Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Better World Facebook Game

A little known fact about me as that I have a small addiction to Facebook gaming. I keep it under wraps by changing the privacy on any game posts to only be seen by fellow gamer friends. So that means that the rest of my family and friends don't see those game updates and therefor don't think I am as crazy as I really am. If I didn't do that, all they would see on my feed is Farmville posts. And a lot of them.

I was recently introduced to a new game from ToonUps called A Better World. For more than ten years ToonUps has worked to create digital content that promotes social consciousness.

Gameplay activities are designed to help everyone who participates feel better about themselves, be supportive of others and make positive choices in their everyday lives. Players also can play mini games with inspirational themes; have fun shopping; and personalize their characters and virtual spaces.

As with most social media games, players start off by customizing their avatar. To earn some shopping money and move up through the levels of the game you can then explore the more than 15 locations with the community. Two of my favorite places to visit are the Arcade where you can play minigames and the Gratitude Grotto where you reveal what you are thankful for.


In the Arcade I like to play the ThreeCycle game. It is similar to Bejeweled in that you have to match 3 like items in a row, in this case 3 of the same recyclable item. But you also have to remove the trash from the grid. Or you can stroll over to the Sanctuary of Hope where you can share your hopes and dreams with the rest of the players. This game is all about being rewarded for good deeds and there are plenty for you to perform in order to move up. You can plant a garden, visit a friend's house or send a friend a cute heart. There is also a Daily Mission and if you complete all of the tasks on the list, like maybe helping someone find their lost glasses, then you get some bonus rewards.

One thing that I enjoy about these types of games is that once I have earned up enough virtual money, I can go shopping! I spend most of my time in the home/furniture stores. In A Better World you can buy wall and floor colors, furniture and accessories all in the Home Decor store. If you are looking for something a little more unique you can head over to the Emporium.


Now that you have spent all of your hard earned money on furniture and knick knacks, it is time to head home and decorate. I LOVE this part. There is just something about decorating that it so fun for me. It is pretty easy to move your furniture and other items around in this game to perfect the look you want.


Overall this is a fun game to play. There are definitely plenty of different things to do and keep you busy. What is really nice is that so far there are none of those annoying "get 10 of your neighbors to click on this " posts going out on your feed. Those start to drive me crazy after a while. It is great to just be able to play a game and not get stuck on something because you don't have enough neighbors yet. If you like games like YoVille and Farmville then this is definitely a game you will want to check out.




Play A Better World on Facebook: facebook.com/ABetterWorld
Follow ToonUps on Twitter: twitter.com/ToonUps

I was given the opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions on A Better World. I received a gift card as a thank you for my participation. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Knock Knock

Last week I read an absolutely hilarious post by The Bloggess. I literally was doubled over laughing with tears streaming down my face. After I recovered I immediately started sharing it with everyone I knew and knew I had to email it to my sister in law who would love it.

So today my mom came over and she placed a gift from my sister-in-law at my door. Totally made my day! If you read that post, then you'll understand why I loved this.




I Must Be Doing Something Right

As parents we strive to make sure we are raising our kids the best way we can. I am sure I am not alone in saying sometimes I wonder if I am doing things the right way. Am I doing a good job? Yesterday I learned that I am doing a pretty decent job. We spent a few hours at the local lake, the first of many visits there this summer. While the beach and water are super clean, unfortunately you will still find a few pieces of litter here and there. I still don't understand why people litter, there are trash cans everywhere!

So anyway, my six year old picks up something and says "Look mommy, trash. Can I put it in the garbage?"

"Yes please. Thank you."

I would say this happened about 6 times over the course of the 2.5 hours we were there. I think he enjoyed running back and forth to the garbage can.

"I found more trash!"

So I had a proud mommy moment standing there in the water with my boys because it was clear that my son knows that garbage belongs in the garbage can and not on the ground. And he even took initiative to pick up someone else's garbage, which is something most people will not do. At least I know that my kids won't be the one's out there littering.

And now I know I am doing at least one thing right with this parenting gig.

Have your kids ever done something that made you proud and think "wow, maybe I do know what I am doing!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

20 Second Fitness: Week 5

So here I am 5 weeks done on my 20 Second Fitness adventure - can yo believe it? This was a rough week for me not because of the workouts but because of a stomach bug that went through my house at the end of the week. For the first time since I started I skipped not only one but two days and did not workout on Friday or Saturday. Normally, Sunday is my day off but to make up for the missed days I did both of those workouts. The first one I did early in the morning and the second at night after the kids were in bed. Let me tell you, even though my workouts were more than 12 hours apart, that second one was tough!  Especially since it was loaded with burpees and burpees with pushups. I hate those. But you probably know that by now.

