Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I am reading about: Healthy Eating

Every time I see an article on fake sugars, I read it and every time I read it, I find my suspicions are true: they are NO GOOD. I know from personal experience: my mom gets migraines from Aspartame and my children get diarrhea from Sucralose.
Then my mom gave me this book to read: Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA May be Hazardous to your Health; by Dr. Joseph Mercola. Just a few pages in this book and it was enough to convince me to never eat these chemicals or give them to my family ever again. The most frustrating thing to me is that because of politics and money, the FDA who is supposed to be keeping us safe from this stuff, turn a blind eye and approve it for us to eat in our everyday food.
Here is just a very small portion of the long list of complaints reported from aspartame consumers: cancer in animals, headaches and migraines, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, seizures, swelling, speech impairment, sleep problems, breathing difficulty.... and the list goes on and on. I highly recommend this book, if just to get the word out. It is something the general population really needs to know. Start checking all food labels and make it a goal to banish these artificial sweeteners from your life for good!
While I am on the subject, I thought I would share with you four other books we have read in my home and that we highly recommend to others. Not only have we read these books, but we have tried at least one or two recipes in each of them that we have continue in our everyday life. Of course, sometimes we are "healthier" than others, but the point is that knowledge is power, right? One other thing: it is important to keep in mind that this is NOT about dieting. It is about creating a healthy LIFESTYLE by changing habits and being aware of how you must take care of your body for the rest of your life. And in my case, trying to raise and teach my children these habits from the beginning. So, here they are:
Eating Well for Optimum Health, by Dr. Andrew Weil
We never buy margarine anymore, always ground turkey instead of beef, and we love his recipe for preparing broccoli until it's cooked crisp tender with a little olive oil and red pepper flakes.

The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood, by Dr William Sears, his wife and sons.
This pumps you up to get your kids eating healthy and we like the Chocolate Oatmeal Flax Cookies, they are much like the ones made by Kashi.

You on a Diet by Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz
Great for jumpstarting your new, healthy lifestyle! And overall great knowledge of how it all works.

The Abs Diet by David Zinczenko
This book was recommended to my husband by a good friend who is an Olympic-level skier from Lake Tahoe. It is very informative and we love every single shake recipe we have tried from this book.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

SO BUMMED! No more Max factor ~ Need help!

I have been all over town this last week looking for my favorite mascara: Max Factor 2000 calorie. After a couple stores I remembered that it was only sold in certain ones, but after going EVERYWHERE I finally realized that maybe I wouldn't find it. So I got online and sure enough, they are no longer selling it in the United States! That's better than going out of business, because it's still available, but now I would have to buy it overseas and of course it's more expensive. Anyone who knows me knows that is not my style, but I really LOVE this mascara! (whimper). I tried a lot of different ones when I was younger and this one was the keeper.
SO: this is what this mascara is and I need help finding one just as good.~no flaking, no eye irritation, long lasting, easy to apply several coats, no leftovers or black ring around the eye after washing off, straight or curved brush option, and overall, just makes your lashes look BIG and AMAZING.
Help? Please?

Friday, July 9, 2010

PROJECTS Week of July 4th: baby shower preparation

This has nothing to do with the shower, but I made some homemade blackberry jam for the 1st time.

My 2 awesome friends are throwing me a baby shower tomorrow. I am so excited! It has been over 5 years since my last one and this time everything will be BLUE instead of PINK! I put together little bags for each of these hostesses to show my appreciation.
Here is a quick project I did with the leftover foam board I used for my chore chart to make them each a monogram wall cutie.
Supplies: foam board, monogram letters printed from computer, scrapbook paper, fabric, scissors, glue gun.

I cut two 6" squares and covered the front with fabric. On the backside, hot glue the corners down first, then the sides. Then I glued a small piece of ribbon for the hangers and a scrapbook paper square a little smaller than 6" to make it look nice on the back.

Then using my printed letters as stencils I put them over the scrapbook paper of choice and cut out the letters. I mounted them with foam mounting tape and VOILA! Done.

