Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When The Shoes Carry You

For the past few days I have been exhausted, as the bug that has taken a hold of the kids in my house for the past couple of weeks has finally found its way to me. As most of  you know moms don't get breaks or time to be sick, so I am still on the road every day picking up and dropping off the kids. My husband has been helping out as much as he can, but he is still in school most of the day, and when he is I am on my own.


On Monday I tried on my new Avia walking shoes for the first time, and that is actually what I wanted to write about. Not too long ago, I won a $50 gift certificate to Shoemall on another blog. This came at a prefect time as my walking sandals were having a hard time managing the South Florida heat and humidity on the long walking distances.

It has cooled down a notch, but my walking sandals are talking a break, because I finally tried on my new Avia walking shoes. I of course got them on clearance, so that I could get two pair of walking shoes, a fancy golden pair and the real walking sneakers, and they are both fabulous.

I have not worn great sneakers since my running days in high school, but these shoes sure are different than what I usually wear. They support in all the right places, and I almost feel as if I am flying when I walk. Despite having my entire body ache, I still walked the three miles to my son's pre k today, and yes I was tired, but my feet were not.


Do you have some great, high quality walking shoes?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Truth About the One Car Family

My husband and I have always shared a car, and while the idea of a second car is aired often, it is always shot down, most often by me - the walker - because of the expenses and true car cost. Nevertheless, although our family is proud of our frugal living, it is still tempting to get that second car. This is why I decided to look at the pros and cons of owning a second car as well as the true cost of owning a car. No matter the actual car cost, I also wanted to share the truth about the one car family, as it is not just rosy and great carbon prints.

According to the AAA Your Driving Cost report, the average cost to operate a mid-size car such as a Ford Fusion or a Honda Accord is 47.6 cents a mile, or $9,519 a year based on driving 15,000 miles a year. A small car costs 43.3 cents a mile, or $6,496 a year, while a four-wheel drive SUV is the most expensive, at nearly 74 cents per mile, or $11,000 a year.

According to our own calculations the car cost for our family is $5600 in car maintenance, fuel, insurance etc. This annual car cost each year to own our 1999 Honda Odyssey is based on a 25,000 annual mileage.

The amount vary from household to household, but the one fact that cannot be disputed is that owning a car is expensive, and not even frugal living can eliminate transportation expenses. Car maintenance, car insurance, registration, and of course gasoline...it all ads up, and it ads up fast. You can find the cost to own a newer car at Edmunds.com, you can also read more about what a car really cost at ConsumerReports.com.

My husband uses our 1999 Honda Odyssey for work, and since he became self-employed a few years ago, I have driven it on very few occasions. It is also our family car, and with the backseat being able to lay down flat, it seems to be a very easy transition from the work car to the family car.

However, frugal living as a one car family requires a lot of patience, compromise and flexibility, and unless everyone in the family is able to adapt, living in a one car family can be difficult.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ten Ways of Making Your favorite Foods Healthier

As a long time vegetarian many people assume that I am skinny as a stick, but the fact is that I am not. I love ice cream and I love food such as pizza and fries. I would like to share ten tips that I have found make my favorite foods healthier. In fact my favorite food is vegetable pizza, and I could eat it every day, if anyone offered to pay for the local pizza delivery.

When I make pizza or bake bread at home, I now substitute half of the regular flour with whole wheat flour, but I have not completely abandoned all purpose flour, as it really does make bread taste great. I love bread! My love for bread and ice cream is definitely part of the reason, why I am not skinny as a stick, I just cannot live without bread though, and ice cream....well I'm trying.

1) Go easy on the cheese, add on more veggies on your homemade (or take out) pizza instead.
2) Make your own - make oven fries instead of getting take out fries. Oven-baked butternut squash fries are some of the most addictive oven fries, and you only have to use very little salt and extra virgin olive oil.
3) Skip the butter - in many instances butter is not needed at all, and you can easily do without it.
4) Substitute part of the oil in your home baking with baked potatoes or fat free sour cream, you will be surprised about the great taste.
5) When baking, you really do not need all that sugar - cut it in half!
6) Drink, bake and cook with skim milk, it has all the nutrients that whole milk or 2 % have, and after a while you will get used to the taste.
7) Steam instead of frying your vegetables - pour boiling water over broccoli, and it actually tastes better than if you have stir fried it.
8) Use your oven instead of the frying pan - bake chicken tastes great (or so my husband says), and there is no reason to use the frying pan very often.
9) When using your frying pan make sure to take the fat off. When I make meat balls for my sons, I always end up with at least a cup of fat. Just think, if I had left it to be absorbed in the meat balls. I leave the fat in a ceramic bowl for a couple of hours, and it is easy to throw in the garbage instead of letting it clog up your sink.
10) When baking substitute half the flour with whole wheat flour, I bet you will love the extra crunch it gives, and it makes the food so much better just knowing that it is healthier.

Now for my own personal bonus tip: If you don't feel like cooking, don't start eating the junk, put in one of the healthy frozen meals in the microwave instead. This has saved me on numerous occasions, as I tend to eat unhealthy fast foods, whenever I do not feel like cooking.

