Money Saving Tips for Kids: Family Friday

So I will be honest here. We actually won those prizes in this picture of my daughter, Leigh at Disneyland this summer (thanks to her older brother). Anyway, having 3 kids is a fabulous challenge, and teaching them the value of money and saving money is truly important. My kids usually want to spend their allowance immediately upon receiving it – I can almost see the money burning a hole in their pockets! I have learned that regardless of your children’s age, the best way to teach them the importance of budgeting is to start small and keep it simple. Here are some of my top money saving tips for kids. See my post over at SC Johnson for more.

1. Set an example: Keep a piggy bank at home and use it. I make weekly deposits of small bills or coins and show my kids the savings after a couple months. I also talk to them about the importance of saving and staying on track when it comes to weekly deposits.

2. Match them: To try and keep things fun, match the amount of money save by 50 to 100 percent. This idea helps kids stay motivated to save money.

3. Make a list: I ask my children to make a wish list of the items they would love to own. This helps them to prioritize the things they really want and ensures they think through how much they should budget for in order to afford it.

See more at SC Johnson

Fitness Friday: Top 10 Get-Fit Shortcuts

Looking for new, fresh advice on getting fit? I have 10 awesome fitness shortcuts that will help you get fit and lean even faster.

1. Jump to it

Rather than plod through a slow warm-up jog, kick off your routine with 20 jumping jacks, says trainer Larysa DiDio, founder of PFX Fitness in Pleasantville, New York. In less than a minute, these simple but explosive old-school moves activate your upper-and lower-body muscles and quickly raise your heart rate and body temperature to prime you for your workout. Another reason to keep it short: A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that lengthy warm-ups can fatigue you, compromising your true workout.

2. Start Strong
People who pushed themselves in the first half of a workout and eased up during the second half burned 23 percent more fat than those who did the opposite, according to a study from the College of New Jersey. The study also found that a period of moderate-intensity exercise prior to a milder one can elicit greater fat oxidation while making the overall workout feel less stressful. One more reason to get the hard part out of the way.

3. Hit the Right Notes
Music moves you to burn more calories in less time by spurring you to crank up—and keep up—the effort. But not just any playlist will do (sorry, Adele). To increase workout intensity, listen to songs with a tempo of 125 to 140 beats per minute and lively lyrics, says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., author of Inside Sport Psychology, who has studied music’s impact on exercise for 20 years. His picks: “Moves Like Jagger,” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera (128 bpm), “The Time (Dirty Bit),” by The Black Eyed Peas (128 bpm), and “Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny),” by A. R. Rahman & The Pussycat Dolls featuring Nicole Scherzinger (137 bpm).

4. Defy Gravity

Sculpting a perkier posterior may be as simple as hoisting heavier weights. The challenge to your muscles builds lean muscle faster, which is the secret to a tighter, lifted backside, says trainer Rachel Cosgrove, WH fitness contributor and author of The Female Body Breakthrough. Plus, it’s a stellar metabolism booster: Research shows you can burn nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after lifting heavier weights.

5. Join the Workout of the Month Club
When you stop seeing results, your first instinct may be to stay on the treadmill or elliptical longer. But tacking on extra minutes won’t rescue you from a plateau. What will: switching up your routine every 28 days—before you have a chance to stagnate. “It takes four to six weeks for your body to adapt to a workout,” says Cosgrove. “Once it becomes efficient at it, you use less energy and burn fewer calories and fat.” The good news is, you don’t need to completely overhaul your fitness routine every month, says Cosgrove. Even simple tweaks—say, adding a few hills to your daily run—can make the difference.

6. Lose your Balance
Multitasking is a useful skill at work—and during a workout. “Do upper-body strength training—biceps curls, overhead presses—on an unstable surface, such as a BOSU, a balance board, or even a couch cushion at home,” says DiDio. “You’ll use your core to stabilize yourself and keep from falling, so you’ll strengthen and tone your midsection while you work other muscle groups.”

7. Intensity Your Cardio

Slow and steady doesn’t win the race to hotness. Women who did 20 minutes of cycling sprint intervals lost three times as much fat in 15 weeks as those who cycled for twice as long at an even pace, according to research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), in which you alternate between short bursts of intense exercise and recovery breaks, is one of the best—and most time-saving—ways to turn your body into a fat-burning machine, says Cosgrove.

8. Speed Lift

Do reps to a count of one second up, one second down. Researchers at Anderson and Ball State universities found that exercisers who performed a weight-lifting workout at a quick, explosive pace expended 70 more calories, on average, than those who did the workout at a normal pace.

9. Inch Up Your Incline
All it takes to torch 15 percent more calories on the treadmill? Adding a little incline, about 6 percent, to your usually flat run or walk, says DiDio. The higher the ramp, the more calories burned at any speed—without tacking a single minute on to your workout.

