Week 1 ~ Battle of the Belly

Sooooo, how is everyone doing??  I gotta say, week 1 really wasn’t that bad!  I actually lost 5 pounds and we ate REALLY GOOD food.

What were some of your favorite things you made?

We LOVED the Avocado Orange Salad (p 100 FBFD).

The Berry Good Peanut Butter Scones (p 73 FBFD) were a GREAT breakfast staple.

Hay even made a try for it.

The Penne Pasta Salad (p 95 FBFD) was PERFECT for lunch.  It  both saved well for enjoying more than 1 day, and packed well for taking with me!  Loved the simplicity!

The kids loved the Peanut Butter Strawberry Wraps (p 83 FBFD).

At least I think they did, I’m just guessing from the expression…

What I think I’ve loved most is we have had great new recipes to try, I have never felt deprived, every meal has taken 15 minutes or less to prepare (even if it took longer to actually bake, etc, it was never longer than 15 minutes to prepare), and full of flavor!

It’s not too late to join us in the Belly Battle.  And if Flat Belly Family Diet isn’t for you. No prob!  I picked it because it sounded right for me and my family.  I gave myself last weekend to eat what I wanted (I didn’t pig out, I just didn’t restrict myself from eating what I wanted to.) And then a start date of Monday.  And once I start something my brain tends to compete with itself, so each day I’m on this diet and each day I’m losing baby weight means I’M WINNING! So my tip for you, if you want to lose a little around the middle….pick what works for you and give yourself a start date, then just got for it!

Check out the Planner this week. I’ve added some recipes for the week that we are going to be trying out. I’m only including dinner, but there are SOOOO many great things in the book for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dessert.  Great, great options!

I also loved these tips the book gives you for success (straight from page 39)…

  1. Plan ahead
  2. In 5 minutes you can assemble a couple of snack packs from the list on page 284 so eating is a no-brainer on an especially frenzied day.
  3. In 10 minutes you can map out the next day’s meals and sanks so you’re guaranteed to stick with the plan.
  4. In 60 minutes you can hit the grocery store and stock enough food for a week’s worth of delicious meals…

This all tells me that we can’t use the excuse of lack of time. If our kids or baby needed something that we didn’t have time for, we would spin our multitasking brain until we figured out how to find the time…so why can’t we do that for ourselves???

Find your 5 minutes.

You owe it to yourself!

And that great pair of jeans you used to fit it….

Or have always wanted to.

I would love to hear what things you cooked and loved, what tips helped you this week to stick with it? My favorite go to snack was always a quesadilla. It’s fast, filling, and I always had the ingredients on hand.

Try it 1 of 2 ways, all you need is 1 whole wheat tortilla, 2 oz chopped cooked chicken, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, and EITHER 1 tablespoon olive oil OR 1/4 avocado.

  1. You can either heat the oil in a non stick pan, cook the quesadilla and fold in half for a crisper version.
  2. OR zap it in the microwave for a minute, add the avocado and roll up for on the go.

I’m starting workouts this week…cross your fingers they help too…if they do, you know I’ll be sharing it with you all!!  My goal is to get 4 days of workouts in that consist of 30 minutes to an hour.  Doesn’t matter what I do, I just need to accomplish that minimum.  We can all find that kind of time.  Set your goal, and MAKE IT POSSIBLE NOT TO FAIL and you WILL succeed.

Have a great week! Looking forward to less of us all next week!

the battle begins…

So sorry not to get this posted for Monday!  I realized that I was going to need to give you a breakfast, lunch and dinner meal plan – which takes A LOT of time.  Especially when you are running back and forth to the computer and juggling the Littles and helping hubby and doing our basic weekend activities.  I thought I would get it finished Sunday night, but after laying down with our 2 year old to put her to sleep….ummm….I….ummm….kind of….umm….fell asleep.  Sorry.

