I found a megacool site today that I had no idea existed before! It’s called ThredUp. ThredUp is an online community that basically serves as a marketplace for Kids’ Clothing and Gear. It’s as easy as swapping your children’s outgrown stuff for other stuff that fits them! You can even earn money from ThredUp and become a “Super Thredder”, receiving special benefits and offers, if you send a certain amount of boxes. Go here to sign up and try it out!
Oh, and I calculated with a nifty tool that they have on their website that I could be saving over $1400 a year by using this online swapping community! Megacool and happy swapping!
The issue of paid (or unpaid in most cases) maternity leave is one that has weighed heavily on me and my circle of friends in the past few years. Since my full-time income is equally important as my spouse’s, I did not have the option to take any more paid maternity leave than the six weeks that is allotted by law (and, even then, I had to use my sick days to get paid). My kids were born in the summer and spring, so I did have the summer as well (I’m a teacher), but I can not even imagine having to go back to work after those six weeks. Having 10 1/2 weeks (with my son in 2007) and 15 weeks (with my daughter in 2009) was amazing, but not nearly enough time. Don’t get me wrong- I am ever grateful for even having that time with them, but any mother will tell you that so little time is brutal. To put this into perspective, other countries, such as Germany, actually PAY YOU to have children and then give you up to THREE YEARS parental leave, paid (to an extent) AND with a guarantee of a job when you come back! Now, that’s what I call maternity leave!
Well, finally, there is a link that you can visit to sign a petition put together by the magazine “Working Mother.” Go here to find the link and offer your support for the right to maternity leave.
I’m curious, what was maternity leave like for you?
BeautyMint is a “revolutionary new skincare system” being launched by Jessica Simpson and celebrity skin consultant Nerida Joy. For a limited time, BeautyMint is donating $1 to breast cancer research for every person that signs up to receive exclusive offers from them! It’s easy to sign up! Just go here and enter your email…AND, you will be entered for a chance to win one of the following prizes if you share their link! Here are the prizes you could win:
- 3 day trip to Los Angeles
- Lunch with Jessica Simpson
- Celebrity facial with Nerida Joy
- $500 spending money
How fun would this be? ;)
October = lots of pumpkins! And, with lots of pumpkin carving happening, lots of seeds will be turning up! Don’t throw those seeds away- roast them to make a yummy treat! My friend, Lauren (thanks, chica!), gave me this recipe today, so I tried it out with the leftover seeds from the pumpkin-carving session I braved with my kiddos last night! :) Not only did the house smell delicious as they were roasting in the oven, but the seeds tasted amazing! I tweaked the original recipe a bit because I didn’t have one of the ingredients (the original recipe called for garlic salt instead of the Adobo seasoning I used). Below you will find the recipe and links to coupons where possible!
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; transfer to an un-greased baking pan.
- Bake at 250 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned and dry, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.
- Eat and enjoy! Store leftovers in airtight container.
Makes 8 servings. Prep: 5 minutes Bake: 45 minutes + cooling
1/4 cup serving equals 122 calories, 9 g fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
We all love free money, right? Then how about some free money to do something that would make your life easier? Well, Health magazine is offering a “Look and Feel Great Giveaway” right now until January 31, 2012. You can enter daily here; the grand prize winner will walk away with $25000, either in cash or prizes (her choice). There are also lots of other prizes to win, so go ahead and enter. You have nothing to lose!
All of us wish that we could take the time to be a little healthier, I’m sure. There are some little things that you can do that take very little time to make your day as healthy as possible. When you are healthy, you feel good. And when Mama feels good, don’t we all? Here are some tips that I gleaned from a few resources, as well as some I threw in myself. Follow these and your day is sure to end with you feeling mega-great!
In the A.M.
- Wake up to natural light. Your body likes it. This could be as simple as waking to an alarm and then throwing open the blinds. You will definitely wake up faster with the natural light pouring in!
- Do some stretches to get your blood flowing- just a couple minutes is enough.
- Sit down and eat a nice breakfast, full of protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy and fruit. This will give you the energy you need to get your day started and take you through mid-morning.
- If possible, only have one cup of coffee so that you avoid a crash later on in the morning. If you have to have more than one, try one cup of regular and one cup of decaf.
- Get moving right after breakfast for at least 20 minutes. Just sitting there is doing nothing for you or your metabolism. Your nice breakfast will have given you energy to get up and going, so do it! 20 minutes of light to moderate activity will give you even more energy to start your day (this could be cleaning up the kitchen, taking the dog for a walk or running around getting the kids ready, too!)
- Eat a mid-morning snack. Pick from one of the recipes below, or just have a piece of fruit to hold you over until lunchtime. Going into lunch ravenous will only cause you to overeat, which in turn causes mega after-lunch crashes in the afternoon…not fun!
From noon to evening
- Eat a lunch rich in protein, balanced with veggies-a-plenty and a serving of whole grains or nuts. This will keep your mood and energy up throughout the afternoon.
