Saturday, March 30, 2013

Musical Dares

If you have small kids you know what it's like to be cooped up inside for long periods of time.  The kids are bored and mom is going insane!  Here in beautiful Colorado we get lots of sun so even when it snows there is sure to be a sunny day just around the corner.  But if you are stuck inside and need to burn off some energy try this fun little game.  You can even join in the fun and give your kids a good giggle.

Line up some chairs in a circle in a large area.  We used as many kids sized chairs as we could find to save on space and make it easier for the kids to sit fast.  Just like in musical chairs, play some fun music and let them walk in a circle around the chairs.  When the music stops they have to find a chair to sit in quick.  Instead of taking the chair away as in musical chairs, make them look under the chair for a dare.  I taped little pieces of paper under each seat with a dare on it.   If you have older kids they can help you come up with the dares.

Here are some examples of "dares" we did.

Do jumping Jacks while counting to 20
Crawl around the chairs 3 times
Hop like a bunny around the room and sing your ABC's
On the next round you must go around the circle backwards
Army crawl race across the room
Free style dance party!

You could do just about anything.  Be prepared to get a little sweaty and have some water on hand for your tired kiddos!   We played the game until all 6 dares had been accomplished.  And then we had a dance party just for fun!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Growing Your Groceries

I have found many posts on Pinterest about how to grow your groceries.  So far we have tried green onions, romaine and leafy lettuce, white onions, red onions, and celery.  We have harvested both green onions and lettuce already!  It is so easy and wonderful to eat "free" fresh grown food - in the middle of winter!

This is the site that helped out the most in my experiments.

 We started a collection of glasses of water full of romaine, green onion, or celery.
After a few weeks we harvested our first batch of lettuce leaves!  Now we've replanted both the lettuce and celery in their own containers.  We'll see how long they last.  Even if they die out I'm still happy with a few free salads.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Planting a Prayer

For the last few months our life group has been doing a DVD series called The Circle Maker based on the book by Mark Batterson.  The book focuses on intentional prayer, praying often, and praying big.  One of the things that stuck with me in the wrap up of the series was the analogy of prayer being like planting a tree.  It was a pretty brief mention but it stuck with me.  Every day I go down to our basement to what has become our "plant" room.  It's filling up with plants we want to grow in our garden come spring.  I have felt really convicted to grow our own food.  OK, I have a little spring fever going on!

When we first planted everything it was just buried seeds and our hope that they would grow that got us started.  Much like prayers.  You never know when that little seed is going to sprout.  In the Circle Maker, Mark Batterson mentions a story of an old man who planted a tree that wouldn't bear fruit for 70 years.  When asked why he would plant something he would never benefit from he said it was for his children and his grandchildren to enjoy.  He had enjoyed fruit from the same type of tree that his dad and grandfather had planted for him.

Some of you have planted things before.  This is our first time ever trying to grow a garden.  It is so exciting.  Every day we check on the plants and make sure to keep them watered...  like praying everyday for what God lays on our hearts.  When the first little sprout came up we were thrilled to see growth... like the excitement you feel when you start to notice changes God is making in your life.

You start to get feel a rush when your plants grow tall and their leaves get big.  The plant is growing stronger by the day...  Eventually, with continued watering and care, the plant will bear fruit for everyone to enjoy.  We are all works in progress.  When we go to God and trust what he puts in our lives to care for, we produce fruits that everyone around us can enjoy.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22-23

Plant a prayer and watch what God can do in your life.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Scavenger Hike

The next time you go out for a walk or a hike, try playing this game with your little ones.  Our family loves to go hiking.  We set a goal to go on at least 30 hikes this year.  So far we are up to five and we are dying for spring weather!  Most of the time the kids are excited to go but sometimes they need some motivation.  Enter the Scavenger Hike.  I came up with this idea to help get us out the door and into nature while learning about textures, and practicing our ABC's, shapes, and colors.  You could even do numbers, sounds, or smells too.  Use your imagination!

How to Play:

Make a set of cards ahead of time.  You can use the template below or make up your own.  Be creative! I plan to cut these cards up and "laminate" them using contact paper.  That way if we get dirt or water on them it washes right off.  (If you're not into making stuff don't worry, you could just play the game by calling out a category.)

Shuffle your cards and let the kids choose 1 - 3 cards each depending on how long you will be walking.

