Friday, August 22, 2014

Fit Friday: Post-Workout Banana Protein Smoothie

Bodybuilding experts recommend drinking a whey protein shake as soon as possible after finishing a workout. Why? Because protein is the building block of muscle. When you workout, you create tiny tears in your muscles. Protein is what helps repair your muscles, and this process is what causes your muscles to grow. Unlike solid food, protein powder digests very quickly and is able to deliver muscles the protein they need at lightning speed.

I used to simply mix my post-workout protein powder in cool water and drink it just like that, but when I moved to Virginia I bought a blender with a single-serving cup option and now I'm obsessed with making smoothies. It definitely beats having to wash the huge blender pitcher, and you don't even have to pour it into a new glass (the single-serving blender attachment doubles as a drinking cup with a lid). Anyway, enough about my blender (which happens to be the Ninja Mega Kitchen System if you're in the market for one). I wanted to share my post-workout protein routine to show you how easy and mess-free it can be to make a delicious smoothie at home.

My favorite smoothie to make is a plain ol banana one. Sometimes when I'm out and about and I order a banana smoothie somewhere I'm asked, "You mean strawberry banana?" But no... just banana. Seriously, have you tried it? Delicious. I'll admit it's even more fabulous with peanut butter but we don't need all those extra calories now do we?

The protein I normally use is Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrowhey. (This is a safe protein powder to use while pregnant and breastfeeding assuming your baby doesn't have a milk sensitivity.) It's not the one pictured in the ingredients below, although that one is pretty good and safe to drink too... it's even made by the same company. I just prefer the Platinum kind:

The last tip I have before I share the recipe is that it's best to use a ripe banana to really get that banana flavor. No green or plain yellow bananas. Make sure there is some brown on that thing.


1. Break of pieces of a peeled banana and place them at the bottom of the blender.

2. Add a scoop of protein powder and one cup of ice.

3. Add a little bit of water and a pinch of Truvia (optional).

4. Blend!

...and there you have it- a super quick and mess-free delicious post-workout protein smoothie.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Adding some "Pop" to the End of Summer {sponsored by Juicy Fruit}

Juicy Fruit asked me to share how I'll be spending the end of summertime and sent me some gum to try.
I participated in this sponsored campaign on behalf of One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

I don't know about you, but surrounding myself in nature at least once a week keeps me sane. There's nothing like fresh air and the feeling of being "away from it all" that is just so relaxing. I found this nice little spot near my house to fulfill this need of mine. It may not be as amazing as all the hikes at my fingertips back on Oahu, but there are big beautiful trees and a nice little fishing hole. We went on our first family fishing trip there last weekend. We didn't catch any keepers, but that's not really the point now is it?
I've watched this place transform from the crisp air of spring to the muggy warmth of summer and I'm just now starting to see red and orange leaves appearing here and there. This is the first time in my life I've been able to see seasons change like this. I'm not going to lie, I'm absolutely terrified of the winter. I still try not to think about it. For now, I'll savor the last of these long summer days outdoors with my family.
On our last hike we brought along the new Juicy Fruit Bubble Gum. Eva is obsessed with watching us blow bubbles. We can't even chew gum around her without her asking for one every 30 seconds. But we oblige, because who can resist hearing those girly little giggles? 
When we finished chewing the gum, I looked at the end of my fishing rod and seriously considered using my finished gum as bait, like they do in the cartoons. I mean, we weren't catching anything with the stuff we had. But I resisted the urge, haha.

Last month, Juicy Fruit came out with Juicy Fruit Fruity Chews. They come in little plastic bottles that fit perfectly in the cupholders of strollers. The chews themselves deliver a vibrant burst of sweet, fruity flavor. And, like the new Bubble Gum, they come in two delicious flavors- Original and Sweet Strawberry. Best of all? They're sugar free! ;)
Both the Juicy Fruit Bubble Gum and the Juicy Fruit Fruity Chews are now available nationwide. Pick some up for your next family outing and add a little "pop" to your day. ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Wear a Baby East African Style {and a Kanga giveaway!}

