Archives for February 2014

One Of My Favorite Sounds: Waves

Long, long ago my friend Cameron asked me to guest post at her place. She asked me to write about something I loved about the beach. And so I did. Here’s the original guest post about one of my favorite things in the world: waves.

medium_1791843722

Waves

originally posted at Cameron D. Garriepy, July 2010

I absolutely adore everything there is to adore about the beach. The waves. The smell. The feel of the wind and salt on my skin. The sand in my toes and how it leaves a light, fine dust on everything. The thing I love the most about the beach is listening to it. Do you know what I mean? Laying in the sand, burying my toes into its warmth, and just closing my eyes. Listening to the kids playing at the shore line. Listening to the sand crunch as people walk by. The birds circling above, calling to each other…or whatever it is that birds make noise about.

And of course my favorite sound to listen to is the waves. I could listen to waves crashing 24/7 and never get tired of hearing it. Whether they are gently breaking along the shore, or angrily crashing away on rocks, I can’t think of a more calming sound.

When I was pregnant with my son (who is almost three now), I had a hard time falling to sleep. So I used to put my iPod on and listen to a recording of waves from a CD my sister gave to me. Before the second set of waves began, I would always fall asleep.

My husband and I used to travel a bit, and so the sound of waves always reminds me of being on vacation. Of being carefree. Of being lazy and relaxed. Of no real responsibility. Of sleeping in and staying up late. Of sleeping throughout the night, uninterrupted. These things are a thing of the past now that we have kids!

Waves remind me of a trip to Fiji that we took in 2004. We were on a small resort island. Our bure (it’s like a little hut) sat on stilts overlooking the beach. The entire bure had walls of windows, that went from the ceiling to the floor. We left those windows open the entire time we were there. So we awoke and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean every morning and night. It was heaven!

Every meal took place in the main dining area…a huge bure that also sat on stilts directly above the water. It had all these private, secluded decks so that each couple could have their meals privately if they chose not to eat in the main dining bure. And so we even shared our meals with the waves.

My husband and I scuba dive (or, more accurately, we used to scuba dive). Do you know that you can hear the waves and ocean moving under the water? It’s the most peaceful sound! I don’t even know how to describe it other than it sounds like waves breaking on the shore, but in slow motion.

I really love everything there is to love about the beach and the ocean, but by far, my favorite thing is and forever will be the sound of the waves.

photo credit: esther** via photopin cc

Smores Recipe: It Tastes Like A Smore But Takes Just A Minute To Make!

I know, I know…last week I talked about using the Weight Watchers Smart Start App and then earlier this week I talked about how I was taking better care of myself and my body (read: diet and exercise) since I’m turning 40 next month. And then I shared a snack recipe that my kids have been loving that isn’t exactly healthy, but it’s not bad for you either.

fun-food-for-kids

Today I was going to share how my exercise and diet routine have been going since I’ve been at it for almost 8 weeks. But then I thought, I’ll just wait until the end of 8 weeks to share since that will be almost the longest I’ve ever kept up with any kind of diet and exercise routine.

So instead, I’m going to share another snack idea that is super easy to make and that the kids absolutely love. This smores recipe tastes like a smore but takes just a minute to make.

This smores recipe is a snack mix that tastes like a smore but takes just a minute to make. Also includes a link to a recipe for no-bake smore cookie bars.

I’ve been lucky enough to introduce my kids to smores for the first time with a little help from Hershey’s. We made real smores in the backyard for Ethan when he was three. Lila and Mia got to try smores for the first time when we were camping – they were three also!

Now it’s no secret that my kids love smores. They want them all of the time. It’s also no secret that smores are a pain in the butt to make, and can be inconvenient too if you don’t have an open fire or it’s too hot to turn on the oven. But as long as I throw together the flavors – marshmallow, graham cracker, and chocolate – my kids will eat them. That’s how I came up with this smores recipe.

Tastes Like Smores Snack Mix
Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 regular sized package of M&Ms (per kid)
  • 1 handful of Teddy Grahams or other small graham cookies
  • 1 handful of miniature marshmallows

Instructions

  1. All you do is mix it all together. I give each kid a small bowl, let them dump their M&Ms in along with the grahams and marshmallows, and then mix it up.
7.6.3
320
http://mommyofamonster.com/smores-recipe/

Such an easy smores recipe right?! The kids love it! I let them pick the M&Ms they want to use – Ethan and Mia stuck to plain M&Ms while Mia (and okay, me too) opted for the Peanut Butter M&Ms. Both were really good. You could also try using chocolate or vanilla flavored graham cookies. Yum!

I also have another smores recipe for Smore Cookie Bars if you have a little bit more time on your hands.

Smore Cookie Bars

Looking for more sweet treats? I have lots of dessert recipes here on my blog and also over on my board Desserts on Pinterest.

I’m Talking About the Big 4-0 At Facing 40!

In March I’m going to be turning the big 4-0. The number isn’t an issue for me – it’s just a number. What I’m having a hard time with is everything that comes with the number: the sagging, the wrinkles, and all the other fun things that go hand-in-hand with aging. So I decided to talk about it.

I’m at one of my favorite blogger’s places talking about changes that come with the big 4-0. My friend Poppy asked me to guest post at her place Facing 40 and of course I couldn’t say no.

facing-40

One of the things I’m focusing on right now is my health. Not just trying to get in shape to look great in a bathing suit, but trying to get in shape because it’s the right thing to do. My body needs it…my stress level needs it!

So head over to Poppy’s place to read more. Later this week I’ll be sharing more about this, too. I’m in it for the long haul!

Weight Watchers Simple Start App Gave Me The Help I Needed!

