconut oil is absorbed into the skin and the cell structure limiting the damage too much sun exposure can cause.  It also is an excellent treatment for sunburns. I know this idea of sunscreen will be seen as controversial so go research it for yourself and find another reason to slather yourself in it.

19.  Coconut oil stops the itching and burning of bug bites as well as speeding up the healing process when applied directly to a bug bite.

20.My final reason for loving coconut oil so much is that it's uses seem endless!  On top of all the above you can use it as chap stick, diaper cream, guitar string conditioner, leather conditioner, in cooking and in cleaning! But my current favorite use is for "oil pulling" an AMAZING, simple, extremely effective detox method that does not alter your food intake but produces results typical to only much more extreme detox methods such as extended juice fasts!  Learn more about "oil pulling" how to do it and what it does here.

Still don't believe me about the miraculous nature of coconut oil?  Go see what Dr. Oz has to say about it.

Looking to buy some coconut oil that is high quality and a great price?  I buy mine from vitacost.  You can use this link to get $10 off your first purchase with Vitacost and you always get free shipping with and $49 order. I love this company for my health food grocery items, vitamins, supplements, and anything you would normally go to the health food store for.  It is just so much cheaper and who doesn't want their groceries delivered?  

Oh how I love coconut oil!  The more I research it the more I LOVE IT! Tell me how you use coconut oil!  I love hearing more and more ways to use it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One of natures best healers

It is getting late and I am struggling with a cold and exhaustion from another wonderful busy day with the kiddos, but I wanted to let you know I had a great blog post all planned out for today...
"20 new reasons why I love _______( ?)",( I can't give away the punch line just yet :) ) but the topic is so fascinating that I haven't finished it yet so until I do know that some amazing, life changing info is coming your way.  If you can bear with me till it is done you will get a much more in-depth post on one of natures best medicines.  Here is a preview of a few of the things that this food has an effect on...chronic skin issues, acne, Alzheimers, HIV, detoxing, weight loss, parasites, viruses, bacteria, infections, the immune system, heart disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue, wrinkles, cancer, metabolism, nutrient absorption, osteoporosis, diabetes and several other health issues.

Are you hooked yet?  You will have to come back soon to see what I am talking about!  For now I am off to bed to try and get a good nights sleep to fight off this cold.  Venture a guess if you have one. I promise it won't be too long till I finish. Until then hope you stay healthy and clear of all this cold garbage that is going around.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dance Music fit for the kids!

I love to dance, and my kids love to dance.  We crank up the tunes and dance around for a while.  It is a great way to get the wiggles out, burn a few calories (me :) ), or lighten the mood.  However I have been using Pandora a lot lately and picking stations from artists I don't know much about.  Even though I know the song I created the station around is ok I inevitably end up changing the station as profanity, crudeness, or other inappropriate language comes spewing out.

I was just looking for some fun Christ centered music when I got an email from my friend at stilettos and train sets about a group she loves and recommends called xlr8!.  She is sending me a cd that we are excitedly awaiting but in the meantime we immediately went and checked it out and it is a GREAT CD filled with fun, upbeat, dance worthy music that honors Jesus.  Exactly what I was looking for for the kids.  I would much rather here praise coming from my 5 and 7 year olds than "I am sexy and I know it!".  Evidently my son has picked that one up somewhere and needs to replace it with more worthy lyrics!
Xlr8! : Xlr8!
You can listen to a full sample of the CD HERE at xlr8kids.net, and purchase it as a download there or at itunes under Children's music and the title xlr8.  
Go check it out and download yourself some healthy tunes to dance to with the kiddos!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Adoption necklace fundraiser to help bring a little baby home from Ethiopia!

"True religion is this to care for the orphan and the widows in their distress and to keep yourself from being polluted by the world" James 1 :27

Donate or buy a few necklaces!
My dear friends Lisa and Matt adopted a beautiful baby girl from Vanuatu while I was living there and adopted Bella.  We became good friends and now that they are adopting again !! This time it is a sweet little boy from Ethiopia.  THEY ARE SO CLOSE!!!  Lets put them over the edge!  I just wanted to pass this fundraiser info on as I know that so many of you have a heart for adoption even if you don't see how you can do it now.  This is a GREAT way to participate in the blessing of adoption and help a sweet little orphaned baby to have a hope and a family to call his own.  
Here is her post from her blog about the necklace fundraiser.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wellness Wednesday - a sugar equivalent chart (scary!!)

