Friday, November 21, 2014

five on friday

five on friday five on friday five on friday
1. "There are times when 'don’t beat yourself up' is terrible advice" by the hysterical Karen Sommerfeld for Purple Clover. “Not beating yourself up is supposed to be a way to build self-esteem, but you know what builds self-esteem? Doing estimable acts." I've been following Karen, who I know better by her pen name June Gardens, on her blog Bye Bye, Pie for years.

2. Nikki Mans from Whimsy Love shared a Balloon Advent Calendar this week. It's so cute. Nikki has the best ideas for crafting with kids on her blog.

3. What Are Your Pet Peeves? by Joanna Goddard with illustrator Emily McDowell for A Cup of Jo. Loud crunching (or any loud eating noises); obnoxious poking; unpleasant odors that are supposed to be pleasant (too much cologne, strongly scented candles, etc); loud, public disciplining; over sharing- to name a few.

4. I bought these digital stamps from Elise Blaha Cripe at Enjoy It. I bought them before I knew all that you do with them. See her video tutorial here. So cool.

5. I'm making these roasted potato breakfast nachos for dinner tonight (breakfast for dinner is popular at my house). Tracy Benjamin from Shutterbean shared this recipe, which is from Joy the Baker's latest book Homemade Decadence. [Edited to add: Made the nachos! They were the bomb dot com. My sister Jasmine posted a picture on Instagram.]

Hope you have a good one!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

52 sandwiches #50: tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons

The other day Tracy from Shutterbean posted a picture on Instagram of tomato soup and a sandwich, which looked amazing. I went searching for the recipe hoping she had shared it on her blog, but I didn't find anything. Could anything be more sad? ;) There's always good ole Pinterest though, right? Eh. The soup I found and made wasn't even the same color as it was in the original Pinterest picture. Maybe I used too much cream or something. I went back to Tracy's blog again looking for a tomato soup recipe hoping maybe I had overlooked it the first time I went looking for it. Sadly, I didn't find it, but Tracy did link to a creamy tomato soup Joy from Joy the Baker shared on her blog. And you know how much I like Joy's recipes. I made her soup, and it was perfect. What I did gain from searching Pinterest for a tomato soup recipe is that several people shared the idea of garnishing their soups with grilled cheese croutons. Good idea for sandwich #50!
52 sandwiches no. 50: tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons
For this tasty experience, you will have to make your favorite tomato soup first. I highly recommend Joy's if you don't have a favorite already.

To make grilled cheese croutons, warm a small pan or panini maker. Layer cheddar cheese slices on one slice of bread, then top it with the other slice of bread. Butter each sides of the bread. Grill the sandwich for a few minutes until golden. Finally, cut the sandwich into cubes.
52 sandwiches no. 50: tomato soup with "croutons"
Yes to grilled cheese croutons and yes to Joy's tomato soup.
52 sandwiches no. 50: tomato soup with "croutons"** I am attempting to make 52 sandwiches. Read more about how this project got started here. See all the sandwiches I've made so far here.**

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

workspace wednesday: 10 steps to overhauling your space

workspace wednesday
(As I was sorting through painful amounts of paper, I began to gather supplies for my December Daily. #ohgoodjob).
workspace wednesday
A few weeks ago (in October) I discussed creating vs spending. In October I made a goal to really go through my craft supplies and sort through everything. My goal was to purge my supplies and clear my space (and mind!). I find that messy spaces hinder my creativity. Maybe you feel the same way. If you do, I've put together a list of how to tackle your space, which is how I tackled my space this last time.

1. Set a realistic goal for completing this project
I intended to complete this project within month. Though I had to extend my deadline, it gave me a good initial starting point. A deadline motivates me to push myself and not put off an activity.

2. Label 2 large boxes: "sell" and "giveaway"
As you sort through your things, you'll want to consider those items which are worth selling (on eBay, a yard sale, a craft fair, etc.) and those items which you can giveaway. You may know a few people who are just starting to build their supplies and would appreciate your excess given to them.

3. Pace yourself
You've already made your deadline, now decide how much time you'll be investing in this task daily or weekly. Maybe you'll work every weekend for a couple of hours. Maybe you'll take 15 minutes every day to work on your space. For example, I have a bookshelf with 12"x12" cubes; I decided I would completely sort through one cube every weekday until I completed the task. Find what works for you and doesn't overwhelm you.

4. Prepare to do what you don't want to do
There are some tasks that will be daunting. For me it was my paper. There was so much of it (too much of it). If possible spilt that task up into more manageable pieces. Instead of tackling my paper all at once, I worked in one section (by color because that's how I had it organized) every day. It wasn't so overwhelming that way.

5. Purge
Get rid of that which you wouldn't buy again, that which you know you won't use, and that which doesn't inspire you anymore. Be ruthless.

6. Put like things together in attractive storage boxes/bins/etc. and label them if possible
I have these inexpensive boxes I like from Ikea. I hadn't labeled all of them. I made it a point to label all the boxes this time around. It's amazing to know right away what's in any given box.

7. Dust/clean dirty supplies
Things that haven't been used in a while collect dust. Things that are used often- glue bottles, scissors, binders- get dirty. Clean them and marvel at how clean your space is starting to look.

8. Giveaway what you've set aside and sell what you've set aside
It'll still clutter your space if it sits there for weeks/months at at a time and you don't get rid of it. Don't wait- get rid of it.

