Saturday, June 29, 2013


Have any of you read about this?  Thoughts??

30 day Squat challenge update

It's been a long, hard month.  My butt and thighs both hate me and thank me!  Back at the end of May, I looked at this challenge and never thought I could do it.  I honestly thought that I would be cheating and skipping days or failing to reach the squat goal by the end of the day.  (I never did, though) 50 squats looked too hard, forget about my body being able to do 250 in one day!  I thought I would be dying from the pain, that I would be flunking out of this challenge and I would be a big failure.  I told a friend "If I die doing this, please bury me ass up..... atleast it will be more toned!" But today I have reached the last day.  (I am doing this with a woman from Australia, and they are one day ahead of us - this is the last day of June there- so I follow her calendar for doing my squats)  It has been a struggle, but I have done it. 

For the love of protein

About 4 years ago, I went on a high protein, low sugar, low fat diet and it helped me lose over 100 lbs.  I continue to follow those rules pretty well, for the most part.  However, it is hard sometimes to get in the protein I need on those days when I feel like only eating salads and popsicles or full carb meals.  Over the years I have learned that little substitutions can make a big impact on my protein intake.  It isnt hard to do, and the benefits are huge.  Did you know that....... 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 Random Facts

A lot of bloggers are doing this so here I am, jumping on the bandwagon.  5 random facts about me. 

1. I bite my nails something terrible.  Im not sure where I got this bad habit, but it started when I was teeny tiny and I have never been able to stop completely, no matter what I try. 

2. I have this idea in my head that I would love to be an ultrasound technician for an OB's office someday when my kids are in school full time.  Then I think about how its not all good news that ultrasound techs get to give people and I decide that I just cannot do that job.  I couldn't bear to give people bad news.  Especially when it has to do with their unborn child. 

3. I am a magazine junkie.  I couldnt even start to guess how many subscriptions to magazines I have.  I get most of them for free, cashing in my coke rewards or pampers points for them.  It is one of my guilty pleasures. 

4. Even though I love movies and watch them all the time, I have never seen "Gone With the Wind".  I worked at a video store for a few years, and the owner had never seen it either.  We made a pact that we would watch it and I never did (Not sure if she ever watched it).  People usually look at me funny when they find out I've never seen it. 

5. I used to HATE vacuuming as a kid.  This was my designated chore when I was growing up.  I would go as far as running the unplugged vacuum over the rugs in my house while my Mom was at work so it would look like I vacuumed.  Now, with a son who has dust mite allergies and a baby who is crawling everywhere, I need to vacuum my house atleast once or twice a day.  I think this is karma coming back to bite me in the ass for trying to trick my mother when I was younger. 

So there ya go.  5 random facts about me.  I'd love to hear random facts about all of you!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer reading list for young kids

I have been searching for new books for my almost 4th grader to read.  He is in the advanced reading class and is reading above the 4th grade level.  My almost kindergartner is just starting to read, sounding out words and recognizing letters.  I've been searching high and low, talking to parents and teachers about what my kids should be reading.   So here is my list, by grade, for younger readers. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Inexpensive summer family outings

As a Mom on a budget, Im always looking for ways to save money.  As normal kids looking to have fun, my kids are constantly asking me to take them places where usually I need to bring lots of money.  It's hard to balance fun and budget.  Luckily there are lots of places that run promotions for families on a budget.  It helps to know these little tips, so I wanted to share them with my readers.  Do your research first, look online for dates and times, and call ahead to see if your local area is running the promotions.  In some cases, it may be only a few stores nation-wide who are participating, so it is worth it to make that phone call or check online before you head out and possibly disappoint the kiddos.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Recipe: Coffee protein shake

I start every morning with the same breakfast.  A coffee protein drink.  It is a little like a Starbucks Frappucchino, plus the protein, minus the coffeehouse price.  I started making them about 2 years ago and have since perfected the recipe according to my tastes and dietary needs. 

RIP James Gandolfini

As a big Sopranos fan, I am mourning the death of James Gandolfini, A.K.A.  Tony Soprano.  He was a larger than life actor who brought this larger than life character into my home weekly for 10 years.  He will be missed. 



Friday, June 14, 2013

Ice Cream Bread

A few of my posts lately have now been about ice cream, so while we are on the subject, how about making some ice cream bread???  Very easy, an odd recipe, but so much fun to let the kids make!