The workouts are definitely still getting more intense. One day this week there was a 12 minute workout and the last 4 minutes were all jumping rope.  This is definitely a great cardio workout but for some reason I jut can't get it right. I will do the first 20 second set no problem. Then I start up the next and the first time my foot catches on the rope is the end. From that point on I literally trip up more than I jump. So eventually I just ditch the rope and pretend that I am using one. I figure I will get more of a workout that way than if I keep tripping up and have to restart with the rope. Obviously I need to practice more on this.

Start
Weight: 145 lbs
Waist: 34.5"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"
Week 2
Weight: 145 lbs
Waist: 34.5"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"
Week 3
Weight: 143.5 lbs
Waist: 34"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"

Week 4
Weight: 142.5 lbs
Waist: 34"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"

Week 5
Weight: 142.5 lbs
Waist: 34"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"


This week's update also comes with a confession from me. Here I am 5 weeks into this exercise routine and I have not lost any inches. While my numbers do show 2.5 pounds lost, I wonder if that was more of a fluctuation in water weight then actual weight loss. So here comes the confession: my problem is eating. When it comes to meals I actually do really well and eat healthy. But my vice is sweets. Most notably chocolate. If there is anything like that in the house I have a hard time not eating it. I've been good and have not been buying any sweets since I started this, but people keep bringing it over. Like this afternoon my husband went to Costco for a bunch of stuff and came back with Nutella. (That wasn't on the list). I left it in the cabinet in the basement and I am not opening it!

On the bright side, I do feel like I am getting stronger. Five weeks ago when I first started this program and was introduced to star jumps, I could barely do them. I have improved them so much and I think I might look slightly less ridiculous while doing them now. I am actually getting some height and I am getting more done in those 20 seconds. I'd like to tell you that my burpees have improved as well, but I am really not too sure on those.

So as of right now I need to get serious about making a commitment to cutting out the desserts otherwise I am not going to get anywhere. Sunday was a step in the right direction for me as my snacks were a handful of peanuts and some whole grain crackers with hummus. I just need to keep it up and try to gain some will power. And darn it I need to keep the treats out of the house because having them here is torture for me. Hopefully for next week's update I can report that I did awesome with food and actually lost some weight and inches!

Connect with 20 Second Fitness
Facebook: facebook.com/20second
Twitter: twitter.com/20secondfitness (follow the talk with #20secondfitness)
YouTube: youtube.com/user/20secondworkout

Try it Yourself!
Use code green mamas pad when your order 20 Second Fitness and receive free shipping in the Continental United States or a $15 discount for orders to Canada and overseas.


Follow my 20 Second Fitness Journey
Introduction
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

I was given a 20 Second Fitness Program kit free of charge in order to try it out and report back on my progress. I received no monetary compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Always check with your doctor first before starting any fitness routine or program.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Green Giveaway Friday Linky 6/24

Have a great weekend everyone! Please add both your green and non-green giveaways and contests into Mr. Linky below so we can do some blog hoppin! Be sure to include the expiration date. Thanks!

You can also submit your green giveaways to me during the week for me to feature on Fridays.

The Celebrity Cafe
Natures Paradise Piña Colada Body Line 6/30

Family Focus Blog
Newman's Own Organics 6/24

Freckleberry Finds
Surf Sweets Giveaway 7/2

Just Another New Blog
$50 GC to Novica 6/29

Leslie Loves Veggies
Bella Viva Orchards Giveaway 6/29

Living the Thrifty Life
Eco Lunch Gear 6/27

Small Steps On Our Journey
Tropical Traditions Organic Raw Honey 6/24
Novica $30 Gift Code 6/27

Smart Girl Reviews
Choice Organic Teas 7/15

Texifornia
Seeds (Cilantro, Table Queen Squash, Cannonball Gourd, Horsemint & Tufted Grass) 6/27



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Choosing the Perfect Rings

Even though it feels like it was forever ago, I still remember what fun my husband and I had picking out my engagement ring and our wedding bands. Way we before we even got engaged we went on one of those jewelry websites that lets you design your ring. Yeah what young woman doesn't love playing around with diamond cuts and settings? I think I was on that site for hours. Maybe even days. When I was done I had designed a lovely platinum engagement ring and unknown to me my future husband saved it and brought it to our jeweler to have it made. I was very surprised when he proposed to me at Disney World. At the Star Wars ride. But that is an entirely different post.


