Have Fun Exercising For Free!

I just started incorporating extra activity and exercise into my daily routine. I don't want to commit to a gym yet because I want to make sure I don't have an excuses to not go, and waste my money. I want to slowly prepare my body before I jump on those treadmills and weight machines.

This is how I have fun exercising and do it for free:

YOUTUBE: You can search for any type of exercise class you want to do and they will probably have it. Some of them are actual gym classes like Zumba that you can do at home without having to step outside or pay for a gym. Most of the videos are about 3-5 minutes long so I just make a playlist of about 30 minutes long with a warm up and cool down.

You can also find longer full exercise DVDs like Lisa Sansone's 3 Mile Walk.

MAGAZINES: I follow a lot of freebie and deal blogs and sites so I have a whole bunch of magazines subscriptions for free. Fitness magazine has some awesome workouts with great pictures you can just rip out, save and follow. If you don't have a magazine subscription you can just go on their site and find some of their workouts for free like the The Metabolism-Boosting Superset Workout. The workouts are shown in great slide shows with clear pictures on how to do the moves and sometimes are accompanied by videos.

TV ON DEMAND: I am not sure about other cable tv suscriptions but with ours we get free On Demand. We have a channel called MagRack which will let you watch On Demand videos whenever you want and let you rewind, fast-forward and pause like a regular DVD. They have fun exercise videos like dancing, strength training and yoga that they cycle every few weeks so you never get bored.

MUSIC: I don't know about you, but every time I hear one of my favorite songs I have to get up and dance or just move around. I use Pandora on my iPhone and play it with my favorite 90s music every time I clean. It really makes me clean longer and not even think about what I am doing. Every now and then my daughter will join me and dance. I'll just pick her up and dance the whole song with her. Adding an extra 25 pounds to your dancing will make you burn more calories! Of course taking a nice long walk with some great music works too.

TIMER: To make sure I don't sit for too long and watch TV or Blog I set a timer to go off every hour. When I hear that timer go off I set another timer for 30 minutes and stay standing doing something like organizing or cleaning. There is always something you can clean or organize especially with a toddler around. I will do this all day until around 8 PM.

What are some ways that you have fun exercising for free?

Quiet Book How To Series: Title Page #Tutorial

My daughter love books. She has this big number and counting book that she will go through everyday counting the different pictures, saying the different shapes and naming a lot of the items. I have been seeing these quiet books all over Pinterest and decided to make one for my baby. I will be posting each page I make and how to made it.

Quiet Book Title Page
  • 4 sheets of 9" x 12" felt in the colors of your choice
  • 4 sheets of card stock paper
  • fusible web
  • sewing machine
  • matching thread
  • 2 ring clasps
  • 2 grommets
  1. Using a large thick font, type out "Baby's Quiet Book" on to a program like Word. You want the words to be big enough to take almost the whole width of the paper. Using the printer settings print words in mirror image. 
  2. Cut a piece of fusible web large enough to cover the letters you just printed. Place printed paper under fusible web. You should be able to see the letters through the fusible web. Trace the letters.
  3. Place fusible web on top of the color of felt you want the letters be and iron. Let cool slightly then cut the letters out. 
  4. Peel paper backing from letters and place on top of felt color you want to be the front of the book. Iron on until the letters are fully attached. (Make sure to put the iron on low because if it is too high it can melt the felt.)
  5. Place on top of felt sheet you want to be the back of the cover page. 
  6. Stitch a 1/4" seam around 3 sides of the two pieces of felt. 
  7. Slip all of the card stock sheets into the opening of the felt squares you just sewed. Sew the opening shut.
  8. Place grommets 3 inches down from top and bottom. 
  9. Place rings into grommets. 
** Stay tuned for my next tutorial where I will be making a fun page for number matching. 

Healthy Hearty Meat Sauce and Pasta #Recipe

My daughter loves pasta and tomato sauce. I wanted to bump up the protein and the fiber so I sneaked in some ground turkey and loads of veggies.

Healthy Hearty Meat Sauce and Pasta
8 Servings
  • Large can of crushed tomatoes
  • Small can of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 button mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 tblsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tblsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tblsp dried basil
  • 1 tblsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tblsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tblsp sugar
  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Finely dice the pepper, onion and mushroom. Peel and grate the carrots. 
  2. Place oil in pot and add all of the veggies from above. Saute on medium heat until the veggies have softened. 
  3. Add the ground turkey and spices and mix and break meat apart until the meat is fully cooked. You should no longer see any pink. 
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar. Stir well and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. You want to make sure you stir it constantly so that it doesn't burn on the bottom. 
  6. Follow package directions and cook pasta. 
  7. Serve pasta topped with the completed meat sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if you like. 
**Picture of recipe includes a homemade flatbread that I created. Recipe to come soon!

Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan Part 2: One month and one week down!

I weighed myself this morning and I lost another 6.2 pounds for a total of 21.4 pounds. I must confess that two days out of the week I made a few not so healthy choices. I had long errands to run and didn't prepare my food for on the go. On Tuesday I ate some chicken nuggets and a few fries from McDonald's. On Thursday I had a traditional Puerto Rican dinner of rice, beans and pork.

Why am I not upset with myself? On both days I followed the plan to a T except for the one meal that I messed up on. On Thursday instead of eating a complete meal I shared half of it with my sister. The old me would have said "Oh well I cheated, I'll just start again tomorrow or next week". The new me allowed myself to deter for my plan but jump right back on and stay active.

I have to say that this week  the Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan was easier. I found more things to eat and even enjoyed my salad more with a creamy and rich avocado-yogurt dressing I made. I also added hummus and soups which made it feel like I wasn't on a diet. I can definitely see myself doing the plan for one week at a time every month.

This week I go back to my calorie counting and exercising. The weather is getting warmer and the snow is thawing. I can't wait to go on my walks this week!

DIY Family Embroidered Hand Print Artwork #Tutorial

I wanted to add to the Daddy and Daughter Hand Print Artwork. I went onto Pinterest to get some inspiration. I came up with this Pin. Unfortunately it doesn't go to any real link so I figured out how to do it myself.

  • 1 color of embroidery floss for each member of your family. (I used 3)
  • Embroidery needle
  • Transfer paper
  • Cotton fabric 
  • 9" Embroidery hoop
  • Picture frame
  1. Trace the biggest hand onto a sheet of printer paper. Trace the next sized hand in the middle of that one. Trace the smallest hand in the middle of the last one you just did. 
  2. Cut your fabric into a 11" x 11" square. 
  3. Place tracing paper on top then printer paper with traced hands on top of that. 
  4. I used a dull pencil to transfer the hand tracings. 
  5. Place fabric into embroidery hoop. 
  6. Start with the smallest hand and embroider on the traced line using a running stitch.
  7. Repeat for the remaining hands. 
  8. Iron out any of the creases from the embroidery hoop. 
  9. Place into frame and hang up. 
If you make one of these I would love to see it. Please put a link to your work in the comments below. 

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup - Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Friendly

I love eating soups especially now that we get a new batch of snow almost everyday. I don't like babysitting my food over the stove so I tend to use my slow cooker and pressure cooker a lot. I came across a slow cooker chicken noodle soup on Pinterest. I made it and it tasted delicious.

Since I am on the Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan again, I decided to make some changes to it:

Follow the recipe listed above in the pin with the following changes:
  • Replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth. 
  • Replace the egg noodles with 2 cups of cooked brown rice. 

I made the soup exactly like that for my husband. For myself I picked out the carrots since they are not listed in the vegetables you can eat. Now you have yummy comforting soup you can eat while on the plan. Since it made so much my husband and I had enough for lunch the next day! 

DIY Daddy and Daughter Hand Print Artwork & #Printable

I wanted to make something cute to place on the wall of my daughter's room. Since she is such a daddy's little girl I decided to scour Pinterest for some ideas. I came up with this pin which is beautiful but I knew I could do it myself. If you don't want to do it yourself you can definitely check out the website attached to the pin.

This is my version:
  • white acrylic paint
  • black acrylic paint
  • several sheets of card stock
  • printer
  • picture frame
  • foam brush
  • black marker
  • printable
  1. Take parent's hand and using black paint and foam brush, paint entire palm and fingers. Place hand on card stock and gently press each finger and palm onto card stock. You want to make sure you press from the very tips of the fingers all the way down to where the wrist is. You don't want to go too thick with the paint because you want to see some of the lines and wrinkles. In anticipation of not getting my daughter's print the first time I had my husband make several prints on different sheets. I think we did a total of four prints. 
  2. Let air dry completely. I let mine dry over night but a few hours should be plenty. 
  3. Take baby's hand and paint with the white paint using a clean foam brush. Carefully hover hand inside parent's palm print. You want to center it as much as possible. Press down gently like above. It took us a couple of times to get it just right. 
  4. Let air dry completely.
  5. Using card stock print out printable. To print the printable: Click on the link, Download, then Direct Download. Save onto your computer where you can easily find it. Then Open the file, press File.. Print and pick the Actual size option.
  6. Using a marker print the names your want, Daddy and Me, Daddy and Name of Child, etc.
  7. Using double stick tape, tape title to artwork.
  8. Place inside frame and hang! 
If you create one of these I would love to see it! Please add your link in the comments :) 

