Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My New Hobby

I recently started doing something that I never thought I would be successful at! Don't get me wrong...I have tried on multiple occasions, but with very disappointing results! The fact that this new challenge has actually become enjoyable is what really shocks me! What am I talking about?

I have started running!
Like I said, I have tried to "take up the sport of running" on multiple occasions over the past 10 years without success. My problem was that I could never get the breathing part down. I did the mile that I needed to do each semester in high school, but I am pretty sure that I never ran the entire mile...ever!

I also never really had a plan when I started running in the past. I would just run until I couldn't run any more (which wasn't very far at all) and then would walk until I was ready to try running again. I never felt like I was really accomplishing anything so I just told myself that "I wasn't a runner"!

My husband has run a couple of 5K's, an 8K, two 14K's, and 2 marathons!! Every time I would go to one of his races, I would wish that I could run, but quickly put it out of my mind since "I wasn't a runner!"

Well, at the beginning of March, I decided to try again. So...I dusted off my jogging stroller and went for a run/walk...you know...run until I cant breathe, walk, run until I can't breathe, walk. I did this for a few days and then decided that maybe I needed to look into a running program. So...I started with the Couch to 5K program. That was 6 weeks ago and I am exactly where I should be in the program!
When I first looked through the program, I was pretty confident that I wouldn't make it past week 5. Week 5 takes you from 3 and 5 minute runs to 5 and 8 minute runs to....gulp...20 minute runs!! What?!? I thought for sure that would never happen! A 20 minute run might as well be a marathon for me!!  

Well, I was wrong!! At some point in week 4, running actually became enjoyable! I never thought I would ever say that!! I was running longer in each run than the program called for in weeks 4 and 5 and only stopped because it was dark outside and I needed to cool down a little before getting in the car to drive home! Crazy!
Those of you who are runners, please restrain yourself from laughing at what may appear to be a very small accomplishment to you! I actually do see the humor in telling my husband during week 3 that I had successfully run 3 minutes when he had run for hours just a couple of weeks prior during his marathon.

I even went to the running store and had them do a gait analysis to determine what kind of running shoes I needed. My 6 year old Adidas shoes just weren't cutting it!

I went out last Thursday afternoon with the intention of doing two 10 minute runs with a couple of minutes of walking in between (planning to add an extra training day into the week since I didn't think I would be up for the 20 minutes). Somewhere in the first 10 minutes, I decided to just go for the full 20...and I made it...just under 2 miles!

I just signed up for my first 5K to take place at the end of May...wow! I've also managed to lose 8 pounds since starting on the program which is an added bonus that I am pretty happy about.

I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that all I needed was a specific ("tried-and-true") program laid out for me. I have been looking forward to my running days in order to stay on track with the program. I had specific goals (time and distance) that kept me motivated. I'm a pretty competitive person...even against myself it turns out!

So...you may see a few posts in the future about "my new hobby". Can't wait to be able to post my first 5K results!! I also just posted a little widget in my sidebar to keep track of my running workouts each week!

Edited to add....it is a good thing that I already signed up for the 5K because the recent temperature increase has been killing me this week! Knowing that I already signed up for the 5K is what is keeping me motivated to reach my goal!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Blog Hop and a Giveaway!!

Happy Earth Day!
Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Hop!

Shaklee wants to help you get off to a fresh start this Spring and this Earth Day!


You've heard me mention that they are offering a FREE MEMBERSHIP with any $30 purchase (contact me for ordering instructions)! This is the best deal that I have seen from Shaklee! I am so excited for the money-saving opportunity that this presents for my readers!

Also, don't forget that I have 2 additional un-advertised specials that you can take advantage of to help you save even more money...contact me for details!!
Some of you are still unsure of what benefits a Shaklee membership can provide to you. A Shaklee membership:
  • is a lifetime membership (you will never have to pay a renewal fee)
  • does not require you to maintain any minimums
  • allows you to receive 15% off of all your Shaklee purchases
  • provides you with special offers and discounts
Through April 30th, you can purchase 2 special bundle packs:
 
$17.25 (member price)
Celebrate Earth Day with Get Clean Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate. The natural and nontoxic way to clean, Basic H2 tackles literally a thousand household jobs. And it's safe for you, your home and your planet®!

This bundle pack would also make a great gift!!

A fresh take on healthier water, Get Clean Water's multipatented water filtration system has been certified to reduce 56 contaminants and delivers cleaner, healthier water for you and your family. Saves 1,200 plastic bottles from the landfill!