We had a fairly long engagement of about 18 months. As the wedding grew closer it was time to head back to the jeweler to pick out our wedding bands. Yay - more jewelry shopping! Due to the unique design of my engagement ring we had to have a special wedding band designed as well so that the two would fit together nicely. You can kind of see in my picture how they lock together like puzzle pieces. My groom knew that he wanted a solid band of decent thickness but we debated a little bit about the type of metal. Should he get platinum like mine or white gold since it was so much cheaper? I feel like if we were doing this now it would be even harder. It seems like there are all of a sudden more choices for men's bands. Besides the basics of white and yellow gold and platinum, now you also have titanium, tungsten wedding rings and even black tungsten rings. There may even be more options out there for all I know!

After wavering back and forth for a bit he ultimately decided on platinum and I am glad he did as it has held up nicely. If we had to do it all over again, I don't think we would change a thing.

How did you and yours choose your wedding rings? Do they coordinate with each other? Do you still love them today as much as you did the day you chose them.



My First CSA Pickup of 2011

It was a long, long winter especially without no fruits and veggies from our local, organic CSA. It runs from June through November and so my sister-in-law and I have been counting down the days till it started up again. We split our farm share and take turns picking up our produce every weekend. We decided that I would go the first week and then she would go the following week and so on. So two Saturdays ago I headed out, sans kids, with my basket in tow ready to enjoy the peace of the farm.

As I started walking across the fields I felt so happy to be back. Rows and rows of growing crops greeted me and off in the distance I could see fellow shareholders picking fresh strawberries.


I stopped in at the stand to check in and find out what I could pick. Each shareholder was allowed to pick 3 quarts of strawberries on this first week.



I love being able to pick fruits and veggies fresh myself but let me tell you, picking 3 quarts of strawberries on your own takes a long time. I have no idea how long I was out in the fields, but it was a good chunk of time. But just look at these beautiful strawberries!


These are by far, hands down, the most delicious strawberries I have ever eaten. It is well worth the time it takes to pick them. We were able to enjoy these for a week and since they are so fresh, they never spoiled.

After finishing my picking I headed back to the stand to get the rest of my goodies. I snapped a picture of the greenhouses in the distance which house rows upon rows of tomatoes.I can't wait for those to be ready to harvest!


Inside I was also able to get some salad mix, a huge bunch of spinach, a head of lettuce, radishes and scallions. When I got home I laid it all to admire how pretty it all was.


They were also selling some of their organic plants really cheap. So I was able to pick up an heirloom tomato plant and a cherry tomato plant for just $2.00 a piece. If I had any confidence in my gardening skills I would have also grabbed the $1.00 zucchini and squash plants, but I figured this year I will stick with tomatoes.


This weekend I will be returning to the farm for my next pickup and I think they might have some broccoli for us. I'll continue to share my CSA goodies here throughout the year. If you haven't looked into joining a CSA I highly recommend researching to see if there are any in your area. Be sure to check out my post on things to know about community supported agriculture. Nothing tastes better than locally grown produce!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When Nature Calls

These past 4 or 5 days have been really lovely in Connecticut. Bright sunny days but not too hot or humid. So that means our boys have been spending a lot of time outside.

{mommy does happy dance}

It has been great. While they run around having fun and getting out all of that little boy energy, I can sit on the deck with the little dude and keep an eye on them. I just finished up potty training the twins, who turned 4 in May, and they have been really good about making sure to go potty before they go out and coming in when they need to go again. Then the other day I am making dinner and going back and forth from the kitchen to the deck to check on them. I glance out at them and there in the middle of my backyard is one of the twins with his pants down.



"What are you doing!?!"
"I'm peeing mommy!"

It's not even like he was doing it behind a tree or off near the woods line. Nope, right out in the open of the yard for all of our neighbors to see. Lovely. I have no idea what made him think to do this. So I just explained to him that next time he needs to come in and use the bathroom to pee.

