Sunday, December 14, 2014

DIY Marshmallow Olaf

Frozen has invaded my home based child daycare :-)

We were doing a unit on snow & winter. My kids love the Olaf character. The girls act out the movie in costumes while wearing sparkly shoes. The boys mostly like Sven & Olaf.

This would be a great craft for a Frozen birthday party!

Because everyone loves Olaf & marshmallows (in my home they do), this craft & treat was a perfect for with out theme.

I found the Olaf faces online, printed them up & taped a tooth pick to the back side. Now we could have spent hours crafting an Olaf face out if a marshmallow, but let's be realistic I'm dealing with 2, 3 & 4 year olds...we don't have time for that!
Then, we used a mini pretzel rod to piece the body together & frosting to tick to feet and raisin buttons on.

Here's what you need to make one Olaf:
1 Regular size marshmallow
1 Extra large size marshmallow
2 Mini marshmallows
3 Mini pretzel rods (we used gluten free)
3 Raisins
1 Olaf head

Even my 2nd grader loved this! 

Have a great Day!


Monday, November 24, 2014

9 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Statistically, you are going to gain weight this holiday season! 
In fact on average people gain 7-10 pounds between thanksgiving and new years.

So, what's the harm in a little holidays weight gain?
According to researchers at the national Institute of health, most Americans never loose the weight they gain during the winter months. 
The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in obesity. 
When I was morbidly obese, life was awful. I had and still have a loving family, supportive husband and a thriving business, however the extra 100+ pounds I was carrying was killing me. I was often tired, short tempered and just plain unhappy. 
So, yes! those few pounds adding up can really cause harm to your overall health. 
Now I am at a much healthier weight, happier and understand that maintaining a healthy weight is going to be part of my daily lifestyle. 
The moment I took 100% responsibility for my health, my life took the best healthy turn it could have.

Here are 9 simple ways to keep your weight under control during the most festive time of the year.

1. Weigh yourself
I literally HATE the scale & honestly I do not typically weigh myself anymore. I feel the scale is not the judge all in our overall health. The best example I have is the fact that I have weight less in the past but I am not in a smaller size, because I have more muscle tone.  I judge my weight/health by the way I feel and how well my clothes fit. However its a proven fact that majority of folks will gain during the festivities of the holidays which makes it more important to stay focuses and use the scale a tool.
The holidays are not the time to avoid your scale. If you see the pounds creeping on, stop more weight gain as soon as you see it. Be proactive in avoiding holiday weight gain.

2. Write it down
Food journaling works best if you record your food and beverage intake as you go. Write down what, when, where and the quantity that you eat. Make sure to include all snacks and beverages even if you grab just one cracker on your way out the door. I use and love the Shaklee 180 app. This app does all this and includes tracking and calculating activity/exercise. The 180 app is free with the purchase of any 180 product kit.

3. Make time to exercise
Exercise helps you de-stress and clear your mind of all that you need to do this holiday season. 

Walk the mall before you start shopping, take a new exercise class or practice some yoga or stretching to relax. If it’s too cold to exercise outside, treat yourself to some special cold weather workout gear. Working out in cooler weather can be invigorating, as long as you have the right clothes to stay comfortable. 

My turn to inhume exercise routine is a burst style training you can find this at

4. Breathe
If you are a stress eater, consider an alternative to eating when you need a break. Just sitting silently with your eyes closed at any point during your day, or when you feel stressed, is very helpful for keeping yourself in balance. Remember, it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time: even just one minute of relaxing breaths in the midst of a busy holiday season goes a long way!
If you are anything like me, your body does not handle stress very well. WhatI mean is what is going on inside your body that you cannot see (No, I'm not just talking about flipping your lid! lol). Im talking about the inflammation on your body while it tries to physically deal with stress. I have been taking Stress Relief Complex for many month now & WOW! I feel calmer, when in the past I many have been. I rest better at night. My boys tell me I smile more!

5. Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals often backfires. If you skip meals, you may overeat at the next meal, or let your hunger make bad food choices for you. I always have healthy snacks and drinks on me, that may be a mom thing though! ha!ha!

As a busy Mom-on-the-Go, quick meal replacements and energy boosting snack bars 
keep me going strong and hunger in check.

6. Learn How to Say “No, Thank You”
It’s hard to pass up goodies when they are offered. Not only are you turning down delicious foods, you may be worried that you are offending the host or hostess.

It’s okay to say no, but if you need a more creative way to say no, consider these:

1.Thank you, but I already ate.
2.That looks too good to eat!
3.Thanks, but I'm getting a jump start on my 
    New Year's resolutions!
4.I worked out earlier, and I am trying to stay on 
    track tonight.
5.I'm trying to pace myself, but thank you!
 6.Thanks, but I just don't eat that! 

7. Get enough rest
When you skimp on sleep, your body works harder to stay awake, and may lead you to make poor food choices. You might reach for another cup of coffee or a sugary snack to give you some energy. Or you might skip a stop at the gym because you are too tired. A lack of sleep can sabotage your efforts.

Lack of sleep is directly linked to weakened immunity, which means it makes people more vulnerable

8. Watch the liquid calories
Holiday cocktails and wine with friends all add up to a lot of empty calories.
    One cup of eggnog – without liquor – has about 350 calories and 19 grams of fat.
    One cup of champagne has about 182 calories.
    One, 4-ounce serving of red wine has about 100 calories.

*I'm not even going to mention how many calories are in a Starbucks froo-froo drink

Of course, you can swap out healthier versions of classic favorites (light eggnog, for example), but alcohol can also loosen inhibitions, and lead to poor health choices. After a few drinks, you might be more likely to eat more, derailing your diet plans.

Give this "swap-out" a try if you have a craving for a warmed from-froo treat!

9. Make better Choices
I find myself to be a strong willed person, however I still enjoy sweet treats along with the company of family and friends. I made a choice to cut refined sugars and gluten out of my diet….completely. This is forced me to become creative in the name of sweet treats lol!
You can search this blog for many healthy "swap-out" recipes that taste just as great as the real thing and I promise is so much better for your waist line.  This does not give a green light to go crazy, they still have calories and YES calories still count!

Have a great day & enjoy your "healthy" holidays!

*adapted from PennHealth

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Basic H2 vs. Vinegar

I often hear people say that they want to use “green” cleaners but they think it’s too expensive or they don’t think the cleaners do a good job.   So they try vinegar.  They like it but they hate the smell. They also think it saves them money. Even if you thought you were saving money and helping the environment using the old stand-by of vinegar, you might be interested in learning that even these formulas from the past end up costing more and are actually creating more packaging waste. Not fitting in with today’s picture of being environmental.
Let’s take a closer look.

Get Clean Basic H2 vs. Vinegar

Usage Per Gallon for a General Cleaner: Vinegar – 1/2 cup / Basic H2 – 2 teaspoons

Distilled Vinegar

(1/2 cup per gallon of water for general cleaning)

Cost per bottle = 16 oz / .89 cents (store brand)
Usage Cost: to make 1 gallon general cleaner = .22 cents
Usage Cost: to make 48 gallons general cleaner = $10.68
Packaging Waste: 12 Bottles to make 48 gallons of general cleaner
note: if you need to add baking soda, dish soap, or oil to the formula for persistent stains or cleaning that’s an additional expense and additional packaging waste.

Shaklee Basic H2

(2 teaspoons per gallon of water for ALL-PURPOSE Cleaner)
Over 1000 different uses with this one bottle!

Cost per bottle = 16 oz / $10.35 (11/14)
Usage Cost: to make 1 gallon All-Purpose Cleaner = .22 cents
Usage Cost: to make 48 gallons All-Purpose Cleaner = $10.35
ONE Bottle makes 48 Gallons of All-Purpose Cleaner!
(One bottle of Basic H2 equals the cleaning uses of 5,824 bottles of 26 oz.
For every ONE Bottle of Basic H2 used for All-Purpose Cleaning you would use 12 bottles of vinegar plus, if needed, baking soda to do the same amount of clean. Plus, Basic H2 has the smell of “clean” and is pH balanced with our skin. No need to wear gloves or a mask.