Super Easy Lemon Salmon #Recipe

Salmon is one of my favorite kind of fish. While on the Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan I eat Salmon at least twice a week. This is my favorite way to eat it.

Super Easy Lemon Salmon
  • 4 -4oz fillets of salmon 
  • 2 fresh lemons
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean and thoroughly dry your salmon fillets. Place on large flat plate and sprinkle with all of the seasonings. Turn each piece around and sprinkle with all of the seasonings on that side.
  3. Place salmon on to cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. 
  4. Take one of the lemons, cut in half and squeeze juice on top of each salmon fillet.
  5. Take the other lemon and slice thinly. You want 8 slices of lemon. Please 2 slices on each fillet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. You want the salmon to be moist and flaky. 
     Makes 4 servings.

One Month Down & Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan Part 2

Today marks one month I have been on this weight loss journey. I have loss a total of 15.2 pounds. Seeing that number didn't make me happy at first. When I first set out on this journey I thought I would lose more the first month. Then I started thinking back to everything I have went through in just one month.

First Month Progress
  • My winter coat feels looser around the middle.
  • I fit into a pair of jeans I haven't fit into in years. By the end of the month they are already fitting too big. 
  • I have so much more energy. 
  • Bringing up the groceries a flight of stairs didn't feel like a chore. 

I am actually happy about the last bullet point. Going grocery shopping and walking up one flight of stairs with heavy groceries was difficult for me. I would dread doing the grocery shopping every week. This week I felt like I just floated up the stairs. 

Today starts another 7 days of the Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan. I am going to do a week of it every month. I feel like it cleanses me and I eat tons of healthy food while on it. 

Goals For Second Month
  • Complete 7 days of the Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan
  • Plan and do exercise at least 4 times a week
  • Drink more water
  • Try Quinoa

Toddler Cookie "Candy Bar" Valentine #Recipe and #Printable

Last year I did the Baby Valentine for my daughter. This year I wanted to give her something yummy and healthier than candy or chocolate.

I went to my favorite Baby/Toddler Recipe site and found this delicious recipe for Banana Oatmeal Cookies. I wanted to decorate it in a way that made it look like a candy bar. I designed the label that you can print below.

DIY Toddler Valentine
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Spray a 13" x 9" cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the cookie into the pan. Make sure to take your time to evenly spread the dough. 
  3. Bake the cookie rectangle for about 20 minutes. You want the middle to be cooked through. If it is still raw in the middle put back in the oven for another 5 minutes and check again. 
  4. Let cool for 40 minutes. Put in your refrigerator and let cool for a couple of hours longer. 
  5. While the cookie is cooling, cut  12 pieces of aluminum foil that are 6 " x  6" . Set aside.
  6. Print and cut out 12  labels. 
  7. When completely cooled turn cookie sheet on top of a cutting board and carefully remove sheet. Cut 1/2" off the entire perimeter of the rectangle. Your cookie should now be 8" by 12". (Those edges are super yummy to snack on.) Cut the rectangle vertically in half. Cut each half in half again. Cut each 2" strip into 3 pieces horizontally. You know have 12 squares of your cookie "candy bar".
  8. Wrap each cookie with aluminum foil. 
  9. Wrap labels around each wrapped cookie and use double sided tape to hold in place. 

Valentine's Day Pancakes With Garnishes Tutorial

Since my daughter now knows her shapes and lots of letters I wanted to create a fun breakfast she could enjoy. I bought a Pancake Creator before my daughter was even eating solids. I finally decided take it out and learn how to use it. You can easily fill it with pancake batter and it has two sized writers. One to outline and one to fill. If you don't have a pancake creator you can still use a condiment squeeze bottle and cut the tip to make the hole bigger.

