Saturday, December 28, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama Recipe - Mounds Muffin in a Mug

Attention dark chocolate and coconut fans! Introducing the Mounds MIM!

(Dark Chocolate and Coconut MIM)
1 egg
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal 
1 Tbsp extra dark cocoa
1 heaping Tbsp regular cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 Dash of vanilla
2 Dashes of coconut extract
Sweetener to taste (I use 4 stevia drops, 3 xylitol packets, 2 Truvia packets)
Dash of Sea Salt
1 tsp water, almond milk, cream

Mix well. In separate bowl make coconut filling with 2Tbsp unsweetened coconut and 1- 1 1/2 Tbsp low fat ricotta cheese and another dash of coconut extract.Push into center of muffin mix. Microwave 1 minute. Top with a sprinkle of more flaked coconut and a dollop of whipped cream.
If you have skinny chocolate to melt and drizzle over this you will be in heaven.

Friday, December 13, 2013

"GREEN" Theme Christmas...

This year for Christmas, I would like to give out gifts that reflect all that I learned in my Environmental Science class at University. I was so moved that I have begun making changes in my own life to take better care of our world on a daily basis. So for my first project, I am going to make shopping bags to replace all those plastic ones you get everywhere you go shopping.

Reusable Shopping Bag

Another Shopping Bag Tutorial and Packaging Idea

WHY should we NOT use plastic bags???

Fact: Globally, over 1 million plastic bags are consumed per minute.
Gut-wrenching Fact: Marine wildlife mistakes plastic bags for food and dies.
Frustrating Fact: It’s taking too long for supermarkets and politicians to sort it out. Plastic bags are still blowing in the wind and choking the whales.
Happy Fact: Making your own bags will help, with immediate effect.
Plastic bags in water are serial killers. They are ingested by marine wildlife, as plastic bags are often mistaken for jellyfish. The dolphin, whale, turtle or bird dies by suffocation or starvation and decomposes around the bag. The bag floats off, ready for its next victim…
No one knows how long these treacherous bags take to biodegrade. Humans have only been using them for 40 years but they are already covering the planet. Plastic bags photodegrade (break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits) and the pieces infiltrate every part of the food chain, for marine wildlife and humans.
A young female minke whale was washed up in Normandy, France, on April 6th 2002. These were the contents of her stomach:
1 x plastic/aluminum crisp packet
2 x English supermarket bags
7 x various coloured dustbin bag bits
7 x transparent plastic bags
1 x food packaging wrapper
Factoids at a glance:
  •  Over 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year (so that’s about 70 plastic bags per person – if everyone had a trusty 10 or so morsbags to keep and use, problem solved!)
  • Retailers and governments are struggling to make the difference that is needed through taxes and bans – we – the consumers – need to take this into our own hands.
  • “The impact of this plastic waste can be seen littering our landscape, threatening our wildlife and accumulating as ‘plastic soup’ in the Pacific Ocean, which may cover more than 15,000,000 sq. km,” Janez Potocnik – European Commissioner for the environment.
  • According to MSN, the production of plastic bags creates enough solid waste per year to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times.
  • In some parts of the ocean there are six pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton.
These are unreferenced facts and there are plenty more out there on the web. However, it is generally acknowledged and accepted that plastic bags are harmful in one way or another, so we think time would be better spent making a reusable cloth bag than googling! Hope you agree…
The staggering amount of plastic bags freely handed out in shops is boggling and consequently shoppers habitually forget that plastic bags are not the only option.

Course Reflection

As I complete my first semester at the University, I look back amazed at what I have been able to accomplish. First and foremost, I have realized I am capable of a lot more than I expected. A lot of people tell me they are astounded that I can go to college, homeschool four kids, work part time, and run my household as a single mom. I hate to say it but, while it is exhausting at times, it hasn't been hard because I love what I am doing. (Well, maybe not my job, but that is another story.) 