Now if you are smart, you can make this bread with just two ingredients.  But if you are like me and grab the wrong ingredients at the store, you'll have to add two more. 

Minute to win it!

My family loves games.  It isn't uncommon to find us playing a board game or wii game at night.  We are very competitive and love to have fun.  So when we found a "minute to win it" competition at our local recreation center, we knew we had to join.  Minute to win it was (is?) a game show hosted by chef Guy Fieri where the contestants do these skills or activities and try to beat the clock by finishing the challenge in under a minute.  For example, they may have to put 20 pennies from one bowl into another by only using their toes.  And the clock is ticking while they do it.  So my kids and I tried this competition and we had a blast.  There were 10 challenges and we had to complete each one in under a minute.  we had so much fun, and havent laughed that hard in ages.  And the best part about it is that each of the challenges was something that any family could do at home.  So now I am sharing my list of 'Minute to Win it' challenges so you all can have a fun family game night, too.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ice Cream for Breakfast!?!?!

This is what my kids were SCREAMING this morning when I presented them with their breakfast. Yes, my dears, eat your ice cream.  And enjoy. 

My kiddos are pretty easy to please.  Yogurt, fruit, cereal, eggs, french toast, pancakes..... they love it all.  But since I have had a weight problem my whole life, I always try to find ways to make them special treats with a low calorie and low fat spin.  My girls usually love to have smoothies.  I will toss some frozen fruit, which we always have on hand, in the blender with some lowfat milk, a little agave and some spinach.  Sometimes instead of agave, I put in a little coffee creamer instead.  My son isnt too fond of fruit smoothies, so I have to find other ways to give him a nutritious breakfast sometimes.   This morning I just didnt feel like cooking, and I really dont like to give them cereal too often.  Its too hot for oatmeal or cream of wheat, so I searched for a new idea.  I opened the freezer, saw the bag of frozen fruit, saw the ice cream, and a lightbulb above my head went on. 

Ice cream for breakfast.

But not just regular ice cream.  I would trick them! 

I grabbed my bag of frozen mixed fruit (cherries, strawberries, peaches, mangos, grapes and pineapples were todays choice, but you can honestly use any frozen fruit) and I grabbed a bottle of my coffee creamer (caramel macchiato, but again, you can use any flavor.) and some lowfat milk.  I tossed a nice big handful of fruit in my Ninja blender, a splash of creamer, a splash of milk and blended the heck out of it.  Because the fruit is frozen, you get a frozen mixture.  If I had put juice or water in (add a little agave so it isnt so tart), I would have gotten a sorbet, but since I added milk and creamer, it came out more like an ice cream.  It was sweet but not tart, since the creamer cancels the tartness out, and had the texture and taste of a fruity ice cream from the store.  Yet, because I wasnt using heavy creams and artificial or added sugars, it was much healthier.  I put the "Ice cream" into cups, handed the kids spoons, and let them eat their breakfast.  Not surprisingly, this breakfast was a hit.  I ended up putting some sunbutter on some graham crackers for some grain and protein, and they had a pretty balanced breakfast that filled them up, tasted good, and was fairly healthy (even though it didnt seem like it.) 

You can experiment on your own.  Frozen bananas are good for a dessert ice cream.  Add some chocolate chips and a squirt of chocolate syrup and it STILL wont be a terribly unhealthy dessert.  You could even use crushed up cookies or candies.  You can add flax seed, kale, spinach, chia seeds, etc for fiber, protein and vitamins.  Add a little at a time and do a taste in between until you find the perfect balance of healthy but tasty for your family.  I like to add protein powder to my ice cream (I'll do a post on that another day) to make it a high protein ice cream. 

At about $11 per HUGE bag of fruit (This one is 6 lbs!) and about $3 per quart size bottle of creamer, I think I'll be making our own ice cream from now on.  We do have an ice cream maker, but this is much easier in a pinch, and honestly, it tastes so good!  Try the ice cream for breakfast trick sometime. I bet your kids will give you some extra 'cool parent' points! When I told my kids how I made this ice cream, they weren't upset in the least, and actually asked me to make it again for them.  It was a hit!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My newest obsession

Oh, Tom Ford, what have you done to me?  You have me thinking of you day and night!! 

So I was walking down Main St this past weekend with the kiddos and I saw these beauties in a surf shop window display. 