I am giving you the meal plan that I am using for myself.  I may be more repetitive and simple with the recipes, but I needed to make it totally doable and fit it into my regular crazy life with the Littles.  But dont be turned away by the simple meals I’ve chosen.  There are ALOT of amazing recipes and flavorful dishes.  So you should definitely check out the book as I wont be able to include all of the recipes here. This also may not be the diet plan for everyone, I’ve done other plans in the past that have all worked for whatever stage I was at.  I personally really like Lindora and when I went from my “walking-around-a-lot-job”, to my office “sit-in-a-chair-a-lot-job”.  I gained 25 lbs.  Lindora was a GREAT way for me to lose the weight because they offered great protein powders to add to my water bottles and protein soups that I could mix up and take to meetings in a coffee cup that no one knew the difference.

With the stage of life I’m at now, (and the quick results I want to have) the The Flat Belly Diet looks like a good choice.  You can read more of my reasons here.  All in all, if this isn’t the plan for you, but you have a waist you want to whittle – FIND A PLAN YOU WANT TO FOLLOW. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but take action and feel good for summer.  We all deserve to feel good, so don’t wait until tomorrow, start now with any program that works for you!

The basic premise of this diet is to eat 4 meals (5 if your a dad) of 400 calories each and you must include a “MUFA” (Monounsaturated Fats) with each meal. This “Good Fat” is our friend and will help us to get rid of the muffin tops.  You should plan on filling the rest of the day with Sassy Water.  Think of it as flavored spa water!

**** I’m adding a disclaimer to this post.  It has taken me since Friday to try and get this put together and today is the first day that I’ve tried any of the recipes.  So my disclaimer is, I HAVE NOT TRIED THESE RECIPES.  After a week or so I’ll be able to comment intelligently and also to give other recipe suggestions that can work with this diet plan.  But for now, I’m the same Guinea Pig you are.  We made the Chipotle Beef & Bean Chili tonight.  The only change I made was using ground turkey instead of beef (as it’s what I had in my freezer).  THAT WAS ONE HOT-SPICY-MOUTH-ON-FIRE DINNER!  I’m not prone to hot things, so I thought it was just me.  But hubs who adds spicy mustard and jalapenos to his food was sweating and had to add sour cream to cool his dinner down.  This is NOT a kid friendly dinner!  So again, I HAVE NOT MADE THESE  RECIPES and am trying it as I go with you.  I really do urge you to grab the book and check out what might work best for your family.

Another recommendation that was given to me is using Rocco DiSpirito”s new cookbook Now Eat This!: 150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories I think this is probably totally doable as long as you are sure to include a MUFA in every meal.  I’m picking up a copy to try it out.

Day 1:
Breakfast:

2 Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (p 74)
1 cup fat-free milk (with coffee for me)

Lunch:
Penne Pasta Salad (p 95)

Dinner:
Chipotle Beef & Bean Chili (p 194)
6 whole grain crackers

Snack:
3 cups light microwave popcorn mixed with 2 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts and 1/4 cup raisons
1 cup fat-free milk

Day 2:
Breakfast:

2 Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (p 74)
1/2 cup fat-free milk (with coffee for me)

Lunch:
Penne Pasta Salad (p 95)

Dinner:
Crunchy Crust Mac & Cheese (p 179)
1 cup cooked carrots tossed with 1 teaspoon trans-fat margarine

Snack:
3 Peanut Butter Cookies (p 258)
1 cup fat free milk

Day 3:
Breakfast:

2 slices light whole grain toast with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup fat-free milk (with coffee for me)
1/2 grapefruit

Lunch:
Avocado-Orange Salad (p 100)
2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 ounces deli roast beef, 1 ounce reduced fat provolone cheese

Dinner:
Chicken Tortilla Casserole (p 189)

Snack:
3 Peanut Butter Cookies (p 258)
1 cup fat free milk

Day 4:
Breakfast:

2 slices light whole grain toast with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup fat-free milk (with coffee for me)
1/2 grapefruit

Lunch:
Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla (p 132)

Dinner:
Oven Baked Pot Roast (p 197)
1/2 cup roasted baby potatoes

Snack:
Basic Banana Wrap (p 78) (2 tablespoons peanut butter on an 8″ whole wheat tortilla.  Top with 1 sliced banana, and drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey.  Roll up burrito style.)

