Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The workout adventures of Miss Fit at Vibe Fitness




I had the opportunity to try Vibe Fitness for 21 days. Considering I have not been "active" in any fitness regimen for over a year, I saw this as a kick in the yoga pants to get myself back in shape. 

Vibe Fitness in Katy is led by Ashlie Holdorf and her team of energetic instructors who thrive on positive energy. Ashlie has been in fitness her entire life and started teaching dance and tumbling at 15. From there she progressed to group fitness and personal training. During her time as the fitness manager for a fitness studio, she experienced the fitness family lifestyle and did not want to lose that vibe. So Vibe Fitness came to life! 

Vibe opened in February 2016 and since then, word of mouth has spread in the Katy community through special events showcasing local entreprenuers, "mompreneurs", and networking groups. No matter your strength, agility, or ability, Vibe offers classes for anyone and everyone. Vibe offers personal attention so you can try new things and succeed. They want to help, not just in fitness but in your community. One you join Vibe Fitness, you are in the Vibe Tribe!

Vibe Fitness offers group fitness classes and personal training. Personal training can be for the individual, students, or couples/buddies. There are currently 16 different group classes and the descriptions are listed on their site: http://www.vibewithustexas.com/. There are some classes that are consistent, for example, Zumba on Saturday morning at 9:30am and candlelight yoga on Monday at 7:00 pm. During the week, there may be some variation in the group class schedule. More classes will be added in the coming months and additional instructors have been added for children's yoga. Ashlie is currently working on a Les Mills Body Pump class coming this Fall.


Aerial Yoga
This unique format incorporates elements of yoga, pilates and barre workouts to increase flexibility, strength and relaxation. Using beautiful silks to extend your traditional practice, we invite you to a one of a kind experience.

music - relaxing instrumental
intensity - low
Instructor - Jackie
Overall - This class was the first one I took and a good intro back into working out. This was leg intensive for me as we balanced on one leg while the other leg was sequestered in the silk. The format is yoga poses incorporating the silks so it is a bit more challenging if you have a difficult time with balance however this does improve with continued practice. It is not a fast paced class so definitely one a beginner can try. 





Bollywood
Bollywood Dancing is one of the hottest dances around! It is the foundation of every great Indian Bollywood Film. The dances are a fusion of traditional and classical Indian dances with the influence of some jazz, hip-hop and modern dance.
Music - Bollywood
Intensity - Medium to high impact on legs/knees, cardio
Instructor - Divya 
Overall - Bollywood was a lot of fun. from the music to the moves. There is quite a bit of hip action going on so this helps you flex those muscles. This is another good class for beginners as Divya alternates intensities from set to set. She will ask the class how they are doing and adjust the sets based on feedback.


Soul Grooves
A mind, body and soul workout that gets your body moving to the groove. Dance through the hits of today and groove your way to better health.
Music - hip hop
Intensity - medium/high intensity, cardio
Instructor - Jodee
Overall - If you love dancing to hip hop music and really moving to the beat, this is the class for you. Very upbeat and high energy. Jodee engages the participants and encourages you to keep moving. 


Zumba
Feel the Latin beat with this fun and easy to follow dance class. This timeless classic is sure to make you move!
Music - Latin 
Intensity - Full Cardio
Instructor - Divya 
Overall - This class is a mix of Bollywood and Soul Grooves. It contains some hip hop moves fused with Latin dance moves. Divya also engages the participants and changes up the beat from set to set. Some songs are intense moves and others are slow giving you a chance to catch your breath. If you love dancing, Bollywood, Soul Grooves, and Zumba are right up your alley.


Candlelight Yoga
Wind down your day in the calming candlelight. Move through a relaxing practice designed to stretch your flexibility and center your soul.
Music - relaxing instrumental
Intensity - low impact, low intensity
Instructor - Sally and Sacha
Overall - This is one I recommend to anyone at any fitness level. Because it is low impact, it is great for improving flexibility, increase muscle strength and tone, improved respiration and energy, and protects from injury. This class helps strengthen your and the wind down is very relaxing. I cannot confirm nor deny falling asleep while in Savasana pose.