9. Reflect on your excess and how to avoid accumulating
Have your ever bought something extra because you didn't realize you already had it or something very similar? Yeah. Me, too. I'm trying not to impulse buy and create with what I have.

10. Reward yourself
This was no easy feat. Reward yourself for a job well done. I recommend a quiet afternoon of crafting with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

See other Workspace Wednesday posts here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

my weight loss toolbox: planning for the holidays

my weight loss toolbox:                          planning for the holidays
With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other festive holidays coming up, I am planning ahead to keep my weight loss goals in mind. It's easy to lose perspective during this busy season. Busy can mean a lack of activity and lack of activity paired with plenty of delicious (potentially high calorie/low quality) foods and meals can cause setbacks. I've put some tips together to help get through the holidays.

Set goals/refresh your goals
Do you want to lose weight this season? Do you want to maintain your weight?  Would you be okay with gaining 5 pounds so long as you get to enjoy all of the foods you love? What are your goals? Go into this time of year with those goals in mind. Plan accordingly.

Stay active by challenging yourself
In the past I've made the goal to run a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day (see here to read more about it). I'm not doing that again because I don't love running. Ha. I will be challenging myself to stay regularly active throughout the holidays, however. I do enjoy Zumba, walking, interval training, for example. Exercising is a priority and helps counteract some of those extra calories being consumed.

Find a partner
It is highly likely you will find another person who is also not wanting to derail all of their hard work. That person could help keep you accountable by motivating you to exercise and/or to eat moderately.

Eat moderately the week of the event
I like the Weight Watchers' points system. Using the points system, I'm allotted a particular amount of daily points to eat, which are calculated using my gender, weight, height, and whether I'm breastfeeding or not. Foods are assigned a point value (fruits and vegetables are 0 points). I budget my points to stay within my allotted points. There are also 49 weekly points which can be used whenever I'd like- on the weekends, for a birthday celebration, a special anniversary dinner, throughout the week, etc. Thanksgiving week I will likely be saving the majority of my points for Thanksgiving. That means I will be eating moderately, but still enough for my daily requirements (food fuels or bodies!) that week, which will allow me to consume extra points (calories) on Thanksgiving.

Eat normally the day of the big event
It may be tempting to save your calories and eat only during your festive meal, but you will probably be "hangry" (angry and hungry) by the time you've given yourself permission to eat. Thus, it will make the meal less enjoyable. Also, you will probably eat more than you would have had you been eating normally throughout the day. On Thanksgiving day, I plan to eat my typical healthy breakfast (oatmeal or Greek yogurt) and not be ravenous for our family celebrations later in the day.

Replace high calorie with low calorie, yet satisfying, options
For example, if you're cooking and a recipe calls for a stick of butter- use 1/2 instead of the whole stick. Simple tweaks can make a dish significantly lighter. Or maybe you're not cooking and there's a spread of food in front of you. Ask yourself how you can make your plate lighter without feeling like you're depriving yourself. For example, add a tablespoon of gravy to your mashed potatoes instead of 1/4 cup.

Eat some vegetables
Include vegetables on your plate. They're light and if prepared correctly (or to your taste), they can be a delicious addition to your meal. If you're hosting, think of some vegetable sides to add to your menu. If you're not hosting, bring a veggie platter to share.

Eat what you love
Like I said, don't deprive yourself. You want to enjoy your festive meals and if you don't eat your favorite entrees or sides, you're likely to binge later. Enjoy your favorites in moderation.

Eat only what you love
Don't waste calories on foods you don't really like. If you don't like Aunt Sue's green bean casserole (sorry, Aunt Sue) then don't eat it. Or maybe you're hosting and you made a dish everyone else seems to really enjoy, but you're not that into it- don't eat it. You don't have to eat what "everybody" else is eating.

Watch your beverages
Sugary drinks and alcoholic drinks (or sugary, alcoholic drinks!) have a way of adding up. Drink water instead. ;) If you have to have a beverage as in, it's not a party without _____), then sip slowly and mindfully.

Occupy your hands
It might be tempting to eat and keep on eating because hey, isn't that what we're here for? No. Remember to socialize. Play with the kids. Hold that cute baby. Don't treat eating as an indoor sport.

Share
If you're hosting, send some leftovers home with family/friends. You don't want all of that food tempting you the next day or days after.

Enjoy yourself
Being mindful doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself. :)

(Want to know more about My Weight Loss Toolbox?  Start here, and continue here). 

Monday, November 17, 2014

addy's eats

A few years ago James at Bleubird started an adorable series "Bird Food" for her daughter who was a toddler at the time. James would serve cute and healthy, portion appropriate meals for her. I was inspired by her series and began doing my own with Adeline who was a toddler when I started this project, but is now a preschooler.

These are some of the meals I've put together recently for her:
addy's eats
mozzarella cheese pieces, mesclun mix salad with tomato and honey mustard dressing, and almonds and walnuts
addy's eats
rotisserie chicken/hardboiled egg salad with raspberry vinaigrette
addy's eats
flatbread pizza with a salad
addy's eats
yet another salad
addy's eats
deviled eggs made with mayo

**As I mentioned, this feature was inspired by James' "Bird Food" feature on her blog Bleubird. James shares the variety of healthy food her little one eats. I liked it so much I wanted to share what my little one eats, too. To see more of Addy's Eats, click here.**