I was given a free one-month subscription to try the new Simple Start plan and write about my experience.  Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative are my own.

As I am sitting here writing this, I am also eating my breakfast:

If you are ready to lose weight, try the Weight Watchers Simple Start app. It is full of healthy, tasty recipes that will leave you full! #lovehealthyme

Well, it was supposed to be an omelet but I can’t make an omelet to save my life. So let’s call it a scramble. Yep, this is my “diet” breakfast, more food than I can eat! Eggs scrambled with cheese, bell peppers, mushrooms, green onions, and spinach (I add spinach to everything)…and even toast! It doesn’t look like diet food, and it doesn’t taste like diet food. This is why I love the Weight Watchers Simple Start App.

I’m turning 40 next month, so at the beginning of the year I decided it was time to really focus on me…taking better care of myself not because I want to lose weight or look great in a bikini (but seriously, those are both big bonuses), but because I need to take better care of myself. I can’t live on junk food, wine, and no exercise, I know this. And I want to live long enough to see my kids have kids – and if I’m lucky like my Nana, to see my kids’ kids have kids. So I had to change my whole outlook on the way I treat my body.

So yes, I started exercising and eating healthy – and that’s where the problem came in. I’m one of those people who have never had to watch what I eat. Before the kids, I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted without gaining any weight. This is no longer the case. And therein lies the problem: I don’t know how to eat healthy because I’ve never had to do it.

If you are ready to lose weight, try the Weight Watchers Simple Start app. It is full of healthy, tasty recipes that will leave you full! #lovehealthyme

When I was given the opportunity to try Weight Watchers Simple Start, I jumped at the chance. Because Weight Watchers helps people get healthy in a healthy way.

If you are ready to lose weight, try the Weight Watchers Simple Start app. It is full of healthy, tasty recipes that will leave you full! #lovehealthyme

I love breakfast! This one is yogurt, strawberries, cinnamon, and shredded wheat.

What is Weight Watchers Simple Start? It’s a two week starter plan for people who are new to Weight Watchers or current members who want to get their motivation going again. The app is simple – it helps you choose from a variety of nutritious, satisfying foods (also called Weight Watchers Power Foods.)

All you have to do is pick from a list of good-for-you foods and start losing weight. You can choose from 55 meals and snacks. There are even swaps and flavor boosts to choose from. Want to cheat? That’s okay too! There’s a section devoted to “Indulgences” so you can have…wait for it…WINE if you’d like! Or half ‘n half with your coffee! And cheese! All kinds of things I am not willing to give up!

Now what I love about this app is that it’s full of meals that I will actually eat because I don’t feel like I’m being deprived of anything. I’ve tried several different recipes (the egg salad is my favorite lunch) and haven’t found one yet that I didn’t like.

So back to the breakfast…I know not everybody has time to make an omelet for breakfast while trying to get kids to school and then out the door to work. If you can’t make that happen, you can still have this breakfast! My mini quiches are basically the same thing (just use fat-free cheese and no bacon) and they freeze great!

mini_breakfast_quiches

I’m eating really tasty food, I get to cheat, and there’s nothing off limits. This? Is the perfect way for me to live. And any plan that lets me still “cheat” with a yummy treat like these apples is okay in my book!

fun-food-for-kids

I plan to keep using Weight Watchers Simple Start because it works. I’m not starving and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on eating throughout the day. If you need help with healthy eating, it’s worth checking out! You can find Weight Watchers on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. They share lots of great food and exercise tips!

Fun Food For Kids: A Snack That They’ll Love (And So Will You!)

The kids ask for snacks constantly. Every day. Without fail. Even after a huge meal. Even after they’ve just had a snack. Their idea of a snack and my idea of a snack are totally different – they want ice cream, cookies, or fruit roll-ups while I want them to eat something healthy (or at least healthy-ish) that will fill their bellies and give them some energy.

It’s really easy to grab a bag of fruit snacks or a bag of chips out of the cupboard, but it’s not going to fill ’em up for long. So I have been looking for recipes for fun food for kids that are quick and easy to make. This one is our new favorite.

If you are looking for fun food for kids, this is it! This is a snack that they'll love (and so will you!) It's also tasty & low cal! Includes links to two other healthy snack ideas.

Yep, I said our new favorite. I think I like this snack as much or more than the kids do! It’s fruit and protein with a bit of sugary sweetness from the chocolate.

Fun Food For Kids (You’ll Love This One Too!)

It’s so simple to make. I simply cut up an apple (I get about 6 slices) of your choice. I like to use Granny Smiths because of their tartness.

Next, spread a bit of all natural peanut butter (I use about 2 tablespoons total) on each apple slice. Top it with a bit of shredded coconut and some mini chocolate chips and you’ve got an instant snack!

This is a recipe that falls under fun food for kids because my kids like to “make” their own apple slices. We call them apple pizzas. They are satisfying and filling, and the kids don’t feel like they are being deprived of sweets because of the chocolate and coconut.

Don’t like peanut butter or living peanut-free? Try almond butter or greek yogurt instead. You could also sprinkle some cinnamon on the apples before butting the peanut butter on. Want to pack it in a lunch? Just put another apple slice on top and make it an apple sandwich! I didn’t take a picture of my apple slices, but I also put some slivered almonds on them. I can’t wait to try walnuts next. Or maybe some mini M&Ms instead of chocolate chips or raisins…yummy!

Here are a couple of other ideas for fun food for kids. This Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt is A-MAZ-ING! These Apple Pie Fries will leave you wanting even more…but don’t worry, they are baked, not fried.

Do you have any ideas for healthy snacks that make fun food for kids? I’d love to hear them!