Battle of the Belly Bulge

So instead of posting a meal plan today, I wanted to let you all know what plan of attack I plan on taking to fight my 3 years of baby lbs.  I saw this segment one morning on the Today Show and it looked interesting to me for a few reasons:

  1. It gave me a cookbook with photos and recipes to choose from.
  2. There were meals that I could make for everyone in my family.
  3. The diet targets BELLY FAT, HELLO!  Isn’t that the major issue here!?!?
  4. You can lose 15lbs in 32 days – um, yeah, SIGN ME UP!
  5. Oh, and the focus is on making healthy food choices for your family that don’t make you feel like you’re depriving  yourself.  Seriously, go watch the video in the link above and check out the Shrimp Tacos or and the brownies, or how about the Chocolate Stuffed French Toast!  That’s what I’m talking about!!

So I ordered the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook and I plan to follow it for at least the next 32 days, starting Monday.  If it’s working, then we’ll go for broke until all 40 lbs are GONE!!

Do you hear me baby lbs??  GONE, G-O-N-E, C-ya later GONE! (I type that, by the way, while I am smelling the Trader Joe’s brownies that just came out of the oven…kinda figured we might as well enjoy our last weekend….cough, cough…just sayin’)


I have to say, I’ve been impressed with the book so far and am coming up with some meal plans that will work for our family and hopefully yours too.  I’m going to post what our family will be eating, but I encourage you to grab the book if you want to come up with your own plan for your family.  I will be editing and choosing meals that will be simple for my current lifestyle.  This means there may be more repetition than you may like.  I also am not a huge fish eater, so will most likely steer away from those recipes – but there are some great ones for those that like fish!

All those in with me, we are going to get it gone! This is your heads up just in case you want to read up at all about it.  There is also a 4 Day Anti Bloat Jumpstart for the diet, however it’s not included in the Family cookbook as they don’t feel it’s appropriate for kids (duh!), but what about mom??  She may want the Jumpstart!?!!?  I’ve ordered the book that this is included in and will post it as soon as it arrives so we can all get this party started.

Until then, get hydrated and start drinking 2 liters of water a day (that’s about 8 1/2 cups) of their Sassy Water:

2 liters of water
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled & sliced
1 medium lemon, sliced
12 small spearmint leaves or fresh mint

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and allow the flavors to blend overnight.  (Feel free to add more or less, or omit anything on the list).

Comment below and let me know if your in with the BATTLE of the BELLY FAT BULGE. I’ll pick one reader with Random.org on Sunday to send a copy of the cookbook too.

Happy weekend, enjoy it as reality is coming on Monday!

More fun laundry tips…assuming laundry is fun

OK Seriously, this one I’m going to have to try!  Yesterday it was Chalk, and today I’ve got another wacky tip from my MOUNTAINS of Apartment Therapy catching up…

This was a comment shared by an Apartment Therapy reader, on their Spring Cleaning: Green Laundry Products post:

“I was a firm lover of (dryer sheets) until I found that I could take aluminum foil, ball it up, and toss it in the dryer with the wet laundry. It removes static and never has to be changed. I’ve been using the same aluminum foil ball for over 6 months.”

All I can say is WOW!

Here are a few others from the Spring Cleaning: Green Laundry Products post:

“Soaking sweat or blood stains overnight in diluted hydrogen peroxide works wonders for getting out stains – I’ve even saved old pit-stained t-shirts this way.”

“Plain old white vinegar is FANTASTIC for getting out armpit odors and stains. Just soak the pit areas in straight vinegar for maybe a couple of hours and wash. Green AND cheap! :)”

“The Laundress stain solution is the BEST. It even got out pen when my daughter drew all over my white couches. I haven’t had a stain yet that it hasn’t gotten out–I love their products and they smell SOOOO good!”

So personally, I am the devil, at least where laundry is concerned….I’m not totally (or even a little bit) Green.  I’m all for using what will get the stains out, and of course preferably not killing the planet while I’m doing it.

This is my regular laundry line up…


Tide 2x Ultra Tide Free HE Liquid

I like that I can use it for the whole family, baby included, it’s HE and has no scent or dye.  I also like that it does not build up in the laundry cup like the HE Costco/Kirkland brand does.

