Friday, June 28, 2013

5 Ideas for Hairstyles When Exercising with Long Hair

Braided Bun

This one is three parts:
  • Make a ponytail
  • Braid the ponytail
  • Make a bun with braid and secure end under the elastic band and add any booby pins if needed
Braided Pony Tail

2 simple parts for this one:
  • Make a ponytail
  • Braid the ponytail

Side Pony with a Fishtail Braid

Another easy 2 part hair style
  • Make a low ponytail on one side of your head
  • Make a fishtail braid, if you don't know how to make a fishtail braid, watch this YouTube from To Die For.

Messy Looped Ponytail

Here you can see the both sides of it. This is my go to hairstyle for working out because it is very quick.

  • Put hair in a ponytail but when you pull your hair through the last time, only pull it through far enough so that all the ends are secured under the hair band but are free.
  • One side will look neat and looped, the other side you will see the messy ends.

Side Braid with a Low Pony

If I have the time, I like this one the best because it secures my hair down to my hair and I won't have all fly aways and it doesn't fall out with strenuous exercise and it can be worn easily under my bike helmet.

  • Divide your hair where your natural part is.
  • Create a french braid down the side of your head on each side. 
  • Combine the ends of the two sides in a low pony and secure with a hair band.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Day Old Bread at Jimmy John's

Did you know that you can get day old bread from Jimmy John's for only 50 cents for a whole loaf (they make 2 sandwiches out of a loaf). I generally just pick up a loaf or two when I am already getting a sandwich, but you could just go in to get bread. If you wait too late in the day, they might not have any, so go as early as you can if you are planning on having some.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Sand Castle Competition on Cannon Beach, OR

We had the privilege of checking out the Sand Castle Competition on Cannon Beach, OR on our recent trip to Portland. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing mostly "fauna & flora" shots on this blog. If you are hoping to see more pictures of my family you can them on the blogs I keep about the kids.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Try It Tuesday: Paper Plate Earth Craft

 What could be more simple for turning a paper plate in to a craft than making a round object like the earth. All you need is a paper plate, blue paint, paint brush, green tissue paper and glue*. No need for scissors so this is an easy craft for even the littlest ones to do.

Have the child  paint the outside of the paper plate blue. You or the child can tear off pieces of green tissue paper. Let them glue it to the plate in a way they think the Earth looks.

*If you have your "land" pieces torn out already, you can press them in to the wet paint and they will adhere and you will not need any glue.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sponsored Review: Cascade Platinum

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

I struggle with my dishwasher. I am not sure it it's my dishwasher fault, our city water, or our water softener, but we get spots. Up until this review I had been using a biodegradable dishwasher detergent and a "chug" of vinegar. Why the vinegar? To help with spots and mineral build up in the dishwasher. I often forget to check if the spot to put in rinse aid is full or not and then I forget and get a load filled with spots and have to re-wash the load, which is a waste of resources, unless I wanted dishes with spots or a film.

So, I was excited to try Cascade Platinum because there are 4 products in one pac but I only have to remember one step, which is always a bonus! Less steps is generally better for everyone. I was sent the Fresh scent pacs, but there is also Lemon scent pacs.

I have now used the entire bag that was sent to be to review and each time my dishes came out with spots or a film. In the past I had to use vinegar with each wash to keep away hardwater film and spots. So, this was one less step I had to do and I didn't have to worry about if I was out of vinegar or not. As far as cleaning power, Cascade Platinum appears to clean as well as my other dishwasher detergent, so the only different I noticed was that this was a complete product that kept away hardwater stains and spots.

Cascade does offer 3 different dishwasher detergent products, all that contain Dawn (blue liquid), but Cascade Complete also contains the green liquid and then Cascade Platinum contains both of those as well as the purple liquid. I am unsure what the other liquids are, so I do wish I knew what they were and are for. I imagine one of them must be a rinse aid and the one thing that Platinum does that Complete doesn't is get rid of hardwater buildup, so I have to believe that is what the purple is for.

It costs as low as 29-cents per load to wash with Cascade Platinum Pacs (per the MSRP), of course you can always look for them on sale or watch for a coupon to bring that cost down. As of the publish date of this post there is a 50-cent off coupon on their website for Cascade Platinum, plus a couple other coupons.

Want to WIN a Kitchen-Aid Kitchen Makeover AND a year supply of Cascade Platinum?  Then enter their Instagram contest for a chance to win the grand price, PLUS weekly winner are chosen to win a 6 month supply of Cascade Platinum.

