Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pregnancy Care Package

Is it just me or is everyone pregnant right now? Every time I get onto my Facebook page I see a post that another one of my friends is going to have a baby....its all very exciting. Almost 9 months ago my very best friend called to tell me that she was expecting her first child and I couldn't of been happier! There was one sad part though, we live so very far away from each other that I couldn't be there for her in person. So I sent her a pregnancy care package right away!

Since she was going to become a first time mommy I got her the books What To Expect When You're Expecting and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I also got her a small package of newborn diapers to start her collection. She was having bad morning sickness, it was really all day sickness, so I got her some Ginger Aid tea. I made sure to include a large water bottle since drinking loads of water is very important while pregnant. I had found a barely used bottle of Palmer's Coco Butter Stretch Mark Lotion in my cabinet from when I was pregnant so I included that in her package as well.  Last but not least I added a Congratulations card. I bought some sparkly tissue paper from The Dollar Tree to wrap all these items up in before placing them in a small box and shipped them off to her.

A pregnancy care package is a great way to show someone how much you care, how excited you are for their little bundle of joy and how much you are there for them even when you cant be there in person.

(This would also be a cute gift basket idea for a pregnant friend or family member)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday....My Story

I wanted to start dedicating one day a week to weight loss here on my blog so I came up with the idea of Weight Loss Wednesdays. Every Wednesday from here on out I will either post a favorite healthy recipe of mine, a new work out I am doing, diet tips, product reviews, weight loss updates, yada yada yada. I'm not a personal trainer or a nutritionist or a dietitian, I'm just a person who has been struggling with her weight for almost 12 years now (the last 3 years being the hardest) and I hope I can help motivate others with my story of struggles and successes. So for my first Weight Loss Wednesday post I thought that I would share my story with you. 

    Growing up I was always super thin but I didn't realize just how thin I was until about my junior year of high school when people started calling me anorexic. I was 5'9 and weighted 115 pounds.
    I didn't like the way I looked, I thought I looked unhealthy, and I desperately wanted to gain weight. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted when ever I wanted but my metabolism was go high that I never gained a pound. It wasn't until my senior year of high school when my doctor put me on Depo Provera, a form of birth control, that I started to gain some weight. I gained 10 pounds not long after I got my first shot and I loved it! Soon I noticed I had put on even more weight and I was so happy with my new body, unfortunately my happiness didn't last long. I ended up gaining another 48 pounds, I had gained a total of 65 pounds in just 9 months, and I was now 180 pounds. I was devastated and my family was in shock! Needless to say I stopped getting the Depo shots.
    I felt very self conscious and depressed, I didn't feel like myself anymore. I started wearing super baggy clothes and sweatshirts had become my best friend, summer was now my worst enemy. I was clueless about weight loss but I knew I had to do something. I joined a gym and started working out a couple times a week but for some reason I didn't change my eating habits that much....like I said clueless! I did lose a bit of weight and for the next 7 years I constantly fluctuated between 160 and 170 pounds. I wasn't totally happy with my weight but I was comfortable in my own skin once again.

    I weighted 165 pounds when I got pregnant with my son and I really didnt put on that much weight until I hit my last trimester, I weighted 215 pounds when I went into labor.
    After I had my son I weighed 199 pounds and this is when I really started to struggle with weight loss.
I started watching what I was eating and worked out at home when I could but nothing was happening and since I really knew nothing about nutrition and weight loss I decided that it was time for help and after a fair amount of research I signed up for Slimgenics. Slimgenics was great! The diet was super easy to follow, I wasn't starving myself, counselors where there if I needed any help and the weight just started falling off! I started Slimgenics in November when I weighed 199 pounds and by April I weighed 165 pounds and was over the moon!

199 pounds

                     165 pounds

I really don't know what happened after I finished my time at Slimgenics, I think it was because I was on such a strict diet that did not allow any cheat days for so long that I ended up binge eating everything I had craved and missed, but I pretty much put nutrition on the back burner and started eating like I used to before Slimgenics and the pounds came back in record time. I was SO mad at myself and once again I was depressed and self conscious. I really felt like there was no hope and I totally gave up on myself. I hated being seen by anyone so I pretty much became a recluse and lived in sweat pants and my husbands old shirts, I avoided all mirrors always. It wasn't until March of last year when my very best friend came to me and said "Lindsey, you need to lose weight. I am worried about your health and your mental wellness." At this time I weighed 208 pounds.
    Hearing this was a shock, it was a reality slap right to the face....it was the wake up call I needed. The next day I threw out all the crap junk food we had in the house and replaced it with an array of vegetables, proteins and whole wheat products. I stopped going out to eat and started making all my meals at home. I stopped drinking any kind of soda and started caring a water bottle around with me always. I went out and bought Wii Zumba and started exercising 5 days a week. My husband bought me a bike and my son and I started going on regular bike rides. I downloaded the My Fitness App and started counting calories and keeping track of everything I was eating. I started teaching myself about nutrition and exercise and I started doing things my own way and even though it has been a slow process with a lot of ups and downs my way seems to be working. Today, almost a year later, I weigh 175 pounds and I am so proud of myself for sticking to it. I now see my goal of weighing 155 pounds as a reality apposed to a dream!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chinese Chicken Salad (P.F. Chang's Style)

I pinned a recipe on Pinterest for how to make P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps, you can see that recipe here, but instead of using the recipe to make chicken wraps I used it to make a chicken salad. I was blown away at how delicious the salad was, I ate another chicken salad the next day for lunch with the left overs I had.....it was that good!

