Almost Wordless Wednesday – Every Day

This week’s Almost Wordless Wednesday is dedicated to my oldest daughter – she makes me proud every day – not only with her accomplishments as an equestrian and in school, but the person that she is becoming.  She turned 13 last Thursday.  Love you, B!

mamagames

My First Zumba Class {Healthier Life Day 2}

 

So I went to the gym last night, at 8 pm after work.  Are we proud?  Yes we are….8:00 p.m would usually see me snoring on the couch.  I tried my first Zumba class ever.

Holy crap.

First of all, I was terrified to try it.  I was certain that the class would be full of perfectly coiffed, well-coordinated skinny girls with adorable workout clothes who would want to throw yoga blocks at dumpy, fat me with no coordination and ratty gym clothes (I need to shop.).

Not the case.  There were ALL shapes and sizes in my class. There were perfectly coiffed skinny girls, right up front.  One even had a flower in her hair.  Some of them looked like they could teach the class.  There were other skinny girls too who looked as lost as I did with the choreography.  I’m hoping that it was their first Zumba class too.  If not, I will probably look pretty goofy for a while.  But there were also ladies who were my size.  Some who were bigger.  Some who were well coordinated, and some who weren’t.

So the choreography.  Yeah, umm, it’s kind of hard.  I know a couple of salsa moves but there were plenty of moments where I was completely lost.  I tried to focus on the footwork more than the arms, and there were areas I did better, like moves that had more of a hip-hop action to it.  Did anyone laugh at me?  Nope, everyone seemed too busy worrying about themselves looking silly.  I was far from perfect, but my butt was moving the entire time. When I finished my first Zumba class, I was pretty sure I was dead.  I had downed a bottle and a half of water, and my lower legs literally BURNED.  I couldn’t do the whole class – I only did 45 minutes of the hour class, but I’m pretty proud for my first time.

I’m thinking about picking up a Zumba game for the Wii or checking out the Kinect (we don’t have an Xbox 360 – what a perfect excuse to get one!).  Any of you out there have any suggestions, or experiences that helped you through a few of your first Zumba classes?

 

Starting Over {Healthier Life Day 1}

startwhereyouare

So this weekend was my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday.  I’m not taking it well.  I insisted that she promise that I can call her once a day when she’s in college.  My fiance thinks this is neurotic, but it was only yesterday she was toddling.  I swear.  Yesterday.  Time goes so fast, and I know before long I’ll be obsessively worry that she’s having unprotected drunken sex in some disgusting fraternity house.  I think about these things, people.  I worry about worrying!  It’s true.  I admit it.  It’s a sickness.

So anyway, at my daughter’s 13th’s birthday party, we played laser tag.  It was so freakin’ fun!  Never played laser tag before and absolutely loved it.  Oh yeah, until I practically dropped dead of a heart attack halfway through and had to stop running.

Felt like a total loser.  So I spent the last five days thinking about all the excuses I have made that have prevented me from losing the 100+ pounds I need to lose.  The failed diet fads.  Not as a self-loathing type activity, but a “What Have I Learned” type activity.

So What Have I Learned?

1.  Anything gimmicky or expensive doesn’t work for me.  Diet shakes, diet plans, diet programs, whatever.  I can’t handle the yo-yo that these short term solutions bring.  This is going to have to be a lifestyle change.  Meaning I cannot eat a shake for breakfast.  Because I like eggs.  Sometimes I like eggs with hollandaise sauce.  That is not going to change.  I have to work within those parameters.

2.  I have to write down every piece of food that goes into my mouth.  At least for now.  Because I forget how many calories are in things like 8 oz of orange juice.  Which I have been drinking every morning.  Not that there’s anything wrong with orange juice – but I have to keep better tabs on the number and quantity of things I put in my body.

3.  I can’t lose without exercise.  I have proved this to myself over and over.  It’s simply insanity that I haven’t learned the lesson yet.

So What Am I Going to Do?