Make It Monday: Berry Good Rhubarb Sauce

This is so delicious, you are going to want to make more than one batch so that you can freeze or can some to have other times of the year!

Berry Good Rhubarb Sauce
4 C rhubarb, chopped
2 C berries (I used Very Cherry Berry blend from Trader Joe's)
1 1/4 C sugar
1 T Triple Sec
1 T water

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Cool and store in the refrigerator. Taste great on it's own, over vanilla ice cream or on pancake or waffles. Enjoy!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pottery Time: Platform Bird Feeders

I am super excited with how these turned out. This is actually a rare moment where I made something for myself (to start out with for the first one). I had been looking up information about bird, feeders and houses (I admit I am lost when it comes to birds in many respects) and really liked the idea of a platform feeder and thought it could easily be made with pottery.

 Here is the picture of mine hanging from our crabapple tree. Since it is kind of heavy I made sure to use a thick enough chain and put it close enough in to the tree that my husband wouldn't crack his head on it when mowing.

To make these, I had slab rolled out my clay. On the top one I had made an imprint of a conifer branch from our yard and I slab rolled that in to the clay and pulled out the branch. You don't need to worry about any little pieces left as it will burn off in the kiln. I then made a template of the size I wanted the bird feeder to be and cut it out using a needle. Next I had shaped the sides doing hand building and punched holes through the clay to that I could insert my chain. I had done a combination glaze over the entire piece.

This is the second one I made. It may or may not be gifted by time this posts. I had liked my own bird feeders so much that I wanted to make another and largely used the same techniques with a few exceptions. To make the branch and own I had used a mold and then scratched the clay and used slip to adhere the branch and owl to the bird feeder. Then I added texture by carving in to the bird feeder, over the entire piece. I wanted to give it the feel/look of bark. I them handpainted on underglaze on this piece before the first firing and then poured clear glaze over it for the final firing.

 Here you can see it without the seed in it.

And here is the finished gift one. I thought I had the same size punch for this one to make the holes, but I made mistaken and the chain would not go through the holes, so I added aluminum wire wrapped around to attach my chain through. I think it looks better than it does in the photograph and I like it better than with the chain alone. I thought it added even more of an artistic element to it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Make Coffee Ice Cubes

Don't toss your leftover coffee (well, we never do anyways, we will reheat it) but instead make cubes out of it and you will have no more watered down Iced Coffees.

Be sure to check out all my other Thrifty Thursday Posts. Some of my favorites are:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Zollman Zoo

Going to Zollman Zoo in Byron was one of the things I had chosen to do on Mother's Day with my family.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: Zola Coconut Water with Pina Colada Protein Smoothie Recipe

To be honest, it had been a while ago since I had requested to do a review for Zola Coconut Water, so when it arrived on my doorstep this morning I was super excited. I had not had breakfast yet and was planning on a protein smoothie and thought I would try out the Zola Coconut Water in it and come up with my own recipe. What a tasty way to enjoy my breakfast smoothie! This make clean eating so enjoyable!

Pina Colada Protein Smoothie Recipe
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
4 slices of canned pineapple
1/4 C pineapple juice
8 oz. Zola Coconut Water
1 C crushed ice

Directions: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy your very generous sized smoothie!

My Thoughts:
I really like the coconut water. It has a very light coconut flavor to and is refreshing to drink. Each can has 2 servings (60 calories in the one with pulp and 55 calories in the one without pulp, per serving). But what you also gain for that serving is a DV of 21% Manganese, 3% Magnesium, 2% Calcium, 2% Phosphorus, and 1g of Protein. The can also claims that it contains more potassium that one banana (which a medium banana has 422mg of potassium). There is no fat or cholesterol in this product. The coconut water is very smooth and water-like, meaning it has the consistency and fluidness (is that a word? can I make it a word?) of water.

The Zola Organic Acai Juice is 93% Juice and there is 1.5 servings in the bottle. Each serving is 125 calories with 2 grams of fat (cholesterol free though! and it's good fat of 1,450mg of Omega EFA 3, 6, 9) and also packs in a DV of 8% Vitamin E, 5% Vitamin A, 4% Vitamin C, 2% Calcium, 2% Iron, 1 g of Dietary Fiber and 1g of Protein. This juice is quite sweet compared to the coconut water. It is almost like a treat, but it's healthy and packs in tons of antioxidants. I really enjoyed the organic acai juice.

It looks like I will be able to buy the Acai juice at pretty much any Whole Foods Market or VitaminShoppe store. At this time it does not appear that the coconut water is available in any retail store within 100 miles of me, but both the coconut water and acai juice are available on Amazon.

