Pinteresting Easter Ideas and Tips

easter decor
We are now on Pinterest. I just pinned my Easter inspiration boards. Check it out. They may inspire you too! I added a few healthful tips to the recipes on the comment box.
There are a few key tips to hosting a great family get-together.
-Serving some family traditional staples along with a few new fitting dishes will help it be a meal to remember.
-Preparing desserts and cutting your vegetables the day before can cut down on stress.
-Double check your recipes and make sure you have enough time to get everything cooked, warmed, and ready for the table.
-It is usually good to have a colorful array of food for Easter.
-Use plastic eggs to share a treat with big kids too (adults). You could put a nice note or memory, recipe, chocolate, or use your imagination to fill the egg. This makes a nice small guesture for guests to take with them.
-Have a few light snacks or appetizers to keep guests happy in case you run a little behind.
-Play some fun music or have a game for the kids to play.
-Maybe even set up a small hunt of your own.
The love and effort you put into the day will show. Your guests also want to enjoy you. They did come to see you after all! I hope you have a fantastic weekend with your family!


Before You Go-Go..

dog jog

Excited about the new exercise program you are about to start? Thinking of starting something new? There are a few things to consider before starting.  Jumping right into a program without this information could leave you injured, discouraged, and ready to throw in the towel after just one session. Starting off with the right information and tools can keep you on a path to success for a lifetime.

When starting a new program, understand that you may not be perfect at it yet. The perfectionist mentality on the first day is enough to discourage anyone. You can master the exercise with time. If you happen to get everything right the first time, great. But exercise programs that are effective teach your muscles to perform more difficult tasks than they are accustomed. This means your muscles are learning. That is how you get great results. Pushing yourself too hard to be “perfect” may result in injury.

Know what you are doing. Make sure that you know how to perform each exercise correctly. It will help prevent injury and improve the effectiveness of the exercise. The more accurately you perform an exercise, the better your results will be. Ask a trainer or exercise instructor for help. If you are doing the exercises at home, go slow until you figure out what is comfortable for you. Check that your posture is good. Thinking about your core as a powerhouse will help you perform exercises with better posture. You can always check out the library or credible sources like ACE or ACSM for tips on proper movement. You might also want to use the mirrors.

Think about your breathing. Make sure when you do strength training exercises, you are breathing. Usually exhalation occurs while the muscle you are targeting contracts. Inhale as you release. When performing endurance or cardio exercises, use the talk test as a relative indication for intensity. If you cannot say 3 words without gasping, you are probably performing at too high of an intensity. Slowly bring your intensity down until you can perform the talk test correctly. Be sure to keep breathing rhythmic and even.

Hydration is important. You can be too hydrated or dehydrated. What is the correct amount? Your goal is to replace the water you expend while sweating during exercise. Before you exercise, be sure to not be thirsty. Once you start, drink about an ounce for every 15-20 minutes of exercise. If you are thirsty, drink something. Do not drink soda pop or sugary drinks immediately before or during exercise. They can act as diuretics. If you take diuretic medicines, consult your doctor on the amount they recommend you replenish with.  Sports drinks are mostly for athletes/ exercisers exercising for longer than an hour or hour and a half.

Warming up and Cooling down may not seem important, but it is. Be sure to take the 5-10 minutes to do this. Your heart will thank you. Your body needs a chance to return to a normal heart rate and to slowly increase. It actually helps with soreness and increases efficiency. Stretching as a part of cool down is an excellent idea, because your muscles are nice and warm. It feels so awesome, so that may keep you coming back for more.

Starting the new program be sure to get the okay. If you start something new, you may want to check with your doctor for clearance. There may be medical reasons the doctor doesn’t want you to work at certain intensities. You may also have an injury that needs to heal a little better. Research may be available to doctors or specialists that prove some exercises are unsafe for certain populations. It never hurts to check.

Now lace up and go! 

One Step at a Time

sneakers run
On days like today, it is easy to smile. The sun is out and everything seems to feel possible. When you come across a day like today it may be the time to start a new fitness plan. My husband worked for a company that had him do something I found interesting. The task was to make a list of everything you want to do in life that you can think of at the moment and then prioritize them. Once completed, you were to make a separate list of the obstacles keeping you from them. Next to that list you write out ways to overcome or work with the obstacles to make those dreams or goals happen.

So often in life we have dreams that are left in the dust. We had a bad day, things did not work out, or we even found something more important. The last reason is a good and acceptable reason. Life changes and so do our priorities. If you are blessed enough to have people added into your life, it is time to share some dreams and not be selfish. When you put dreams ahead of loved ones, it can be a nightmare instead. Be willing to change your priorities as time goes by. However that is not a license to come up with excuses to not go after your goals.