Pound
Drum your way to fitness with this one of a kind workout utilizing drum sticks. We rock out while engaging your core and lower body and hit the floor like we are drumming in a live concert!
Music - fast paced and upbeat hip hop
Intensity - intense strength training, minimal cardio
Instructor - Tiplah
Overall - WOW. This class was tougher for me because I have very little upper body core strength. This class left me the most sore because I worked muscles I did not even know were muscles. Tiplah pushes you to keep going. Even though she gives you modifications, she is really giving you the eyeball to tell you to push through it. 



Surfset
This class brings a variety of Burn, Balance, and Build to give you a full body workout that will leave you feeling ready for the waves.
Music - Low key but upbeat
Intensity - intense strength training, minimal cardio
Instructor - Ashlie
Overall - I consider this class slightly more advanced only because there is the added task of balancing on a surfset board. For those who have handle on their balance during yoga moves, this will be an easy class. At times the moves were fast-paced and I was scared I would fall off the board. I did but at least you are close to the ground so no real damage occurred. This was a really fun class and one I would recommend after taking a few regular yoga or piyo classes.

 


I wanted to try all the classes so that I could eventually find 2-3 classes I really liked. (i.e. classes where I did not pass out in the first 10 minutes.) After 3 weeks of classes, I have to say all the ones that I took were so much fun, the instructors are energetic, and I did not pass out in a single class. And when you take the classes with a friend, it makes it that much greater. 




Membership consists of a monthly plan at $55 but if you sign up for 3 months, it is $150. Personal training is available as one -on-one or couple/buddy. Vibe also offers spray tanning, massages, and aesthetician services. You can find more information at vibewithustexas.com.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Favorite Things Party


If you have never attended a Favorite Things party or even know what it is, keep reading, This was such a fun concept for a ladies' night party and it is super simple to throw one together.
You start with a theme (no theme is also a popular theme), determine the price range for the favorite item, and how many of that item each person should bring.

My wonderful friend, M, loves all things makeup so we decided on a beauty theme. We set up an event asking guests to pick an item around $8 and bring 3 of them. We did not ask them to wrap any of them but some of them did.  For those who did not wrap, we had some brown lunch bags on hand and got a lot of use out of them.


Supplies:
Brown paper bags, ribbon, items for any games you may want to play (plastic practice golf balls, tennis balls, pantyhose if you want to play the games listed here). Printer and paper to print questionnaires, signs, and tags.

Food:
For the food, we made it pot luck and asked each guest to bring their favorite snack, appetizer, drink, or dessert. A party is not complete without Nothing Bundt Cake!


Taste testing Nothing Bundt cakes

Games:
You don't have to play games but it can be a great icebreaker if many of your guests don't know each other. Each guest filled out this questionnaire. Then we jumbled them up and each person read a questionnaire for us to guess who it belonged to.

How we picked our favorite things:
Using the brown paper bags, we numbered the bottom of the bags 1 to 9. Using the plastic practice golf balls, each person threw three balls, aiming for the bags. Whichever bag the balls fell determined which favorite things they won. If you choose this method, once a number has been picked 3 times, you will need to remove that bag. The last two people threw their balls at the same time to compete for the last bags.

The last game we played was pantyhose bowling and I gotta tell ya, that is an awkwardly hilarious game. I highly recommend these shenanigans.


video


Gift bags:
This is definitely not something you have to include in your party planning. Each guest will go home with some goodies already. I decided to give each guest some other favorite things in brown paper packages tied up with string: Thirty-One nail file, Scripture card, Elf lip/cheek/eye cream, chocolate, encouragement card for them to share with a friend. 

 
Get this printable tag here.


Favorite Things:
You can set the price for the item your guests will pick and determine how many of that item to bring. We went with an $8 max  price and asked them to bring three of that item. Keep in mind the total cost each guest would spend. If you want to go home with more items, you can try $5 limit and bringing 5 items to the party.

These were all the favorite things our friends brought to share: NYX Not Your Mother's Argan Oil for Hair, doTERRA Citrus Bliss Hand lotion, Dr. Jart+ Face Mask, Younique Eye Pigment, Blistex chapstick, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail polish, Pro-Pac Hair Masks, Cuticle Removal Gel, Callous Shaver, Nail brush, Moscato, NYX Soft matte lip cream.







Our first Favorite things party was a success and I cannot wait for the next one. Laughing with these beautiful ladies was the highlight of the night. The goodies we got were just icing on the cake.




