Less Words Wednesdays: Mom Card

I will take being accidentally being labeled “a beast mom” any day when its on a card that was made with love for me in mind, by my daughter!

this post is linked to Wordless Wednesday at 5 minutes for mom

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Fitness Faves: My Amphipod Running Belt

Last week I talked about my new found love of Natures Path Organic Toaster Pastries.

A reader asked me how I carried those toaster pastries. I can’t talk about how I do this  without bringing up my Amphipod runners hydration belt.

I put off buying a  hydration belt built specifically for runners, for at least 2 years of half marathon and then marathon training. I used a hikers belt that I got at Aldi for under $10. It worked okay but with one heavy bottle it made a swishing sound, that was so loud that my running partner often pretended to step along to the beat.

The Aldi special, also could not be adapted to my needs for places to hold all my long run essentials, and it was hard to adjust.

However, I kept balking at the price of a runners hydration belt. I held out till I just could not put up with the loud swish any longer.

Now, I wish I had switched over earlier. I love my Amphipod belt.

I love that on short runs I can just clip in one bottle but for a long marathon run I can clip in all four. I love that the bottles clip out with a slight squeeze of the hand and clip in with just a slight push.

I will admit sometimes if you don’t get the bottle in its groove just right, it does fall, and at mile 25.5 of the marathon, let me tell ya it is a drag  to try and pick it up (my leg muscles start to seize up around mile 21).

However,once you get the hang of listening and feeling for the snap of the grooves of bottle and clip meeting, dropped bottles are a rarity.

I love the belts Velcro closure that is so easy to adjust I don’t even have to slow my stride to do it.

I also love the little pocket found in the end of the belt. It is just the right size to hold my key fob for my Trailblazer.

My number one thing I love about my Amphipod hydration belt though, is that I can slide on all sorts of accessories to personalize it to my needs.

I don’t buy the Amphipod accessories, although I am sure they are great. Instead I save a bit of money and buy digital camera cases that come with belt loops.

The ones I have are made by icon, and similar to this one here (click words in blue to view). However mine are nylon, but this picture gives you an idea of what to look for, just make sure the case has a belt loop. I have two with zipper closures and one wider one with a flap and  Velcro top.

Amphipod belt accessories, that I saw at my local running store, started at around $15, where as these small digital camera  bags with belt loops start at just $3.

My first zippered bag holds tissues for occasional nosebleeds ( got a lot of running stories involving nosebleeds). The second  zippered bag holds my cell phone.

The third and only Velcro closure bag, holds a sandwich bag, full of Nature Path Toaster Pastries that have been cut into quarters, so I can easily consume one piece every 30 minutes on my runs of 90 minutes or more.

How about you? Do you have a runners hydration belt? Have you personalized it for your needs in any way?

(Note words in blue take you to Amazon, if you purchase while your there Snail Pace Transformations, will receive a small % of the sale)

 

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Road Trip Packing To The Max

Road Trip Packing To The Max

Our family of five recently went on a trip to Disney World. We decided to drive and not fly to save money. From our house to Disney is an 18 hour drive.

When I picked out my Trailblazer I thought more about my day to day life than once a year road trips. With that in mind I opted out of the third row of seats.  My hubby rarely drives with us and my son is old enough to occupy the passenger seat, making the bench seat in the back very roomy for my two youngest children.

Leaving out the third row seat also left me lots of cargo space for groceries, yard sale finds, and most importantly my mountain bike.

So when faced with the upcoming 2 day drive with all five of us in the vehicle, I had to think about how to maximize my trunk space as well as passenger space.

Here is what I came up with.

I used 4 big plastic totes and 4 smaller plastic totes as well as 2 XXL Ziploc bags. I always find that luggage doesn’t stack well, and therefore inefficient in maximizing space. The bins were also easier to access when we needed something at  a rest stop.

To start, I carried out two totes to the vehicle, and made sure that they would fit, and figured out just how many I could fit and what configuration would work best.

Once I figured out exactly how many totes we could fit, and what size, I then went around the house emptying out totes we already had and putting them all in one central location of the house to begin packing.

Knowing exactly what would fit, really helped me decide what to bring and what not to bring.

I made sure to leave a little space in each bin to allow for purchases on the trip. Which was a good thing, because they were stuffed to capacity on the trip home.