It's time to explore!  Let your kids find items on your walk or hike that match their cards.  For example, if they drew the "r" card they might find a rock, the "furry" card might be a Caterpillar, or the slimy card might be some moss.  Once they find the item, take a picture of it together.  If they are old enough, let them take their own photo.  My three year old loves to take pictures with my smartphone.

Later you can make a collage of the pictures you collect over time and hang it in their room or make a little book out of them. (Or if you are like me and take WAY too many pictures you can simply delete them after they have forgotten about it!)

The main thing is to get out and exercise!  If you are active and enjoy it, your kids will too!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cheese Please!

So one of the first things I noticed when we started cutting out processed foods was that some of our kids favorite foods - grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese - were some of the WORST processed foods I could be feeding them.  Yikes!  But what is a mommy to do?  Not ever let them have their beloved lunches in exchange for something different?  I wish.  It takes lots of time and many attempts to change kids eating habits and we are slowly getting there with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. But sometimes you just want that good old comfort food.

I have nothing against cheese itself.  I LOVE cheese.  I could live off of cheese and potatoes I think.  But a lot of the so called "cheese" that is sold in stores is only partially cheese.  We actually have a name for super processed cheese here in the US.  It's called American Cheese.  And we used to eat a lot of it!  I even bought the 2% milk kind thinking I was being healthy.  It was the same with Velveeta.  I would not buy it as often but it made the most glorious mac and cheese - my mouth is watering thinking of it but them my brain is like "what ARE you eating? Because this is not really totally cheese.  And how is this able to sit on the shelf un-refrigerated?"  A fantastic example of natural cheese vs. processed cheese is found in this companies ad.  I do not buy their cheese but I have switched to natural cheeses as much as possible and I love their visual.

Please understand I do not think bad of you if you choose to still buy these kinds of products.  I have just learned so much over the last month about how processed our food industry is and how horribly it is effecting our health as a nation.  With that in mind, I set out to make a few changes.  We now purchase our cheddar cheese through Royal Crest Dairy.  They sell Natural cheese from Chippewa Valley Farms.  We are still working on switching over mozzarella and feta to natural and plan to do some cheese shopping soon at Sprouts.  I no longer buy multiple bags of pre-shredded cheese as I have learned that in order to keep the cheese from clumping many additives are included such as the most popular - cellulose (wood pulp).  So we buy it by the brick and take the extra work to shred it ourselves.  The best part - it tastes phenomenal and you don't have to use as much because it is so full of flavor.

As far as grilled cheese and mac and cheese goes...  I still make it for the boys.  And for my husband and I too - who am I kidding! Only now I use freshly sliced cheddar cheese on homemade wheat bread with real butter to make the outside crispy.  It's delicious.  And just the other day I decided to make mac and cheese from scratch using organic milk, butter, and cheddar and a few seasonings.  It was so wonderful and as an added bonus I accidentally learned how to make my own 'Velveeta'!  I had lots of leftover sauce so I put it in the fridge over night and what I had the next day was the consistency of, you guessed it, Velveeta.  I have since used it to make scalloped potatoes (amazing) and plan to make some broccoli and cheese soup.  I think I could use it any place I once would have used Velveeta.  I'm even experimenting to see if it can be frozen for future use.  So you want the recipe?  I altered it from the original form adding more cheese than it called for - I think this is the reason it solidified so well in the fridge.

All Purpose Cheddar Cheese Sauce

4 tbps real butter
4 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups organic milk
3 1/2 - 4 cups shredded natural sharp cheddar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Add in the flour and whisk.  Slowly add in the milk and mustard and let heat up to a simmer and thicken a bit.  Slowly add in the cheese and melt it all together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Use right away in your favorite recipe or put in a container for the refrigerator.  As it is a milk based product I would say it would be good for about a week.  I am freezing some in smaller portions to use in future recipes.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Taking care of YOU

I have recently come across an old sermon series that Pastor Chad Bruegman from Red Rocks Church did about overall health of our bodies - mind, body and spirit.  It is a truly wonderful sermon series and I encourage you to listen/watch them if you get a chance.  Especially the second one in the four part series regarding the body.  Here are links to these awesome sermons if you are interested:

God is a Neat Freak
You: Body
You: Mind
You: Spirit

The thing that stood out to me the most was the idea of eating as an act of worship.  A challenge was issued to eat what God has made for us.  To fuel our bodies with what God created as a way of glorifying Him.  We have been trying to get rid of many processed foods in our house.  There are tons of great nutritional documentaries out there with loads of information on the side effects of eating chemically made, man-made, foods.  It's a process for us.  One we are working towards one step at a time.  This point of view has made me love to cook even more.  As I stir in the ingredients one whole food at a time, I think of just how amazing God's creation is.

