Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Make time to workout!

As a working MOMMY I know it can be hard to find time to take care of yourself. With all the demands our families can put on us, how can a mom ever find time to fit in a workout?

I tried to workout after work, but my kids and my husband are ready to have mom time, so that hasn't ever worked out well for me. I tried to workout when the kids have gone to bed, but after working all day, I am absolutely exhausted, so my workout's really suffer.

Recently I have started working out in the morning while my family is still warm and cozy in their beds. It's hard sometimes to wake up and run at 5:00am in the morning, but I have found that I have more energy throughout the day when I do my workout's before everyone wakes up! By the time my family has gotten out of bed, I have ran 4 miles, made and packed all the kids lunches, and had my first cup of coffee. I feel focused, and energized!

What makes working out in the morning really great is that I get time to myself, and I don't have to feel guilty about working out while my family is awake. They are none the wiser, and they have a healthy and happy mommy!

So workout before dawn... It does your mind, and body good!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Perfect Brownie Pan

I know you have seen it... the "Perfect Brownie". It is the world's first bake and slice brownie pan. It claims to bake each piece separately so that they are flaky on the outside; yet moist, and gooey on the inside. The verdict: It works! The brownie is flaky and crispy, and the inside is soft. My kids thought they were really yummy, and it was nice because all the pieces were the same size (so no fights over who had the bigger piece!!!) I think it's a winner! There are a lot of imitations. I have not tried any of them. Perfect Brownie can be bought online and range from $14.99-19.99. I hope this review helped! Happy Baking :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seventh Generation Products

As a mom, I am the cook... the house cleaner... the laundry maid... and the shopper! I have been concerned for years about the household products that I use to clean my home. Are all those chemicals doing damage to the environment? What am I putting into the air by using some of these household products, and how do they affect the air my children breath? These are some of the questions I ask myself. I have been wanting to GO GREEN for a long time. As a mother who had a sick child with a compromised immune system, I don't want to put unnecessary chemicals into the air. Some of the online suggestions for natural cleaning products don't necessarily work well for cleaning. Some of the homemade products leave streaks on the windows, and stains on my clothes.
Then, I heard about SEVENTH GENERATION products! As a frugal mom I was sceptical about purchasing some of these products. "I am sure they are expensive" I told myself. Upon doing further research, I was surprised to find out that most all of these products are comparable in price to the products I currently use. Since I was low on TIDE, I decided to order the Natural Laundry Powder online.
I was pleasantly surprised by the product. I am a mother of three active children, and I have a firefighter for a husband. I do a ton of stained clothes! My laundry came out smelling clean, and fresh. As a tip: on some of your more set in stains, make a paste using your Natural Laundry Powder and a little bit of water. Place the paste directly on the stain and rub the fabric lightly. Wash immediately. You will be happy when the stain is out... and you will feel WONDERFUL knowing you are doing your part to save our planet EARTH!

Did you know?
If every household in the U.S. replaced just one box of 48oz petroleum-based powder laundry detergent with seventh generations vegetable-based product we could save 96,000 barrels of oil! That is enough to heat and cool 5,500 U.S. homes for a year! (stats come from seventh generations website)

Natural Powdered Laundry:
Effective in both high-efficiency and standard machines.
Tough on stains and keeps whites and colors bright. Also gentle on your fabrics and the earth. To conserve water, please run full loads

Natural Fabric Softener:
For naturally soft and fluffy laundry. Palm-derived softener makes your laundry naturally fluffy, cuddly, and static-free. Add to your final rinse cycle when machine washing.

The cheapest place I have found online to buy seventh generation natural powdered laundry soap is at Shoplet sell a 112 oz box (which does about 42 full loads) for $13.11 a box, and has free shipping.

You can buy seventh generation products in bulk and individually at Amazon is good about giving you a price per unit breakdown. It's typically $0.12 per ounce for the laundry powder.

GO GREEN! It is our job as MOMS to buy products that will help save the Earth for our children's future.

