Always Eat After 7 PM: The Wrap Up!

AlwaysEatAfter7PM_FrontCoverThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.

This is week four for us, and my final post (for now) about this pretty cool plan. Check out my previous post here.

As I was hunting for some recipes to try over the coming weeks last night, I came across this quote, “Scientists have established that consuming at least 20 grams of protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis for two to five hours after eating a meal. However, recent research also shows that protein synthesis drops to unexpectedly low levels during sleep, even if you eat ample protein during and after evening exercise. This has led researchers to speculate that this process may fall off during sleep if you don’t eat protein prior to bedtime.” I found it so interesting that I highlighted it. 

We’ve been taught that we need to avoid carbs, and focus on Protein, protein, protein. I love how Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight shows us that we need to have a balance. Rice is ok, veggies are ok, meat is ok, fats and sweets are ok too!

Now that we into week four, I’ve read a lot, learned a lot, and tried some really yummy recipes. I’m not sure I will keep to the plan 100%, but there are aspects that I do like and that I will be continuing on with (like starting with lemon water-  swear that’s a better wake up that a cuppa joe!

We all know water is good for us, but do we know why? Always Eat After 7 PM tells us, “Water helps digest your food, expel wastes, regulate your temperature, protect your tissues, cushion your joints, and protect your spinal column, among many other vital functions. It is through water that hormones flow to the proper organs, that nutrients reach all cells, and that toxins are diluted and removed from the body.”

And now that I’m not ravenous when I wake up each morning, I have more focus to get the kids through our morning routine. The most challenging times to curb hunger are just before bed and in the morning. By following the Always Eat After 7PM program, you have the most willpower to stay on the diet because you are eating during the hours when you are most hungry. This also puts you into both intermittent fasting increasing testosterone and your metabolism, while putting you into ketosis.

One of the things I liked most is that there is such a wide array of foods to choose from- and that nothing is ever 100% veteod. If you need a cheat day, take one!

If you’ve liked my posts and picked up a copy of this book, let me know! I’d love to see which recipes you’ve tried, and what swaps you made to live healthier.

Learn more about Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight and how to purchase it here.

Tracking PixelThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

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Always Eat After 7 PM: Goal Setting and Updates!

This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own. hi-res Cheesy Ground Beef skillet - vertical

This is the Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet from Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion.

Most people assume foods like red meat and white rice can’t be fat loss friendly, but the latest research confirms the combination of protein and carbs (especially at dinnertime) actually helps regulate cortisol (known as the “belly fat hormone”), induces deeper sleep, and even helps stabilize morning blood sugar.

Ours wasn’t as photogenic, so I borrowed the pic from the book. It was simple, filling, and there was enough for lunch the next day! at 30 grams of protein per serving- I was pretty satisfied all night long, and well into the next morning.

And a quote from the book really resonated with me about the lack of hunger I was used to feeling within 20 minutes of rising each morning. “Those who ate breakfast ended up eating about 260 calories more a day, the review found. Those who skipped breakfast were about one pound lighter than those who ate breakfast. These findings led the researchers to conclude that eating breakfast isn’t necessarily a good strategy for losing weight. The science isn’t really there. Breakfast could very well be the least important meal of the day.”

My main reason for joining the Always Eat After 7pm journey is that we just aren’t able to exercise as much as we were pre-lockdown, and I want to keep up with my healthy lifestyle. And wow! Have we ever! You can see my first post here, and the second post here.

The food lists are great! They really help with shopping and meal planning. It is real food and real ingredients.  And the recipes are easy to follow. You don’t need to be a chef or foodie to follow them. Oh, and they are kiddo friendly.  There are so many ideas for snacks too- So you are never left feeling hungry (or in my case… hangry).

The other thing that has really been working well is the Lemon Water 3-Minute Fat-Burning Morning Rituals. “One of the simplest 3-Minute Fat-Burning Morning Rituals, lemon water is a glass of water mixed with the juice of one half of a lemon. This drink provides all the benefits of regular drinking water, which supports weight loss, digestive health, physical performance, and cognitive function.”

We bought some large plastic tumblers recently to help all of us (including the kids) to drink more water. I do my lemon water in the morning while I make coffee and make the kids breakfast. At the same time, I pour ice water for the kids and top with a lemon slice. They feel fancy that they get to drink “spa water” like mommy. Water is a great way to start the day!