Another great point is that Shaklee Basic h is so versatile that it can be used in the garden, on the lawn, a few drop in a bath tub…seriously there are so many other uses for Basic H than vinegar!
Now you can see why millions of people love and use Basic H!  Order your own here!

Read more about My Favorite Cleaners HERE

Have a FANTASTIC day!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Healthy Hand Sanitizer

Have you heard about the dangers of hand sanitizer?

Most hand sanitizers have a great deal of alcohol in them.  I’ve even read that children have been hospitalized for alcohol poisoning from them!  Purell and Germ-X contain 62% ethyl alcohol, a little 2 oz. bottle = 4 shots of vodka!
Secondly, triclosan is an anti-bacterial ingredient used not only in hand sanitizers but also in a lot of personal care products.  It is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. Waste water treatment does not remove all of the chemical, which means it ends up in our lakes, rivers and water sources.
There are currently petitions being laid before the FDA to remove triclosan from the market, which is one of the key ingredients in Antibacterial Hand Sanitizers.  Petitioners make six basic claims about the dangers of triclosan:
  1. Triclosan doesn’t work in consumer products.
  2. Triclosan’s widespread use increases the chances of harmful bacteria becoming resistant to the drug.
  3. Triclosan builds up in the body.
  4. Triclosan may disrupt human hormones.
  5. Triclosan can react with other chemicals to form dioxin and chloroform, which are known to be toxic.
  6. Triclosan contaminates water, affecting marine wildlife and ecosystems.
It’s useful to remember that triclosan, like other pesticides, is a poison. 
If it can affect bacteria, it can affect other things too. 
The problem is you can not control what it is affecting!
Skin is the largest organ of the body. Whatever you put on it will be immediately absorbed withing 5 seconds. Triclosan is linked with liver damage so as it is absorbed through the skin it goes straight for the liver!
So what can you do? Swap it out for this!!
Facts about Shaklee's Basic G:

-Approved by Maryland State Department of Education
(approved by many states for use in schools/childcare settings, check with your local licensing agency)
-Environmental Protection Agency Registered

-Non toxic 

-Remains effective for 3 years from opening vs Bleach loses effectiveness right away

-No need to remix every 24hrs vs bleach is daily
(this is a typical childcare requirement with the use of bleach)
-will NOT bleach/discolor clothing, furniture, floors....vs bleach

-light, pleasant odor vs bleach toxic odor

-more cost effective than bleach (no need to waste),make 64 gallons of Disinfectant!

-only takes 1/2 tsp to 16 oz water (cost effective)

 -can be made into hand sanitizer!

Hand Sanitizer Directions:
7oz water {typical size of dispenser bottles}
1/4tsp Basic H {all purpose cleaner from Shaklee}
go here to learn more about basic h
4 drops Basic G {Germicide from Shaklee}
Mix well. 

*TIP: use a foam type dispenser, it will last even longer!
Perfect for times when you do not have access to water. I keep one in my to go bag and in the car/van!

Stay Healthy,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gluten Free Menu

My decision to live gluten free is no longer by choice, but a necessity. 
We always have a choice, but what I mean is that prior to being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance I was choosing to limit the gluten in my daily diet just because of the way it made me feel (yucky!)

Above are the most noticeable symptoms with gluten intolerance or celiac.
If you are not sure what Celiac or gluten intolerance is, check the chart OUT! You may be surprised how many of those symptoms you probably have been dealing with.

Prior to my recent diagnosis, I was living 90/10. Meaning I was living 90% of the time gluten free and the other 10% eating gluten rich foods (ok, it was pizza!).