All our belongings fit in these totes, our pillows went in the oversize ziploc bags. Down the sides of the totes I stuffed our 5 day packs and in the middle of the totes, I fit our 5 collapsible lunch coolers.

I also wanted to make sure that the kids had their Nintendo DS handy, as well as their i-touches and my sons kindle. I wanted these items to be out of the way of their feet, and off their laps. My husband came up with the idea of slinging his work cooler over the headrest, and it worked great.

I then found a canvas bag that I could sling over the other head rest that held our first round of snacks and waters.

It is not shown but in the middle of the two front seats we placed my daughters portable DVD player, and strapped its case to the front seat head rests as well.

This system worked amazingly well for us. We have decided for our next road trip we will change only one thing, and that is we want to purchase one more cooler for the back of  the other head rest as the canvas bag hung down too low and got in the way of the children’s knees.

How about you? Do you have any tips on how to pack the family vehicle to the max for a long road  trip?

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linked to Teach Me Tuesdays at Growing Home, Titus 2sday at Time Warp Wife, The Mommy Club at Crystal &Co., WFMW at We Are That Family, P31 Thursdays at Raising Mighty Arrows

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Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

chewy chocolate chip cookies

These cookies are still not healthy but they are healthier than the original recipe.

In the last few years I have been on a mission to make sure that all my children’s snacks have some healthy aspect to them the majority of the time.

This has lead me to being sneaky, as children don’t really like you messing with their snacks, and tend to all out revolt against it by simply not touching healthy versions.

There are a few products however that I have found that pass through their “healthy” radar.

One is using white wheat flour in a lot of our bake goods. The other is replacing shortening in recipes with organic coconut oil ( I have included links to Amazon so you could sneak a peak at what these product looks like but please note I get both products cheaper at various stores I frequent and often purchase other brands than the ones shown, if they are less expensive).

I have a few other tricks, but those two are the ones I used in this chocolate chip cookie makeover which were a hit with my children and my husband. None of them even questioned me as to if I had “healthified” their favorite cookies.

My daughter even said they were better than any cookie she has ever had from Paradise Cafe. Which is saying something because she loves their cookies.

How about you? Do you secretly healthy up your families recipes? Do your kids seem to have built in healthy foods radar?

 
Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups white wheat flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine butter and coconut oil till smooth
  3. Add sugar and to fats and stir
  4. Add lightly beaten eggs and vanilla and stir
  5. Add baking soda and flour and combine.
  6. Add in chocolate chips and combine till you have a mound of yummy cookie dough.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (until cookies are just a slight shade of golden brown)
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Fitness Goals for the Week of February 27 to March 4th

This has got to be my favorite bondiband. It puts all my priorities in proper order.

I managed to keep most of last weeks fitness goals.  I of course switched a few things up from the original plan due to weather and appointments changing as the week progressed.

I ended up running for a full hour outdoors on Tuesday, and then on Thursday I spent a full hour on the elipitical. On Wednesday I decided to stay for spin class after strength training instead of swimming. However, on Saturday I did get my 50 laps in while my daughter played in the water slide area of our local Y.

Saturday morning I missed my workout with my girl friend. I miss my buddies now that I am working out later in the day. Can’t wait till mornings warm up and I can return to running more with friends.

This Weeks Fitness Goals

Monday: REST.  I am living up to the saying on my bondiband above today, and hanging out with my Hubby.

Tuesday: Looks like it should be nice enough to run outside 9 miles.

Wednesday: Workout 1: half hour strength class followed by 40 minutes spinning class.

Workout 2: 30 minutes on the elliptical

Thursday: looks like its the nicest day of the week to grab my long run, 16 miles.

Friday: Workout 1: 1/2 hour Strength Class followed by 60 laps of swimming

Workout 2: 4 miles running

Saturday: Girlfriend workout at the Y (snow in forecast) guessing 3 miles dread tread, followed by 30 minutes elliptical

Sunday: REST

This is the first spring marathon I have ever done, my last two were mid to late fall. I am seeing already that I am having to be very flexible with the day I do my long run to avoid trying to do a 15 to 20 mile run on the dread tread (aka treadmill).

I have read of some runners that do 100% of their marathon training on the dread tread and the thought of it makes me shudder.

I would much rather switch it up with more cross training than face the dread tread for more than 3 to 4 miles at a time.