“Water helps digest your food, expel wastes, regulate your temperature, protect your tissues, cushion your joints, and protect your spinal column, among many other vital functions. It is through water that hormones flow to the proper organs, that nutrients reach all cells, and that toxins are diluted and removed from the body.”

Learn more about Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight and how to purchase it here.

Tracking PixelThis post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed are my own. To learn more about how and why I partner with brands, check out my disclosure page here.

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Frugal, Tasty Meals with Dinnerly!

To facilitate this review, the awesome folks at Dinnerly provided our family with 3 meals (4-6 servings each). I received no financial compensation to write this review- All opinions are my own.

I’ve reviewed dinner/meal kits before, and my complaint is always that they are so expensive, upwards of $10 per person, per meal. At that point, I better be going out to dinner, and I am not washing dishes! Secondly, the meals are usually not child-friendly, especially if you have a kid on the spectrum (like we do), who also happens to be a vegetarian.

Enter Dinnerly! At $4.49 per adult-sized serving, Dinnerly is so much less expensive than other meal kits. But how? digital recipe cards instead of paper, fewer ingredients per dish (which means less chopping and cleaning), simple packaging, and no fancy marketing campaigns.

The big kid and I looked at the website and he chose two meat-free recipes, and I chose one with meat.

  • Mediterranean Meatball Stew with Carrots & Couscous
  • Coconut Curry Ramen with Snow Peas & Jammy Eggs
  • Baked Squash & Kale Risotto with Parmesan

recipeWhat I really like is that the recipe tells you what is in the kit for your recipe, and what you will need from your own kitchen (and trust me, it’s nothing special or fancy).

The directions are great for those who don’t have a lot of cooking experience. My 8-year-old was able to read the steps and follow them. He helped me cook the Risotto, and he measured, stirred, poured, and ripped up the kale into bite-sized pieces.

The 4-6 adult-sized servings are pretty generous, by the way. With every meal, there were closer to 7 servings. I always serve side dishes with the main dish. Most nights we had salad or some kind of veggie side dish. When we had ramen, I picked up a bag of pork potstickers from 99 Cents Only for the grown-ups, and also made a miso dressing coleslaw. If you want to stretch meals further, I suggest adding sides, or maybe sneaking in some extra veggies (I added 1 cup of peeled, diced crook-neck squash to the Mediterranean Meatball Stew).

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Tamari Sauce for Ramen

Some of the recipes needed a little “kick”- especially the ramen- so we added ginger, red chili flakes, and a bay leaf to the broth. BUT, since everyone has different levels of spice tolerance, Dinnerly Kits are a great place to start if you want to explore different flavors and cultures without having the buy a bunch of new and/or different spices. For example, the ramen kit comes with two of these cute little packages of Tamari sauce. I did clean one of them out when I was done and now it’s in the kid’s toy kitchen.

Everything is pre-measured and ready to go, even the spices. This is another reason I love Dinnerly- It cuts down on food waste.

75557570_10157525826901061_3062456495460319232_n75443029_10157525826876061_5954310997228388352_nThe veggies are all super fresh and ready to be cut up! The risotto came with two little cubes of parmesan cheese, that my 8-year-old grated and sprinkled like a pro!

I made the Mediterranean Meatball Stew with Carrots & Couscous and took it to a friend for a night in. It was cheaper, healthier, and tastier than stopping to grab takeout. It was so tasty and filling.

If you want to check out Dinnerly, they have been nice enough to create a promo code just for my readers! The code to use at check out is hewesfamily15, and it’s active through the first week of December and only valid for first-time users. The coupon code is worth 15% off! To get started, visit Dinnerly here.

I think Dinnerly would also make a great gift for a family that just has a baby,  or someone who might need a little love.

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Butternut Squash & Kale Risotto
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Coconut Curry Ramen
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Meatball Stew and Cous Cous

Score Free stuff to review with Tryit!

Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 8.27.08 AM.pngBazaarvoice TryIt Sampling gives you the opportunity to try FREE products in exchange for your honest opinions!

As a member of TryIt you will provide authentic feedback for the products you receive. You’ll be invited to try products based on your preferences and program participation, so be sure to complete your full profile if selected to join!

Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 10.45.40 AM.pngSo far, I’ve received Cat food for Kitty Fiona, and I’ll be reviewing a blender soon (it is set to arrive via UPS today!). You receive emails once items are available, and you have to jump into action quickly and apply as soon as you receive the email and supplies are limited for each review campaign.

I only apply to review items that we need, and man, do we need a new blender!

TryIt is legit! Click here to sign up and learn more.

Detective Pikachu Review

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Henry enjoying the movie stand-up in the lobby

My Big Guy LOVES Pokémon. The cartoons, the card game, and when he found out there was going to be a live-action movie he begged me (and his dad) to take him. Thanks to my awesome PR friend Risa, we were able to check out a sneak preview on Monday.

 

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Pika Pika!!

So my review comes from the angle of a mom with an autistic kid who doesn’t do well with lots of fast movement, loud sounds (like explosions) in movies.

IT WAS PERFECT! Visually, the insertion of the Pokémon was seamless, it wasn’t ever too loud, too fast, and the special effects were just enough. Kiddo watched in fascination for the entire movie! The movie run time is 1 hour, 44 minutes. A great length for a kids movie (although it is rated PG- Pikachu says “hell” at one point).

For those not in the know… The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Detective Pikachu, they join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Oh, and Ryan Reynolds voices Pikachu. So there is that too. There is really something for everyone.

Did you know that the creator of Pokémon, Satoshi Taiji is autistic? It’s true! The Art of Autism has a really great article about him and Pokémon.

We didn’t take the Itty Bitty kiddo, but she’s not really into going to the movies (except for the snacks). If your littler kiddos like going to the movies, I’d recommend it for them too.

Detective Pikachu opens on Friday, May 10th.

 

Talk Back: Do your kids love Pokémon? Who is their favorite? 

 

 

#DetectivePikachu

Kiddolab Toys and Win a Trip to DisneyWorld!

Recently the cool people over at Kiddo Labs asked me to review a product from their website. Uh, yeah! I love reviewing toys!

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KiddoLab is a new brand which supports the initiative to provide babies with a solid foundation for the development of early skills during play. I love that all of the toys are made in vibrant colors with interesting textures and lights and/or sounds.

Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 5.44.31 PM.pngI chose the 2-in-1 Activity Center, which features:

  • AN OCEAN OF FUN CHARACTERS: This interactive activity center is decorated with adorable sea creatures including a fish, turtle, clam, crab, and starfish.
  • A VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES: More than just a toy piano, all of the fun ocean creatures double as activities of their own; a click-clack fish, a rattle spinner, a sliding star, a push-down squeaker and a baby-safe mirror.
  • LIGHT-UP PIANO KEYS: Three big, brightly colored light-up piano keys are easy to press for little fingers. Intended for ages nine months plus.
  • TWO MUSICAL MODES: Loaded with cheerful music to entertain babies and toddlers, you can choose between free play and tunes to play along with.
  • ATTACHES TO YOUR CRIB: This activity table boasts detachable legs and can then be easily attached to your infant’s crib.

I set it up, added batteries and let Margaret go to town. She played with it for about 20 minutes. She had a great time.  What I like it that it’s easy to set up and change to attach to a crib. The sounds aren’t high-pitched or tinny, so listening to the sounds wasn’t like most baby/kid toys (parents- you know what I’m talking about!). I love that it’s a toy that can grow with your child. The crib straps and the legs are both easy to install and remove.

Right now, Kiddo Labs is offering my readers a a 25% discount with coupon code: TTPM25  To get started, visit Kiddolab here.

Oh, and it gets better. Not only does Kiddo Labs have great, fun toys for your littles, right now they are giving away a vacation to Disney World. Visit their website to learn more.

 

Thanks so much to Kiddo Labs for the fun toy! All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for my review. Please see my Disclosure Page for more information about reviews.

Review: Truth Bars

When I was at the Moms Meet Wow Summit last month I was introduced to Truth Bars. I also posted about Truth Bars on Instagram the other day.

Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 3.40.26 PM.pngThe Truth Bar is a great on-the-go snack for hectic mornings, to include in your child’s lunchbox, or for whenever you need a midday pick-me-up.
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Afternoon iced coffee and Truth Bar.