Get Clean Water Promo Pack includes:
- 1 Get Clean®  Water Pitcher: BPA Free, 10 cup capcity
- 1 Get Clean®  Water refillable Filter Housing Kit - with 1 filter refill
- 1 Get Clean®  Water Filter Refill  (80 gallon capacity) for FREE ($19 value)

We use the Get Clean Water system in our house and I love it! Each filter filters 80 gallons of water. I used to refill my gallon water jugs at the filtration system at my grocery store, but I am saving a good amount of money by switching to Get Clean Water...and it is much more convenient!! I love knowing that I am able to filter my water 9X better than Brita and 2X better than Pur!

  
$30 (member price)
  • Basic H2 (16 ounce)
  • 2 spray bottles
  • Get Clean Super Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
  • Get Clean Dish Wash Liquid Concentrate
  • Get Clean Fresh Laundry Concentrate (32 oz)
  • Shaklee Energy
This kit is available only at the time that you sign up for a new *free* membership!
This is almost a $30 savings just from the kit...50% off!!

It is also only available for a limited time while supplies last so don't let it pass you by! 

Here is a short video that features Shaklee's CEO, Roger Barnett, talking about Shaklee's Earth Day mission!
 
 Now...onto the Earth Day Blog Hop!!!
I have 9 bloggers participating as hosts along with myself. Each blogger is hosting their own giveaway in addition to the GRAND PRIZE giveaway here at A Home Made by Kiki!! That means that there are 10 blogs at which you can enter a giveaway along with multiple ways to enter on each blog!! Wow!!

Plus, you get to meet 9 bloggers who have some pretty awesome blogs!!

Here are some quick instructions before I send you on your way!


**Each blog will provide you with the next link in the blog hop!


**Take some time to look around each blog and then enter the giveaway that they are holding on their blog!

**Each blog will also provide you with one letter from "The Winning Phrase". Collect these letters and then **e-mail** the phrase to me at healthy-solutions {at} hotmail {dot} com with "Grand Prize Entry" in the subject line. Please do not leave your entry in the comments!

So....do you want to know what the Grand Prize is??


I will be giving away a $30 Paypal transfer to the winner!!

Obviously, I would love it if you would use this $30 to take advantage of Shaklee's special offer for a FREE membership with a $30 purchase, but that is not a requirement.

Here are some ideas of what you could purchase from Shaklee for $30:

Basic H2, 3-pack of spray bottles, Scour Off, and Dish Wash Concentrate....$31.40 
These are some of my favorite products!!
 
Fresh Liquid Laundry Concentrate, Nature Bright Laundry Booster and Stain Removal, Soft Fabric Dryer Sheets....$30.90
I use all of these products for my laundry and have yet to be disappointed by them!!

There are so many great products available so contact me if you need more suggestions on which products to start off with. There are also some great kits available to make ordering easier:

My favorite:
Get Clean Healthy Home Pack


Ok...so are you ready for the blog hop??

The first blogger that you will be visiting is Emily over at Domestic Deadline. She recently ordered some Shaklee products from me so head over to her blog and see what she thinks of her products!

Domestic Deadline 

In case you get lost, here are the links for all of the blogs participating:
Blog #2: Mom of 3 Dolls
Blog #3: Condo-Blues
Blog #9: Mommy Diaries

Don't forget to come back and e-mail me the winning phrase to be entered in the Grand Prize Giveaway!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fun with Recycling!

Since Earth Day has been on my mind recently, I decided to do some kids crafts that involved recycling items we found around our home!

I always have a few paper towel rolls on hand to pull out when needed....for telescopes, megaphones (only when I am in a really good mood), crafts, etc...
I recently started following a great blog called Crafts by Amanda. She has seriously taken the paper towel roll tube crafts to a whole new level!! She has a whole list of tutorials for making things out of paper towel (or bathroom tissue rolls if that doesn't gross you out like it does me!) rolls. She just started a farm animal series. Aren't these the cutest??
She also has other items that she has recycled for crafts...like these cute little plastic lid ladybugs! We go through 4 gallons of milk each week so we could have quite the ladybug collection very soon!
Go check out her blog for lots of great craft ideas!

We decided to make the cardboard tube bunny rabbit family!
Here is another little recycling tip! We have been using recycled baby food containers for our paint! I used to use little disposable plastic cups and then just throw them out every time we were finished with them. These baby food containers are very durable and can be rinsed out very easily and re-used!
Next up we decided to use some old baby socks to make some bunnies! We found this idea in a local community magazine.
1. Fill the sock from the toe to just above the heel with dried beans.
2. Use a rubberband to "seal" up the top of the sock.
3. Tie a ribbon around the sock to separate the head and body.
4. Cut the top of the sock in half to make the ears. Round the edges slightly.
4. Use felt pieces or fabric paint to make the eyes and nose.
I realize that you can see the dried beans through the sock in the picture because of the flash, but it is not as noticeable in person.

So...that is how we spent our day...recycling objects around our house to decorate for Easter! My daughter even learned a song in school about recycling and then taught it to her sister...Once I figure out how to post it on here, I will....any tips?? I tried posting through blogger, but wouldn't ever upload. Hmm...