At the end of the night, we supplied gift tags and encouraged each person to write a note to a friend, something encouraging or a compliment. There were the sweet tags that brought a smile to my face and chuckle in my heart.


Visit Pinterest for more Favorite things party ideas.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Summer Movie Programs for kids 2016 - Houston areas specific



For parents with children out of school for the summer, thinking of schedules and what to do with them can be stressful. Not to mention the astronomical cost of "entertaining" them or putting them in a summer camp or program. I feel like I need to take out a loan just so they aren't roaming the streets, getting juice box wasted and high on warheads. This is where low cost movies during the summer can be a lifesaver. It is two hours of quiet time (hopefully) and out of the heat. We won't discuss the possible 20 z's you might catch when you close your eyes during the previews.

I have compiled information on Houston area theaters with summer movie programs. Be sure to check with each theater's website for more details or changes to the program.


Each movie is $1 or you can buy a bundle punch card for $5 for 10 movies.
Show days are Tue, Wed, Thurs 9:00am o-9:30

Each movie is $1.
Show days are Tuesday and Wednesday at 10amEach week both movies play on both days. Check your specific theater for start dates. 
A portion of the proceeds goes to the Will Rogers Institute.

Santikos - Palladium specific
Movies are free
Show days are Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am.
Summer snack pack with popcorn and drink is $4
The movie program benefits Child Advocates.


Each movie is $1. Movies run M-F at 11, depending on location.
Their site is a little different. Click on the link and select ALL if not defaulted. Movies are listed alphabetically. Find the movie you wish to see (it will say summer movie series at the bottom of the picture.) Once you hit select, it will take you to the available theaters. Select the theater then the date and showtime. 

Choose your own ticket price - $1-$3 and buy your tickets online to reserve your seats in advance.  100% of ticket sales are donated to local nonprofits working to make our community a better place.  Most Kids Camp screenings are ages 3 and up, but some locations are All Ages - please check drafthouse.com for local policies.  Their viewing week is different from the other theaters so pay attention to dates.
And during the summer, all movies before 2PM are $5 at Vintage Park and Mason Park!



Save this pic to your phone


Or access the Google drive document HERE.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

How I started introducing God into teachable moments


We started going to church earlier this year and the boys have been attending the kids ministry. We are a family of faith but we rarely freely talk about faith and religion. With the boys learning more at Sunday school, we are getting questions about God and Jesus. Although this makes me extremely happy, I worry how I can talk about a topic I know so little about. I am thankful these kids have an amazing dad who can discuss religion and faith with them. What I have been doing is bringing up the topic of God when disciplining the children. And with headstrong boys who want to exert their authority in a power struggles with mom (translation: acting like maniacal heathens), I get lots of opportunities to touch on God during "teachable moments".

This morning was a rough start for S. I asked multiple times for him to brush his teeth and when I asked for a 6th time, he made the poor choice of throwing a fit and then throwing an iPhone up the stairs. I was in another room when I heard the bang against the wall but I knew exactly what he did. My blood was boiling because this was not the first time he has thrown things in his rage. As soon as I walked up to him, he knew he was in trouble. I started to yell but then looked at him hoping for a sign that the talk this time would sink in. I sat down and he sat on my lap. It was 10 tear-filled minutes for Sam as I talked to him about his behavior, anger, lashing out, respect, apologizing, God's love, and asking forgiveness. He was crying hard and felt so bad that he didn't know how to ask Him for forgiveness. He finally was able to look at me and apologize, then I helped him start his own prayer, asking God to forgive him for behaving poorly, throwing the phone, and disappointing me. He hugged me tightly wanted to sit with me while he cried himself to sleep. I never get a chance to snap a photo during our tender moments because he always acts like a big goof. As soon as he heard me snap a pic, he woke and was back to his normal hammy self. I realize that teachable moments like these won't always end in hugs and kisses so I was glad to have this as proof that it is possible to hug and make up.

 


I wish parenting trials were few, talks with our children were easy, and teachable moments always ended positively. But that's not real life. The hardest job as parents is helping our kids prepare for life mentally stable, physically strong, and emotionally intelligent. I am hoping for minimal disturbances in the force as they continue to grow and that I won't ever have to bail them out of jail.


My tips for teachable moments. 