I am so very thankful that I was already living almost gluten free, otherwise I think I would have been lost. 
It is very confusing to know what has gluten and what does not. Just because something states it is gluten fee, it does not mean it is healthy. 
Most of the processed gluten free foods on the market have many more calories than the gluten containing foods. Also the fiber content is typically much lower in gluten free processed products which means hunger can creep up on you fast, encouraging you to eat more, adding more calories to your diet. This was an important fact because as you can probably tell by the content in this blog, I am very serious about achieving a healthy weight, something I have struggled with all my life.

Prior to this diagnosis, I was doing a turnaround using the Shaklee 180 products. I knew I felt better, I knew the 180 products were packed full of nutrients, vitamins, fiber, contained leucine and low calorie, but it never dawned on me it was the lack of gluten that was further helping me achieve my healthy weight goal.
After much research, I now know that gluten is NOT healthy for anybody. 
If you are still debating this you seriously need to read Wheat Belly and Grain Brain.

My Hubby who has never been diagnosed with a gluten issue, decided to give the gluten free life a try (I think he realized how much better I was feeling and wanted in on it, ha!)
After a month he decided to eat a burger (bun and all), an hour later he tell me "I think I'm gonna DIE!" 
He passed out and woke to a massive headache that final went away that night.
Now his view is "It's just not worth feeling awful to eat a bun!"

This is mainly a menu for just myself, not the entire family.
Although my family does eat very similar to myself.
My kids love enjoying a smoothee at breakfast and the snacks/meal bars during the day. 

Are you living Gluten free?
Have you thought about trying it?

Have a great day,

Other posts you may enjoy.....

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Emergency Responder Wellness

Recently another fellow Police Officer that works with my Hubby collapsed to the ground having a seizure while on duty, this is what prompted us to seek other Emergency responders to help them make healthier choices with their diet and supplementation.

We knew from the experience my Hubby has had with his improved health, energy levels, endurance and increased focus on the job that this program could be beneficial to others as well.
I knew of a fellow Shaklee Family member, I reached out to Captain Scott Bradshaw to request his expertise for a Wellness Presentation.  
I also asked my Hubby to participate in this presentation and he said YES!
{what you must understand is that my Hubby was at one time the biggest skeptic and resistance to change, now he sits by my side raving about Shaklee and how awesome he feels}

This presentation is one of my favorite to date!
Maybe because it includes one of my favorite people in the world, my Hubby :-)

If you are an Emergency Responder or know one, 
this presentation will help them in so many ways. 

The topics we focused on are:
Healthy Weight
{getting to and maintaing a healthy weight}
{why so many emergency responders are struggling with weight issues}
Healthy Energy
{endurance and focus for safety}
Healthy Nutrition
{smart supplementation & why}
Healthy Stress {how to handle stress in a healthy way}
Healthy Hydration
{staying hydrated & why}

This is a must see for any Emergency Responder!

To learn more about the products mentioned in this video click below for more information

Have a great day!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rustic Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

Rustic Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

I am calling this a crockpot meal, however there is some pre-crockpot prep work, where typically my crockpot recipes require dumping everything in the crockpot directly and doing nothing else, but this recipe tastes so much better by locking in the flavors before it hits the crockpot, trust me!

2 lbs Chicken (any part, but I used boneless/skinless this time)
Black Pepper
1-2 TSP Olive oil
2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 C Chopped Onion
1/2 C Chopped Bell Pepper
3/4 C Dry Red Wine
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 14.5 Can of Plum Tomatoes, undrained & chopped

Sprinkle salt & pepper over chicken and set aside. Heat olive oil in large skillet, saute onion, garlic & pepper until soft. Add chicken long enough to brown both sides, then add to crockpot, using the red wine add to skillet and bring to boil while scrapping the pan with a spatula removing excess that was stuck to skillet. Add to the crockpot as well. Add remaining ingredients to crockpot and gentle toss to cover all the chicken.

Set Crock pot to low and allow 4-6 hours to cook. Or set to high and cook in 3-4 hours.

Enjoy with your favorite pasta or as we did with spaghetti squash!