This is my plan.  I have a really expensive gym membership that I haven’t been using.  On weeks when I don’t have my girls, I’m going to use the hell out of it.  At least once a day.  Maybe 2.  My plan is to attend as many CLASSES as I can.  I know I work harder and longer when someone is pushing my ass to do it.  I managed to get to law school classes when I was sick, tired, had my period, pissed off, stressed out, etc.  I can make these classes.  I need to make these classes.  For my body.  For my mind. For my health.  For weeks when I do have the girls and I want to rush home as quickly as possible, I’m going to try and work physical activity into our time together.  Whether it’s going for a walk or a bike ride or playing Wii, I want to do something with them.

I’m going to reward myself for success (more on this later) and forgive myself for the mistakes I know I will make.  But I will NOT stop.  Each meal – each hour I choose to exercise (or not exercise) is a new change to live a healthier life.

Acknowledging the Challenges Lurking in the Corner

Part of my thinking was about my weakness.  Where I will fall down.  Where the bumps will be.  How I can fix the bumps.  Here are my thoughts.

1.  Energy.  I’m feckin’ tired.  I’m working anywhere between 40-60 hours per week as an in-house corporate attorney.  With my schedule and hour long commute each way, going to gym will mean getting up at 4 or working out until 7 or 8.

  •  How I’m hoping to cope:  I’m hoping that after pushing through the initial few weeks my body will adjust and I’ll have more energy.  I’m also hoping that  kicking my own ass will help me sleep better so the sleep I do get is more restful.  This will be the hardest thing for me.

2.  Dessert.  I really, really like dessert.  I would make out with dessert.  I would marry dessert (sorry, honey).  And my body is not tricked into thinking that fruit and yogurt is the same damn thing as creme brulee.  It knows better, and it does not want fruit and yogurt.  It wants creme brulee.

  • How I’m hoping to cope:  I really, really like dessert.  I can’t give it up entirely.  This will end in me eating an entire box of oreos.  I know this.  So as a semi-foodie, this is what I have decided.  I will save myself, like a dessert virgin, for only the highest quality of dessert.  Like the Almond Lace Cookie Cup from Hutch’s in Buffalo.  Dessert that makes me want to stab someone with a steak knife if they move in for a bite.  I’m hoping that the thought of eating high quality dessert guilt-free will help me turn down Frosty Treat sundaes, which, although tasty in the moment, are simply not worth it.

3.  Stress.  I have a stressful life (see number 1).  I have a stressful job.  Scientifically found to be one of the most stressful – lawyers have the highest rate of suicide, highest rate of depression, and almost 20% of us are addicted to drugs or alcohol.  I am addicted to food.  Stress makes me want to sleep.  Restless, angry sleep where I argue with people, even in my dreams.  But sleep nonetheless.  Possibly fueled by a sugar induced coma.  I get upset stomachs and migraines.  In MY SLEEP.  Stress is an issue for me, and I know stress will only hurt my quest to lead a healthier life and lose weight in the process.

  • How I’m hoping to cope:  I found a really great yoga studio near my job.  I’m going there to check it out today (and get a massage, because they do that too).  They have Saturday morning meditation, and yoga, and preteen yoga.  See above regarding involving my kids.  It’s expensive, but I’m thinking of trying it if the stress levels don’t get better with exercising at the gym.

So How Am I Starting?

One choice at a time.  With What I Have.  With What I Can Do.  Today.

IMG_1538

 

Yup.  That’s a salad.  That was my lunch.  Ate it with fat free raspberry vinagrette.  Notice the lack of cheese and croutons?  Sort of hard choice.  I really like cheese.  Almost as much as dessert.  We won’t discuss desserts with cheese.  It was good.  I don’t feel deprived.  I feel proud of my choice.  There will be those who laugh at me for being proud of my salad.  That’s okay too.  I’m sure there will people who laugh (hopefully on the inside, but maybe on the outside) when I step into my FIRST EVER Zumba class today.  If they laugh, that’s okay too.  I will still keep going.  Because it’s about me.  Not them.

I also activated a MyFitnessPal account.  Free!  Woohoo!  Love free food tracking!

And for that I am proud.

 

Win a pair of Lil Gadgets Headphones! {Giveaway}

lilgadgetsgiveawayWelcome to the Lil’ Gadgets Wireless Bluetooth Kid’s Headphones Giveaway!