I expressed my love for them and my son begged for us to go in and see how much they were.  I told him they were probably way more than I care to spend on a pair of sunglasses, and frankly, way more than I can spend on anything for myself.  So we kept on walking and about an hour later, we made our way back to the surf shop.  This time, my sweet almost 9 year old, who always wants to do nice things for everyone, ran ahead of me and went inside to ask the salesperson the price.  I walked in just as he was asking (and he made me so incredibly proud) "How much for those Tom Ford infinity sunnies in the display case?"  The woman behind the counter replied "I think they are $400."  My son's jaw dropped.  Im sure he figured he would be able to run home, empty his piggy bank, beg his Dad for a ride to Main St, and buy them for me as a belated Mother's Day or Birthday surprise.  Bless his heart, that's the kind of kid he usually is.  But this was way out of his price range, way out of my price range, and way more than I would ever pay for sunglasses.  (btw.... the Bloomingdale's price was $395, so the surf shop wasn't so far off) 

So now I sit and dream of looking so damn amazing in these Tom Ford "Whitney" sunnies at the pool (my little kiddie pool in my front yard), at the beach (while covered in sticky baby sunscreen and ice cream fingerprints while digging holes to China with my kids), or out shopping with friends (Target, of course and when I say friends I mean my kids.... Moms never get time to shop at Target with grown ups!) I will scour the web for knock offs, look for similar dollar store specials, and pray that TJ Maxx or Marshall's will have them in the bargain bin someday.  Or maybe I can just find a sugar daddy to buy them for me with nothing to give him in return.  'wink, wink' 

Ohhhh Tom Ford, you have this girl obsessed!!! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spray paint fascination

I read a good friend's blog in which she is a DIY queen who can basically make ANYTHING look pretty.  She is really talented and super creative and I just am so insanely jealous of how she can turn everyday items into something that looks like art.  (Don't believe me?  Just check her out.... Designingmainstreet) So a while back, she started going crazy with the spray paint.  And I mean crazy.  This woman was spray painting everything gold, from little bird statues to pinecones!!!  And guess what???  They all looked amazing in the end.  She apparently was on to something. 

So for my daughter's first birthday, I wanted a photo booth of sorts. (more on this amazing birthday party coming soon!)  I imagined some big ornate picture frame making everything look perfect.  So I started the Thrift shop hunt but came up empty handed.  Everything was too plain or too small.  One day at the craft store, though, I found a wooden "frame" of sorts that was flimsy and an ugly light wood but a very pretty design.  How could I fix it???  I pulled a little inspiration from my old pal Ellen, Miss Designing Main St herself.  Yup.  I bought a can of spray paint.  Gold.  That's right.  And guess what??  That frame turned out pretty amazing!! (here is my oldest cheesin' it up for the camera!)

So a couple of weeks ago was my birthday and a friend bought me a bouquet of flowers.  I grabbed one of my vases down from the cabinet and put the flowers in it.  It was a vase I got from the flower shop, no doubt it was from when one of my babies were born.  A generic glass vase that has an hourglass shape.  Plain, see through, blah.  But it works to hold flowers, even though its not pretty.  It does its job.  A week later when it was time to toss the flowers, I emptied the vase, washed it and thought to myself "What an ugly, plain vase.  I wonder if I can make it cute?"  Immediately I thought of Ellen.  And the leftover spray paint that was in the mudroom, just waiting to make its appearance again.  Within seconds I was running for the painters tape.  I quickly wrapped the vase, using two different sizes of plain blue painters tape.  I tried to get it as level as possible, but honestly, I was so excited to have a creative thought in my mind, that I hurried through the process.  In about two seconds flat, I had it taped, outside, and sprayed. 

I sprayed it from about 8" away, with light sprays.  Get too close and the paint will clump and drip.  Get too far and you won't get good coverage.  I turned it a few inches each time, to make sure I got each part sprayed thoroughly.  It took a good two coats to make sure it was completely covered.  I let it dry for about 4 hours before bringing it in and peeling the tape.  (You probably should let it dry for longer, but I was ANTSY!) It came out cute, and to celebrate, my daughter and I picked out more flowers so we could display our "new" vase. 
You can do the stripes horizontally, vertically, diagonal, in a chevron design, etc, or even use your kids favorite stickers to decorate a vase for their room.  Stars, hearts, their favorite character, even letter stickers to make a name vase.  How cute would it be to present a new-mommy friend with flowers in a vase that says her baby's name and birthdate?  Or newlyweds with their last name and wedding date!   Honestly, the possibilities are endless.  And so are the colors!  I'll be looking at old vases at yardsales in a whole new light this summer.  And I'll definitely be stocking up on more SPRAY PAINT!!! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Product review: Secret Outlast clear Gel

Last week I received my spring Voxbox from a company called Influenster.  Inside it included a snack, some hair products, lip color, stick on nails, and a full size of Secret Outlast clear gel antiperspirant/deoderant in the completely clean scent.  I was pretty excited to try these items.  My first one to try was the Secret. 