Have a fantastic Day!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Less Mess, Less Stress - Week #1

This is a 2 month long process where we are tackling three major aspects of our life that may need organization; Home, family and personal (self)
Each week we focus on one project in each group.
With the permission of Kathi Lipp author of "The Get Yourself Organized Project" we will be using her book as guidance.
I chose to use her book because it is written in a way that anyone can benefit form it. Its very easy to understand and the fact that she is not focused on living a perfect life or attaining a picture perfect home is very realistic. I would highly suggest grabbing her book, it;s a great reference.

Here is our first week.
If you are interested in join gin our week to week FaceBook group, please go HERE to join, it does't matter when you join, we will go through the cycle again after the 21projects have been completed. This makes it easier for those to join at any point and for those of us who did not fully complete each project. Besides some times (ok often) the work we have done is undone, mostly by others living in the same house! 

Week 1 Projects:
Self: Design Your Schedule
Family: Laundry
Home: Living Room

{please join the FB group to get more detail and files that correspond to each week including details of what to do, step by step}

Design Your Schedule
Seems pretty simple, right?
Um NO!!!
For me, it took more compromising than organizing. 
Have you tried to design your personal schedule? Daily, weekly, monthly….?
Do you feel the same?
To be honest, this was more about eliminating than anything else for me. I have a really bad habit of taking on more than I should.
But, it's what makes me, me!
I had to have a"sit down" with the hubby and discuss our family events before I got started. 
Then I went from there.
I will be sharing with you our FAMILY COMMAND CENTER next week.
So, for now just know that I have 2 months of calendars posted up for our entire family to see and to add/make changes as needed. This keeps us all in the loop of events and such. Two boys playing hockey, one in public school another doing online schooling, a hubby who is a shift working olive officer and myself who runs two business, attends classes at the gym, roller derby…this is not mentioning any church or household responsibilities. So as you can see, we really need to keep things in order around here.

Dear God…
...with my boys it seems like it is never ending, 
but be brave there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I could just keep these doors closed 
and also ignore all the dirty laundry on the floor in the boys room, 
but I am holding myself accountably to prove this can be done!
Talk about airing out our dirty laundry! I'm just keeping it real.

Yes, I know how deplorable!! 
Well, this is reality and I'm pretty certain I'm not the only one (can I see a show of hands?)
With this being said, I went to town & declared war on the closet!

First I started with the 3 boxes (basket in my case) & 2 bags strategy.
Then I started sorting as I dug into it.
Once everything was out, I wiped everything down just as mentioned in the WEEK 1 FILE (located on the FaceBook Group Page).
Then I followed the 3 box rule of sorting.
After that I began to organized/label what I had to.

I always have in stock our favorite laundry detergent, powdered & liquid.
First off it is important to me to limit toxins I expose my family to, 
which is why we use the Get Clean Line that is toxic free. Also, the packing is so pretty!! haha
I find that the liquid works great on spot cleaning (which we have lots of stains in this house, ugh!), while the powder is very economical (less than 40cents a load).

This is one of the doors where I store sponges, towels, fabric softener sheets, nature bright (whitens whites & brightens colors safely). There is also a non toxic germicide (better than bleach!), that is safe on clothes and skin. The bags hanging are for my boys to grab on the way to sports to put their stinky clothes in. Those bags are to be put on top of the washer/dryer to be laundered ASAP! 

Seriously, have you ever smelt hockey stank? YUCK!
The other door also stores extra kleenez, and fabric softener and has two hooks for the mop & broom/dustpan. 

I had to make sure there was something motivational (and pretty) in this area, I think we need motivation to do laundry, don't you?

Here are the baskets/hampers I labeled with each of my boys names. They are located next to each others their dressers where they get dressed in the morning.
Now they are responsible for their own laundry.
Once a week (or if needed more often), they bring their hampers down stairs to be washed, once washed/dried/folded (yes they help) they fill the hampers with the freshly laundered clothes and put them away and store the hamper next to the dresser again.