Hosted by: Tyrneathem

Sponsored by: Lil’ Gadgets

Dates: April 15 to 30, 2014

Are you constantly searching for products for children that are high quality?  I know I do – my girls often get frustrated with the quality of the products that are made specifically for kids. Lil’ Gadgets believes that just because a product is for kids, doesn’t mean it should be lower quality! When they couldn’t find products that met the quality standards that they wanted for their children, they decided to take quality into their own hands.

Lil Gadgets look like the real deal, but they are built to be durable for children. The best part is that they are also FITTED for children.  This is constantly an issue for us – if we purchase adult products, they are too big, don’t fit in their little ears, or are otherwise just not suited for kiddos. Some earbugs have actually hurt my youngest daughters ears and she doesn’t want to use them.  You’ll be jealous of these products and want to use them yourself!  The bright colors are super fun and they have embedded bluetooth!

See Tyrneathem’s full review of Lil’ Gadgets here.

One lucky entrant will win a pair of Lil’ Gadgets Kid’s Bluetooth Headphones valued at $94.95!

Open to residents of the Continental US only. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. If you have won an item from this sponsor (LilGadgets) within the last six (6) months, you are not eligible for a prize. All entries are optional, but completing more entries will increase your chances of winning a prize. Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen, so please watch your email! Please read full terms and conditions on the form before entering.

Good Luck!

 

Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card {Giveaway}

 

Welcome to the What Would You Buy $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway sponsored by Oh the Things You Can Buy and hosted by The Parenting Patch!

Oh the Things You Can Buy features cool, amazing, weird, geeky, and just plain awesome products that you can buy. From a Star Wars Chewbacca Onesie to a Glow-In-The-Dark Mushroom Kit, OTTYCB scours the internet daily for some of the most amazing products for sale imaginable.

One lucky reader of The Parenting Patch and YOUR BLOG HERE will win one (1) $50 Amazon gift card courtesy of Oh the Things You Can Buy. To enter for your chance to win the What Would You Buy $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway, simply use the following Rafflecopter form. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The What Would You Buy $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States of America. The What Would You Buy $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on May 6, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The winner will be sent an email and will have forty-eight hours to respond. If no response is received within forty-eight hours, another winner will be chosen. The Parenting Patch and The Mama Games are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Win a $50 Matilda Jane Gift Card! {Giveaway}

matilda jane giveaway

Matilda Jane Clothing Giveaway!

Hosted by: Got Giveaways?

Co-hosted by: Your Strong Tower

Sponsored by: Matilda Jane Clothing

Does your princess love ruffly, frilly, twirly clothes?  My youngest adores dressing up everywhere we go, even if it’s to Walmart.  My youngest is OBSESSED with adorable clothes (the older one not so much), and she LOVES Matilda Jane clothes.   We took a look Matilda Jane website and she pretty much wanted everything!  Matilda Jane has such CUTE clothes designed to make little girls twirl around in their clothes. And, that they do! Cady at Got Giveaways? got to review an outfit from Matilda Jane Clothing’s new It’s a Wonderful Parade line. You can read her review here!  These are really adorable clothes, so make sure to bookmark this site and come back every day to get additional entries!

How would you like to a gift card to go shopping at Matilda Jane?? One person will get a $50 gift card to Matilda Jane Clothing! This giveaway is open to US residents and will from from April 14 at 1 a.m.-April 30 at 11 p.m. EST. The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

To enter, just use the Giveaway Tool form below!

Good luck!

Cady from Got Giveaways? received an outfit from Matilda Jane Clothing to facilitate her review. No other compensation was received. All participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way associated with social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

FLASH GIVEAWAY $50 Paypal or Amazon! {Giveaway}

Flash Giveaway Image

Happy Friday to all of you!! How about a little fun today?! One lucky reader will receive $50 Paypal Cash or Amazon Gift Card!!

Could you use an extra $50??  I know I could – enter TODAY!  Make sure to get all the entries you can!

This giveaway if for TODAY ONLY! You must enter TODAY!

We are making it easy peasy to enter! Just use the form below.
Remember, this giveaway ends in 24 hours, at 11:59 pm on April 11, 2014! Tell your friends so they can enter, too!
Good Luck!