I hope you enjoyed the sermons.  Food recipes to come!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Great Resources

Before I get into some of the exciting blog posts I have planned, I wanted to give a shout out to some of the websites, people, and businesses that have helped shape my world of health and nutrition.  These are great resources and I will post them on the side bar for future reference.  I hope these links continue to grow and please, if you know of another good one, let me know and I will check it out.

Food and Nutrition

Grow Colorado is a great source for gardening, growing your own food, and even donating your excess to local food banks.

Royal Crest Dairy - we stumbled on this gem a few months ago and are hooked by the friendly service, fantastic tasting products with no hormones or antibiotics, and the extremely reasonable prices.

Door to Door Organics - A great way to get fresh produce in the middle of the winter.  We found it a little on the pricey side for a family of four but for a single person or a couple, it might be worth the service.  The best part?  They have services in both Denver AND Kansas City for all my friends back home!  Email me if you want me to send an email to you with a 50% off your first box coupon.

Shaklee - I do not work for this company so I am not being bias when I say they are the best vitamins I have ever found.  I love what the company stands for and the research they put into their products.

100 Days of Real Food - this is a great resource for living completely unprocessed.  I'm not there yet but I find it very encouraging.

Clean for my King - this is a blog that a friend of mine shared with me.  Her vision is very similar to mine and very inspiring.  I love some of the recipes she's posted.


Zumba - I would love for you to come take a class!  I will soon be teaching 6 classes a week.  Three are traditional Zumba classes and three are what I call Aqua Groove.  Check out my FB page for weekly updates on when and where I will be teaching.

Colorado Mountain Mamas - this is a hiking, biking, jogging/walking group in the Denver area.  It is fantastic to get out with other mamas and there kiddos and enjoy the great outdoors.

YMCA - I have a great love for the YMCA.  I love their mission and what they stand for.  I also have loved working in both the Kansas City area and the Denver area.

Lakewood Rec Center - It has been a privilage to work at Green Mountain Rec Center and my kids love the "pirate ship pool" at the Link.

Faithfully Fierce - a friend of mine from Kansas City shares ways to glorify God through health and fitness.

Welcome to Sports Bras and Aprons

Welcome to Sports Bras and Aprons! Go ahead and take a look around.  You can even use the search tool if you are looking for something specific.  Thanks for visiting my blog!


What's with your crazy blog name?

I was doing some laundry today while the kids were playing around and I realized that I seem to fold a lot of things several times a week.  Of course there is the normal shirt after shirt after pants after pants that the kids have rolled around in the dirt but as for myself, I seem to have a lot of sports bras and aprons.  That's because at this point in my life I feel I'm a pretty active person and I love to cook.  The name seemed like a clever little blog title and at first it was going to be just a silly post on my family blog page.  But as I got to thinking about it I thought, why not start a health and wellness blog?  I know I am not the first by far to blog about exercise and eating healthy, nor am I an expert by any means. Maybe no one will care that much, but I have a passion stirring in me and I need an outlet.  Some place to share my new food recipes, ways to keep my family active, and inspirational encouragement I've received and would love to share.

I am a follower of Christ Jesus and as such I have been convicted recently to take care of the body that He has given me - Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually.  I love the verse in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  It says, 

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

These are such POWERFUL words!  The Holy Spirit lives in ME.  And you or anyone who has accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  The context of this verse may be in regards to sexual sin but I believe it applies to health and wellness too.  I want to take care of my body to honor and glorify God.  We were bought at a great price.  Jesus died on the cross for me and no longer lives in a temple where few will ever enter his presence.  He lives in US.  In our hearts and minds and souls and bodies.  

Ladies, this blog is especially for you.  Mostly because I can relate as a busy mom, a wife, and a woman who just wants to feel good about myself inside and out.  I am only beginning my nutrition journey so I invite you to come along for the ride.  I know lots of people who are years ahead of me and if you are one of them I salute you!  Please feel free to comment or email me links, or recipes of your own!  I hope to be an encouragement and if nothing else, to be able to look back and remind myself of how blessed I am and how to be a good steward of the gifts God has given me.