Clorox 2 Stain Fighter Color Booster

I have tried OxiClean, as well as the Liquid version of the Clorox 2 Stain Booster.  Both have given me OK results.  But this option has by far given me the best results.  Its a little pellet that you throw in the machine with your load (not in the dispenser).  Super easy to use and it works a good 90% of the time for me with my normal loads of regular every day kid life – dirt, grime, baby formula, blow out diapers on clothes, fruit Popsicles, pizza sauce, etc.  Is it perfect? No.  But it does a heck of a good job, especially when I’ve run short on time and not pre-treated…..

Shout Triple Acting Laundry Stain Remover

Again, I’ve tried the OxiClean spray, but Shout has always done my family right and almost always beats the pants off of OxiClean.

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Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap

The isn’t all that much that can slip by this little bar of stain fighting power.  I’m so loyal to it that it’s listed in the Home Favorites Gallery. Click on the Bar of Soap image above to see my Favorites Gallery thoughts on it.

Bounce Free Fabric Softner

What can I say, I like our clothes soft…and this does the trick!

That’s it for my line up, but there are 2 other tricks I would like to try that 2 My Favorite Everything readers shared in their comments:

Dawn (dish detergent) liquid soap… pour some on a grease stain, let it sit for a long while, wash it as normal… AWESOME!!!” Andrea Marshall aka Haolegirl

Downy Wrinkle Releaser !!!

From their website:
Just spray, tug, and smooth any time you need to quickly reduce unsightly wrinkles. No iron needed. The spray smooths out wrinkles in seconds, giving clothes a light, airy fresh feeling.
Relaxes fibers to smooths out wrinkles in seconds, freshens with light, subtle scent and
also works on dry-clean-only fabrics.

I find the larger bottles at Target. If their inventory is low it is from me hoarding the magic in a bottle. LOVE THE STUFF” Kathleen Enge, Sugar and Spice

Thanks Ladies for the tips!  And thank you all that have been commenting and sharing ideas!  It’s always great to hear others ideas and favorites…I highly encourage you all to skim through the comments people are leaving with their own tips and tricks.  You never know what you might find that could help your own situation!  Thank you to everyone!!  Be sure to check back on Friday for my Bosch Laundry Expert tips!!


wordless wednesday ~ chalk??

In the major overhaul over at our house, I’ve also been catching up on reading blogs that I love to follow, but have just gotten so behind!  One of the steps I took was to move most of them to an RSS subscription on my Google Reader and have been catching up on them when I give Piper her 4:00AM bottle.

Would you believe I had 231 posts from Apartment Therapy that I needed to catch up on!?!??!  And who knew, but May is national organization & cleaning month, guess I got the memo anyway. Regardless, I’ve finally caught up with all my Apartment Therapy posts and I loved this laundry trick with chalk. And since it went with my “Laundry Week” theme, I thought I would share it with you too….who knew chalk could help you get rid of grease stains???

Do you have a favorite trick to help with stains?

(Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy)

back to basics ~ the container store

Somehow I don’t think this is what The Container Store had in mind when they said we needed to hang our laundry….but hey, my ovens are next to the very small laundry room and it works!

In keeping with the theme Back to Basics, I’m going to focus on Laundry and Laundry Rooms this week.

I’m a huge fan of organization.  I love The Container Store.  Don’t believe me?  Read this and this.  Trust me there is more, but that should help you out a bit.  A few weeks ago I mentioned attending the amazing laundry event, Hamper to Hanger, hosted by Bosch.  I’m STILL digesting all that we learned…I so wish everyone could get a training session like we did!  I can’t wait to share the event with you this week.

Another fabulous part of the event was having an organization specialist join us from The Container Store.  Don’t think THAT wasn’t like meeting a celebrity for this organization nerd!!  Of course I’ve got my own favorite things from the store (as mentioned in the first “this” above), but here’s a few more she gave us…

Sort your laundry in a hamper. Try using separate baskets or a divided hamper.  This saves you time later when you’re short on it and need to do laundry.  These are the baskets we use.  I have 3 that I keep stacked until I’m ready to use them.Hang your clothes quickly after pulling them from the dryer. Helps to reduce wrinkles and the need for ironing.  The Container Store also suggested different colored hangers for each member of your family so you can quickly return clothes to the correct closets.
Try using Elfa drawers for hampers.
The drawers can save space and can be labeled for whites, darks, colors.  You can also use them after doing laundry with colored labels that coordinate with the colored hangers for each family member’s clean clothes.