The first thing you will need to make is your "dressing" and to do this you will need:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix the water and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in the fridge until your salad is ready to serve.

The next step is to prepare the stir fry sauce and the only ingredients you will need for this is:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Mix all these ingredients well in a small bowl then set aside.

 The last thing you will need to prepare is the chicken and for this you will need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced
1 cup water chestnuts chopped
3 tablespoons onion chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
(I ended up adding some frozen peas as well)

Pour a bit of oil into a pan then add your sliced chicken breasts and cook until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool for just a bit. As your chicken is cooling chop the water chestnuts and the onion. When the chicken is cool enough to handle chop it all up. Add a bit more oil to your pan and toss in the chicken, water chestnuts, onion and the minced garlic (I also add the peas at this time.) 

Add the stir fry sauce that was set aside and mix everything together really well. Let the mixture saute for a couple minutes and remove it from the heat.

Now is the time to assemble your salad so throw some lettuce in a bowl, add a couple spoon fulls of your chicken stir fry then pour some of the "dressing" that was cooling in the fridge over everything. 

It was SO good I seriously couldn't get enough!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Variety Of Thoughtful Valentines

What do you normally do for your loved ones on Valentine's Day? Maybe get them some flowers or chocolates? Candy or balloons? A giant stuffed teddy bear or a card with a cute note inside? All of these are great ideas but they are kind of typical, and now a days they can get pretty dang pricy! So for Valentine's day I like to surprise my loved ones with some fun thoughtful Valentine's. I've been thinking about what to surprise my husband and son with this year and I have come up with a list of ideas, some are super simple and wont cost me anything and others will take a bit of planning and money. If my husband or son were to surprised me with any of these I would be over the moon!

My Variety Of Thoughtful Valentine's:

1. Go on a picnic: Pack up your families favorite lunches and go to the nearest park and lay a blanket down on the grass. If the weather is bad lay a blanket down on your living room floor and have a picnic inside.

2. Make a candy bar card: I did this for my husband's birthday last year, you can see that here, and he loved it! Just make sure you change the word birthday to Valentine's Day.

3. Hidden Notes: Write cute little notes on a couple small pieces of paper like..."I love you" or "Will you be my Valentine?"...and hide them in places that your loved one will find throughout the day. For example if your husband/wife is working tomorrow then after they fall asleep tonight hide a note in his/her coat pocket then hide another in his wallet or her purse and maybe another one in a cup holder in his/her car. Do the same for your children by putting one in their lunch box and in their backpack and maybe in a school book. 

4. Breakfast In Bed: Who doesn't like to wake up to a nice hot home cooked meal served to them while they are still comfortable in bed?! And if you have to get up super early to do it then so be it, Valentine's Day only comes once a year! If you want to get really creative make a Valentine's themed breakfast for your loved ones, this is my Valentine themed breakfast.

5. Mirror Message: Sneak into the bathroom as your loved one is taking a shower and write them a message on the steamed up mirror. Or fog up the bathroom tonight and write the message on the mirror and when they take a shower tomorrow your message will appear. 

6. Make A Sweet Treat: If your loved ones have a sweet tooth then bake them something! I made these for my family. 

7. Order Take Out: If both of you have to work tomorrow and you cant meet up for lunch then find out what time he/she is taking their lunch and call their favorite restaurant, some where that delivers of course, and have their favorite dish delivered to their work right before they are about to go to lunch.

8. Surprise Meal: Again if both of you work tomorrow find out what time he/she is taking their lunch and show up at their place of work just before they go on lunch. If they normally eat at work then pick up a fast meal on your way over. If they normally leave for lunch then take them out to a nice restaurant. (If you don't work tomorrow but your loved one does make them their favorite meal and bring it to them at work.)

9. Scavenger Hunt. Make up a candy scavenger hunt around the house. Tape a note written to your loved one on the front door giving them their first clue. I'm sure your kids will have a blast doing this!

10. Favorite Dinner: Set your dinning room table, light some candles and surprise your family with their favorite meals. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beautiful Valentine's Breakfast

The second Valentine's Day surprise I had for my husband and my son was a simple heart themed breakfast. Here is what I made for them:

 Supplies: Pancake mix and bacon. (For a little something extra make some strawberry roses which you can see here. I didn't have any strawberries but now I really wish I would of!)

On a baking sheet I folded each strip of bacon into the shape of a heart then put them in the oven until they were fully cooked.

 I prepared the pancake mix using the directions on the box then added a bit more of the dry mixture to make the batter a bit thicker, this made it easier to make and keep the shape of the heart. To make the heart I poured two thick diagonal lines of the batter into the pan making a V.