  • Remain calm. If you feel your blood boiling and you need time to cool down, tell them you both need a time out. Talking to them about their bad behavior will not be effective if you do it in anger. Remember to lead by example by speaking calmly and in a low tone.
  • Praise something about them, a trait that is positive or actions they do that make you proud. Leading with a positive and following with the (negative) action that is unacceptable, helps diffuse volatile emotions for both parties. Kids worry that the love stops when we get mad. 
  • Keep it simple. Don't bring up past bad behavior and roll it up into a present talk. This is not your spouse and bringing up past or more incidences that may not be relevant to the current discussion can confuse them.  
  • You will always love them but you don't like their behavior, poor choices, attitude, etc. God's love for us never fails, that even when we do fail, his grace forgives us. 
  • Lead them in prayer. Pray over them and in their ear so their focus is on your words. Then, help them pray in their own words with minimal word feeding. A simple way to introduce prayer to your children by using the Five Finger Prayer.
  • Always end with lots of hugs and kisses.




Friday, May 6, 2016

A Mother's Journey



A Mother's Journey
(Parable of a Mother's Path of Life)



The young mother set her foot on the path of life.  
"Is the way long?"
"Yes," her Guide said, "and the way is hard.  You will be old before you reach the end of it.  But--"  He stopped to smile warmly.  "The end will be better than the beginning."

The young mother was so happy, though, that she could not believe anything could be better than these early years.  She played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed with them in the clear streams.  The sun shone on them and life was good, and the young mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then night came, and storm, and the path was dark.  The children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close, covering them with her mantle.  Her children said, "Oh, Mother, we are not afraid when you are near."  The mother said, "This is better than the brightness of day, for I have taught my children courage."

Then the morning came, and there was a hill ahead.  The children climbed and grew weary.  The mother was weary, too, but she kept encouraging her children, "A little patience and we are there."  So the children continued to climb.  When they reached the top, they said, "We could not have done it without you, Mother."  And the mother, when she lay down that night, looked past the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last.  My children have learned fortitude in the face of difficulty.  Yesterday I taught them courage, today I have taught them strength."

With the next day came strange clouds that darkened the earth--clouds of war and hate and evil.  The children groped and stumbled.  The mother said, "Look up.  Lift your eyes past the blackness to the Light."  The children looked up and saw an Everlasting Glory above the strange clouds.  It guided them and brought them through the darkness and evil.  That night the mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have helped my children learn to see God."

The days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years.  The mother grew old, until she was very little and bent.  But her children were tall and strong, and they walked with courage.  When the way was hard, they helped their mother; when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather.  At last they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and golden gate flung wide.

The mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey.  Now I know that the end really is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and they will teach their children after them."

The children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates."

They stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her.  They said, "We can't see her, but she is with us still.  A mother like ours is more than a memory; she is a living presence."

          ~ Written for Good Housekeeping Magazine in 1933 by Temple Bailey ~ 

Monday, April 18, 2016

5 Ingredient Sweet Potato Brownies

I saw a post for a 5 ingredient, anti-inflammatory brownie recipe and I was excited to try it. I mean, how much could I possibly mess up with such a simple recipe?

I found the MaraNatha almond butter at Walmart. They have other flavors like maple, dark chocolate, caramel, and crunchy. I think I may try these brownies with another flavor or almond butter and see how they taste. The carob chips were a bit harder to locate but I did find them at Whole Foods for about 3 dollars a bag. 





Ingredients
  • 2 cup mashed sweet potato (about 2-3 sweet potatoes)
  • 1 cup smooth nut butter of choice (I recommend almond or cashew butter)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2  cup cocoa powder
  • 1-2 cups carob chips (optional)


Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a small cake/loaf pan (I used 8x8 pan)
  2. On the stove, melt nut butter with maple syrup
  3. In a large bowl add the mashed sweet potato, melted nut butter and maple syrup, and cocoa powder and mix well
  4. Fold in carob chips, as many as you want.
  5. Pour mixture into greased pan. Optional: sprinkle carob chips on top.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan before slicing and refrigerating.





These brownies are best when cooled completely otherwise they will be too mushy and will fall apart. Store in fridge or freezer and ENJOY!

The benefits of these sweet potato brownies. 