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken and Peppers {Recipe Rehab}

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love P.F. Chang’s…I sometimes dream of their lettuce wraps.  Yum!  As tasty as P.F. Chang’s is, their menu isn’t always waistline friendly.  For example, their chicken lo mein clocks in at over 700 calories!  This edition of Recipe Rehab is meant to duplicate the yummy, spicy, and salty flavors of your favorite Chinese foods while being a little more waistline friendly!  This Spicy Asian Noodles recipe features chicken and fresh red peppers with as much or as little zing to it as you want!  Caveat:  This recipe is not low sodium, so if that is a dietary concern for you you may want to avoid.  It also isn’t the prettiest dish ever, but it packs a flavor punch and is super easy, so it’s great for weekday meals!

 

IMG_1497

 

The secret to this recipe is two fold – it uses a combination of flavorful sesame oil as well as olive oil – both of which are good for you!  Sesame oil is slightly higher in fat and calories than olive oil, but both are pretty good for you.  The dual use in this recipe is because I find cooking entirely in sesame oil can be overwhelming in flavor, but if you’re a huge fan, go ahead and sub the olive oil for extra peanut oil in your Spicy Asian Noodles.  The other secret gives this recipe some serious kick – hot chili sesame oil.  Feel free to adjust the amount of this you use to spice it up, or tone it down for the kids!

IMG_1495-Edit

 

If you haven’t worked with cellophane noodles before, they are pretty fun!  A few caveats – they cook quickly!  Don’t overdo it or your Spicy Asian Noodles will resemble oatmeal…The other trick is to really season your water.  I don’t measure soy sauce into the water – I basically add it until it turns a yummy golden brown.  Also, don’t salt your water on top of the soy sauce – you will end up with SUPER salty noodles.  Here is a glimpse of what they look like during cooking and after:

 

So there you have it!  I almost forgot the best part – My Fitness Pal calculates this recipe as having approximately 420 calories per serving, making Spicy Asian Noodles a serious recipe rehab over lots of take out Chinese food!  Enjoy!

 

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into cubes and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 8 oz Cellophane Noodles
  • Sesame Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Ginger, minced
  • 2 Onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, seeds and veins removed, sliced thinly
  • Hot Chili Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. 1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. 2. Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Once hot, cook the chicken 5-6 minutes, or until brown and cooked through. Don't overcook, or it will get dry.
  3. 3. When the water is boiling, add enough soy sauce so that the water is a golden brown. Add a drop or two of hot sesame chili oil. Turn the heat off, and add the cellophane noodles. Let them soak between 4-7 minutes or until they are soft. Don't oversoak them them or they will be mushy! Drain them and toss them with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and another drop of hot chili sesame oil.
  4. 4. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan you used to cook the chicken. Stir fry the red peppers and onions until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add the ginger, a drop or two of hot chili sesame oil if you like it spicy, the cumin, and the turmeric, and 1/4 cup water.
  5. 5. Toss the noodles into the pan and taste. Season with extra soy sauce or hot chili sesame oil as you desire. Add the chicken back in and keep cooking the noodles until they get somewhat dry and brown.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.themamagames.com/2014/04/09/spicyasiannoodles/

Win a 3 month subscription to Green Kids Crafts! {Giveaway}

Welcome to Subscription Spring #3 – Green Kid Crafts

Green Kid Crafts' Award Winning Craft Kit Subscriptions

I have really been looking forward to receiving our Green Kid Crafts box. As a mom who home schools some of her children and likes to live out her ‘ being a scientist’ fantasies vicariously through her kids, Green Kid Crafts ticked a lot of boxes before it even arrived.