10. Make a Smartswap
Trade one of your weekly cardio workouts for a strength-training session to see more waist-whittling results. In a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one group of dieters lifted three times a week and another did aerobic exercise for the same amount of time. Both groups consumed the same number of calories, and both shed the same amount of weight (26 pounds). But those who pumped iron dropped 100 percent fat, whereas the cardio group lost 92 percent fat and 8 percent muscle. Why this matters: Muscle incinerates calories even when you’re not working out. If you replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of lean muscle, you’ll burn an extra 25 to 50 calories a day even when you don’t break a sweat.

Want more? See this link at Women’s Health Magazine

Photo credit by Munetaka Tokuyama

 

Easter or Passover Main Dish Idea: Mahi Mahi and Vegetable Kabobs

I grill all year long, but my family especially loves it when the weather turns nice. We tend to eat outside on the deck, and it’s great for the kids to be riding bikes and playing basketball while I’m cooking the food on the grill. This is the epitome of family time. These Mahi Mahi and Vegetable Kabobs are the perfect recipe to try if you’re wanting to get your kids to like fish and vegetables. It’s colorful, fresh and full of clean flavors. Mahi Mahi is mild, a low calorie, low-fat source of protein, and it also has B-complex vitamins, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Serve these kabobs with grilled asparagus or squash and zucchini this Easter or Passover dinner for something different and unexpected. It’s a healthy low carbohydrate main dish.

Top 10 Heart Healthy Tips

February is heart health month, so I thought I would share some of my healthy heart tips. A few of my favorite heart healthy foods are salmon, nuts, oatmeal, dark chocolate, tomatoes, berries and even red wine (in moderation). Read on for some easy tips to better heart health.

1. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol-If you reduce trans and saturated fats, you can reduce your cholesterol.

Choose: canola oil and olive oil

Avoid: butter, lard, bacon, fat

2. Choose Low Fat Protein Sources-Choose lean meats, eat less red meat and choose heart healthy fish (such as wild salmon and mackerel). These are filled with omega 3-fatty acids. Other good options include lean meats and poultry, low-fat daily products and egg whites. Avoid full fat milk and dairy products, egg yolks, bacon and fried foods.

3. Eat more vegetables and fruits-Eat raw fruits and veggies, and if you cook your vegetables, steam, grill or sauté them.

Avoid: frying vegetables, vegetables in cream sauces and fruit in heavy syrup.

4. Eat Whole Grains and Seeds-Choose whole grains and add seeds such as ground flaxseed and chia seeds to your diet. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, applesauce or hot cereal.

Avoid: white bread, cakes, and pies

5. Reduce sodium intake-Sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Choose fresh or dried herbs and spices instead of salt.

Avoid: table salt, full sodium canned soup, soy sauce, and tomato juice

6. Control portions-Watch your portions. A serving of pasta is ½ cup and the size of a hockey puck. 3 to 4 ounces of lean meat is the size of deck of cards.

7. Plan your daily meals ahead of time – Eat out less and cook healthy meals more.

8. Eat more Power-Foods-Power foods are those foods packed with antioxidants such as cherries, strawberries, berries, chia and flaxseeds, lentils, pomegranates, quinoa and more.

9. Exercise that heart-Try to exercise 5 to 6 times a week. Walk, run, dance, bike, swim or do what you love to get that heart pumping.

10. Replace junk food with fruits and vegetables– Start by replacing one junk food a week, and increase this every week  until you have a cleaner diet.

Photo above via pinterest  

photo above from Pinterest

Peanut Butter Cup Blonde Brownie Recipe

When I saw this recipe from a past issue of Cooking Light magazine for Peanut Butter Cup Brownies, I knew that I had to make them. I have a weakness for anything peanut butter, but the fact that they are only 153 calories, 20 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of fat, I let this one slide. These brownies are so easy to make and make for parties (Super Bowl), Valentines and a great afternoon snack for the kids or dessert, of course. I used the new Reese’s cup minis, which worked perfectly. Enjoy!

Top 5 Things I learned at Altitude Summit about Life and Blogging

I spent the last week at my first design conference ever: Altitude Summit in Salt Lake City. It was great to step out of my box and learn from so many talented and creative people. I thought I would share the top 5 things I learned that apply to blogging and life.

1. “One of the best ways to be happy in life is to make other people happy.” Gretchen Rubin

2. “Make connections in life, and make it personal. The most important thing is to be sincere, genuine and personal.” –Alison Lewis

3. “Jump in with both feet, but decide where you want to land first.” Liz Stanley

4. “Knowing your brand and value will put you in power to do just about anything in your buiness.” –Alison Lewis

5. “Discovering things about the world will help us discover more about who we are.” Ben-Founder of Pinterest.

