Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Get Off The Couch!!!

Meet Comet, He really isn't a couch potato, however I sure laugh every time I see him sitting like this, which these days is often. I think he learned it from me some years ago before I realized how much I enjoy exercising. Here we were renting a camper in the Finger Lakes of NY while traveling on PCS orders, fun NOT.

Anyhow, Comet doesn't really have anything to do with what I am about to write about, but he sure is cute!
The couch, it's comfortable, cozy, and has a warm blanket I can snuggle up to on a cool day, (and some days when it's hot and I am loosing the air conditioner wars also), so why in the world would I ever want to get up off the couch. There are so many reasons but today, I specifically want to talk about Couch to 5 k program. I started this class at my local YMCA and we are in week 6 right now. The program is phenomenal, I am having a lot of fun challenging myself to get out and run again.
When we lived in WA, which seems like ages ago now, I ran with a group. I have so missed the camaraderie and friendship that comes along with it, that was two years ago. I must admit that even though I have been exercising regularly since arriving in NY, I have not done much running mostly because I missed my group, my friends, and even the familiarity of the roads(mountains) that we ran on out west. I have to say that when I was asked if I ever thought about taking this class, I thought, why would I pay for a class when I can go out and run for free. Well, I decided that I would jump in and see what it is all about. I have become a complete die hard advocate for the Couch to 5k (c25k) running program.

This systematic program can literally get just about anybody with the ability to move off the couch and running in a short matter of 9-10 weeks! (even me) How about that? The program starts out slow and works its way up into longer paced running periods. Right from the starting line, everyone can feel success after the first day 1 workout! I suppose that it helps that the class has a great and supportive instructor (Thanks Laurie) and lots of supportive running mates (you know who you are!) The class meets once a week and we have homework 2 more times a week! Can you believe it, a fitness class with homework? Well I am certain that it is what makes the whole process a possibility! It also helps that I have a running buddy, thanks Alison, to do all my homework with and help keep me on target!

If you don't' have a class in your area you can just follow the plans listed on, linked above. I have been using these podcasts (ipod and mp3 format) and it makes it so simple, no time keeping necessary as Robert (virtual timekeeper) does all the hard work for you and gives you some music to listen to as well!
There is more information about c25k here.
So what are you waiting for? Running (and any exercise) is good for your heart, sanity and much more. So get up get off the couch and start running!! Go! Go Now! Then come back and tell me all about it!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's that time of Year again... Filling the Lunchbox

It seems that every year when the kids go back to school that the old dilemma comes back up. What in the world can I give my kids to eat for lunch. These days, the school lunch line is not always a healthy or tasty place to be. Schools have cut back and frozen and overly processed foods that are just being heated up in the lunchroom, nothing is cooked from scratch anymore.

So here's some ideas that you can try to beat the boring thoughts of spreading peanut butter and jelly everyday. Not to mention my youngest decided that the day school started that he 'hated' peanut butter, so I myself have had to get creative with his lunch.

First and easiest thing to do for lunch is serve leftovers! Yeah you heard me, good old leftovers. My kids love it. They have thermos' that I can put hot chili, lasagna, or soups right into. I heat them very hot in the am and then cover them up. Be careful not to twist your container too tight as it may form a seal very hard for a child to open! (ask me how I know) My kids love to have their favorites warm for lunch! They love it and many times they are proud to bring it to school because they have helped in the process of making the meal the night before.

Another thing is to get out of the thought process that every lunch has to have a sandwich. Why? Sometimes we are creatures of habit. My kids enjoy different types of breads, zucchini breads, apple breads, carrot breads, corn bread, generally I bake them into muffins so they resemble 'cupcakes' and they gobble them up. How about baked blue corn chips with black bean dip. Hummus and cut up vegetables for dipping, or celery and peanut butter (or other nut butters) with raisins/ dried fruit. Yogurt (vanilla or plain) with some mixed berries or fruit and a bit of granola or muesli to put on top for a bit of crunch. If your child really likes sandwiches how about rolling up your sandwich fixings on a tortilla and slicing (it will kind of look like sushi) and put little toothpicks in them to hold them together. Mini bagels(whole grain preferred) are great, how about slicing a few, giving the child a little container of sauce and another with grated cheese. (their own 'lunchables') There are so many things that you can do with your child's lunches.

Cute stylish containers make food more appealing to kids. I still use the laptop lunches that I wrote about a few years ago and I bought about 4 yrs ago! No buying sandwich bags and tons of prepacked foods with lots of garbage coming home everyday!

Most important put something fresh in the lunchbox everyday and avoid processed junk foods. Fresh fruits, even frozen fruits go over well with kids. Put the frozen fruits into the lunchbox it will help keep your foods cold and will be thawed by lunchtime. Try to introduce new foods with other foods that you know your child really likes. They wont starve themselves and they may be more likely to try new foods when you are not looking!

Other little tips, every once in awhile, cut your child's plain sandwich with cookie cutters to make them more interesting and exciting to eat. Homemade puddings can be a great treat and healthy too. Whatever you do, make the best choices of foods for your child as possible, whole foods are best, and give your child a healthy start to a lifetime of good eating habits!

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Few Days of School and the sunflowers

The sunflowers are growing but with the cold weather I don't know they will get much bigger. Nikolas is excite to see these red ones.
Here's another it is really tall hence pretty hard to get a good photo because it's way over my head.
Here's a perspective shot sitting next to the Durango. The tallest ones are probably over 7 ft tall right now.
Second day of school with her new haircut!
Here's Ariana very excited about her tie die skirt which she loves.
Here's another shot of Ariana, she loves to have her photo taken.
Here's Nikolas with his new haircut on the 2ND day of school.
Ariana loves her new converse shoes!
Nikolas and Ariana on the first day of school!