Green Kid designs and delivers hands-on, award winning, and eco-friendly Discovery Boxes, Creativity Kits, and STEM Kits (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).In a slightly different format to some subscription services they offer more than just the monthly subscription box service:

  • Subscribe to the traditional type of service, where you will receive one box every month with:
    • 3-4 creativity & STEM Science Kits (science, technology, engineering, and math) designed by experts to build confidence, flex creativity muscles, and make kids (and parents!) smarter
    • All materials and instructions, along with some fun extras
    • An exciting new theme. Past themes include – Outer Space, Feathered Friends, Backyard Science, Ocean, and Mad Scientist.
    • Included free for subscribers (a $5.95 monthly value): Green Kid! Activity Guide – a 20+ page collection of additional activities, reading lists, games, puzzles, and more each month, all centered about the monthly theme!
  • “One Off” boxes for purchase called Discovery Boxes. They pack a lot of fun and learning into convenient, eco-friendly packages. Developed by teachers, crafty moms and STEM experts (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to support key developmental skills for kids ages 3-10, each Discovery Box celebrates creativity with craft projects and activates thinking, questioning, inquiring, and original creation as we guide children through fun science experiments. Each Discovery Box contains 3-4 Creativity and STEM Science Kits, extension activities, and a 20+ page themed Green Kid Activity Guide. Themes currently available include – Dinosaur, World Music, Ocean, Kitchen Scientist & Garden.
  • Eco Friendly party favors. A select number of the kits from the boxes are available for individual purchase as party favors, stocking stuffers or as activities to enjoy at parties. I think they are also good to support specific learning goals in home & school. Each Birthday Activity and Party Favor comes in its own Green Kid Crafts birthday bag! A special discounted rate applies for group orders. Save 20% on orders of over 20 items with coupon code BIRTHDAY! Themes include – My Weather Station, Sailboat, Rocket Launchers, Shooting Stars and Paper Making.
  • STEM kits – STEM Science Kits make science fun and exciting for kids through hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments. The kits facilitate thinking, questioning, inquiring, and original creation as children are guided through the scientific inquiry and engineering design process. Themes include – Cloud Finder, Weather Station Kit & Sun Prints.

Green Kid Crafts – Review

My intention had been to post an ‘opening the box’ video here. I was setting up the equipment, with the kids and went off to answer the ‘phone. I came back to find that, such was their excitement, they had started without me – but I went with the flow! So here is the slightly badly focused, raw reaction of our 6 & 7 year olds opening the box!

As you can see they were very pleased with what they found in the Kitchen Science Discovery Box and you can read the full review of the box here.

Click here to find out more about Fun, creative and earth-friendly craft projects, delivered each month by GreenKidCrafts

Or on the button below to take advantage of Aprils special offer – but be quick they won’t last long!

20% off Discovery Boxes

Giveaway Time

One of our lucky readers can win a three month subscription, donated by the generous folks at Green Kid Crafts.

The giveaway is open to the US residents aged 18+ only. It starts on 04/09/14 at 0001 PST and ends 05/12/14 at 2359 PST. Enter using the form below.

Kitty and The Midnight Hour {Book Review}

 

As I mentioned before, I love digging into a new series – I find that the author has more time to build and develop characters and I can get more invested into a character and a story line.  So I was pretty excited to start a new series by Carrie Vaughn which features Kitty Norville, a modern-day werewolf who finds herself an overnight sensation as the host of a paranormal late night radio show called The Midnight Hour.  Kitty and the Midnight Hour is the first of the series, and established the “rules” under which Kitty’s world operates.

Much like my much beloved True Blood/Southern Vampire books, Kitty’s world is on the cusp of a revelation in which vampires and werewolves are becoming a reality for normal citizens.  Kitty helps this along with here radio show, and eventually “comes out” herself on the show.  In addition to dealing with her own struggles of being a “cub” werewolf, she acts as defacto counselor for werewolves and vampires across the country seeking a sympathetic ear and advice.

Kitty faces a number of challenges throughout the book.  She struggles to find her own place within the pack, who is displeased with her independence, the local Vampire family, and smoldering werewolf hunter, and a rogue psychotic werewolf who is murdering local girls.

I really liked this book – there was enough of a plot line to keep the book moving.  There was good character development – Kitty is multifaceted and there were aspects to her character that I enjoyed and admired and others that I didn’t.  There is also just enough sexiness to keep it interesting too! But she certainly is interesting, and I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series after reading Kitty and The Midnight Hour!

 

Buy Kitty and The Midnight Hour

On Amazon for $7.19

On Kindle for $6.99