- Be briefly active after lunch (take a quick stroll, go grab your mail upstairs, etc.)
- The after-lunch afternoon slump is brutal. Instead of falling into that slump, focus your attention on doing a different task than the one at hand or get up and walk around a bit. Also, some breathing and stretches will do the trick.
- Have a snack that is balanced in protein and carbs, such as one of the options below.
- Have a light dinner. Eating a big meal right before bedtime can make digestion more difficult and can lead to sleep problems.
- Instead of a rich dessert, have some herbal tea and some fresh berries with yogurt or a frozen fruit/yogurt bar.
- Get some movement in right after dinner by making a point to clean up the kitchen immediately after eating. By getting moving, you aid both your metabolism and digestion.
- Try to hit the sack before 11 p.m. Those who go to bed later and wake up later have been proven to gain and retain more weight over time.
- Do some meditating or light yoga before going to bed to get into a relaxation state. Taking a warm bath infused with lavender is also a nice way to get your body into sleep mode. You could even rub some lavender oil on your pulse points to get the fragrance on you.
- Try to stick to the same routine every night- washing your face and brushing your teeth at relatively the same time. Your body will be trained to fall asleep around that time every night, making it easier for you to get some quality z’s.
SNACK RECIPES (one of these in mid-morning and one in the afternoon is ideal):
- Coconut Celery- Fill 3 celery ribs with 1 tbsp. peanut or other nut butter; sprinkle with 2 tbsp. each shredded coconut and dried blueberries
- Apricot Supreme- Slice open 4 dried apricots and stuff with 2 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese (I like the whipped variety). Top each with half a walnut or pecan
- “Peppy” Popcorn- Blend 3 cups air-popped popcorn with 1 tbsp. Parmesan and a pinch of cayenne pepper
- Yummy Yogurt- Top 1 small container of low-fat Greek style vanilla yogurt with 6 mandarin orange segments and 1 tsp. chopped pistachios
- Try to get in about 30-45 minutes of cardio about three times a week, along with a few brief resistance training sessions (about 25 minutes per session is sufficient). Also, yoga at least once a week aids in strength, flexibility and balance.
- Never go more than three hours without eating something (healthy, that is!).
- Drink LOTS of water!
With the crisp coolness in the air, October is the perfect time to start making my turkey chili (also perfect for a hearty winter soup)!! As a matter of fact, today I made a batch that I will get about three meals out of (for a family of four). I found a recipe some time ago for turkey chili on the Internet, but, of course, modified it to make it even healthier! My recipe for healthy turkey chili is below (highlighted ingredients linked to coupons!) Enjoy!
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. ground turkey (Perdue ground turkey often goes on sale)
- 1 (10.75) ounce can low sodium condensed tomato soup
- 2 (15) ounce cans of dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 (15) ounce can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 (15) ounce can of white beans (like Northern beans) (drained and rinsed)
- about 11 ounces of organic chicken broth or chicken stock
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 c. pureed butternut squash
- 2 tbsp. chili powder (Target has great deals on their Archer Farms spices- this also goes for all of the spices listed below!)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (you could add up to a teaspoon, depending on your taste. I wanted my kids to be able to eat it, so I stuck with 1/4 tsp.!)
- 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 pinch ground allspice
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place turkey in the skillet, and cook until evenly brown; drain.
- Pour condensed tomato soup in a small bowl and mix with chicken broth/stock until evenly mixed in.
- Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray, and mix in turkey, tomato soup, kidney beans, black beans, white beans and onion. Mix in pureed squash. Season with chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, allspice and salt.
- Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High.
Now, you might think that adding squash to chili is a little strange, but it gives it such a nice texture and flavor that I am sure you will love! My family loves this recipe…I serve it with crumbled blue tortilla chips and a sprinkle of shredded cheese on the top.
Let me know if you try it! YUM!
Go here to score yourself a yummy sample of a new Nescafé product for the holidays! Drink up, coffee lovers!
So, as I was browsing the website for one of my favorite magazines, All You, I came across a tool that they offer that is really a godsend for all of you deal-hunting Megacoolmamas like myself! Each week, I scrounge the circulars that come in the mail for the best sales on groceries in my area. I also was PAYING to subscribe to the wehsite The Grocery Game, which was a site that would basically electronically gather all of my area circulars and tell me where the best sales were that week on items I needed. However, All You magazine offers a very similar tool on their website, and for FREE!!! Yippee! Check out this link to get started!
All you do is enter your zipcode, and the circulars for your local stores will pop up. You can browse by circular or you can specify in a grocery list which items you want to look for and in which stores. Then, the site does all of the work by putting together a spread for you according to your preferences! You can click to print coupons or print the list out! Voila! It’s that simple!
Also, while you’re there, be sure to check out the other pages All You magazine’s website has to offer. And, why not subscribe to the magazine itself? This month’s magazine came with almost $100 worth of coupons! Woohoo!
Happy grocery shopping!