You can find out more information about Zola Coconut Water online at:

I received the package pictured above from Zola for the purpose of review. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts, opinions and pictures are my own.

Try It Tuesday: Paper Plate Sun Craft

This is a fun and easy project for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners. I am sure even my 7 year old would love to make this if she were not in school when I made it with my son.

I love paper plate crafts because they are an easy way to make a perfect circle craft. We made this one because I asked my son what he wanted to make for a craft that day and he said he wanted to make the sun, earth and the moon (stay tuned for those paper plate crafts too!)

Supplies needed: 1 paper plate, yellow construction paper, yellow paint, paint brush, glue, googly eyes, pipe cleaner and a button.

First have the child paint a paper plate yellow. While they are painting, you can cut our triangles from the yellow construction paper that they will glue on later. Allow the paint to dry before continuing.

Once it is dry, have them glue on eyes, nose & mouth (we chose a button & pipe cleaner because those were items in our recycled art supplies that he chose from.) Then put a ring of glue around the perimeter of the plate and have them place the triangle pieces on.

Now, didn't it turn out cute!

Monday, June 17, 2013

GIVEAWAY: James and the Giant Slayer Blu-Ray Combo

Have you seen this movie yet? 

What did you think?

I had thought about taking my kids to see it, but they are 7 and and 3 and I am not sure if a PG-13 movie is appropriate for them. So, that is going to my be my blog comment way of entering to WIN YOUR OWN COPY of the Jack and the Giant Slayer Blu-Ray Combo Pack - what ages do you think this movie is suitable for in your opinion (and we are all granted our own opinions). And while you are at it, please also tell me (in a separate comment for a separate entry) your results from the "How Brave Are You?" Quiz. 

I am a Courageous Warrior!

Although I did answer the last one honestly that I would have chattering teeth and want an elevator to be invented. :) I don't think going up would be much of a problem if I don't look down. It's looking down that gets me!

About Jack the Giant Slayer: Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing Jack (Nicholas Hoult), into the battle of this life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom and its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend... and gets the chance to become a legend himself! Directed by Brian Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns) Starring: Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy), Ewan McGregor (Star Wars, Moulin Rouge!), and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones).


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am working with Warner Bros. on this promotion. I did not receive any compensation and nothing to review or in exchange for this post. Only my winner will receive a copy of the DVD. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Make It Monday: Cherry Coconut Bread

I just love breads and muffins and they are generally always well received by my family. You might recognize this recipe as being very similar to my zucchini bread recipe, which it is. Once you have a good base for a muffin or quick bread recipe, it's just a matter of finding the right fruits/vegetables and seasoning to add to it. Yes, you do have to accomodate for the differing water content, so it might not work across the board, but you'll be close.

Cherry Coconut Bread

2 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 C raw sugar (honey or maple syrup works too)
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 C chopped cherries
2 T coconut oil, melted
2 T unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 C natural apple sauce
1 whole egg
1 egg white
3/4 C plain greek yogurt
1/4 tsp almond extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 
  • Spray 1 large loaf pan. 
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda,and cinnamon. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, coconut, coconut milk, apple sauce, egg and egg white, coconut oil, extract and yogurt. Mix well. 
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture and blend well. 
  • Fold in chopped cherries.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place in the oven. 
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. 
  • Cool and Enjoy!

Spring in Your Step - Children's Claritin Review

Don't let allergies slow down that "Spring" in your step and get outdoors and enjoy it. In MN, this spring allergies have not been too bad (so far) mainly because we still had snow the beginning of May and then we had rain, rain, and MORE rain. Allergies just are not as bad when it rains so much.

But because of all that rain, the mosquitoes are REALLY bad this spring already. My son has an allergy to mosquito bites and he swells up and bruises because of them. I had not actually thought of having him take the Children's Claritin for it until a friend recommended it after I posted pictures of the 3 silver dollar sized bumps (one on his back was the size of a fist) on his chest from 3 mosquito bites. I was amazed that overnight (after taking a dose of Children's Claritin tablets) the swelling was gone in the morning and all that was left was normal sized mosquito bites. I made sure to bring along the tablets with us on our recent vacation to Oregon because I wasn't sure what awaited us there for allergies or insect bites.

We like to spend a lot of time outside, whether it be playing in our yard or at the pool or hiking around a nature center or state park. Many of our activities we also do with friends. We helped keep a "Spring In Our Step" with our friends and met our playgroup at the pool on Tuesday, June 11th. It was so fun to be outside and be active together.