Valentine's Day Pancakes
  1. Make your favorite pancake recipe.
  2. Fill your pancake creator or squeeze bottle. 
  3. Add a little bit of butter into a pan and using the Pancake Creator (or condiment squeeze bottle) make an outline of a heart. Let cook for about 30 seconds. Remove the detail tip and fill in the shape (or take the top off of the squeeze bottle and carefully fill.) Cook until you see bubbles. Carefully flip and cook about a minute more. Take out and set aside. 
  4. Add a little more butter to the pan. Using the outline tip draw an "L", "O", "V" and "E" backwards. This way when you flip the letters it will be the right side. Let them cook until it's bubbly and flip over. Cook another minute more. Take out and add to your heart pancake.
  5. Mix 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt and 1/2 tsp of agave nectar. (you can make it sweeter if you prefer.) 
  6. Cut the stem off of a strawberry. Slice the outside of the strawberry from stem to bottom. Strawberries have a natural heart shape but you can use a small pairing knife to make it look more like a heart. Cut a small "v" out of the top and round the top.
  7. Garnish pancakes with Greek yogurt and strawberry hearts. 

How To Drink Water and Like It!

I have never been a water drinker. I always preferred soda and juice to water. Every time I would go down the path of being healthier I would force myself to drink water. After a few days you get so sick of water that you stop drinking it. I wasn't drinking soda or juice anymore but I also wasn't drinking enough water.

Why do you have to drink so much water? I was looking up the importance of drinking water and came up with this site: Importance of Water in the Diet. What I read kind of scared me. Did you know that a body can only go through 5-7 days without water? Reading the information on that site made me want to drink water.

I first started out by trying to flavor my water. I added lemons at first and then experimented with cucumber, strawberries, oranges and pineapple. All tasted delicious. It gave the water a little bit of flavor and sweetness. The pineapple was my favorite. Infused Waters is a great site that has tons of recipes for flavored water.

Something else that keeps me motivated to drink water are my SparkPeople and FitBit apps. They allow you to record how much water you drink. It's fun to met your goal and get praise for it. SparkPeople even gives you SparkPoints if you have gotten your 8 cups of water in.

How do you make it easier to get your water in?

DIY Toddler Valentine's Day Painted Necklace Shirt #Tutorial

For each major holiday I create an outfit for my daughter. This year I came across these super cute black and red lace heart jeggings in Walmart. I wanted to make a shirt to match so I purchased a plain red long sleeved shirt. I wanted to decorate the shirt so it looked like she had on a necklace with a heart pendant.

Painted Necklace Shirt
  • Heart image (I did a Google image search for Valentine's Day stencil)
  • Iron on transfer printer paper
  • Printer
  • Red long sleeve shirt
  • Black fabric paint
  • Pencil
  • Paper plate
  • Disappearing fabric marker (you can freehand it if you don't have one)
  1. Take your shirt and figure out where you want your pendant to be. Measure how big you want your pendant to be. I made mine  2 1/2" x  2 1/2".
  2. In an image editor, open a file the same size as your measurements above. 
  3. Paste the image you found in the file you just opened. That way when you print out the image it will be the exact size you want it. 
  4. Using your printer's properties change your image into a mirror image. (You need the image to print backwards so that it will iron on right.)
  5. Print out image onto iron on transfer paper. Make sure you put the paper in the right way. 
  6. Cut out the heart from the paper you just printed. Place picture side down on the shirt.                          
  7. Follow the iron on transfer paper instructions to iron it on.                                                                   
  8. Let it cool a little bit before you peel the paper backing off.                                                                  
  9. Using the disappearing marker draw a line from the shoulder to the pendant where a chain would be. 
  10. Squirt some paint onto the paper plate. Using the pencil eraser dab it into the paint then make circles following the line you just drew.                                                                                                          
  11. Let completely air dry. 
If you make one of these, I would love for you to leave the link in the comments section. 

Healthy Valentine: Nutty Dark Chocolate Strawberries

I love chocolate covered in almost anything. Who doesn't right? I wanted to enjoy Valentine's Day without doing too much damage so I opted for chocolate covered strawberries. Since doing the Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Diet I have been eating a lot of nuts. Everytime I feel a little hungry I go an grab a small handful of nuts. I decided to incorporate these into my chocolate covered strawberries.