I am truly thankful for college and the things I am learning. I was never able to have this experience when I was 18, but in the end I know I would not have appreciated it then like I do now. The experiences I had in my fist semester made me realize I can do even more, and that is why next semester I am doubling my class load.
In my Digital Media online class, I worked with so many new programs I had never heard of before. I really thought I was a "computer person" but I realized we get into our little niches and never see some of the wonderful creative resources out there.
I love how the class forced me to take my photography skills to the next level. I had to learn about pixels and mega pixels. I really think there is a ton more to learn here, and I plan to take a photography class to further expand this area.
One of my favorite assignments was creating music and the mash-up video to go with it. This is my niche and I loved all 32 hours I dedicated to both assignments. Prior to this, I didn't know how to create digital music, but now I have a product I can be proud of and the skill to create original music for future film projects.
The course also gave me the beginning skills to create a fantastic website with Wix and the ability to create graphics in 3D and GIF animation to showcase products I may want to feature on my site. My ultimate goal is to be my own business owner, and the exposure I had in the class has only helped in showing me the possibilities that digital media can play in my future online endeavors.
I wish I would have had more of an opportunity to learn how to create my own digital illustrations with a program like Adobe Illustrator, but I was able to play around a bit with this genre of art using the Scribbler and Flame programs. The typography assignment was fun, too, and I can see a ton of possibilities in using words and images as logos for any business I might launch. I am excited to take the skills I learned and continue on them throughout my college journey.

Unlikely Holiday Movies

Not all holiday movies have to be "Christmas" specific. Some of my favorite movies have little if nothing at all to do with the holidays but somehow they just seem to be a perfect fit for this time of year. Here are a few to get you started. Enjoy!


Find my work on Seelio now!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Ultimate Christmas Movie List

There is just something about November and December that makes me want to cuddle in with a tasty treat, warm blanket, soft pillow and a good holiday movie. I've already watched quite a few this season and decided to go on a quest for some old favorites and a few new goodies. This led to The Ultimate Christmas Movie List 2013.

Now while it may seem I have found every Christmas movie ever made, I have to say, I left out quite a lot of movies. The sheer number of holiday movies available is astonishing. My list includes movies from the 40's through today. It spans movie theater quality films to made for TV specials. I have seen a lot of them, but not all so this list is as much for me as it is for you.

Some of these movies could be hard to find but not impossible. Here are my search methods:
  • Netflix Instant Video (Monthly membership about $7.99)
  • Netflix By Mail DVD's (Monthly membership starts around $4.99)
  • Amazon Instant Video (If you have Amazon Prime $$, you can usually watch for a few $)
  • Library (FREE!)
  • Youtube (Sometimes it is there, FREE!)
  • TV Channel Websites (FREE) Such as ABC Family, etc…
  • Family Video (My local Video Rental Store)

Today I am presenting my Christmas movie list, but if you come back tomorrow, you'll find my Ultimate Unlikely Christmas Movie List 2013. Hope to see you back!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Health and Fitness

Well, my first semester of college is nearly complete and I am so excited with all I was able to accomplish. Of course, being a homeschool mother of 4 children and one college student in addition to working part-time, taking care of all the household business and going to college myself, it is no wonder a few things slipped by the wayside.

That leads me to my own health and fitness. I am pretty sure I put on about 5lbs this semester due to poor eating and little extra exercise. So as the semester winds down, I want to take this opportunity to get back and track and set in motion some new habits that will hopefully stick as I start classes in January. Here is my plan...

Diet - I have been on many eating plans over the years and I have found nothing works as well as Trim Healthy Mama. It is a low glycemic eating plan that does not limit amounts of food, just the types of food you can eat either together or at all. Basically if you are eating high carb at a meal, keep the fat intake to a minimum. However, if your craving something with a higher fat intake, go low carb. Both meals need to have a good portion of protein included. The book is over 600 pages long and includes tons of recipes. I have gleaned many additional ones online at their Facebook page and THM blogs. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to the plan. Just do a Pinterest search and a ton more will pop up. It is a wonderful way to eat but as all diets do, it requires planning ahead so you have the food you need available.

As far as exercise goes, I am going to get back into running. My favorite resource for this is the Couch Potato to 5K program. I have an amazing app on my iPhone that allows me to listen to my own music while getting cues when to run and when to walk. Before I had this app, I used NHS podcasts.

Two other apps I use often are My Fitness Pal to track my nutrition and Endomondo to track my distances when running outside.

So I have decided to also start adding in some weight training and I have currently requested "You Are Your Own Gym" and "Body By You". I need to be able to work out at home a few days a week. Just getting out is difficult as it takes so much time out of my day. I am hoping these will keep me from needing to purchase a bunch of equipment.

I would also like to add in Yoga and I have found a wealth of Youtube videos on the subject. When doing some research, I learned that Sadie Nardini is considered a great teacher so I will be trying out some of her videos.

So, finally, the plan is 3 days a week of running, 2 days of weight training with 1 day of Yoga starting Monday!