I’ve been enjoying them with my coffee in the morning before we head off to the school and gym. The kids love to share a Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch bar with their morning milk.

Truth Bar is a nutrition bar that gives you your daily dose of prebiotics and probiotics to balance your micro-biome, boost your immune power, give you sustained energy, and promote gut health. Truth Bar focuses on building strong gut health because there are so many great outcomes as a result, such as: shedding toxins that clog your metabolism, treating inflammatory disorders, and improving your digestive system. The Truth bar is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth while remaining nutrient-dense and completely free of “junk” that does not serve the body well.

There are five available flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter CrunchMint Chocolate ChipChocolate Almond CrunchChocolate Raspberry Coconut, and Dark Chocolate Coconut. Truth Bar has vegan options and all of their bars are gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, and under 200 calories — so there are choices to fit virtually every lifestyle.

It can be hard to achieve balanced nutrition in the midst of a busy life, which is why Truth Bar aims to be the quickest, most convenient way to get you what your body needs.

I love that the vegan bars are as satisfying and rich as the others.

By using purposeful ingredients such as chia seeds, coconut oil, and chicory root, you can rest assured you’re making a nutritious choice that the whole family will enjoy. With five varieties, there is bound to be a flavor everyone in your family will enjoy.

If you are looking for a way to save money on Truth Bars, order them via Amazon Subscribe and Save. You can save 5% or 15%, depending on how many you order. If you want to buy them in stores, CVS, Gelson’s, and Lazy Acres, all sell them. Check out the Truth Bar website to find the store nearest you.

Review: Daffadoot Car Seat Protector

Recently I was selected to review the Daffadoot Car Seat Protector. If you’ve got kids, you know that they drop stuff in the car all time and that can lead to.. ewww under and around their carseats.

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Fiona had to help with the photo shoot.

Got grime? Daffadoot has the solution: They know the importance of having children in carseats and boosters, but without some kind of protection under their seat or booster, all those dropped cookies and Cheerios can make a serious mess. Plus, car seats and boosters have a nasty habit of digging and denting your fine upholstery and leaving a permanent mark on your backseat. What you need is some high end protection.

DaffaDoot’s latest release, the Deluxe Auto Seat Protector is exactly what you need. Other mats or pads can’t compete with our 14mm padding and heavy duty durability. It’s neoprene non-slip backing grips like no other, and our Universal Fit with an extended “lock-down” bulb ensures that no matter what you drive, it’s perfect for you and your kids.

It’s Full-Size, Premium Construction, with No Compromises. They’ve’ve used only the strongest material and threads, and reinforced in ALL the right places. Many protectors provide only a sliver of extra fabric and claim to protect your seat, but we refuse to compromise on quality. It’s evident from the first moment you take our protector out of its box. You will enjoy the premium feel, the superior stitching, and the quality fabric.

And it gets better: it’s anti-slip and color-fast? They even baked it in an oven to make sure it could take the heat. And it has spacious elastic storage pockets where you can keep things like diapers, pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups, toys, wipes…and yes, a bag of extra Cheerios. Bottom line, it’s perfect for you and perfect for your little one.

This Car Seat Protector makes a great gift for the parent in your life. It fits great in Miss Sally, and so far, so good! It’s keeping the back seat nice and clean, and really, I can’t ask for much more.

I received this item in order to facilitate a review, all opinions are my own and I was not compensated financially.

 

Just be… YOU!

d5b635c2a38c538b18cddbbf797e93c0.jpgThere is a lot of talk lately in the media about being your “Authentic Self”. And while some of you might think that is new fangled hippie nonsense talk, in truth, it’s all about being you. Being who you REALLY are.

For so long as a kid and teen, we are taught to fit in, or be ostracized and teased (oh hi there, that was me), and at some point in our lives, we realize that fitting in SUCKS. Doing what you want, finding a group of people who think like you, are interested in what you like- That’s a true way to find happiness.

In that vein, I was recently approached to get my hair done by Mai at  Plaza Hair Salon. I’m a pretty hardcore frugal DIY’er and that goes for beauty as well. But the chance to get my hair done by someone else, and try something that was beyond my skill level was so tempting.