I was given the Children's Claritin samples (for our family) as well as the sinus gel packs (pictured above) for myself and friends as part of the Children's Claritin Mom Crew. All pictures, thoughts and opinions are my own and I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pottery Time: Pendant Neckalces

Both of these necklaces are heading to Pennsylvania. I made them for 2 different dear friends that are/will be living there. Once friend was in MN for a visit for her college reunion and I gave her one of the necklaces as well as a pottery bowl (that will be in a later post). Another friend is moving to PA at the end of the month and I gave her the other necklace and a pottery coffee mug (yes, that too will be in a later post because there are 2 other mugs I made to gift included in that post that will not be given until later this month and next month).

To make these I slab rolled out the clay and then made the imprinted design with a textured wooden roller. They I cut out the shapes by free hand and poked holes in the top. For the jewelry making part of it, I bought a chain that was beaded (I call this a cheater chain, but I had a 1-day turnaround on one of the necklaces from when it came out of the kiln to when I was gifting it) and used some jump rings, a ball clasp and a toggle & hoop and made the necklace.

If you like these necklaces, you might also like the pottery pendant earrings I made too.

Check out all my pottery creations!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Summer Movies for Kids for FREE or CHEAP!

Our closest theater is a CEC theatre and they are once again offing a series of six weeks of Family Flicks at 10am on Wednesdays this summer. ALL SEATS ARE $2!!! The first one is next week!!!! Here is the schedule:

June 19: Despicable Me
June 26: Chimpanzee
July 10: Hotel Translyvania
July 17: African Cats
July 24: Stuart Little
July 31: Rio

Check out the website of your favorite or closest theatre to see if they offer a similar program in the summer. Many do!!! Other ones near me that do are Paragon Odyssey, which is also 10am on Wednesdays for $2 seats but they offer 7 weeks. Mueller Theatres (10am on Wednesdays for FREE!) is 10 weeks long. 

The Theatres of the Mall of America offers Free Family Flicks YEAR ROUND on Saturday mornings at 10am.

Regal Cinemas offers a 9-week program on Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am for 9 weeks and is $1 a seat. And they have 2 choices of movies each week. Unfortunately, there is no participating theatres in MN, maybe that will change so check the link anyways.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: Eclipse Sun Sleeves

I was so excited when I found out I was being sent a pair of Eclipse Sun Sleeves for free to review them on my blog. Sleeves were not even on my radar as a product I needed for outdoors sports until I started training for my first half marathon. It was then that I noticed on my my running partners would wear them as a layer.

We were training in the winter and spring and she wore them as a layer when her jacket became too warm but still needed another a layer on her arms after taking off her jacket in the winter. Then in the spring it was the only layer that she had on her arms that she wore for some protection from the wind and sun and then could easily remove them and tuck in her pockets if she wanted. I admit, I was jealous. It is a brilliant idea and I saw so many people wearing them, including the 2 friends I was running that half marathon with. It was the product I didn't know that I always wanted.

Eclipse Sun Sleeves are not a one-size fits all product, like so many other sleeves are. And why should they be? We don't all have the same size arms and hands. If my husband wore a one-size sleeve and then I did, it would probably be stretched out, not to mention it would probably cut off his circulation at the top of his arm. I was able to choose the correct size I needed that is fitted to my body and fits over my hand. Speaking of hands, I love that there is a thumb hole to use and then your sleeves cover over your wrists and part of your hands. As someone with long arms, having your wrists exposed is annoying, so I love that it has the feature that keeps the sleeve in place over your hand.

I was also able to choose the color I wanted. I chose aqua because I was trying to match it to much of my biking gear. In the pictures I am wearing one of my biking tops and my biking jacket is a simialr jacket as well. My road bike is white but has a teal-aqua detailing. I am not sure it matters at all to y performance but I feel better when my clothes looked somewhat coordinated and if I feel better, I have to believe I will perform better.

They are easy to put on and off and are made of a dri-fit material that keeps your skin cool in the summer and warmer in the winter and wicks away sweat from your skin, in addition to being a SPF 50 material and offering your skin protection from the sun without added bulk or weight.

I also really like that they are a Made in the USA product and is machine washable. As a busy mom I don't have time for dry-clean or handwash products and when you sweat in something you are washing it often, so who wants to the hassles of anything that can't be machine washed.

I also love how long they are, which is part of the sizing feature, I can pull them all the way up under my shirt sleeve so that I don't have any skin exposed between my sleeve of my shirt and the Eclipse Sun Sleeve.

You can buy Eclipse Sun Sleeves on their website or on

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.