Instead of finding excuses why you cannot do something, find inspirations of why you can. Starting an exercise program is the topic I am choosing, as it relates to my blog. Everyday that passes something happens to keep you from living a healthier life. Most of us put time at the top of our list. Start small. Make three 10 minute bouts of exercise a goal for starters. Replace one soda with a glass of water. Wear your sneakers out to remind you to do something active. Take your family or girlfriend/boyfriend for a stroll. After making a first step you can see the excuses start to fade. Then you can challenge yourself to do more. Before you know it, you will be the picture of health you envisioned for yourself. It all starts with a small step. As time passes and you find yourself finding reasons to revert, stop and look at the progress and changes you have made. Is it worth going back on? Is it worth the way you felt before? Believe it or not, you can be healthy and live life fuller. It is possible one step at a time!

Happy Pi Day!

pie day Since today is about Pi and pizza happens to be a circle and refereed to as “pie” I thought it would be a great time to talk about the truth on pizza. When we think of pizza and its wonderfully round shape topped with ooey gooey goodness, a few key terms tend to come into mind. Words like grease, fat, calories, bad, and unbuttoned pants tend to accompany the food most of us crave at some point. The truth is that pizza does not have to be those descriptions. Pizza can be a very healthy meal if done properly.

    Crust things crust, we need to look at the base and foundation of this staple. The problem here lies in the grains. When you choose a crust with a white grain, you are giving your body empty calories. Only 100% whole grains give you a true source of fiber and nutrients that are stripped from the white and even wheat flours. They have to add in nutrients, but it isn’t absorbed as well into your body. The reason this matters is that while you are eating your pizza it takes more food for you to feel full. I understand if for texture and taste reasons you supplement with some white or wheat flour. Adding the 100% whole grain flour will boost your nutrient intake and help you feel fuller faster. Whole grains also help regulate blood sugar levels so you do not crash into a food coma. If you order out, at least see if the pizza place has a wheat option. If not, go thin, so you can fill up on toppings not empty carbohydrates.

 The next layer is the sauce. There are many sauces out there that contain different amounts of carbohydrates and sugar. Another incentive to make it fresh. When sauces are made sometimes sugar is added to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. If you can use Italian tomatoes in your sauces, because they need minimal sugar to do so. You can kick up flavor with a variety of spices. Crushed red pepper is always a nice way to kick up the heat a notch without being overpowering. Spice helps you feel fuller faster too.

Let’s look at the cheesy layer of love. Most people really like cheese on their pizza. Most cheeses however can contain a lot of grease and fat. Limit the amount of cheese you put on a pie. Add a little less and supplement with Parmesan. You still get the ooey gooey without the heart attack. If you make it at home, you can choose reduced fat cheeses. Please do not mistake that for fat-free!!! Those taste terrible, because that is not how cheese is supposed to taste. Or you can always sprinkle a specialty cheese like blue or fresh mozzarella to give quality to your flavor.

How many times have you seen a comic moment on TV or in a movie, where the cherry lands on top and everything just tumbles to the ground? The toppings of a pizza can really make or break the healthfulness of the pie. Sausage, pepperoni, and bacon can add a lot of fat to a pie if not limited. Load up on some veggies like peppers, a few olives, spinach, Roma tomatoes, pineapple, and mushrooms. You can get creative and see who can create the best flavor combination while keeping calorie count in mind. You can also choose leaner meats like grilled chicken, fish, and turkey sausage.

Don’t let the bad connotations of pizza keep you from enjoying a healthy bite of goodness. Your pie hole will thank you and so will the circumference of your waist. Who feels great an hour or so after overeating on greasy pizza anyhow? Eat well and be merry!

Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 for the WiiU

wiiU Your ShapeThe new Your Shape Fitness Evolved2013 is now available on the Wii U. For those of you who may have tried the Jenny McCarthy version a while back, this is no comparison. This video game is a legitimate workout. As much as I hate to admit it, it really does a fantastic job! When you pair the Ubisoft game with the Wii U features, you get a great marriage! Here is my break down:

1. Enjoyment- If you are going to start and stick with a program of any kind, it needs to be fun! This game has something fun for everyone! Whether you like to dance, want to train to become a Zen master, enjoy martial arts, or learning something new this could be for you! The music is nice and relaxing. You can also enjoy reaping the rewards for your hard work.

2. Fitness Principle: The components of fitness are pretty much all addressed here. Because the game uses the weight information you give in your profile, you get pretty accurate calorie burn calculation. They have a workout for every muscle group in your body. The game includes muscular endurance exercises and not just strength. That was a huge plus to me! The game also includes cardio in many forms, flexibility beyond just yoga, and strength exercises. You can get a tailored plan for whatever fitness level you may be at. This is a great game for getting back into shape, but it may be best if you use it as a regular supplement to other workouts throughout the week. It is a great standalone game, but having interaction with the outdoors and doing other activities helps to keep you active for life.