Here is what I got accomplished after 1 hour!
(I try to keep organizing to a 30 min max at a time and then take a break)

The last project for Week 1 was to organize the Living room. 
I did not take any before pics (thank goodness!), but I cantle lyon this, it is now September and we still had red, white and blue decor hanging around (hey, don't judge we were busy this! lol).
Anyway, my time spent was underrating and decorating for the Fall. 
I decorate every season, I guess because we are so far from family that I compensate by decorating? Again, don't judge!
This is a horrible picture, (I will upload a better one very soon).
But you can see how Fall-ish it is now.

I also straightened up the entertainment center/dvd area. The ottoman you see into pic is NOT something I tackled this time around.
Which is another reason to do the projects again!
The ottoman contains 12 years of school projects form my boys...I'm so not ready to deal with that right now. 
But at least it is contained to one area? 
So, that in it's self is organized! LOL

Be sure to join us on FaceBook to get the details on how you too can have LESS MESS & LESS STRESS! #21steps

Stay Tuned for week #2!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Is your Mind Working?

Is your mind WORKING?
I used to take for granted the way my mind worked. 

Not anymore!

Even thought I am only in my 30's, I understand just how fragile our working minds are. 

If you did not know I was in a car accident that ended with a concussion. 

I was told by specialist that this accident aged my brain 30years when it comes to short term memory, sharpness and focus. 

To add insult to injury, I had almost daily headaches and routine migraines that would make me sick to my stomach.  
 I'm a Mother, Wife, Business Owner…how was I going to survive? 
I was irritable, and could not sleep well at night.
Over time some of the symptoms weakened but never really got 100% better.

I was teaching myself to live with it (as life goes on, right?). I had to be sure to park in the same parking space so I could find my vehicle, be sure to hang my keys up in the same spot every time so I can easily find them, you get the point here. 

What you have to understand is that prior to the auto accident, my brain was pretty sharp and I had a great memory and was great with numbers. 

Post concussion, I could barely sit still long enough to add up my checking account, pay bills and I constantly lost stuff. Reading was a huge challenge, I would get nauseous after reading just one paragraph!
 Needless to say I got over whelmed very easily.

In stepped SHAKLEE 
(I swear every time I need something health related, there it steps in..I LOVE SHAKLEE!)

Shaklee offerred a pre-launch of a new innovative product called MindWorks

Within just a week or so, I started sleeping better, headaches subsided which helped with irritability. The best thing of all is that I literally felt like I was getting my mind back! 
I could focus on things for a longer period of time and my reaction time was quicker. The best example of the reaction time is that while driving on the DC beltway, I anticipated a fellow driver swerving into my lane quicker than I usually would have.

I was being told by specialist that at 12 months after the onset of the concussion my brain will do all the repairing it can and to get used to life. I was about 18months and was not seeing any further improvements, it was saddening to say the least.
Did you know that at age 20 our brains begin to shrink? 
MindWorks is proven in clinical studies to reduce this shrinkage by 30%!

Thanks to MindWorks, for the first time since the accident I am hopeful that my brain will repair itself, I am noticing improvements almost daily.

MindWorks also comes with FREE access to CogniFit. An App that accesses your mental focus and agility. I took the pre assessment and will do it agin in a few weeks to check on my improvement. I think this is a great tool that Shaklee has offered, especially for this e who may be skeptical. Try it and see.

My experience so far is great with MindWorks. 
My energy level has never been a problem since starting on my Shaklee Regimen about 5 years ago, but focus has been the issue since the accident. 

Now I can confidently say that I am able to stay on task without getting overwhelmed. I'm keeping up with my busy kiddos and enjoying our busy life :-)

If you are in need to improve your overall mental sharpness, this may be your ticket!

Because Shaklee stands behind every product, they always offers 100% money back, and currently I am offering FREE SHIPPING, this is a win-win situation!

Try MindWorks, or any Shaklee product for a month, if you  are not happy with it, get all your money back! 

What a great offer.

Have a great Day!