Sweet Potatoes have a natural sweetness that can help you reduce your sugar intake, supports blood sugar management, if you have a serious sweet tooth. They have a relatively high glycemic index and can be great for those dealing with type 2 diabetes.

Anthocyanin (what makes a sweet potato orange) provides excellent anti-inflammatory benefits. The benefits of this compound are felt the most in the nerve tissue and brain.

Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins A and C, making them great for your immune system. They also have vitamin B6, B1, B2, B3, manganese, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber; all of which are compounds that support the work of the digestive system, keep our blood safe and support our overall health.

Maple Syrup contains up to 24 different antioxidants that are beneficial for reducing free radical damage that can cause inflammation and contribute to the formation of various chronic diseases.


Verdict


When I pulled the brownies from the oven, the boys immediately asked me for a bite. They were saddened to learn they had to wait for them to cool. I was impatient so I went ahead and cut them while they were warm and they fell apart. Despite the fact that the texture is mushier than a normal brownie, these are REALLY good. If you like super sweet desserts, this may not be the one for you. Carob chips are not super sweet but they were perfect for my sweet tooth.





If you want another sweet potato brownie recipe, try Dr. Axe's 16 ingredient recipe. As for me, I am sticking with the 5 ingredient version.


*Post contains affiliate links

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Texas Mothers of Multiples 2016 Convention

Texas Moms of Multiples conventions were created for moms to spend one weekend away from their kids. To allow us to not feel guilty about our time away to hang out with other moms who "get" you, other moms who can offer bits of wisdom, to tell you that the stage you are in with your twins/triplets/or more won't be the worst you will ever experience, and that it really does change in a matter of moments. You find out your kids are not the only ones who like to scream out "vagina" and "penis" in public places, who eat boogers, smear poop, don't eat their vegetables, and still have tantrums even though you think they are way too old to throw fits still.

This past weekend was the 2016 convention held in Kemah. The convention was hosted by Bay Area Moms of Multiples and they planned the entire convention, from the tours, classes, and meals. Putting on an event of this magnitude takes a lot of teamwork and they pulled it off quite wonderfully.  I met some pretty hilarious ladies from other clubs but best of all, I hung out with some pretty cool ladies from our club.

The weather was gorgeous and the view was spectacular.




We visited Space Center Houston and took a tram tour.
 


Lots of good food.
 


Photo booth awesomeness happened at the dinners. Every party deserves a photo booth. Certainly makes taking "us-ies" easier.





So if you are not part of an organization who meets up annually, to celebrate being a mom, start your own club and plan an annual get-together. You deserve it. And you'll thank me later.

Monday, April 11, 2016

3 Main Reasons to get a Natural Himalayan Salt lamp in your home now.


3 Main Reasons to get a Natural Himalayan Salt lamp in your home now.

As a person who suffers from seasonal threats, having these softly glowing, natural sources of fresh, clean air in my home, is almost as good as an open window on a fresh Spring day. These salt lamps come in all shapes, sizes, and displays and you can place them on your desk, in your living room, in all bedrooms, anywhere you choose to put it.  One sits in our living area guarded by a ninja turtle.




Cleanses Air, reducing allergens
Himalayan salt lamps purify air through the power of hygroscopy. The salt lamps attract water molecules from the surrounding area and absorbs those molecules along with any foreign particles they may be carrying, into the salt crystal. As the lamp warms up from the heat produced by the light bulb, that same water particle evaporates back into the air and the trapped particles of dust, pollen, smoke, remain in the salt.

Himalayan salt lamps remove microscopic particles of dust, pet dander, mold, mildew, etc from the surrounding air. By placing a salt lamp in rooms you use the most, it can help cut back on allergens and allergy symptoms. The Himalayan Salt is said to works so well for allergy and asthma symptoms, you can find them in inhalers.

Adds negativity. In a positive way
Himalayan Salt lamps act as a negative ionizer and can reduce the levels of positive ions depending on the size and placement of the lamp.  In this technological age, we are surrounded by electronics such as TVs, computers, cell phone, tablet, appliances, etc that emit electromagnetic (EM) radiation. While they may be invisible, the long-term effects of EM exposure can be quite serious. Constant exposure to EM radiation is known to increase stress levels, cause chronic fatigue, and decrease the body’s immune response, among other things. Himalayan salt lamps work to neutralize electromagnetic radiation in a short range. Even as limited as its production of negative ions, it is a great addition to the home to help:
Increased relaxation and calmness
Improved ability to concentrate, allowing you to work for longer periods
Help with getting to sleep and more restful sleep
A better overall sense of health and well-being.