We all know that too much sugar is bad for us especially refined sugar so I wanted to share this chart I found to give you an idea of how much sugar you are consuming.  Don't get me wrong...all sugar is not equal.  We eat fruit freely but SKIP the processed foods even if the sugar isn't as high as other foods.
Pinned Image
Pulled from pinterest with no reference to the source other than 9gag.com.

Have a good one and feel good about every small choice you make towards better health today.
Great gains are made by continual small steps.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

100 ways to be kind to your child today!

Happy valentines day!  I was up late last night pinning things on pinterest.  I know all of you know what I am talking about.  It totally sucks you in!  Anyway I saw this and thought it was perfect to share with you on Valentines day!
100 ways to be kind to your child - an inspiring, simple, lovely list of ideas

Make sure you make time to check out this list and pick a few to do today!
Better yet print it off and work off the list checking them off as you go for as long as it takes.
I plan on using 4 different colored pens to check them off.  One color for each kid!
This was an idea originally prompted by Toddler Approved
Hope you have a special day filled with the love from the Father and all your family and friends!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easiest ever Neapolitan pizza sauce and the dough to go with it!!

I love eating healthy, staying on a budget and I love good food. So this recipe fits the bill.  Your average take out pizza would never be considered healthy, but a few tweaks and you have yourself a healthy delicious homemade meal.  We always make our own pizza around here, and it's actually pretty fun.  In fact we just made if tonight.   Friday or Saturday night every week we have pizza.  Barbecue chicken pizza, garlic chicken pizza, bruschetta pizza, pineapple and veggie pizza, or whatever we have on hand.  It is cheap, easy and healthy when you do it yourself, add lots of veggies and go easy on the cheese.  Best of all the whole family loves it!

I used to use jarred marinara for pizza sauce and then I came across this recipe several years ago for Neapolitan Pizza Sauce. I wish I could remember what cookbook it came out of but I just took it from a library cookbook that I have long since forgotten the name of.  It was so easy I thought I would try it, and I loved it.
Neapolitan Pizza Sauce 
1 14oz can of plumb tomatoes drained
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
Throw it all together and blend.  That's it!

Now I can't give you a great sauce recipe and not throw in the dough recipe as well.   So here it is..
My Favorite Pizza Dough
(2 10"-12" pizzas)
1 tsp yeast
1 C. warm water
1 1/2 C white flour 
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
Photo from fotosearch
Mix the yeast into the cup of warm water to proof.  Mix flour and salt then add yeast and water mixture.  Once it is all mixed together let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Knead 5-10 minutes till the dough is smooth.  Set the dough aside to rise for an hour or until double.  If you have the time you can make it the day before you need it and throw it in the refrigerator to raise until the next day.  The extra time develops the flavor a bit more.  If you are short on time you can heat your oven to 200 degree then turn it off  to warm it.  Once the oven is warm and turned off place the dough in the oven with the door cracked and let the dough rise.  When the yeast is developed you should be able to poke it in with your finger and have it spring back, although it may take a few seconds to do so. I break it into two balls or if I double the recipe I break it into 3 larger balls.  I keep out the one I am using and freeze or refrigerate the whatever is left.
Now just roll it out to whatever size you would like while your pizza stone is heating up in a 500 degree oven.  Now once you roll out your dough (doing it on parchment makes it easier to transfer) move it onto your hot pizza stone and cook just the crust for about 10 minutes still at 500 degrees.  Now take it out add toppings (go easy on the sauce for true neapolitan style pizza) and throw if back in for a measly minute or two since your oven is so hot and your crust is already cooked.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Taking back the basement!

It's on!  I am in the throes taking back my basement and craft closet from heaps of unorganized stuff that has claimed residence.  In a 1200 square foot house that is home to 6 people (4 of whom are under 7) every inch counts!  There are toys, storage totes, art supplies, homeschool materials, craft supplies, not to mention the mountains of unorganized fabric that has been unceremoniously dumped in to totes in a weak effort at organization, all wreaking havoc in my precious basement square footage.  Well... NO MORE!