The big difference between other deoderants and Secret's clear gel is that Secret isnt supposed to leave white marks.  Their recent campaigns include Jenni Poulos (from Bravo's Flipping Out) trying on lots of dresses, doing the Deo-dance, trying to not get white marks on them. 

I had the perfect opportunity this week to try this challenge out.  And also find out if this Secret Outlast would really outlast my hot sweaty day and keep me dry and smelling clean.  It was field day at my kids' school.  It started at 9, got over at 3.  It was a lot of walking, cheering, running, and general excitement over my kids competing in their challenges. 
So that morning, I clicked the bottom once, then twice for good measure and applied to my clean underarms.  The gel was cool and went on smoothly.  It was easy to apply but felt wet when it first went on.  The smell was really nice.  Clean, but not perfume-y.  It smells like a nice clean soap, without being too strong.  Then I put my shirt on a few seconds later.  No white marks, no wet streaks.  Success so far! 
As the day went on, and my activity level and sweat level increased, I did a few discreet armpit checks.  No sweat stains, no funky smells.  Still fresh smelling underarms, surprisingly.  I had done aerobics, a minute long plank, "Thriller" dance moves, plus running, jumping and cheering my kiddos on.  Yes, Field day these days include dancing and aerobics.  No tug of war, though, if you can believe it!!!  I was certainly surprised at the cleanliness of my armpits, for sure.  Im used to a thick stick deoderant that leaves a thick heavy white residue.  This clear gel dries clear and you cant feel it after its on, so I thought for sure that it would not hold up to the heat, humidity and activity.  I was totally impressed!  It definitely outlasted the other deoderant, which would have been a sticky gooey white clumpy mess by now. 
After field day, I was going out to dinner with a fancy dress on.  So I tried this challenge again.  I showered, dried off and applied the Secret Outlast clear gel.  I then put my dress on, over my head, and checked under my arms in the mirror.  No trace of the gel at all.  No white marks, no gel marks, no wetness spots.... nothing! 
The only negative that I see with Secret Outlast Clear gel is that it seems to go very quickly.  I have used it for 5 days now, using it once a day most days but twice on one day, and it is about a third gone.  It is impressing me at how well it works, though, and the fact that it isnt ruining my clothes, which means saving money on laundry detergent and stain sticks!  I will definitely be buying this antiperspirant/deoderant again.  I highly recommend it! 

I need a little help from YOU

I'm a little curious as to how my readers find my blog.  I know some people find me through my Pinterest page, some find me through Twitter, maybe you saw my link on my Instagram.  Or did you see me on another website?  Did you hear about me from a friend?  It seems like my page is taking off and Im getting a LOT of new subscribers and readers.  Im just curious, so please feel free to comment here on how you found me. And let me know if there is anything you'd like to see on here.  I have lots of ideas of posts to come in the future, but I will gladly listen to and consider any and all suggestions.   Thank you for reading my little blog!!! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hangin' with the Sopranos

So this happened last night.....

That is me with tough guys Joseph Gannascoli and John Fiore.  Recognize them at all?  Both of them were on the HBO show "The Sopranos".  Joe used to play mob guy (turned good guy) Vito Spatafore.  John used to play Gigi Cestone.  Don't remember John's character?  Maybe this will refresh your memory.
I went to a special dinner with my husband, where Joey G was the chef.  He brought along his pal John.  We stuffed ourselves silly with wine and food, everything was delicious.  A 5 course meal of appetizers including bruschetta, crostini, and small pizzas, New England clam chowder, pasta with proscuitto and smoked mozzarella, an entree of either a rib eye with a Madeira ginger sauce or baked chicken with a mustard glaze.  Dessert was tiramisu and a chocolate connoli.  They filled our wine glasses with a new wine with each course.  And they kept it flowing all night!  John and Joe were mingling, answering questions, posing for pictures.  They are really nice guys.  My Husband and I had so much fun hanging out with them.  Joe talked recipes with my hubby, who is a chef, and I was able to ask him lots of questions about his film work.  He must get sick of all of the Sopranos questions, but he was really nice about answering them.  He did say that he does NOT know if they all die in the end, (fans of the Sopranos know what Im talking about) and he did say there will NOT be a Sopranos movie (although we can all hope and pray that the brilliant minds behind the show will agree to one someday).  I left there with a lot of memories, a few souveniers and possibly a new friend or two.  I thank Joe and John for being such gracious hosts! And thank you Joe for cooking an amazing meal. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Prance, Prance I say!