Don't forget to come back Friday morning for the Earth Day Blog Hop!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Look Back: Breaking the Paper Towel Habit

This post is from last year, but I thought I would re-post it this week in honor of Earth Day!

I have a paper towel addiction habit! I go through so many paper towels throughout the day. I use them to completely wipe down my countertops multiple times a day, to wipe my kids’ hands and faces after meals, to clean up spills on the floor, etc…
A few years ago, I started buying the “select-a-size” rolls so at least I was using a half sheet instead of a whole sheet each time. I really felt like this was the biggest change that I could make since I felt so dependent on paper towels.
Did you know?
  • 51,000 trees per day are needed to replace the paper towels that are disposed of each day. --U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Once used, paper towels cannot be recycled and must go to landfill. --U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • If each household in the U.S. reduced its paper towel use by just 3 rolls per year, it would save 120,000 tons of waste and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees. --Arizona State University study (Go Sun Devils!!) {…insert “pitchfork” hand gesture here}
Enter my new paper towels:
 IMG_7017
Target bar mop towels….I think they were about $3.99 for a 6 pack. I bought 2 packs, but I think I am going to pick up another pack the next time I am at Target. (which will probably be very soon since I also have a Target addiction habit….I’ll save that for another post though!) I found a basket that we weren’t using and put it under the sink to store the towels in.
 IMG_7019, edit
By the way, since I was able to get rid of so many of my cleaning products that were taking up so much space in the cabinet above the refrigerator, I was able to totally rearrange that cabinet as well as the cabinet under the sink. That left me with more than enough room to keep my “new paper towels”!
I also keep a regular cleaning rag under the sink next to the towel basket and I use it for cleaning up spills on the floor like this one…okay, maybe this one needed more than just a cleaning rag! Ha!
IMG_4796, edit
I have only been using these for less than a month, but it has been working so far. I usually go through about 2 (sometimes 3) towels per day. Yes, we still have the paper towels out on the counter. No, my husband is not involved in this “experiment” at all which means he still uses the same amount of paper towels he did before. Yes, I still occasionally use paper towels for: wiping down the counter after working with raw meat, sopping up bacon grease, and other cleaning events that I don’t feel like my “new towels” could possibly recover from!
Not only will this new “experiment” save some trees, but it will also help save some money on my paper towel expense throughout the year.

Don't forget, Shaklee is offering FREE MEMBERSHIP with any $30 purchase! I also have 2 great un-advertised specials that you can take advantage of along with the free membership to save you even more money! Contact me for details! You don't want to miss this one!
 
Also, I will be having my first Earth Day Blog Hop starting the morning of Friday, April 22nd. You will have a chance to enter giveaways at 10 awesome blogs along with a Grand Prize giveaway (prize to be announced) here at A Home Made by Kiki. Check back on Friday morning for the details! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I SPY: Neighborhood Edition

Ashley, from Little Miss Momma, just started a new photography series that I hope to join in on each week. This week's assignment was to take photos of our neighborhood! So...off we went...

First up on my 5 year old's list....the playground...of course!
We kept walking and came across some ducks...
...and some sun-bathing turtles...
...and more turtles...
We kept walking...
...and then some jets flew over...
We live near a Navy air base so the jets are a daily party of our neighborhood....and you will never hear me complain about the jet noise!!

Then we got in the car and drove to a new spot very near to our neighborhood that we hadn't had a chance to check out yet. They just finished building a walkway/fishing area on the lake near our house.
It is a pretty good sized lake. They are planning on adding a canoe/kayak launch area onto the lake very soon too!
Every since we moved here, we have always been interested in the fact that there are trees growing right in the middle of the lake...strange!
There wasn't that much going on at the lake that day, but we did come across quite a few very intricate spider webs!

This is the path behind our house that I have been running on a few days a week...
My 2 year old is usually with me when I run and her favorite part is when we get to the ducks!
Sorry the last couple of picks were poor quality...they were taken with my phone!

So...that is my neighborhood! I really enjoyed going around and taking pictures of my neighborhood and checking out all of the other "I SPY" posts. I'm already looking forward to next week's edition!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Happy Housewife and an Earth Day Blog Hop!

Toni, from The Happy Housewife, has a review of Shaklee's Basic H2 and a giveaway going on over at her blog today!
Here is a little bit of info about Toni and her fabulous blog:

I’m a military wife and stay at home (schooling) mom to seven kids. When I’m not homeschooling the kids I like to read, sew, cook, yard sale, and write. I currently live in North Florida, but being in a military family I’ve lived everywhere from Panama to West Virginia and lots of places in between. 