These are a few extra things that she shared with us that you might find helpful…

Gal Pals. These are brilliant and are almost always a stocking stuffer at Christmas in our family.  Use them dry to remove the annoying white deodorant marks that frequent our clothes all too often.  (I don’t know why that occurs??  Maybe because Moms have to get dressed in under 2 minutes each morning, maybe, just maybe…). I’ve been a fan for YEARS, yes, YEARS.  The only deodorant that I’ve found it struggles with is Secret Clinical Strength (which is unfortunately, but fortunately what I wear and swear by now…..).

Prolong the life of your delicates by using lingerie and bra bags. I personally love the zippered lingerie bags and use them frequently.

Dry your clothes on drying racks. This pop up rack is a great option for over your tub when you need it, or can be folded out of the way when not in use. (Of course you can always go my route and use the handles of your oven…)

What are your favorite laundry tricks?

the need for getting back to basics

Last week was a meet your maker week for me.  I had hit a wall and needed to regroup. I love my family, my husband, my Littles.  But I was struggling to make it all work for us and for me.  My sweet husband and suggested I take some time off, maybe get a massage.  The problem with this is that I would still come back to the problem.  My closets would still be a mess, my extra baby weight would still be there, and I would still be getting zippo sleep, not because of our newborn, but because of our 2 year old that no longer wants to go to bed, let alone sleep.  So as kind as the offer was, what I needed to do was step back and get my home base functional again.

I said this last week and truly meant it, everyone has their own way of dealing with things, but for me,  I need to get myself fixed and in gear and then I can give 100% to my family. I want the cobwebs out of my closets, I want the 3 years of baby weight gone, and I want my wonderful Littles to sleep again.

To give you an idea of why my brain was exploding,

I forgot to take a photo of my closet before we attacked it, but these are the 9 bags of clothes that went to the Goodwill.  3 years of maternity clothes, and waayyyyy too many clothes from pre-pregnancies that would NEVER be worn again even if I DO get that small again.

Moving onto my office

(AKA – the utility room/laundry room/”what else can we squeeze into this 8′ x 9′ space” room).

Oh joy…

What do you think?  Extra pantry space on top of the dryer??

Or how about a magnetic board on the side??

(I actually like this part, but it is still crazy).

This doesn’t look so bad, until you find out that the phone is BEHIND the printer.  And that the boxes no longer have a rhyme and reason.  I had started moving things to a new wrapping space my husband had set up for me in the garage, but became overwhelmed with life in general and stopped mid move….now that’s helpful.

My actual desk.  Chaos.

Even more chaos.

But wait.

Check out this goodness.

My hall “catch it all” closet.

Toys, pool towels, candles, rainy day toys, birthday gifts, table cloths, napkins, games, kitchen sinks

(OK, maybe not the last one, but I was truly surprised not to see one in there).

Now this last one.

I still can’t believe I’m going to show this to everyone reading.

This is me pre-babies.  I refuse to show you a swim suit photo as that would be entirely too embarrassing.  Well that and the fact I would never allow one to be taken in the first place.  So this is as close as I can get to showing you where I’ve come from.  Being pregnant so soon after each pregnancy means I was never able to get rid off ALL the baby weight from each baby.

Piper was different.  All of her weight was gone in the first 4 weeks.

But I now have 40 lbs, I didn’t have before, leftover from 2 earlier pregnancies.

Fun huh!?!  I still look COMPLETELY pregnant.

I do a pretty good job of hiding it (obviously not in this photo),

but I would much rather just have the old me back.

So we’re going to tackle some things over the next few weeks and I would love for you to join me. I set out to write this blog to pass on tips and tricks, sharing my favorite ways to make your life brighter.  And I plan on doing just that, through the yuck as well as the fun.  The next few weeks we will tackle closets, laundry, office spaces, cleaning tips, beauty tips and DIET.  It doesn’t matter if your post prego, have an 18 year old, or no kids at all.  ANY of what I hope to share could be helpful for your life too.

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.

Please jump in, comment, and share any tips you have as well!!

Here’s to getting back to basics, and putting Mama (Humpty Dumpty) back together again!!