Babywearing is huge is East Africa. Everywhere you go you will see mamas carrying babies, and sometimes even babies wearing babies.
Babies are worn in beautiful, brilliantly colored kangas and kitenges. 
My daughter's nanny and our dear friend Emmy first taught me how to wear her in a kanga. It quickly became my favorite way to babywear. I could get so much done around the house while she was on my back. It was also an instant way to put her down for a nap when she was ready. At almost two-and-a-half years old, we still do it almost every single day. I seriously don't know what I would do without it.
Tandem Babywearing
When Eva was still just a baby, I snapped pictures of Emmy explaining how to tie a kanga so that I could share them with friends I sent kangas to. But since I've received so much interest in how I wear Eva, I thought I'd share it on my blog along with my best explanation AND a how-to video I attempted to create. Maybe between the pictures, the explanation, and the video I posted you can figure it out, haha.
Step One: Carry baby on your hip.
Step Two: Swing baby around to your back.
Step Three: Drape top center of kanga across the baby's shoulders.
Step Four: Make sure bottom part of kitenge is tucked under baby's bottom and hamstrings. The baby should be "sitting" in the fabric.
Step Five: Pull ends of kanga tightly, bringing one end over one shoulder and the opposite end under the armpit. Tie the ends in two knots.

Okay, that may have sounded confusing, so I made a video.
This is the first time I've ever filmed myself in this fashion so bear with me. 

PS- I've learned several things from the making of this video:
1. I should probably plan out what I'm going to say before I start filming.
2. I suck at making how-to videos.
3. I will never be a vlogger.

I also apologize in advance for my two-year-old who was protesting the whole time because she thought I was going to put her down for another nap. Oh, and for my nasally voice... I was in the middle of a cold.

Without further adieu...

It helps if you look in a mirror as you're doing this.

It's okay to feel a little uncomfortable at first. Ask someone to help you out.
But if it absolutely, totally doesn't feel comfortable at all to you, you can always tie the kanga in a knot over your shoulder and use it as a regular ol sling, lowering the baby into it after it is tied on.

Or, if you don't want to wear your baby in it, you can also use it as a saarong or beach blanket:

Need a kanga?
Well, it turns out I have this beautiful one to give away on my blog today...
Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. :)
The giveaway is open to anyone with a United States based postal address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

33/52 {baby/toddler/life updates}

This was a very long week. I was a sick mama looking after two sick kids. My anxiety levels were high because I had never had a sick three-month-old before. I don't remember Eva getting a cold until she was around a year old. Damian would get in these coughing fits where he'd gag so much that he'd puke. It was sooo scary. By Saturday we were well enough to go to Eva's first kid birthday party. It was pool party and we all enjoyed being in the sun and water...
Evita loves to explore the great outdoors, as long as she can look like a princess while doing so.

This was a hard week for baby Damian. He had a bad cough, a runny nose, and a double ear infection. We spent a lot of time cuddling, but still had a lot of playtime. This week Damian started rolling over from front to back again. He did it for the very first time when he was a newborn, but when his baby fat came in he couldn't do it for a while. He's been a good boy despite being so sick. He seems to be quickly leaving his newborn days behind.
This is what my Saturday night looked like:
I think the reason we've liked tummy time so much more this week is because I found him this Baby Einstein Rythym of the Reef Pillow. It keeps him upright and has little toys on it that he likes to look at and grab.

Daniel finally put our curtains up and our house is starting to look more like a home. :)
Selfies because if I don't take pictures nobody will.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Teaching Toddlers the Alphabet

I've received quite a few questions about how I taught Eva the alphabet or the products they've seen me use in some of the pictures or videos I've posted so I thought I'd write up a post on it to make it easier. :) Like most kids, I first introduced Eva to the alphabet when she was a baby, just by reading books or singing the song. When she was around 20 months old she started picking up the letters in the song and singing it on her own:
 It was then that I realized I should probably start trying to actively teach her. We would just do little sessions each day. They would rarely last more than five minutes before Eva was over it and ready to do something else. Most of the time we wouldn't get through the whole alphabet, but I would save her place and continue on from that point during the next session. Our lessons started with me just going through each letter in the alphabet and reading it to her. Eventually I started quizzing her an asking her what letter I was pointing to. Now, we're working on learning what sounds the letters make and how to write them. Here are the tools I've found extremely helpful:

1. A is for Airplane/A es para avion- I think this book is how we first introduced Eva to the alphabet. I'd usually go through it in just English or just Spanish. Eventually, when I wanted to actively teach her the alphabet, I'd go through each page and say, "What letter is this?" and pause before saying the name of the letter. I like this book because it is small and easy to throw into a purse or diaper bag. It has been with me on numerous airplane rides and other outings.