Later that evening when my husband got home I told him the story and we had a good chuckle. And then he said he thinks it is OK for them to pee off into the woods in if they need to. Really? I am kind of torn on this. On one hand it would be nice if they didn't track dirt through my house every time they have to pee. Oh and hey, it saves water! But on the other hand do I really want to teach my 6 and 4 year olds that it is OK to pee outside? I mean in an emergency, sure, but in every day outside play? I don't know. I keep envisioning the kid from Adam Sandler's movie Big Daddy peeing on the side of buildings and in the middle of Central Park.

What do you think? Would you or do you let your boys pee outside?

Wordless Wednesday: Father's Day Gifts

You may remember (probably not) that my kindergartener made me a cute little fill in the blank "story" for my Mother's Day gift. Well he made a similar one for Father's Day and it is just as sweet.



Then for our Father's Day gift to him, I bought this t-shirt that came with paints and had each of the boys put their hand print on it. It was darn near impossible to get the 18n month old's hand on their. But I think it came out well.



What did your kids give dad for Father's Day this year?



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Organic Bamboo Serveware at Joss & Main

Joss & Main is one of my favorite flash sales sites because everything they have is for the home. I stalk them to see when they have any eco-friendly goodies on sale and today is one of those days!

For 3 days you can purchase Core Bamboo Serveware at a great discount. Their bamboo is 100% organically grown and finished with natural oils. The vibrant colors found on some of their bowls use food safe lacquer made from natural cashew trees. Very cool! I am debating which one of their pieces I want to buy, I like them all!





I really love the utensil set but I have so many darn utensil already so maybe a pretty colored serving bowl would be better for me. What do you think? What would you get?

Cheesy Chicken Rollatini Recipe

The other day while doing my grocery shopping I came across some pounded thin chicken breasts on sale and thought to myself it would be fun to try to make a rollatini dish with them. I have never in my life cooked this so I was excited for the challenge. I don't even know what came over me, I guess I am just tired of making the same things week after week. I picked up some ricotta cheese, also on sale, and began contemplating what else to roll up in with it. I asked around for some ideas and eventually came up with a game plan. This has got a lot of cheese and probably a lot of calories but it came out so tasty that it is worth it!


Okay I probably should have taken the toothpicks out before I took the photo but oh well. In my ingredients you will notice that I used organic jarred pasta sauce. Sadly, I do not cook my own sauce so the Nature's Promise Traditional Pasta Sauce is my go to sauce for now. Some day I would love to cook my own sauce, but for now this will do.  Of course if you make your own then absolutely use that instead!

Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
3 TBSP ricotta cheese
1 TBSP pecorino romano cheese (or paremesan)
A couple of handfuls of mozzarella cheese (one for inside and one for on top)
1/2 TSP to 1 TSP fresh crushed garlic (depending on how much garlic you like)
Tomato sauce
Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the three cheeses (ricotta, pecorino romano & mozzarella) together so the mixture is nice and even. Then add in the garlic and mix again. Set aside.



Spoon the cheese and garlic mixture onto each piece of chicken and spread evenly till just short of the edge of the chicken. Sprinkle on some additional mozzarella and some salt and pepper to taste. I really wanted to add some cooked spinach as well but since my husband hates anything green, I decided to cook it on the side instead. If you like spinach I suggest adding it in because I bet it would be fabulous!


Gently roll the chicken as tightly as possible without letting the cheese ooze out the sides. Secure in place with toothpicks or cooking string. I soaked my toothpicks in water while I prepped everything to prevent them from burning in the oven. I also suggest not using colored toothpicks as the dye will bleed into your chicken. (Oops, they were all I had!)


Place a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of a baking dish. Then place your chicken in the dish and top with a little more sauce.


Cover with foil and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 40 minutes. When there is about 10 minutes left, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella on top and finish cooking.


Some of the filling will melt out as it is cooking so make sure you scoop that into the plate when you are serving, thats good stuff that you don't want to waste! I served my chicken rollatini with sauteed spinach and pasta a olio.


Monday, June 20, 2011

20 Second Fitness: Week 4

Week 4 is done and in the books! I can't believe I have been doing this for a month already - and I am still enjoying it! I will tell you that thus far, every week has been harder than the previous. This past week was the 4th week overall but the 2nd week of full workouts, and definitely the toughest yet. As with the prior week you start with 4 minutes of a body specific workout. This can be arms, legs, core, back, etc. That is followed by 4 minutes of cardio, and then you either end at that or there might be jump rope or something else after that.