A yummy breakfast full of love!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Flirty Valentine's Day Fingers

Here is my fun and flirty Valentine's Day nail idea:

 My supplies: Pure Ice in Jack Pot, Sally Hansen in White On, Wet n Wild in 469, Sally Hansen No Chip Top Coat, scissors and some painters tape.

 I painted all my nails except my middle finger nail with two coats of Jack Pot then painted my middle finger nail with two coats of White On. After the polish had dried a bit I painted two coats of 469 on just my middle finger nail over the White On. I then let the polish dry completely.

 I cut a small piece of the painters tape off the roll and gently folded it in half, don't press it together completely or you will have a hard time unfolding it. I cut a small half a heart shape in the middle of the tape then unfolded the piece of tape.

 I placed the tape on my middle finger nail making sure the heart shape was in the middle of my nail. I then pressed down on the tape so it was completely stuck to my nail so that the polish wouldn't seep under the tape.  

I then painted a thin coat of Jack Pot over the heart cut out and let it dry for a bit then painted another thin coat over the cut out again. I let it dry for a bit more then gently pealed off the tape. I placed the same piece of tape on my ring finger nail again making sure the heart shape was in the middle of my nail and pressed it down completely. I then painted two thin coats of White On over the heart cut out and let that dry for a bit then painted one coat of 469 over the White On. I then gently pealed off the tape and let the cute hearts dry before I painted the Top Coat on each nail.

 Fun And Flirty!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cute Valentine's Cookies

Since I am such a holiday fanatic I am excited that Valentine's Day is just 4 days away. Valentine's Day isn't one of my favorite holidays but I still like to celebrate it. My husband and I don't go all out but we do like to make a little extra effort to show our feeling for each other and show our son how much we love him. So the first Valentine's Day surprise I planned was some cute Valentine Cookies.

 I used a snack size Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Dough in a bag, some Valentine's M&M's (they are red, pink and white), and some red food coloring. 

 I prepared the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough using the directions on the back of the bag then added about 15 drops of red food coloring and mixed it in really well to make the dough a light red color. Then using a small ice cream scoop I scooped out the dough and dropped it on a lightly PAM sprayed cookie sheet. I then pressed the dough down just a little bit with my spatula to flatten each cookie then I put them in the oven to bake (I used the directions on the back of the cookie dough bag.)

 As soon as I pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven I pressed some of the Valentine's M&M's into each cookie then set them on the cooling rack to harden. And there you have it....my cute Valentine's cookies!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Secret Closet Storage

Our house has absolutely no storage, we literally have one closet that isn't a bedroom closet, so I have had to come up with creative ways to make more storage for myself. Here is one example of what I came up with:

I hung a plastic shoe hanger on the inside of our closet door, the only one we have for storage, and put some of our essentials in it for easier access. On top I have our extra sunglasses, I have found this very convenient as I am walking out the door to go on a walk. The second row is sunscreens, third is our sons Little Swimmers, fourth is his Pull Ups and some wipes and last but not least is our sons slippers.

This one little thing has made a world of difference and has made my life a lot easier which is always a plus for a busy mom!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Simple Super Bowl Nails

Tonight is the big night, Super Bowl 2013! Who are you going to be cheering for? Since my team, the Seattle Seahawks, aren't in the Super Bowl *sniff sniff* and my family is from San Fransisco I will be cheering for them (I wont be heart broken if they lose though....Michael Oher is awesome!)

Of course I had to do my nails for the big event, I wanted something subtle and simple and this is what I came up with:

I painted all my nails with two coats of a red polish, NYC-Big Apple Red Creme. After the red polish dried I wrote XLVII on my thumb nail with a white nail art pen, Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen-White. And after the writing dried I painted all my nails with a clear coat, Sally Hansen-No Chip Acrylic Top Coat.

If I were going to cheer for Baltimore I would of painted my nails purple and used a black nail art pen to write XLVII.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January Favorites

Was it just me or did January come and go in the blink of an eye?! It could just be me since January was a pretty busy month for my family and I (birthdays, events, sicknesses, appointments...) Anywho here are some of the thing I was loving last month.  

My January Favorites:

Random: I bought a bottle of International Delight's Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer, since it was a holiday flavor my local grocery store had it on sale for a price I couldn't pass up, and it was the most delicious thing I have ever had!

Movie/TV Show: I rented The Amazing Spider-Man from Redbox and fell in love with it, so much that I asked my husband to buy it for me for my birthday (he did!)

Style: I bought Military Boots from a thrift store and have been wearing them pretty much every day, I love the way they look and they are great in the snow.

Food: I am hooked on making Healthy Copy Cat Recipes, as I'm sure you could tell from my last couple recipe posts. Its like eating out but I don't feel guilty and broke after I'm done!

Music: This song, Christina Aguilera ft Blake Shelton-Just a Fool, has been on repeat all month long.

My January Disappointment: The movie Looper! I was stoked to watch it after seeing the previews on TV so I ran to my Redbox to rent it the day it came out and I threw it into the DVD player as soon as I got home, I was so excited! But by the end of the movie my excitement had turned to boredom, it was one of those movies where I told my husband "don't pause it" when ever I got up to do anything. I thought it was going to be a lot more mysterious and action packed....to me it was just blah.