I started TheHappyHousewife.com in January of 2008 as a resource for those who wanted to better manage their homes. From recipes to budgeting, you’ll find real life, practical ways to live well, save more, and have fun! Being a “happy housewife” is not some ideal of a bygone era. Women today are decision makers, influencers, and game changers, so let’s not waste our opportunities!

If you don't follow The Happy Housewife already, head over to her blog and start following her! I love all of her frugal tips like Determining whether or not it is worth it to drive to a gas station 1-2 miles away just because the gas is a little cheaper ...
 ...and 5 simple ways to trim your grocery spending (I'm always looking for ways to save money on groceries).
She has so many great tips on her blog! Recently she posted about How to get rid of black ants (you'll never guess what she used....ok, maybe some of you will...but it was definitely a new technique to me!)

Toni's giveaway ends Tuesday, April 19th!

Now...onto the info for the upcoming Earth Day Blog Hop!

Starting on April 22nd...Earth Day...I will be holding an Earth Day Blog Hop!
I have 10 wonderful bloggers helping me out. Each of these 10 blogs will offer the chance for you to win some Basic H2. Come to my blog on April 22nd and I will have the first blog of the hop listed! Just travel from one blog to the next until you make your way back to mine. You will "collect" something at each blog (as well as be able to enter the giveaways at each blog). If you travel to all of the blogs, you will be eligible to enter the fabulous grand prize giveaway (prize to be announced on April 22nd!)

Do you want to participate? Feel free to grab a button at the top of my sidebar and get ready to meet some fabulous bloggers!

Thank you to everyone who has already placed a Shaklee order with me this month! If you have been considering trying Shaklee's products or just looking for a way to make a healthy change for Earth Day or Spring (the season of new beginnings), now is the best time to go for it!

Shaklee is offering a FREE MEMBERSHIP with all orders of $30 or more. I also have a couple of great specials going on through my online shop. Contact me for details on how I can help you save even more money!

Don't forget about the special Earth Day bundles that are available through April 30th!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pizza...Mediterranean Style

What happens when you combine many of my all time favorite ingredients into one recipe?

Well, you get a 
Mediterranean Style Pizza!
Sorry about the less than stellar food photo, but I forgot to take a picture of it before we ate, so I only had a small amount of  pizza to photograph. Oops!

I recently came across this recipe in a magazine and immediately knew that it was going on the next week's menu plan! How can I turn down something that includes sun-dried tomatoes (yum!), kalamata olives (yum!), feta cheese (yum, yum!), and spinach (yum!)?! I was not disappointed!

Ingredients

  • 1 pre-baked 12-inch thin pizza crust
  • 1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes plus 1 tablespoon of the oil, divided
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Grated lemon peel, optional
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1-1/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Greek olives, pitted and chopped
  • 4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese (I just used shredded)

Directions

  • Place crust on an ungreased 12-in. pizza pan; brush with oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Set aside.
  • In a small skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; stir in the rosemary, pepper and lemon peel if desired. Spread over crust. Top with spinach and tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with feta cheese and olives; top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425° for 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 6 slices.

We usually end up having at least 1 meatless meal per week so this will definitely be added to my list of meatless meal options! It is much healthier than a typical pizza because the amount of saturated fat is much lower and it contains a higher level of mono-unsaturated fats, Vitamin C and Lycopene in the tomatoes, ...very heart healthy!

 We had a spinach salad on the side too. I am so glad that my 5 year old loves eating spinach salads as much as she does.  

Spinach is one of the most nutritious foods available with a low amount of calories and a high amount of vitamins. 

Do you have a favorite meatless meal? I am always looking for recipes to try so feel free to share!

This recipe was originally found in Taste of Home magazine as Greek Isle Pizza

Don't forget about Shaklee's AWESOME special deals that are going on right now. You can read more about them {here} and {here}.
 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It Just Keeps on Getting Better...

I mentioned {here} about Shaklee's special for Earth Day that I am so excited about. Shaklee is trying to create 50,000 Healthier Homes in the next 6 weeks!

 They are making it easier to reach this goal by offering some really awesome deals!!

Not only are they offering FREE MEMBERSHIP with a $30 order...
  ...but there are now 2 Get Clean Promotions to Celebrate Earth Day!!

Special Offer #1: Buy a bottle of Get Clean Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate (16 fl. oz.) and 3 spray bottles, get a Microfiber Cleaning Cloth for FREE!
Special offer #2: Buy a Get Clean Water Starter Pack and get an extra filter refill for FREE ($19 value)
You have already heard me rave about {Basic H2}, but I also posted about my Get Clean water pitcher {here}.

These specials will only be available through April 30th, while the new membership offer goes through May 20th!

Don't forget that in addition to the FREE MEMBERSHIP and the special offer bundles, I am also offering some other great money-saving offers. Just contact me for details!