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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keeping On the Health Train

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This post brought to you by Slim-Fast. All opinions are 100% mine.
So in previous posts I have talked about how I have been trying to keep a low calorie diet in order to cut out some weight.  I've been pretty good about keeping the calories down, so I've also been trying to focus on getting the right levels of nutrients in my daily diet.
I decided to give the new Slim-Fast  Shakes a try.  They come in around 190 calories, which I wasn't thrilled about at first, but they are actually really filling, so they make the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack.  Another huge benefit are the high levels of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.  I've mentioned before that I struggle getting enough Potassium in my diet, well one shake gave me 600 mg of Potassium, bonus!
I perused the selection at my local grocery store (and received a $1.50 off a future purchase coupon at the end!) but you can also pick up Slim-Fast products at Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, Kroger, Amazon.com, or at the Slim-Fast 3-2-1 store on Facebook.  I decide to give the Creamy Milk Chocolate a try.
It looked like, and tasted exactly like, chocolate milk!  I was really impressed with the flavor.  I have tried protein shakes in the past, and have not been overly thrilled, but this tasted like a glass of chocolate milk.  It tastes much better cold, so I stuck a couple ice cubes in there, but I used the plastic kinds that don't water down a drink.  The colder it was, the more frosty and chocolatey it tasted.
  
Even though at first I was a little put off with how high the calories were, I was pleasantly surprised at just how filling it really was.  It worked as the perfect snack and I didn't need a meal for hours later.  Definitely a plus!  I know I'll be going back for more.  Some of the other flavors look pretty interesting too, now that I've cut out most coffee, a nice cappuccino flavor might be nice, and I do like Vanilla Milkshakes, so I might have to give the French Vanilla flavor a try.
I'm also interested in giving the Slim-Fast 100 calorie snack bars a try as well.  I glanced at the selection in the store while picking up my shake and was impressed with the selection.  Since my current diet is focused on cutting out calories, I'm constantly looking for low calorie snacks, and you can't beat 100 calorie bars!  A regular granola bar tends to run around 110 calories, or more, and don't look nearly as filling.
Overall I'm really happy with my Slim-Fastexperience.  I think I've made a new discovery that will help this low calorie diet continue to be successful.  I'm happy to be healthy and feeling good!  I encourage all of you to give the new shakes a try!  Also swing by and check out the Slim-Fast Facebook page, I'm sure you'll "like" them, just like I did!
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Monday, December 5, 2011

It's finally that time of year!

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This is the beginning of my favorite time of year!  Thanksgiving needs it's well deserved time in the spot lot, but as soon as it's over...bring on the Christmas Cheer!  This year we finally got around to getting and putting up our tree.
We don't own a tree skirt, but after getting the tree in the stand it was pretty obvious that we needed one...
So I hit the store, and picked up a cheap $6 fleece blanket.  Spread it out on the floor...
Folded it into quarters...
Cut an arch, which created a big oval shape...
Then I cut a slit so that it would fit around the tree.
 Then I put it under the tree, covering up the tree stand, and was quite pleased with the end result!
Here's to $6 and 5 minutes of my time!
Brian and I had a great weekend together decorating and seeing lots of fun Christmas lights!
 After a fantastic weekend, it was back to work today.  Getting home at 7, it was grocery shopping time, ugh.  Getting home after 8, with no dinner made, and the pledge to stay healthy and under my calorie goal, I was just not feeling it.  But I'm pretty happy with what I came up with!

Easy, healthy, low calorie chicken salad!  I picked up a small rotisserie chicken while at the grocery store.  Shredded it up, added one cup of plain greek yogurt (much healthier and better than mayo!), 1 cup of red grapes cut in half, 1/2 cup of green onions, and 1 avocado chopped.
I stirred it all up, taste tested it, and was thrilled that it wasn't missing anything flavor wise!
I added it to a tortilla (much lower calories than 2 slices of bread) and a glass of V-8 splash.  Overall my dinner came in around 346 calories (BAM!).  It was delicious, healthy, filling, and only took a couple minutes to whip up.  Best part is that I now have lunch for tomorrow, plus I will probably skip the tortilla which puts it at only 146 calories...love it!
I would say that throughout this whole healthy kick, my greatest achievement has been cutting out my daily cup of coffee, and my nightly glass(es) of wine.  I'm down to about 2 cups of coffee weekly, and only an occasional glass of wine.  I'm definitely feeling good!

Happy Monday to you all!

Simply Living

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Busy night

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God bless the inventor of the bread maker. It's a home made bread, soup, and mad dash to finish progress notes kind of night. First parent teacher conferences/open house tomorrow. *squee!*

Wish me luck!