3. Features: This game has a lot of features! There is an online website you can easily access thanks to the WiiU Gamepad. On the website you can track progress, set challenges for friends, and get inspired. The Miiverse page is also very nice for encouraging fellow sweaters to keep up the good work or to get back on the horse. It is a relatively friendly page. The game itself contains a play mode with 6 boxes to choose from. Here you can checkout scores from friends you add-on Miiverse and send an encouraging click on their newsfeed. I recommend looking here first, as you will quickly fill up the feed post-workout There are also boxes for different workouts, classes, activities, to-do’s, and your program designed for you. In addition the game offers shopping with points earned, profile access, My Fitness Pal, and medals you unlocked. The My Fitness Pal tracks daily caloric expenditure during gameplay and offers recipes.

4. Adherence: I think this game is pretty well equipped for adherence. It has the social aspect, progressive challenges, and variety. Those are main elements of adherence. I would still add more to your total routine than this game, but it definitely has a great base!

5. Gameplay: The Wiimote does a pretty accurate job of reading your motions. Sometimes if you are holding the Wiimote slightly wrong it can cause inaccuracy. The Trainer does an excellent job explaining the movement, but can be kind of late on important details. The time it takes the game to load an activity or to navigate menus can be a real time suck. If you have an hour to work out, you may only get 45 minutes of actual play time. Your heart rate is supposed to stay elevated when exercising, so this pause is also adverse for a steady heart rate for high intensity exercising. You can unlock longer modes to minimize this phenomenon.

6. Drawbacks: The overall drawbacks are pretty obvious. The Wiimote is pretty accurate, but it can be aggravating to get sweaty and for the Wiimote to slip causing a bad score. The pause in game play like I said can be a time suck and lower your heart rate, which is not what you want. The programs designed may not fit a routine you already have. Either adjust alongside or play the workouts you know you need. The dancing on this is definitely sub par! It is not for getting ready to hit any club. It is painful for those who enjoy dancing Just Dance or Dance Central. The personally designed programs workouts never let you know ahead how long or what type of exercise you will be performing. The ever important warm up and cool downs are located in the back of the workout section. This should be easier to access. The warm up is not included in your program. It is so important to warm up and cool down!! Otherwise you risk injury. Lastly, the game does not account for activity outside of the game. Only calories burned in the game are tracked and used for coins.

7. The Positive: The game has a great variety and set of tools. The social aspect is awesome for adherence! Diversity in-game play is nice for keeping on track. They provide extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The coins and noticing physical changes are great extrinsic, while the encouragement from the trainer is great intrinsic. The Trainer helps you focus on the task at hand which is difficult to do on your own sometimes. The games force you to go slower on moves you should be going slow on, and faster on moves you should be going faster on.

Overall, I love the game. It was a huge step up from the Jenny McCarthy version. Hopefully you will find the fitness tool that works for you. This game has already helped to increase my return to pre-baby shape! I have more muscle tone, flexibility and stamina to run after my toddler and care for my 3 month-old baby. The short sessions will challenge just about every fitness level! If you buy the game and would like advice, feel free to ask me questions and I will try to help make the game as enjoyable as possible! You can email me at for more information.

Holidays Are For More Than Childhood

balloons on clothesline

We are in that time of year where the major holidays have just passed with a few close ahead. The small ones float rather evenly in between. Remember how exciting was it to go to school  around any holiday? There were special crafts, snacks, colorful decorations, and interesting stories. It felt more like recess all day. Once we get to high school and college, the festivities are more rare. It is a shame we grow up and stop celebrating. When did we become too old to have fun? It seems as if doom and gloom is everywhere. We ought to take every chance to celebrate the good and enjoy life.  It makes a bad week a little better when you have something to look forward to. Think about how you feel planning and dreaming of vacation. When holidays come up, it is a chance to take a break from the stresses of life. We can be reminded of the good things life has to offer.

Birthdays are an excellent example! This is a great excuse to splurge on a piece of exquisite cake. It is not just getting older or another year of life. Your birthday is a chance to celebrate accomplishments, reflect on good memories from the past year, and share it with people who care about you. Why wait until someone is gone to celebrate their life? All those wonderful words can be spoken now. You can focus on the blessings and enjoy birthdays again.

Most of us celebrate big holidays, but what about small ones? For example, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. Have you planned on anything fun? You can easily celebrate by wearing your green, fixing an Irish recipe, and cutting and glittering shamrocks with your family or for yourself and some friends. Holidays big and small remind us of what is important and helps us keep perspective. They brighten your everyday life. Life is more adventurous and exciting when you are reminded to live and that there are things to look forward to. Even if some of those moments are in the future yet, you can celebrate for the day it comes. What is better than finding an excuse to surround yourself with people you care about, sharing good food and memories? That is a simple joy in life. It reminds us of how rich we truly are, even while our finances are not stable. So go and enjoy! Have your cake and eat it too! I will be offering entertaining tips, ideas, and articles to help possibly inspire you to do so.