Nutty Chocolate Covered Strawberries
  • 10 strawberries
  • 2 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tblsp pecans
  • 1 tblsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tblsp cashews
  1. I use a dip warmer that came with my crock pot to perfectly melt the chocolate. It keeps the chocolate warm and melted. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Make sure to check it every 10-15 seconds and stir. 
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries.
  3. Add all of your nuts into a ziploc bag and crush with a mallet or something heavy.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  5. Take strawberries by the stem and dip into chocolate. Make sure you do it neatly and don't go to far down. You don't want the chocolate to touch the leaves. Place on top of parchment paper.
  6. While chocolate is still wet sprinkle nuts on top. You probably won't use all of the nuts but you need that amount to be able to sprinkle it properly.
Makes about 10 strawberries. 

Nutritional Information Per Strawberry (Plugged ingredients into calorie count's recipe analyzer.)

Getting Exercise In When It's Cold Outside

I am three weeks into my weight loss journey. I have eaten well, limited sugar and stayed clear from any artificial sweeteners.

I have been wanting to incorporate exercise into my regimen. Since I haven't done any form of exercise in many months I wanted to start slow by just walking. Walking in the city is a no go right now. We have been getting snow and freezing rain for weeks now. Every time the sidewalks clear just a little we get a new batch of snow. I know it's not that difficult to walk on snow but what makes it really difficult is having a toddler in a stroller in tow.

I used to love doing Cardio DVD's but can't now because I don't want to bother my neighbors downstairs. We have hardwood floors that can be kind of creaky at times.

Enough of the excuses. This is how I am going to get my exercise on:

Everyday: Set my timer to go off for every hour that I am inactive. When that hour is up I will get up for 30 minutes and clean or organize.

Saturday: Body Weight Workout

Sunday: Chair Workout, Mat Workout

Monday: Yogilates Workout

Tuesday: Body Weight Workout

Wednesday: Chair Workout, Mat Workout

Thursday: Yogilates Workout

Friday: Rest or casual walk (weather permitting)

DIY Easy Valentine For a Baby

When I was a kid my dad always bought a Valentine for my mom, sister and I. Ours was always a smaller version of our mom's. I knew this was a tradition that I wanted to continue with my daughter. On my daughter's first Valentine's Day she was just short of 9 months. I didn't want to give her candy or chocolate so I made her a Valentine with baby treats.

DIY Easy Valentine For a Baby
  • Puffs baby snacks (I used Gerber)
  • Yogurt Melt baby snacks (I used Happy Baby)
  • Valentine box (I got mine in Party City)
  • Mini Cupcake Liners (I got mine at Michael's and they were Valentine themed.)
  1. Place enough liners to fill the Valentine box. 
  2. Fill each liner with baby snacks. 
Super simple to do and my baby at the time had fun opening the box and sprinkling the treats all over. She had fun picking them up and eating them too. 

SparkPeople Diet & Food Tracker App Review

SparkPeople is an awesome healthy living website with tools and a rich community that helps you stay motivated to lose weight. They also have a Diet & Food Tracker App that you can use when you are away from your computer.

Though you can load the website from your Smartphone and Tablet, the App offers a more convenient way to track you daily food, exercise and goals.

These are the separate sections of the App:

Today: Gives you a clear view of what is going on today. You can easily see how many calories you have eaten and how many you have left. On the bottom of that you can see how many fitness minutes you have completed and how many calories you have burned. The best part of the Today section is that with just the click of the buttons you can quickly track your food and fitness.

Food: Allows you to easily track you food by scanning the bar codes of any food you have eaten or by doing a search. You then chose the serving size you ate and when you ate it. You get a nice clear picture of what you have eaten and how many calories you have left to eat.

Exercise: You can easily track all of your daily activities. It is as easy as doing a search, picking the activity and the duration.

Points: A great thing about SparkPeople is the point system they use to help motivate you. You get SparkPoints for doing anything like tracking your food or reading an article.

More: Allows you to track other things like your water intake or weight. You can also see reports on how you are doing.

Using this app helps to motivate me and keep me on track. I do everything on my smartphone so having this app makes it easy for me to track my food, exercise and water intake daily. The app cost $3.99 and there is one for Apple and Android.

Are there any diet/fitness apps that you like?

**I was not compensated nor received a sample or product in any away from the company. I chose to review this product on my own because I felt that it would be useful to my readers.

Baby/Toddler Creamy Chicken Florentine #Recipe Make Ahead & Freeze

When my daughter first started on solids I scoured Pinterest to find baby food recipes. There was one site that I kept going back to, Nurture Baby. It is an awesome site with healthy recipes for babies up to toddlers. One of my daughter's favorite recipes from this site is the Creamy Chicken Florentine.