Simply Living



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jump on the health train

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So today I tried out a new smoothie I found while pinning away on Pinterest.  SO DELICIOUS!

The original recipe was referred to as the "Green Monster".  It is packed full of good healthy things, but tastes like a delicious treat!

All you need:
1 banana
1 cup OJ
Handful of baby spinach
Handful of frozen pineapple
Handful of frozen peaches

Pop it all in the blender....and give it a spin.
It came out beautiful and green, mine still had some spinach chunks, but you could hardly even taste it.  Primarily it tasted like banana and pineapple.  You could play around with how much of each ingredient you add based on what your taste preferences are, but mine tasted absolutely delicious!  This is definitely a keeper, and came in at a mere 86 calories!  Double bonus!
For dinner we stuck to the health train and gave a new spin to the classic BLT a try.  The idea also came from a pinterest find, but I gave it my own spin.

Here is what I used:
Everything bagel thin, toasted
Smidge of mayo
Turkey bacon
Fried Egg, salted
Tomato
Avacado
Put it all together, and voila!  Messy to eat, but yummy!!

Brian gobbled it up too, which was a plus.  Look at all the fresh, healthy, and delicious food I snuck into his dinner ;-)  I think this would work well as a breakfast sandwich as well.  I'm definitely adding it to my repeat list.

So there you have it, today's healthy ventures.  And I was able to come in under my calorie goal, while boosting many of my necessary nutrients.  Good Day!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cucumber Melon Smoothie

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So Brian and I are starting a new healthy kick/low calorie diet. He's trying to loose some weight for a race he's competing in this spring, and I figured I'd jump on board. Counting calories has definitely opened up my eyes to what I'm putting into my body, I've been surprised by a number of things! That being said, I'm much less concerned about making my calorie goal and loosing weight, and more concerned with balancing my diet and making sure that I get all the right percentages of necessary nutrients. Once I started tracking my calories I was surprised that I never, or rarely ever, met my goals for Potassium, Vitamin A and C, Calcium, or Iron.

The first thing I did was to add a Daily Women's 1 a Day Multivitamin. This is something I should have been doing all along anyways, but that really helped to boost my Calcium, Iron, and Vitamin levels. Along with that I've been trying to add fresh produce and healthier choices. We've been really good about cooking dinner at home and only occasionally eating out at restaurants or ordering take out. We've also been picking up lower calorie "snacks" (like the 100 calorie packs) at the grocery store, or snacking on things like raisins, rice cakes, celery, etc instead of potato chips or cookies.

I've been cruising around looking for some smoothie recipes the last few days. I went through a pretty big smoothie kick this summer, which was a great way to get lots of good fruits and veggies into my diet, so I decided to give it a go again. Today I tried a cucumber melon smoothie. It was pretty good, but I'm not 100% if I would make it again. I would like to try another cucumber based smoothie though.

Regardless, it was pretty easy to make, and was tasty, just not in large quantities. Serves about 4, 2 if you want a large glass.

All you need is:
1/2 honeydew melon, chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and cut
1/2 cup water
1 cup ice, crushed
4 tablespoons honey

Stick in the blender, give it a whirl, and you're ready to go!
 It made a pretty green, and is packed full of potassium and Vitamin C, as well as other good stuff :)

Any other healthy smoothie recipes to share?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thank you!!

I***Simply Living has moved!  Come check us out at http://www.simplylivingjen.com for new updates ***

 have to give a huge THANK YOU shout out to all of my amazing readers!! I hit 100,000 page views today and it absolutely blows my mind! You guys rock! Thank you ever so much for finding my little spot in the blogosphere and coming back for more! That was all the encouragement u needed to start regular posts again!

Much love!

Simply Living



Playdough

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Hey All, long time no blog!

The last few months have just been a little too jam packed for me to be keeping up with the blog regularly.  But I'm hoping to get on here every so often and start posting again.  I unfortunately don't have the same kind of time to be tootling around like I used to, but I'll be checking in on all of you as I can.

So if there was every a question of or problem with lack of inspiration, Pinterest has renewed any and all of my crafty brain synapses.  I've got the bug again!  If you don't already have a Pinterest account I recommend you go out and request on ASAP, you'll thank me later, believe me!

So while scanning Pinterest the other day, I found a really great recipe for home made playdough.  As a new Kindergarten Teacher, it's hard to constantly be running out and buying classroom supplies.  The kiddos adore playdough, but since our last bucket never got covered properly...all we had left was hard crusty play dough chunks.  So when I saw this idea, I thought it was great!