On Wednesday was the leg day and surprisingly I do well with leg days. Don't get me wrong, it hurts, but I am able to keep my intensity up through it and really push hard. However that was followed by an arm day on Thursday and well arm days are much more of a challenge for me. I start out with a good pace but by the end my arms are like jello and remain useless for a good hour after I am done. This week I was even taunted a little by Spencer. After tweeting about the 6 sets of calf raises I did on Wednesday, he followed up on Friday with his cute little comment (read from bottom up). So now I have added a new goal: showing Spencer how tough this mama is! :)


The last day of Week 4 was on Saturday and let me tell you, it was HARD! I have been having crazy busy days this past week so most of my workout have been at night. I bought some new workout clothes at Target this week and got myself all pumped and ready and then Spencer kicked my butt with a full 12 minutes of cardio! For good measure, he made sure to really kill me with both star jumps and burpees in the same session. As the sweat was pouring off of me and my legs felt like they were about to give I was cursing you Spencer. All the while my husband sat on the couch watching me and eating apple pie and ice cream. I don't want to even talk about the 4 minutes of jumping rope. I start out with one good set and after that I trip up every other jump. Eventually I just put down the rope and jumped pretending I was still using it. I am sure I looked ridiculous but it was better than constantly stopping to fix my rope.

Looking for some results? Me too! I dropped another pound so woohoo for that! Yet I have not lost any inches at all since I started 20 Second Fitness. I am wondering where the 2.5 pounds I have lost in total is coming off from if my measurements are the same? I am perplexed . Perhaps I am not measuring properly or maybe I am loosing from areas that I am not measuring. Something tells me that if I measured my bust I might see a change there.


Start
Weight: 145 lbs
Waist: 34.5"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"
Week 2
Weight: 145 lbs
Waist: 34.5"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"
Week 3
Weight: 143.5 lbs
Waist: 34"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"
Week 4
Weight: 142.5 lbs
Waist: 34"
Hips: 40"
Thigh: 23"
Arm: 11"


Week 5 starts today and I know I have said it before, but I am scared! That last day of week 4 was insane for me and if that is the baseline for what this next week is going to be like, well it is going to be a rough one. But I am loving this and I am determined to get my body fit by the time vacation rolls around later this summer. 20 Second Fitness has been so easy to fit into my daily routine somewhere, even if it as night, and I am hoping this is something I can stick with for life! See yo next week!

Connect with 20 Second Fitness
Facebook: facebook.com/20second
Twitter: twitter.com/20secondfitness (follow the talk with #20secondfitness)
YouTube: youtube.com/user/20secondworkout

Buy 20 Second Fitness Today!
Use code green mamas pad when your order 20 Second Fitness and receive free shipping in the Continental United States or a $15 discount for orders to Canada and overseas.


Follow my 20 Second Fitness Journey
Introduction
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Check out these other great bloggers who are using 20 Second Fitness!
Maggie at My Little Review Corner
Paula at Frosted Fingers
Shasta at Faithfully Frugal and Free
Rachel at Yellow Tennessee
Kim at What's That Smell?
Alison at Being Alison
Annie at Mama Dweeb
Amy at Coffee Lovin Mom
Christa at Little BGCG Reviews
Danw at Dawn's Daily Diggs
Nicole at The Blonde Critic
Nina at The One Fantastical
Jessi at Jabbering Jessi
Crystal Simply Being Mommy
Connie at MiscFinds4u
Kathleen at Life With 4 Boys
Brandy at Happily Blended

I was given a 20 Second Fitness Program kit free of charge in order to try it out and report back on my progress. I received no monetary compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Always check with your doctor first before starting any fitness routine or program.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Green Giveaway Friday Links 6/17

An early Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out in bloggy land. Hope you have a great weekend!

Please add both your green and non-green giveaways and contests into Mr. Linky below so we can do some blog hoppin! Be sure to include the expiration date. Thanks!

You can also submit your green giveaways to me during the week for me to feature on Fridays.

Broken Teepee
Tropical Traditions Dish Liquid 6/17

The Celebrity Cafe
Natures Paradise Piña Colada Body Line 6/30

Family Focus Blog
Newman's Own Organics 6/24

Just Another New Blog
$50 GC to Novica 6/29
Organic Brown Rice Syrup 6/23

Mama Dweeb
$25 to AppleCheeks Clothdiapers 6/23

Small Steps On Our Journey
Tropical Traditions Organic Raw Honey 6/24
Novica $30 Gift Code 6/27




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