The great thing about the site is the recipes have enough servings that you can make ahead and freeze for later. I would always have several completed recipes on hand in my freezer. If I was planning on eating out or something she couldn't eat, I had a healthy alternative in the freezer. I also used to pop a couple of the servings in a freezer bag and leave them in my mom's house so that my daughter could have a nutritious meal without my mom having to do any work.

To make these freezer ready:

  1. Click on the link and follow the yummy and easy recipe for the Creamy Chicken Florentine. I halved the recipe and it made 6 toddler sized servings.
  2. Completely cool the Creamy Chicken Florentine that you just made.
  3. Take silicone cupcake baking cups (I bought mine at Michael's) and fill to the top. For babies you can use ice cube trays. 
  4. Place full cupcake baking cups on top of a cookie sheet. Place in freezer and freeze for about one hour. 
  5. When fully frozen pop out of the silicone baking cups and place into a freezer storage bag. 
  6. Label the freezer bag with name and date. 
*I cook it on low heat in a small sauce pan to reheat and serve after frozen. 

Dieting? 3 Ways To Easily Track Your Food.

Food tracking is one the essential things to do when dieting. It shows you calories in and if you track exercise you can see calories out. If your calories out is higher than your calories in you will definitely lose weight. It's that simple!

A lot people don't like to track food because it can be very tedious. Dieters tend to guess how much they are eating. Without a true count you can easily go over your calorie intake by the hundreds. Do this everyday and you will probably not lose any weight, or worse, gain weight!

These are 3 ways that you can track food:

1. The fastest and easiest for me is the bar code scanner on a smartphone. There are apps that allow you to scan bar codes on food packages and track what you eat. I have used the SparkPeople App and the FitnessPal app. Though I like the FitnessPal app slightly better, I use the Sparkpeople App because my numbers are updated automatically into my SparkPeople account. SparkPeople is $3.99 and FitnessPal is free.

2. Using a site like SparkPeople. You just go to the food tracking section of your account and search for what you ate and a whole list of similar items pop up. You pick the ones you ate, pick the serving size and add it to your daily food log. The site then calculates and adds everything together. At the end of the day you see your total calorie intake.

3. Notebook and pen. Get a notebook and dedicate it to be your food tracker. You can just write down what you ate for the day and then go to a site like calorie count and see how many calories is each piece of food you ate. At the end of the day just add up what you ate.

If you have a smartphone I highly recommend number 1. It is a fast and easy way to track your food for the day. If you don't have a smartphone, using a site like SparkPeople can also easily work to track your food. If you track your food for just one week, you will see what you are eating and can adjust your calories in vs calories out to lose some weight. You may also discover that you are eating too little and need to adjust that too.

DIY Abby Cadabby Birthday Party: Customized Cupcake Stand #Tutorial

This the last post about the DIY Abby Cadabby Birthday Party. You can see my previous posts below to see the other tutorials. I DIY'ed a lot of the items to cut down on costs. I also had a hard time finding Abby Cadabby stuff so I had to make it myself.

If you want to learn how I made the other items, click below.
DIY Abby Cadabby Birthday Party: Boutique Style Birthday Hat #Tutorial
DIY Abby Cadabby Birthday Party: Customized Party Favors #Tutorial
DIY Abby Cadabby Birthday Party: Customized Party Souvenirs #Tutorial

I always love making cupcakes at parties because they are so much easier to make and frost. I also like to hand them out right away instead of having to slice a big cake and hand them out onto a plate.

You can easily make the cupcake stand above using items you find in the dollar store and at home. It cost me about $6.50 to make.