All you need is:
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup water
Food coloring
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

How simple?!  I had all of that at home, minus the food coloring.  So I decided to get a little creative.

The first dough that I made, instead of adding food coloring to the water, I added some Raspberry/Pink lemonade powder mix to the flour.  I ended up with a really pretty, yummy smelling, pink:
When I was kneading out the dough, I added a generous amount of white glitter:
It's hard to see the glitter in the end result picture, but the girls are going to go wild at school tomorrow!
 I made one extra batch, added some vanilla extract to make it smell nice, and then added green and red glitter.  The color isn't the best, since brown vanilla made it a little muddy looking, but it smells good!
I loved this recipe!  It took less than 10 minutes total for me to make both batches, it's nice and soft, cost me nothing since I already had all the ingredients at home, and I know that the kids will go just wild at school tomorrow!

I'd love to try this as a cooking lesson at school, but I can't bring the kids to the kitchen, so I would have to do the stove part another time.  But it's definitely a recipe I've bookmarked and will be using again.  Anything that saves a teacher money is well worth the at home effort!

Do any of you have good tricks for Kindergarteners?

Simply Living


Friday, July 22, 2011

Better than a yardsale

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of uSell for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
How many of you have old cell phones lying around the house?  I know I do...more than 1 in fact!  Every two years my cell phone plan allows me to upgrade to a new phone, which means I have literally dozens of old cell phones that are just sitting in a box.  I'm sure that many of you are actually in the same position, so rather than letting them collect dust somewhere, why not earn a little extra cash?!
There is this great new website which is geared specifically towards helping you sell and earn money for old electronics.  This could include items such as cell phones, MP3 players, Digital Cameras, Tablets, Game Consoles, and E-Readers.  Check it out right now, see how much you could earn just for trading in a cell phone you no longer use! Cash for Your Cell Phones and Electronics
Next time you upgrade to a new digital camera, or Playstation, why not sell the old one, and gain a little extra pocket money?  Yard sales are great, but what if you only want to get rid of a few electronics and not host a whole event?  uSell offers an easy way to find the highest cash paying buyers, and their 100% Max Cash Guarantee ensures you get the most cash, or they'll pay the difference.  Almost too good to believe, huh?
I know I'll be checking this out later.  I get to empty a box of unused cell phones, make space in my closet, AND earn a couple extra, practically free, dollars to spend on my self.  Hello $ for a summer pedicure...
Stop by and check them out!

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Through the looking glass

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zenni Optical for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I've had glasses since I was in about the 6th grade.  I was having trouble seeing some of the things written on the board, and my Mom took me in for an eye exam.  I have to say, as a pre-teen, I was kinda bummed about the idea of having glasses.  Totally was not the best fashion statement...who wants to be the kid with "four eyes?"  This was definitely well before the days when glasses were a fashion statement.

These days life has certainly changed.  There are people out there who wear glasses, without perscription lenses, just as a fashion statement!  I have moved over to wearing contacts for daily use, but still have my trusty glasses.

Even though I wear my contacts more frequently than my glasses, I would love a new pair.  I haven't actually purchased one, because I can't justify the expense for something I don't wear all the time.  But, that was before I heard about Zenni Optical.

In the past, "cheap" glasses, or at least frames, always seemed like a hoax to me.  Too good to be true.  If they are inexpensive, the must be cheaply made and not sturdy at all.  But after looking around the Zenni Optical website, I was more than pleased with what I was seeing.

I think I did a double and triple take at the prices.  Ubelievable.  I paid more than a couple hundred dollars for my glasses, and I found almost identical frames at Zenni Optical for less than $20.  Maybe having multiple pairs of glasses, even as a fashion statement, is actually affordable!

Since many times things that look affordable and "good enough" online, aren't the same when the arrive in the mail, I decided that it was time to look at the reviews.  I was more than please to see that Time magazine had mentioned Zenni Optical!  Time is an incredibly reliable source that is followed by many readers.

That was all the reassurance that I needed.  I think I can finally get that new pair of glasses without worrying about breaking the bank, or worrying about spending too much money.  Who knows, if they are as good as they look, maybe I will even start wearing them more often than my contacts!  Not to mention the idea of getting a pair of perscription sunglasses.  That's something I've never had, but it looks like Zenni Optical might make that a possibility!

Go check them out!
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Video Tour of the New Place

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Hi Everyone!  Thanks for all your patience :) Here is a quick video tour of the new place to tide you all over.  I'm hoping that with the long weekend I can finish unpacking and then hopefully get back into the blogging swing of things!  Hope you all are well!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wee Bit of Me Wednesday #13

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{one} when was the last time you used a pay phone (if ever)?
We used to have one at the middle school I went to, that was pre-cell phone days.  I think that's the last pay phone I used, I'm pretty sure it cost 10 cents to make a call

{two} did you ever fail a subject in school?
I failed an Anatomy Lab in college...but I passed the class.