I have plans for that precious real estate!  There is a great open area for the kids (unfinished but great in that it exists :) ), a storage area, and a wonderful walk in craft closet.  Again I use the word wonderful loosely.  Wonderful to me because it is there and I see a great future for it!

So while you may think I am lazily eating bon bons avoiding blogging I am in actuality doing battle with my basement!  I have spent hours and hours since Friday attacking the mountains of clutter, folding and refolding yardages of fabric, unboxing and repacking storage items in labeled totes, filling bags of trash, thrift store donations and even food bank boxes of food from the pantry that would be more likely to get used elsewhere.  I have taken some before photos.  Actually, they are photos taken midway through the demucking process that are horrifying and embarrassing.  I DARE NOT POST THEM TILL A BEAUTIFUL "AFTER" PHOTO FOLLOWS!!

However, I thought I would pass on some inspiring photos of basement or craft space make overs that might just help you take the plunge needed to get your overrun space back, and help me in my search for basement greatness!

This amazing basement was designed and created by Candice Olson from HGTV's Divine Design
I have no delusions that my basement will EVER look like this however in case anyone else out there has the money and time necessary to make this happen.. BE INSPIRED!

This beauty is from finehomebuilding.com. BEAUTIFUL!  I love this color and have it as an accent wall surrounding our fireplace upstairs.

I have kids though so I am looking for a basement that is a homeschool room, supremely organized craft closet, play room and crafty space for sewing and creating all in one!  I know that is a tall order, but it could happen!

This beautiful functional homeschool area from The Heartfelt Home (although not a basement) is great inspiration for what I want in a schoolroom area.

Last year for Christmas I talked my husband in to creating this crafty area for the kids on an almost nonexistent budget , but am hoping to add to it and really create a great workable area for homeschooling.

My instructions for how to create this DIY art station are HERE.  I am thinking thought that after looking at the above photo of the homeschool space with cupboards above that I would like to add two simple cupboards above each side and a shelf in between them that can be filled with our overload of books and curriculum.  I could dream up all kinds of things here but I am working with a realistic very very limited budget.  If I want to have any hope of talking the husband into it it has to be limited work and very inexpensive.

Now as far as my crafty sewing area goes I would love something like this... (from Sew Many ways)

or this.. (from one little word)
RP Craftroom 3 small
Reality dictates a slightly smaller and less expensive dream like this sewing armoire from BHG
Love how they utilized the vertical and door space!
I had better call it quits and head to bed since it is almost one in the morning! I need to have the energy to homeschool, be mom to 4 little ones plus the 2 year old we babysit, and find time to get on with the basement project while they nap.  Let me know about your homeschool or craft space make over.  We would love to see your photos!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tweety treats! Yummy super healthy whole food treats.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!  Hope you all are getting ready to have some fun with friends.  I need to go make some vegetarian taco soup after I get done here before friends start showing up for the game. I posted the recipe for this soup on an earlier post here if you are interested in it.  It feels like far too long since I last posted!  I want be posting 3 times a week so I can cover, health, homeschool, crafts, DIY house projects and life, but that didn't happen this week!  I got busy working in our house (reorganizing and de junking the basement! UGH!!) and trying to order some homeschool curriculum.  Which I found for a much needed  great deal by the way!  YEAH!!!

Anyway, I wanted to share this super yummy recipe I created for "Tweety Treats".
  I made this recipe up while looking for something tasty to make for my kids.  I wanted to incorporate whole foods and avoid sugar, white flour, and processed foods. I came up with these and we LOVE Them! They are so quick and easy you can whip them up before your friends show up for the game today!

 Here is what you need.  
2 cups of millet
2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
4 Tbs agave
1/2 cup peanut butter
1-2 Tbs vanilla
pinch of sea salt

Now just mix it all together.  It is way too crumbly to be able to roll into balls so you need to pack it down to make bars.
  I do this by getting a sheet of wax paper or freezer paper and lining a cookie sheet.  Then I pour the mixture on the sheet and use the longer edges of  the freezer paper to pack it down like shown in the picture below.

Once it freezes just cut it up, and you are ready to go!

Now just store in a plastic tupperware as they break up in plastic bags.
I tried to get a photo and Bella jumped in before I got the photo done.  Evidently she likes them!

 They store well in the freezer and you don't need to thaw them to eat them.  Enjoy!
Tell me what you think.  Have any whole food treat recipes to share?  We would love to have them!