How about you? Are you a runner? and if you are what is the longest treadmill run you have ever managed? (mine is 9 miles, and it was only once)

 This post is linked to 10 Weekly Goals at Money Saving Mom

 

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And the winner of the $10 Old Navy Card is…

I think most bloggers have a widget for drawings, but since my blog is still little and I am still snail pacing away at all the ins and outs of blogging, I did things the old fashioned way.

I wrote out all the names of those who joined my facebook page this week, and also commented on my blog, on little slips of paper. I then put them all in a bowl and closed my eyes and drew one.

The winner is LAMusing! I will contact you through e-mail later today! Congratulations and  thanks to all who entered.

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Sunday Reads: The Care & Keeping Of You

My daughter is 9 and in the last year, I have seen changes in her that have alerted me to the fact that she is entering puberty.

Remembering how awkward I felt at that age to talk about such matters, even with women I loved and trusted, I started searching for a book that would give her simple answers about what was going on with her body during this time.

I was selling at a second hand homeschooling curriculum sale, when I noticed the booth next to me had The American Girl Library, The Caring & Keeping of You, The Body Book for Girls, on her table for just .50 cents.

I snatched it up and put it in my pile of books to preview for the kids. Finally this week several months after the sale, I read it.

It is exactly the type of book I was looking for. It gives just enough information. It is all simply stated. It reinforces over and over that we are all different and we all mature at different rates and we will all be different sizes and shapes.

It talks about not just physical changes, but good health practices, like brushing and flossing, the importance of physical exercise, sleep and good nutrition.

All the illustrations are drawn, and all sizes and shapes are represented.

The book is just over 100 pages which could be daunting to a 9 year old. However, the words are easy to read, and there are a lot of illustrations, charts, and bullet points. It took me just 1 hour to read it, and that was with interruptions.

Next week I will start digging into the new edition of, WordPress for Dummies.

As, I shared on my Facebook page, this will not be a book  that I will read in one week. I am planning to slowly digest WordPress for Dummies over a matter of weeks. Computer jargon even at a dummy level, takes this snail pacer brain, time to comprehend. I am hoping however that this book will help me be more efficient in my blogging, and also help me change the look of my blog to what I envision it to look like in my head.

How about you? What books do you have on your reading pile? Do you sometimes preview the books you intend for your children to read?

 ( please note, most words in blue take you to Amazon, if you purchase while you are there, Snail Pace Transformations will receive a % of the sale)

 

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Selling Saturdays: Craigslist

tips for Successfully selling on Craigslist

Craigslist sometimes gets a bad rap as being a dangerous way to sell your goods. I agree that things could go horribly wrong, but there are ways to decrease the odds.

Tips For Selling Safely On Craigslist

1. Don’t respond to anyone wanting you to ship goods, and promising they will wire cash. I have gotten a few of these emails and I just delete them.

2. Always try to meet the person in a public place to exchange goods.

3. If the item is too big to transport to a public place, at least drag it out to your front porch or another area where you will be visible to others driving by.

4. Whenever you can, always meet people with a friend or a family member.

5. Always let others know when you are showing your item and tell them you will check in when the showing is done (that way if you don’t check in they will know something is wrong)

6. Don’t give out your home number on your Craigslist ad, if you have kids at home. Keep them safe from strange calls, by giving out your cell number.

7. To be even safer, you can just provide your email (set it to private so no one can see it) and field inquires this way, however, please note that you will have to be able to check your email constantly if you list this way, and are wanting to sell your item fast.

8. Accept only cash from your buyers, or if your item is of great value (I have never sold something over $200) I suppose you could do a money order or certified check. I would advise you stay away from personal checks, I have been burned this way too many times in other areas of my life.

Now that we have covered ways to prevent Craigslist Crimes, lets move on to how to sell your item on Craigslist.

Tips For Selling On Craigslist

1. Clean up your item well.

2. Take 4 good pictures of your item from differing angles. 4 photos is the maximum amount Craigslist will allow you to post and I recommend taking full advantage of that number.

3. Take measurements of your item. Also make a list of any visible damage, the make and model number, color, and age.

4. Now that you have done all the prep work it is time to list your item. Go to Craigslist and find the nearest city to you (or if you live in a listed city, then pick that one of course).

5. Enter the item you wish to list and take note of how much an item like yours is being listed at, and what category it was listed under. (you might even want to swing over to Ebay and check out completed listing prices there too).