Who has watched Prancercise already?  If you haven't, you need to.  Are you ready, ankle weights?  Start prancing! Thanks to my friend Mark who introduced me to this. 

Free Ice Cream!

I know this post doesn't necessarily go along with all of my exercise posts, but everyone deserves a treat now and then, right?  And its even better when it's FREE. 

For all of my Massachusetts readers, Friendly's restaurants have their second annual customer appreciation days coming up this month.  You can get a free cone of ice cream as their way of saying "Thank You". 

Free Ice Cream Cones from 12pm-8pm on these dates and locations:

6/13 - Wollaston, Weymouth, South Weymouth and Hanover Friendly's locations

6/20 Sagamore Beach and Falmouth Friendly's locations

One of these Friendly's is near me, and I know my family will be headed there for our free treat.  We will be celebrating the last week of school then, so we have a valid excuse for some yummy ice cream! Enjoy!!! 

Squat challenge

On top of the 100 to summer, and the couch to 5K, I am also doing the squat challenge.  With the help of a friend on Instagram who is a great inspiration, I started on Friday with 50 squats.  I really had never done squats before, definitely not as many as 50.  So I checked out Youtube for some direction and found this video, which was helpful.   So now each night, after I get the kids to bed, I stand in front of my computer and do my squats as I check my email. I know it sounds funny to do it that way, but concentrating on something else helps me forget how hard squats can be. I also do them while brushing my teeth.  I got the technique down and did my 50 the first night.  The second night was 55, then last night was 60, which I admit, I struggled through.  Today is a day of rest, which I am grateful for.  Even though the squat challenge gives me a day of rest, it doesnt mean I wont be exercising tonight.  I also do 12-30 minutes of tabata as often as I can.  I am not sure I will be able to complete the whole 250 on day 30, but I really am trying to achieve this goal.  For this former couch potato, each time I set a goal for myself when I comes to exercise, I think I will fail terribly, but I find myself actually getting closer to that goal.  It makes me feel proud and strong, which makes me 1. excited about exercise and 2. eager to get up and do more the next day.  This is a journey, and it will take a long time and I cannot give up.  Im taking small steps to achieve a long term goal of happiness with my body. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Food Truck Names

I found this online and it makes me laugh.  What's your food truck name? 

                                                       Mine is Big Mama's Meat Truck

Homemade Flubber

I found an excellent, inexpensive and easy way to make that terrible slime/goop/goo substance that is sold at most toy shops and big box stores.  My son got it one time and put it all over our couch and I vowed to NEVER get him any again.  Now, 5 years later, while looking for something new and exciting for my big kids to do, I came across this recipe and decided to give it a try.  I am lucky now that he knows not to spread it on the furniture.  Plus, this one is much cheaper, makes a big batch, and the consistency is SO MUCH EASIER TO CLEAN UP!!!!  You will never want to buy that silly slime stuff at a store again. 


1 cup of Elmer's glue
3/4 cup of cold water
liquid food coloring (any color will work)
1/2 cup of hot water
1 tsp Borax laundry additive

In bowl 1, mix the cold water, the glue and the food coloring.  Mix well, I used a metal spoon.  Set aside. 

In bowl 2 mix the hot water and the borax until the borax is completely dissolved.  I ended up putting on a rubber glove and crumbling the little chunks of Borax that wouldnt dissolve, and then mixing them in.  It only took a minute or two for it all to dissolve. 

Slowly add the glue mixture to the Borax mixture and stir constantly.  When everything is completely mixed, there may be some extra liquid.  You can pour this out.  It is not needed. 

This is what it looks like completely mixed.  It is soft and pliable and gooey. 
My kids are still playing with it today, and we made it almost a week ago. We keep ours in a tupperware container with a cover and it has stayed fresh and the same consistency as when it was made. I will say that the darker the color, the more color that ends up on the kids hands.  It is easy to wash off, I just wanted to let my readers know.