2. Alphabet Chart- I love this chart because it's always out for her to see. Also, all the letters are on one page, big, and in one place. A game we would play all the time is "Find the Letter." We also have the matching shapes, colors, and numbers posters.

Eva at 22 Months:

3. Alphabet Flahscards- These are great because you can go through them and set aside the letters that were guessed wrong so that you can go back to them later.

4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom- I would read this book to Eva every night (sometimes more than once if she requested). We would sing the alphabet at the beginning and end of it. I think this is actually how she learned to do it.

5. V-Tech Alphabet Cube- This game reads the letters to the kids and it's great for independent play. I also used the blocks it came with to quiz Eva.

Eva at 21 Months:
6. Munchkin Bath Letters- These provide another opportunity to play with letters- bath time! Eva loves how they stick to the side of the bath. These can also be used to spell basic words when it's time to work on reading and spelling.

7. Melissa & Doug See-Inside Alphabet Peg Puzzle- I think this is a really great way to teach kids where in the alphabet the letters go.

8. A Is for Apple (Trace-and-Flip Fun!)- This book prompts kids to trace the letter with their finger. It has a special indentation where the finger goes so that kids can "feel" the letter. I think it's pretty neat, especially now that we're working on writing letters.

9. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons- I recently ordered this book so that I can start teaching Eva how to read. It has a new 15-20 minute reading lesson for everyday. We've only done the first few lessons so far. They include sounding out a couple of letters, practicing tracing and writing the letters, and saying words with those letters. It might be a bit advanced for Eva (since we just started working on tracing) but she still seems to be learning things from it and I'll probably do the full 100 days to see what she picks up and then start from the beginning again.

10. Wipe Clean Alphabet Workbook- This is Eva's absolute favorite thing right now. It has a dry erase page for every letter so that you can easily erase it and use it over and over again. Sometimes I'll sit down with Eva and do it with her and other times I'll let her work on her own.

Other than that, we've use a lot of crayons, sidewalk chalk, paper, and imagination to find everyday ways to learn the alphabet. What have been your favorite tools and resources to teach your kids the alphabet/to read? Share in the comments!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mommy Blogger Collective: CELEBRATE

So we have a pretty huge reason to celebrate in our household. Remember that photo contest I asked you to vote in a few weeks ago? I won! Our family won a trip to Beaches Resorts in Jamaica. We'll be going to Ochos Rios next month! I'm ridiculously excited but also still shocked. I never even imagined winning anything like this. And it's all thanks to all of you who voted, so I'm extremely grateful.

You don't know how much we need this trip. Our beach withdrawals have not subsided. Hopefully this will buy us at least a month's worth of sanity during our stay in Quantico, haha.

Have any of yall been there? Any recommendations?
"Celebrate" is the August writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Nicole of Rose Runs Wild.
A few words from Nicole --- Hi! I'm Nicole from Rose Runs Wild! I'm mama to a teenager, wife to my handsome husband and dog mama to our bulldog and pit bull. I work full time and blog in my free time. I love wearing black and white, plants, doughnuts, crappy pop music and working on our home we just recently bought! My blog is basic, it's just about our life. The good, the bad and the ugly. I try to share as honestly as I possibly can in hopes that one or two other people out there don't feel so alone. Life is rough, life is beautiful and it's all about connection through the highs and the lows. That's all I'm really trying to do, connect and share. And take lots of cute photos of my son (in the rare moment he lets me) and my dogs of course!

Connect with Nicole here: Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin // Twitter // Tumblr. /// 
The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée.

32/52 {baby/toddler/life updates}

Just a quick mostly-picture update, because that's all I have time for today! :)

Eva paints her finger and toenails every chance she gets now.
Left: Eva doing the Frozen Dance in another costume I found for her on GroopDealz.
Right: Finally, both my kids are crashed. Unfortunately, it had to happen when we were out and about, anyway.

Video of the Week: Eva working on phonics.

Damian is officially wanting to grab everything now, including his feet. Another new thing to happen this week? We moved him to his crib. This is a whole new thing for me since Eva slept in bed with us for two years. He actually does really well, not a single complaint from him. I'm the one who is having a hard time with it, and I end up bringing him to our bed when he wakes up for feeding and snuggles the rest of the night.
Damian woke up in the middle of the night Saturday with a fever and when it finally reached 101 we took him to the ER (that's when Dr. Sears says to go when they're this young). He has an upper respiratory virus. :( He is doing okay, though. So sad my tiny baby is sick, though! I never had to deal with this with Eva. :(

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