6. With a better idea of price in mind and category, go back to the Craigslist home page and click on the “post to classified” section.

7. Follow the step by step instructions. They are very idiot proof believe me, if I can do it anyone can.

8. In the title box be sure to include as much detail as you can, item, make of item, don’t forget price, and condition if you can fit it (like new, gently used etc.)

9. In the description box, note all the details you wrote down about your item earlier, include color, make, measurements, age, any damage etc.

10. If you want go ahead and include your cell phone number with the words inquire to in front of it (I don’t put my name just number) . If you don’t want to put you cell phone number out there, put e-mail for further details (don’t list your email in the description box there is another box that will do  that for you, and keeps it private at the same time)

11. Follow the prompts for photo’s at the bottom (add/edit images)

12. Follow the prompts for email at the top (make sure the anonymize button is clicked, as it prevents future junk mail)

13. Once you are all done with your ad press continue

14. Re-read your ad one more time for errors. Then press the button.

15. You then need to go to the e-mail address you entered and confirm the ad. Once you do  that you item is officially published and up for sale.

Your post will be visible of 45 days. If you have price it right, have good photo’s and descriptions your item should sell quickly. Don’t forget to take your post down as soon as the item sells to avoid further inquires that waste your time and the callers time.

One last word of caution, if you did add your cell phone number. Craigslist people often cruise the site late at night and early in the morning,  and a few seem to forget that not all people stay up past 9pm, nor do all people get up before 7 am.So whether you are an early bird or a night owl to insure your best sleep, turn off the volume of your cell if you have an active ad.

It is also helpful to keep a clip board handy with all the details of your item, so  that you can share them again with the caller if they ask.

How about you? Have you had any Craigslist success? Any Craigslist tips to share?

click to read more ways to make money from items you already own

click to read more ways to make money from items you already own

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Thrifty Fashions

I love clothes. I unashamedly take up two thirds of our small walk in closet, plus a large dresser. I also have my workout clothes stashed in  two drawers of  dresser in our dinning (long story as to how my workout clothes ended up in the dinning room, perhaps I will share that another day).

I however, don’t like paying big money for those clothes. First, because our budget won’t allow it. Second, because I grow bored of my clothes quick. Although, the main reason I don’t like paying retail for clothes is the thrill of the hunt.

I love to seek out and devour a good bargain. For instance in this photo, I am wearing genuine leather boots found for $10 at a local thrift shop. The skirt, Ann Taylor Loft, bought for $4 in a neighboring town’s thrift shop.The kelly green sweater, was close to free, when I used a coupon at target. The shirt under the sweater, $3 on clearance at Meijer. (sorry for the poor photo my 9 year old was the only one around to take photo’s and she quickly grew bored)

My favorite piece of the whole outfit is the necklace made for me by a friend.

Here is another photo of the necklace. I love its versatility, it looks good with so many colors. Here it is paired with a .50 cent Anne Taylor sweater, and a green clearance find tank top.

I love homemade items, especially those made for me by others. Nothing says I appreciate you like a gift that took thought and time to make.

How about you? Where do you hunt for deals?

 This post is linked to The Frugal Fashionista Fashion Show at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

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Surfing the Web to Save Money

My boys love video games. My middle son loves them so much that when we gave him $50 in spending money as a gift on our recent trip to Disney World, he decided not to buy a single Disney themed trinket, and save the whole $50 for a new video game when he got home.

My husband and I were proud of his determination and discipline as we cruised Disney Town the last day of our trip helping his siblings pick out their items to spend their money on. He was not letting the moment take his eyes off his goal.

He then spent several days looking up new games on line, and then asking his friends what new games they liked.

He even, went as far as having his friend bring over one of his new favorite games so that he could try it out before he purchased it.

However, even with this amount of thought put into his purchase he failed in one area. When it came to purchasing the game, he told me to go to just one store online and make the purchase.

I immediately said “stop wait a minute, lets compare the prices of the game at a few websites”. In under 5 minutes I punched in and visited several of my son’s favorite stores for buying video games, as well as Amazon.

To my son’s amazement the game was $20 cheaper on Amazon than any where else.

In those 5 minutes of searching, I saved my son $20 and taught him the valuable lesson of comparison shopping.

How about you? Have you found great deals by surfing the web?

(please note words in blue take you to amazon, if you make a purchase while there Snail Pace Transformations receives a small % of the sale)

 

This Post is linked to Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom

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