{three} where do you go to get your favorite hamburger/cheeseburger?
This little hole in the wall joint in the next town over.  Super cheezy, greasy, and overall delicious.

{four} have you ever served jury duty?
No, but I think it would be fun!
 
{five} how old were you when you moved out of your parents’ house?
Moved out when I was 21, just moved back last spring and I'll be moving out again (I'm 25 now) in 8 days.  AHHH the packing that has to happen is scary.

{six} what is your favorite color to wear?
Green, it makes my green eyes even greener.  It's pretty cool

{seven} do you have a pair of shoes that you wear all the time?
I'm usually in sneakers, or flat boots.  So excited for flip flop season!

{eight} do you enjoy talk radio?
Not particularly, I'd rather sing along to a song

{nine} if you could turn one unhealthy food into a healthy one, what food would it be?
French Fries...I would eat them everyday!

{ten} who is the best speaker you’ve ever heard in person?
Stephen King was pretty spectacular

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spring = difficulty with Spray Paint

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I ended up playing hooky from work today, lets call it a mental health day.  And boy was it needed!

My car will finally be done this afternoon and I can pick it up after a home visit with a student.  I haven't heard the final bill yet...and I'm cringing just thinking about it.  But hopefully all will be good.

Instead of sharing my "to do" lists, I'd like to share my "done" list!  Today was a productive day!

It started with submitting my final graduate paper.  Man, does it feel good!  Maybe one day I'll finish the whole masters, but for now I'm happy with the certificate I set out to complete!  5 classes finished, with excellent grades, and paid in full.  Halleluia!

You'll never guess what else I finished!  The bathroom walls are completely finished!  Let's not talk about the wood work...floor...or ceiling.  Celebrate the walls!
 Not the best lighting, it makes them look washed out a bit.  But at this point, not an inch of me cares, they're finished!  I'll try to take some better pictures tonight after the sun has gone down.  HUGE project to cross off of my list.  I know that the bathroom isn't nearly finished yet...but that was a big step!

While cleaning and packing things I got stuck with a bookcase dilemma.  This was the color of my bookcase:
Cute when I was younger, but not quite the look we're going for now.  But it's a sturdy bookcase that is still perfectly functional.  I washed that puppy up and let it dry overnight.

Then I chose a white spray paint that didn't require any primer.  I was excited to give the spray paint a chance, particularly since each coat only needs 15 minutes to dry (WAY better than waiting 4 hours for paint from a can to dry before you can do another coat).
The worst thing about spray painting in spring, at least here in MA, is that it's windy...and goes from a beautiful sunny day to rain storms in a matter of minutes.  I'm glad I got as far as I did today, because the next sunny day isn't supposed to be until next Tuesday!  That barely gives me any time until we move to finish her up!

But I digress....here is the progress!

After the first coat of spray paint:
Then after a second coat:
 And then I got smart and decided to stick the beast up on some old saw horses for better access, particularly to the bottom half:
Now I was in business!  I'm certainly not the world's best spray painter, hence the drips:
But I was able to complete this so quickly, as opposed to waiting for hours during dry time.  I also liked that I didn't need to do 2 coats of primer...followed by 2 coats of paint in order to cover up that ugly blue.

It did however take me 3 cans of spray paint...and it still has a blue-ish tint!
But I'm totally ok with that.  Already it looks better than it did at first, and my ultimate goal is to have a white exterior, and have the inside and shelves be the color of the bathroom.  Luckily I have 3/4 of a gallon of left over paint!  That will almost definitely be waiting until after the move though.  There's only so much I can cram into the next week and a half!  I'm exited to show you all the final final reveal...but don't expect it any time soon :)

Here's a peak at what my garage is looking like these days:
Another small cabinet that needs to be repainted...but that also won't happen until after the move.  And there's our brand new couch hiding in the background covered in plastic.  Good thing since all the green pollen is starting to attack!

While I was out spray painting in the back yard I came across some awesome tiny pinecones:
I grabbed a bag and started collecting:
That's a large ziploc...not a tiny sandwich bag by the way.  I'm excited, but really happy I have many many months before deciding what kind of fall themed craft they will turn into.  Stay tuned!

Hope everyone is enjoying May so far, 9 days until my birthday.  Just sayin'  :)

Simply Living


All content, including text and original photos, are copyrighted and property of Jen Caffelle

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