For YEARS (more like decades), I’ve had shoulder length red hair in one shade or another. Which I like, but deep down, I’ve wanted to have purple hair. I had purple hair in high school for about eight weeks, until the choir director flipped his lid (whatever- The school colors were purple and yellow- I was just showing my school spirit), and then I stripped it and dyed it red again.  Sadly, few photos of my purple hair exist. I was very camera shy in High School. Ya know, since I wasn’t a “cool kid”. I was a goth choir dork.

I figure I’m at a point in my life, where if I want purple hair, I’m going to do it, dammit.  I don’t have a “real job” (aka an office or 9-5 job), and if purple hair is who I feel I am, then let’s do it.

Mai at Plaza Hair Salon selected three sweet colors- a dark purple (to cover my natural hair color aka my grey roots), a vibrant purple, and magenta. She and her awesome assistant started their magic, and about 5 hours later… I was done! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of my photos during the process.

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The before- sitting pensively thinking Deep Thoughts.

If you’ve never had your hair colored brightly before, it’s a process. Thankfully, I had fortified myself with caffeine, and I brought my phone charger with me! The time passes quickly too.

Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 2.37.43 PM.pngAny dye is stripped from your hair (that takes about an hour), then your hair is washed and dyed. After the red hair color was stripped from my hair, I looked a little Like Jem. My hair was shades of light yellow and pink.

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Unflattering Selfies FTW!

After my hair was dried, Mai and her assistant set to making me my Authentic and purple self. They applied the purple and magenta dyes and I chilled while the dye processed.  After it was rinsed out and my hair was washed and conditioned, Mai and her assistant blow dried and styled my hair. I have never been happier with my hair.

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So soft, so purple-y!
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Holy Crap- It’s amazing!

Now that it’s a color I’ve wanted for so long, I find myself doing all kinds of fun stuff with it. Like this, and this.

Taking care of purple hair isn’t much different than taking care of any other color treated hair. I wash my hair only 3 times a week- Really, you don’t need to wash your hair much more than that. I use a sulfate free shampoo for chemically treated hair, and a moisturizing mask 2 times a week to keep my hair soft and tangle free.  I also use this Pureology spray as a de-tangler/leave in conditioner daily. I’ve got really fine hair that tangles really easily.

I get a lot of compliments on my hair, mostly from older women who tell me that they wish they had the guts to do it. I’ve been telling everyone who says that to me that it’s never too late to give yourself crazy hair, even if it’s clip in highlights like these (I also have some too. We usually use them for halloween). Kids love my hair too. I had a gaggle of third graders at my sons school tell me I looked like Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony!

I do plan on keeping up with the maintenance on the color. It’s permanent dye and the vibrancy hasn’t faded too much. I may not be purple haired for as long as I was a red head…But then again, you never know!

Whether you decide to color your hair, get a tattoo, buy a new outfit that isn’t what you usually wear (I’m totally buying this dress next week), it’s ok to do what makes you happy, and what makes you feel like your authentic/real self.  Life is what you make of it, there is no sense in spending it unhappy.

I received a free hair color/cut in exchange for this review, but all opinions and ideas expressed are my own. There may be some affiliate links sprinkled in the post- if you click on them and purchase items, I may receive a commission. You can learn more from our Disclosure page here.

Review- The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 10.13.47 PM.pngWe are big into outdoor cooking: Grilling, Dutch oven cooking, heck, even sometimes cooking over fire (ok, so that’s usually just s’mores, but that’s cooking, right?). When Laura Bashar, the author of The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go offered me copy of her book for review, I jumped at the chance!

If you’ve never cooked in a Dutch Oven or over coals, Laura gives you the primer! She goes over all the deets: How many coals you need to achieve specific cooking temps, various cooking techniques (over flame, over coals), and how to translate the recipes to be cooked indoors (just in case you want to try these awesome recipes and aren’t planning on camping any time soon).

The recipes are easy to follow and follow you through the day: Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, desserts, and even side dishes. And it’s not just the typical camping food, there are recipes for the kinds of food you eat at at home! Just because you aren’t at home, doesn’t mean you have to live off of hot dogs, Dinty Moore canned stew, and cold cereal.

My family poured over this cookbook during our last camping trip and we have planed an outdoor cooking afternoon to try out a lot of these recipes in the coming weeks. Check my Insta Feed in the coming weeks for pics of some of the dishes we create.