This is how I did it:
  • 2 big foam boards you can get in the dollar store
  • 2 big poster boards you can also get in the dollar store. (I used hot pink)
  • double stick tape
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 2 cans of soup
  • 1 large can of tuna
  • 3/8" inch ribbon (you want it to be wide enough to cover the foam board edge)
  • hot glue
  • 1/8" of a yard of tulle. 
  • exacto knife
  • doll or decoration to top your cupcake stand
  1. You need 4 different round kitchen items to trace to make the round tiers of the stand. I used a small bowl for the top, a regular sized bowl for the second tier, a large dinner plate for the 3rd tier and a large serving platter for the bottom. Take each item, place on foam board and trace around. You want to trace the circles as close as possible so that you have room for all of them on both foam boards. Carefully cut each circle out with an exacto knife. 
  2. Do the same thing on the poster boards and carefully cut out with scissors. 
  3. Using double sided tape put little squares of tape all over foam board circles. Take the matching poster board circle and place top of foam board circles. You want the poster boards to cover the white from the foam board. Do the same for each circle. 
  4. Take ribbon and hot glue around the entire edge of each covered foam board circle. 
  5. Take each can and measure the height and circumference. Using a ruler draw a rectangle with the measurements you just got and cut out. Using hot glue, glue the poster board rectangles around each can. You want the poster board to cover the can completely. 
  6. Take the tomato sauce can and put a lot of hot glue on top of it. Glue the smallest circle on top of the can. Make sure you center it well. Let it dry for a few minutes. Put more hot glue on the bottom of the tomato sauce can and glue the next sized circle to the bottom of the sauce can. Let that dry for a few minutes. Take one of the soup cans and place hot glue on top. Glue to the bottom of the second sized circle. Place more glue on the bottom of the soup can and glue the next size circle. Take the last can of soup and place glue on top. Glue to the bottom of the circle you just glued. Place more glue on the bottom of the soup can and glue to the largest circle. Place glue on top of the tuna can and glue to the bottom of the largest circle. Make sure to let the glue completely dry during each step before adding another layer. This way it it will be super sturdy. 
  7. Take the tulle and cut into about 3" wide strips. Run a 2 inch bead of out glue right under the edge of the largest circle. Using a pencil so you don't burn your fingers add the tulle and pleat as you go along. Keep adding hot glue and pleating the tulle until you have gone around the entire edge of the largest circle. 
  8. Place doll or decoration on top tier cupcake stand.
I would love for you to post a link in the comments section if you make one!

Happy Tot Apple & Kale Crisp and Mixed Berry Crunch Toddler Bars for a Picky Toddler #Review

My 20 month old is in a super picky stage right now. I have a hard to getting her to eat anything that is not pancakes or grilled cheese. She also loves all kinds of fruit and yogurt so I get some healthy nutrition in her but it's still a struggle for her to eat whole meals. I try to give her something different every few days but she still refuses. She will take one look at the food and tell me "nope" and run away.

I was super happy when I received the Happy Tot Toddler bars in two different flavors in my January Bluum Box. I really love how they use all natural, healthy, organic, and gluten free ingredients in their products. My daughter has enjoyed their baby cereal, pouches and baby snacks. I was excited to try something from their toddler collection.

I offered her the Apple and Kale one a couple of hours after breakfast where I would have given her a fruit snack. As I handed it to her she looked at me with a puzzled look. I told her "snack" and she looked interested. I cut a little piece and offered it to her and she took it hesitantly. She finally tried it and ate the whole thing. Then she said "more snack." I cut the bar in half and gave it to her and she happily ate it. I saved the rest for another snack later on. The next day I gave her the Mixed Berry Crunch and she liked it too. I was happy she ate something really healthy. I will definitely be buying more of these in the future. They are also great for the on the go.

**I was not compensated nor received a sample or product in any away from the company. I chose to review this product on my own because I felt that it would be useful to my readers.

Roasted Chickpeas - Yummy Snack and Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan Friendly

While on the Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan I had to find some snacks that I could have fun snacking on. I have always loved chickpeas but never had them roasted. When you roast them they have a nutty, crispy, then creamy texture. They are also super good for you with tons of fiber, protein and a low glycemic index.

This is how I did it:
  • 8 oz dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like spicy)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I like to watch my sodium, but you can add more if you want.)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. I soften my dried beans in my pressure cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker you can put your beans in a pot of water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until just tender. 
  2. Drain and dry your chickpeas really well. 
  3. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat well. 
  4. Spray your pan with cooking spray and bake in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes. Take out the pan and shake it every 10 minutes. You want the chickpeas to be nice and crunchy on the outside. 
  5. Store in an airtight container. 
If you are interested in the plan please read my previous posts on the Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight-Plan
Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight-Loss Plan
Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight-Loss Plan - Day 1
Dr. Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight-Loss Plan - Day 3
Cashew Vegetable Stir-Fry - Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan Friendly #Recipe
Dr Oz 2 Week Rapid Weight-Loss Plan - Week 1 Review
2 weeks Into My Weight Loss Journey with the Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan in My Mind