Reduces Stress and increase recovery from stress
In this study on people completing a 40-minute task on the computer, exposure to negative air ions reduced stress and anxiety and improved performance. The performance for the task was slightly but significantly improved by the presence of negative air ions. These results suggest that negative air ions are effective for the reduction of and the prompt recovery from stress caused by computer operation. (Source: Effect of negative air ions on computer operation.)
"Studies demonstrate that negative ions can definitely benefit people suffering from seasonal depression (SAD), and may help other forms of depression too."

Bonus Reasons
They are beautiful conversation pieces and are an environmentally friendly light source.The base of an HPS lamp is generally carved from a sustainable wood such as neem. Some lamps use a low-wattage bulb which consumes very little energy while others are powered by a lit candle. Every Himalayan crystal salt lamp is unique and the combination of colors that makes up each one can vary. Generally, the darker shades of pink and orange are considered to be of higher quality. Very light pink, especially with black deposits visible within it, can be a sign that it was mined from a lower quality vein of crystal salt. Generally, the weight of a salt lamp is a good indication of its size and air cleaning ability. The bigger and heavier it is, the more health benefits should be noticed from it.

Use these salt lamp sizes as a rough guide:

Work area/small office/cubicle/desk: a smaller crystal salt lamp around 5 pounds is good if located close to you in smaller spaces.
For small bedrooms, up to 10 square feet: a Himalayan salt lamp around 6 – 8 pounds.
For a larger bedroom, kitchen or small lounge room: a salt lamp between 9 – 11 pounds.
For larger spaces/office environments, where there is more electromagnetic radiation: a large Himalayan salt lamp, at least 12 or more pounds is more effective.


Interested in purchasing salt lamps?

I was not compensated for this review. I bought the salt lamp, liked it, wrote about it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Groupon: All Stars, iPlay, Pinot's Pallette, Showboat

$25 for a Three-Hour BYOB Painting Class for One at Pinot’s Palette ($45 Value)



$4.50 for One Day of Uncovered Valet Parking at Houston Hobby at WallyPark ($8.95 Value). Up to 7 Days.



$16 for Admission to Movies for Two at The Showboat Drive-in ($23.25 Value)



$9 for $16 Worth of American Comfort Food at All Stars Family Grill


iPlay open playin Sugar Land

Three or Five Open-Play Sessions at iPlay Sugar Land (Up to 39% Off)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

eMeals is what's for dinner.

One of the areas I wanted to focus on for 2016 was better meal planning for our family. Our schedules are getting busier and some nights we are not even eating as a family. It is difficult to get a nutritious, healthy meal when you have very few options and most of  them are fast food places. With meetings and activities, there is also little time to sit down at a restaurant just to get better options than a number 1 combo at whatever place has a drive through.

I chose eMeals.com for the menu plan options and the price.

Meal plans arrive via email or smart device app on Wednesday. Each menu plan contains 7 meals, a main dish and a side dish. A shopping list is included listing items needed for each meal.  If you choose a particular store where you shop, the shopping list includes pricing. There is also a smart device app you can download. If a particular week does not appeal to you, you can use the app or log in to your account to change the menu plan. The bonus is that you also get the previous week's menu plan for the new plan you choose. Tip: viewing the plans in the app is so easy, I prefer looking at them on the app, if I decide to change my plan, I do it there, then I log in from my desktop and print/save the plan. Keep in mind that you won't get an email if you change the plan.

I already had a weekly dry erase board with days of the week. To start, I chose a menu plan based on the days of the week we were going to cook at home. 

 First time ever eating Brussels sprouts and cooking with artichoke.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive program to buy into. $69 for a year. With the potential for 365 meal ideas, that comes to $.19 per recipe.
  • You save the pdf file and you can print the shopping list as many times as you need.
  • Ability to create freezer meals or do a meal dump.
  • A chance to try foods you may not normally include in your family meals.
  • If you don't like a particular list for that week, you can switch it to another plan. No limit to switching.
  • There are options for breakfast, lunch, dessert, and special occasions.
  • Smart device app gives you the ability to take your shopping list with you.