Look for future posts on other Seventh Generation products!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekly Menu

This week is a busy week for the Working Mommy! It is Spring Break for my kids, and I have to work Monday - Thursday. My husband will be here to hold down the fort, but with the kids home all day I need to do my best to help him out! Crock Pot cooking is my new best friend this week. I will be doing my weekly shopping today, and doing as much of the food prep today as I can.
Marinating the steaks and chicken today, and then packaging them in freezer bag will make it easier. I will also make my noodles for the spaghetti today, and package them in a freezer bag as well. I am going to chop, package in a zip lock bag, and label all my veggies for the Tortilla Soup.
Doing the prep on Sunday's will save you about 45 minutes of prep time during the week, and you will feel less stressed! Your family will also thank you for the wonderfully yummy meals!

Monday: BBQ Pork for Sandwiches (in your Crock Pot) w/Mac & Cheese, and corn

1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
3 pounds boneless pork ribs
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
1.Pour can of beef broth into slow cooker, and add boneless pork ribs. Cook on High heat for 4 hours, or until meat shreds easily. Remove meat, and shred with two forks. It will seem that it's not working right away, but it will.
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Transfer the shredded pork to a Dutch oven or iron skillet, and stir in barbecue sauce.
3.Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Tuesday: Chicken Breast with Chicken flavored Rice a Roni, and salad

Wednesday: Broiled Sirloin Steaks w/baked potato, and veggie medley

Thursday: Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green Chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn tortillas
vegetable oil
1.Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green Chile's, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
2.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
3.Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
4.Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup

Friday: Spaghetti with meat balls, french bread, and salad

Saturday: Crock Pot Black Bean Chili

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 (15.5 ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 (15 ounce) can canned diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Garnish: sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
1.Combine all ingredients except garnishes in 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 8 hours. Top individual bowls with sour cream and Cheddar cheese.

Quote of the Week

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.
~Mildred B. Vermont

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fun Things To Do This Spring Break

Whether we have sun, or rain, spring break is a fun way to spend quality time with your kids! I know the first few days all my little ones want to do is sleep in, play ball outside, and jump on the trampoline. After day number three, they start to get bored with all their toys, and they are ready to be stimulated outside the home. I am NOT a huge advocate of sitting in front of the TV all day; so I would love to give you a list of fun ideas, and places to visit this Spring Break!

The Children's Museum: most cities have a Children's Museum, and it is a fun way for your kids to release their wiggles. Many of the Children's Museums have fun activities planned just for Spring Break.

A picnic in the Park

A bike ride on the local trail (like Centennial Trail here in Snohomish County)

Swimming at the local YMCA

Story time at the local library

Jungle Playland (in Mt Vernon, WA we have a fun indoor playground called Jungle Playland) for more info and hours of operation go to

Cut out photos and paste them on Popsicle sticks and have a puppet show

Go to the Zoo

Go to the Aquarium

Make homemade play dough and then play with it!

Have a tea party

Play dress up

Fly a Kite

Make sweet treat bags and give them anonymously to nine neighbors

Watch a sunset

Watch a sunrise

Take pictures everyday of the fun new things you did, and then make a Spring Break scrap book.

Be a tourist in your own town. Take pictures of you at the local hot spots, and then make a scrap book.

Spring Break is a time to have fun! Even if you are staying home and not going on a vacation. Have a fun and safe Spring Break!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Of The Month

I am a huge advocate of reading to your kids. Most moms I know are! It is a great way to spend quality time with your kids after a hard days work. I have chosen a few books that I think would be fun to read to your kids.

If your child is 5 and under:
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake by Hazel Edwards
At this age repetition is great, so read these books before bed over and over. Your kids will love them!

If your child is 5 and over:
Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
This is a book I am reading to my kids right now. I read them a chapter a night at bed, and then we discuss what I read. It is a great way for you to have time with your kids, and a great way for them to interact with you!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
This is a book about a secret club of select boys at an exclusive prep school. Frankie decides she wants to infiltrate and control the society. This book is funny, and has a lot of surprises.

Happy reading and look for next months "Book Of The Month" choices!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

No longer drown in mismatched socks!