My next endeavor was chocolate cake balls for party favor thank you's for all the lovelies who will be attending tomorrow. Apparrently these are the newest thing and I've seen them all over blogland although I had never actually had one.
I used a basic chocolate cake from scratch from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, chocolate frosting, and chocolate almond bark. I mixed the directions from here and here to my liking.

Here is the "dough" as I scooped the balls.

I used two little appetizer forks I had for dipping.

And here is the result! They're not as pretty as some, I need more practice, but I was pleased with the results. They taste pretty good, too!

These are all the leftover balls! It made 55 total, so I froze the rest.

Here is my adorable tag for the favors.

Finished product!

Have a great weekend and stay posted for pics from the shower!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th tradition: Homemade Blackberry Pie

Every 4th of July, we go on a berry picking excursion for wild blackberries. This year we found a terrific spot we hadn't seen before and brought enough home for 2 pies and 2 batches of homemade jam. I was so excited, we had never picked so many!!!

Here is the classic recipe I use from my vintage Betty Crocker.
For 1- 9-inch pie: Prepare pastry. Heat Oven to 425'. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix with 4 cups fresh berries. Turn into pastry-lined pan; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
Cover with top crust with slits (or stars) in it, and cover edges with aluminum foil, removing the last 15 minutes of baking.
Bake 45 minutes.
*I suggest putting foil on the rack underneath the rack the pie is on to catch any berry juice bubbling over.
And enjoy with vanilla ice cream!

Hope your holiday was as DeLiCiOuS as ours was!

Friday, July 2, 2010

PROJECTS Week of June 27th: Wood Quilt, Chore Chart, and Happy 4th of July!

#1: My first post is from my clever crafty sis-in-law.(You can see some of her other cuties here and here.) This is the Liberty Scrap wood quilt. She got this idea from knock-off which you can see by clicking here. She says, "I used a pallet for the wood. It cost me $5. That's for everything including paint and nails." She got a free pallet and took it apart and used all the wood from that. Then a friend gave her some wood backing. And she made two. 5 bucks?! That's MY kind of craft! That's why I think she is so clever and crafty, she is always thinking up ways to do stuff for the cheapest- just like me! Thanks for the show and share, sis, it looks great!
Project #2 is what I've been working on this week. I have been wanting to create a chore chart. I have looked at all different ones but none met my fancy, until I saw THIS ONE on one of my favorite sites, Brown Paper Packages. Here is my Budget Version!
Supplies: Foam board from dollar store, packing tape (you can get at $ store), clothespins from $ store, ribbon, shape punch, and clip art from computer. Also glue gun, reward stickers or such (can also get at $ store), scissors, cardstock, and paint or paper or ribbon if you want to clothespins different than their natural form.
Prepare: paint clothespins.
First, print up clip art from computer matching the chores you want. Print and if you dont have a color printer, color. A square punch is in the pic, but I ultimately decided to use a round punch for each chore picture.
Second, punch out enough circles to have a reward sticker or phrase on the opposite side of each clothespin. Attach stickers, or write or stamp phrase on circles.
Third, attach packing tape to circles. WHY, you ask? This is my cheap way of laminating! I'm pretty sure I invented this. I put the circles on one end of the tape and then folded over the tape and cut them out. This is just to make them sturdier so they don't get bent from little fingers.
Fourth, cut board according to size. One thing I was not anticipating was the yucky raw edge that happened when I cut it. So I glued white ribbon "binding" around the edges.
Fifth, GLUE! Glue the circles to the clothespins, glue names to the board, glue ribbon across board for each kid, glue hanger to back of board.
Chore side, then when completed....
Reward side!

Finished project! Each child has a row of daily chores, the third row is for stuff that only occurs once a week or so.
Total cost: Foam board $1, clothespins $1= a whopping TWO DOLLARS! Everything else I already had! What'ya think? I think I'm just glad that it's DONE! And the kids totally love it, too:)