Cooking at home is often healthier than ordering take out, but if you have bad habits such as adding butter, salt or sugar to everything, the healthy part of the home-cooked meal can disappear fast.


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Friday, July 30, 2010

Prevention Fitness DVD - Personal Training with Chris Freytag Review and Giveaway

Prevention Fitness System - Personal TrainingAs a stay-at-home mom of three busy boys, I am a big fan of Chris Freytag, as she helps me get workouts into my otherwise busy mommy life. Prevention's Personal Training DVD with Chris Freytag is an affordable way to get some of the benefits of having a personal trainer without paying the big bucks.

The Personal Training DVD with Chris Freytag contains 66 minutes filled with numerous different workouts that you can make into your own workout program by customizing the program with the exercises that fit your personal needs. Another way to take advantage of this personal training dvd is to decide on what your goal is (toning, weight loss etc.), and then let the Personal Training DVD match you with the appropriate exercise program. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weight Loss Pilates for Beginners by Brooke Siler

Element: Pilates Weight Loss for BeginnersTwo years ago I was lucky to win Element: Weight Loss Pilates for Beginners by Brooke Siler.

Before receiving this dvd, I had never done pilates before, but since then it has become one of my favorite exercise dvds. I am usually only able to do the exercise dvd, when the baby is sleeping, and I have my two older boys playing in their room, because otherwise it can be difficult to concentrate.

Weight Loss Pilates for Beginners is filmed overlooking the Pacific Ocean in an amazing garden, and I really found this scenery to be relaxing. It starts out slowly, but it only takes a few minutes, before I have to turn up the fan, and by the end of the dvd I am always ready for a shower. Siler is trying to maximize the calorie burn while teaching the basics of pilates, and I feel she does both of these perfectly. I always find it amazing that such a calm video can make me as weak as it does.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making An Affordable Home Gym - Frugal Exercise

Making an affordable home gym is easier than it sounds, with a few props you can come along way and the toughest thing about it is getting motivated. A couple of years ago, I realized that the one thing I had to do for myself was to get back in shape. Before I had my sons I was very active, but I had somehow lost myself in motherhood. As a stay-at-home mother, my budget was very small, if not non-existent, so I became very creative when it came to finding ways to make my home gym.


The Zero-Budget Home Gym:
When you are first starting out, it is important to realize that you can actually do a lot with what you have.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Exercising Machines At The Park

Yesterday I went to bed early, because I was exhausted after a day of fun with the boys. I did my thirty minute cardio in the morning, added 10 minutes of crunch time, and then it was off to pick up my son from school.

We ended up going to a new farmers market store nearby, where we found some cheap fruits. I was a bit disappointed with the store though, as a lot of it did not seem quite fresh.



After picking up some produce we continued on to a nearby park, where the boys played, I read and the baby took a nap. Before we left I got on the Air Skier for fifteen minutes, which is all the boys would let me do before they started fighting.

I love this particular park, because there are several different exercise machines for free use. It is not the best park for the kids though, because it is surrounded by some heavy traffic roads, and there are always a lot of people there exercising. I prefer to take the boys to a smaller park, where everything is fenced in, and where I can easily keep an eye on them without having to worry.


Exercise:

30 minutes cardio
10 minutes crunch time
15 minutes on the air skier
3 mile walk

Foodwise I did good, and once again I managed to avoid sweet snacks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Work-Outs of The Day - 30 minute work out, and 2 mile walk

I originally intended on starting up with high-intensity workouts yesterday, but I fell flat even before I began.When I went to use my exercise bike (which has been left alone since February before my dad came to visit) I discovered that my sweet boys (7 and 4) had somehow succeeded in breaking it. I bought this exercise bike 2 1/2 years ago for money that I won at the infamous Netwinner, which later went down and under. I will always appreciate my exercise bike though, and it has served me well.

My handy-man husband has promised that he will take a look at the bike, and I am confident that he will be able to fix it, once he finds the time to do so.

So today I had another plan...working out with the boys.

This morning the boys and I packed up the toys and moved some furniture around to create our very own gym in the living room. I used to work out in the bedroom, when I had my four-year-old watch tv and the baby was sleeping. Well, two months have passed, and the baby is now nine months old, mobile and takes fewer naps.



We put in the Biggest Looser Workout dvd (season one), and my toddler was all excited. He did the first stretch out exercises with me, but when we got to the kick boxing, he went to the tv and told trainer Bob that he was coughing and tired. He eventually found a car or two to play with on the playmat, but at least he let me exercise.

In the beginning I worked out with the baby in my arms, but the extra 21 pounds soon began to pull me down, so he was put on the mat. He crawled around in between my legs, pulled himself up by the table, then by the window and then he came back to protest. This time he brought a book, as he surely felt it was Mommy and Me reading time.

There was a little crying, but I actually made it through the entire work-out session, and yes there were times that I felt like stopping. When we did make it to the stretching part, I was actually surprised that the session was over.

All the walking I have been doing has kept me in shape, but I surely need some high-intensity work outs to get rid of the extra accumulated pounds.

I managed to take a shower before it was time to pick up my oldest son from school.


My exercise log for today:

30 minute work out (The Biggest Loser dvd)
2 mile walk (To and from school)


How did you do on your exercise today?