I put a post on my facebook today about how I was doing laundry, and unfortunately drowning in mismatched socks. This is the bane of my existence. If I could go through life never having to match the endless heap of mismatched socks, my life would be so much easier. ALAS... my fellow moms rejoice! A wonderful mom, and friend commented on my facebook post, and had a great idea I would like to share with all the moms out there. Becca wrote "According to Real Simple, you should safety pin the socks together before washing." It is an added step that I am willing to do to save myself time when it comes to matching socks. I hope this tip helps.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Saturday was our family day this week. We spent the whole day together; playing outside, visiting friends, and seeing a really great movie! We decided as a family that "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" (one of Kaylee and Colby's favorite books) would be the perfect family day movie for us. Boy were we RIGHT!! What a funny, wonderful family film. It is about a boy named Greg getting ready to embark on his new phase in life "MIDDLE SCHOOL". The character Greg is a great one! He learns great life lessons throughout the course of the movie. This is one movie with great moral values, and life lessons every child will go through. Some parts are a little gross, but they are few and far between. I recommend this movie to any of you moms with kids 5 and over. My kids really related to Greg and his friends, and learned some good lessons by the end of the movie. This is a MUST GO... I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

Weekly Dinner Menu

Today is the day that I plan out my weekly dinner menu. Starting with Monday, and ending with Saturday. I don't typically cook on Sunday's because we have what my kids refer to as "Family Tradition". My wonderful Mother-in-law cooks dinner for the family every Sunday. Dinner is usually a pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and gravy with a dinner salad, and rolls. It is very traditional, and a great way to feed your family a healthy and hearty meal. She uses her crock pot for this perticular meal. It is nice to use your crock pot because you can just cook and go! If you do not have a crock pot, I suggest you buy one. Every working mommy should own one! A lot of my weekly recipes will require a crock pot!

Monday: White Chicken Chili (made in crock pot is great!)

1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups chicken broth
2 (15.5 ounce) cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1.In a large saucepan, cook onion, and garlic in oil until tender. Place in crock pot and stir in broth, beans, parsley, lime juice and cumin. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into chili. Add chicken. Set cook time on crock pot to 6 hrs and cover. Stir occasionally. Garnish with cilantro and sour cream for a southwest fell. ENJOY!!

Tuesday: Traditional Spaghetti with dinner salad
(I suggest cooking your noodles on Sunday, and storing the cooked noodles in a freezer bag for Tuesday's spaghetti!) It is fast, and tastes the same as if you had cooked them right then :)

Wednesday: Ground Beef Tacos

Thursday: Beef Stew (in your crock pot!)

Beef Stew Meat (comes packaged at the store, and is already minced)
1 med onion minced
4 large carrots cleaned and cubed
4 celery stalkes cleaned and cubed
3 large potatoes peeled and cubed
1 pkg frozen peas
2 packages Lowry's beef stew seasoning packet

In a skillet brown beef stew meat. Place browned meat, carrots, onion, celery, and potatoes in your crock pot. Mix 2 packets of Lowry's seasoning with 5 cups of water. Set your cook time to 6 hrs, cover pot; stirring occasionally. With 40 minutes left to cook add your frozen peas, cover pot; let cook until crock pot is done. Serve, and ENJOY!!

Friday: Pizza and Salad
(Found a great coupon for pizza from Safeway) Thru March 23rd Safeway Select pizza's are $3.49 each with your club card. 2 pizzas could feed my family of 5 with no leftovers. That is a great value per serving! (Check your local Safeway to see if weekly ad applies to your area)

Saturday: Salmon Patties with rice and vegi medley
(Costco sells Wild Alaskan Salmon Patties for $13.99.) I can get 2 meals out of one package. My kids really love them, and they are loaded with Omega 3's which are great for everyone!

Now that we have the menu put together, make a grocery list! I always shop my cupboards first to see what I have for my menu, and what I need from the store. I put all my needed items on my grocery list. I browse the two major grocery store ads online before I venture out. I need to find a deal wherever I can! Once I have my game plan ready, I go to the 1st store on my list and begin to shop for my needed items only. Then I head over to the 2nd store if I still have sale items to get there. Use your club cards, and coupons for great savings. Use them in conjunction with eachother for an even better deal! Happy Shopping, and Happy Eating this week!

Quote of the Week

Be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. ~ Dr. Seuss