CONS:

  • There is some duplication in menus. If you choose more than one plan, keep that in mind. I don't know what kind of duplication will take place year after year. 
  • It would be nice to have pricing on all the weekly plans so that I have an idea on food budget for that week or month.

We have been using the meal plans for the last 2 months and I have to say I am glad for this service. My hubs gets to be involved in the meal choices, the list is practically made, I just have to add the household grocery list. The kids like seeing what is on the menu so they can complain about eating it before the plate is placed in front of them.

If you want to try eMeals, you can choose from a variety of menu plans. If you get a plan one week and you don't care for the majority of the recipes, you can select another plan.



Groupon currently has a deal for eMeals

Choose from Three Options

  • 6 months of weekly online dinner plans (a $59 value)
  • 6 months of weekly online lunch and dinner plans (a $83 value)
  • 6 months of weekly online breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans (a $101 value)
I was not compensated for this review. I bought the bottle, liked it, wrote about it.

Friday, March 11, 2016

My first IF: Table



What is If:Table?

A place to gather women and share a simple meal and dive deep with people over real stories and Christ centered conversations. A time for a whole lot of laughter – and maybe a few tears – but time spent that leaves us with glad hearts. Full hearts. Grateful hearts.
The vision is
6 women
4 questions
2 hours
(Acts 2:46)
I heard about IF: Table when I attended a local IF: Gathering in February. It was such and emotional event for me and I am still trying to wrap my head around all that I given. I was inspired to continue my faith journey and reached out to a neighborhood friend, Tiffany. It was something she has been wanting to do ever since she attended a Gathering last year. Rather than invite those we knew in the neighborhood and who we were comfortable being around, we decided to post it in our neighborhood group and see who God called to us. What a wonderful surprise when we saw so many women interested in attending. 
We made it a potluck and asked others to bring a dish or items to share: Appetizer/Starter, Main, Side, Bread, Dessert, Drink. I wish I had taken a picture of Tiffany's beautiful table scape and of the group of beautiful ladies who attended. It's such a neat feeling to be able to meet someone for the first time and be able to chat like you have known them for years. The conversations definitely changed tone once we started asking the questions posted for March with the theme centered around loneliness. Be prepared to answer some tough questions. 
  

What did I learn from If: Table?
{Plan your IF: Table} I would highly recommend planning or attending an IF: Table to any women embarking on a spiritual journey, whether you are just starting out or have been on the path for some time. Even if you have not started the journey, this is still an event for you.
{Venture out of your usual circle of friends} Once we leave school, it becomes harder to meet and make lasting friendships. You also grow as an individual and the friends you had in grade school, high school and college may not grow along with you. 
{Keep it simple} There is no need to go all out for this event. Use paper plates and cups. Buy pre-made dishes if you don't have time to make something. Dress in your comfiest leggings. Don't stress about the condition of your home. Not everyone lives in a model home.
{Stay on Course} Once you start opening up, it is easy to want to continue talking about your answers. Be sure to allow the other women an opportunity to discuss their answers to the questions. If you feel a connection to other women, schedule time for a one-on-one meet up.
{Don't judge a book by its cover} We prejudge and form opinions about others that might prevent us from seeking new friendships. It's easy to find surface friends; you meet someone, you talk about topics you may have in common, hobbies, kids, movies, etc.  You might think, "Wow, we have so much in common, she likes blue M&Ms, I like blue M&Ms, I can see us being bosom buddies" or maybe "Good Golly, this chick is bonkers with her crocheting cat sweaters!" But in order to find deep, friendships, you have to dig deeper. Look past the surface. You may find that lifelong friend who will come over with a bag of blue M&Ms and some yarn and you can both crochet cat sweaters.
{Be open and communicate} The questions can be difficult to process and answer. If you are going through some tough times, there will be some tearful talks. Be prepared with tissue and hugs. 
{It's cathartic} As much as you may not want to divulge personal information, especially to strangers, it is amazing freeing to be able to talk about the issues that are troubling you. You will be surprised how many others are walking the same path and dealing with similar hardships. This is one event you want to make sure is a no technology zone. 
If you are interested in starting your own If: Table, you can find all the info and download the questions on the If: Table pagePinterest has so many ideas you can use to make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. You can also follow my board, Anchored in Faith.