Images above by Kelli AndersonAlex Profit, and Yan Photo

I made so many awesome friends at this conference that it’s hard to make a shout-out to everyone. I did want to mention that the team from Rue La La were so genuine and awesome. I truly loved hanging out with y’all.

Favorite Recipes and Healthy Blog Posts of 2011

Happy New Year everyone! It has been a blast to work on my blog this past year, and I appreciate everyone’s continued support. Breakfast Almond and Raspberry Quinoa (pictured above) was one of my top recipes of the year, and here are some other favorite blog posts of 2011 from my site:

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins

Panko Fish Sticks with Edamame Salsa

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Saucepan Popcorn and Healthy Back to School Snacks

3 Ingredient Peppermint Milkshakes

10 Health Benefits of Blackberries

Best Foods for Runners

Health Benefits of Cherries

How To Get Lean

10 Reasons Why to Love Yoga

Top 10 Ways to Find Balance in Your Life

Holiday Fitness Gift Ideas for “Her”

Okay. I am a fitness fanatic. I admit it. I want everything fitness related for my holiday gifts so here is a list of some of my favorites. To start, is this great workout bag called the “Triumphant Tote” from Lululemon. Not only does it fit a 15-inch laptop, but it’s so roomy, cool-looking, has a waterproof outer layer, and an exterior pocket with removable bag for grubby gear (perfect for my cycle shoes and sweaty clothes). $118. I want this in black if anyone is listening…Here are some of my other favorites:

For the Runner: How about this Roga Short for Oiselle. It combines the flattering waist of a yoga short with the technical function of a great running short with a rear zip pocket and moisture protection. $44

For Anyone: The “Energy Bra” by Lululemon, is my newest favorite workout bra. It fits perfectly, is so comfortable and it’s great for any sport as well as hot yoga. I just splurged on this pink one!  $42

For the Runner: I just bought these running tights from Saucony, and they are comfortable, have a reflective stripe for maximum visibility (if you are running early in the morning or late in the day), have a roomy pocket and ankle zippers. $65

For a Challenge: How about a great workout DVD? If you’re looking for a great overall workout that is tough and will tone you up, try my friend, Sandra’s,  Horizontal Conditioning or Boot Camp DVD. $19.99

For Tennis: I love this new Nike Rival Tennis Skirt, part of the Sharapova holiday Dry-fit collection. The fit is awesome. $60

For Yoga: This Burn Out V-Neck from Yoga Fit is so soft and the perfect fit for yoga, running or just lounging at home. I love that their collection is made in in the USA. The yoga posture illustrations on the shirt are too cute.

How to Maintain Your Weight During the Holidays

I was so excited last week to be asked to be on a very popular radio station in Birmingham, WMJJ Magic 96.5, and do a show on “Tips for Eating healthy during the holidays”. Before I went on the air, I thought about what I do personally, and I asked some of my friends on Facebook and Twitter for their input. The thing to remember is to eat everything in moderation. Also, make good food choices (such as my favorite Winter Radicchio Salad with Pomegranates). The radio show was so popular that I will be doing a monthly radio show with them, and I am so excited about that!

Here’s my list of Top 10 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips:

1. Exercise during the holidays.

2. Before you leave your house, eat a small snack and eat small meals throughout the day so you’re not binging at night

3. Eat breakfast on Thanksgiving and Xmas morning

4. Eat only what you love at the holiday table

5. Don’t rush to eat. Socialize as much as you can, but do it away from the holiday table.

6. If you’re drinking alchohol, drink a nonalcoholic version first

7. Drink a lot of water that day so it makes you feel full

8. Eat veggies everywhere you can, and fill your plate up with a lot of them

9. If there are 2 plate sizes, put your meal on a salad or dessert plate

10. When you’re done eating, wait and don’t go back for more.

Fashion Friday- Winter Coats: The Great EsCape

For this winter, I am totally loving the cape. This piece is totally classic, but today, designers have made the cape contemporary and modern.You will definitely want this staple in your closet today! I love all of the styles I have shown you. Some are loud, fun, and bold. The others are more neutral, and they will go with everything. If you are worried that you will freeze in a cape, then don’t worry. In the milder winter periods, all you need to wear is a thick cashmere sweater with long gloves.

Vince Camuto Cape-$99 at Nordstrom.com

Suno Mohair Cape-$746 at FarFetch.com

Aryn K. Plaid Cape-$95 at Piperlime.com

M Missoni Tiger Print Cape-$1,365 at Net-a-porter.com

J. Crew Wool Cape- $398 at JCrew.com

This post was crafted by Meredith from Inspector Snew