Tuesday, January 20, 2015

10 Min Workouts

Looking to firm up your abs in 10 minutes?  What about tighten up your arms?  Well, I have two go to dvd's that help exactly with that.  I've mentioned these pilates dvd's in the past but here 2 years later I'm still turning to them for the in between workouts.

(If you're a little overweight and still fairly fit these workouts are perfect for you.  If you don't exercise regularly or are more than 20lbs overweight they are most likely too hard.)


My go to 10 min ab workout (for the past 10 yrs) is :

Crunch - Pick Your Spot Pilates - Belly

Sure there are other exercises on the dvd but I always start with the ab exercises and depending on time work my way through the other 10 minute exercises like butt, thighs, or total body.







My go to 10 min arm workout is :

10 Minute Solutions - Pilates - Sculpting

This one actually gives you obvious results in your arms.  It doesn't bulk you up but manages to firm your arms and help create a bit of definition.  It also has 4 other 10 minute workouts.







I've tried at least 5 different 10 minute pilates dvd's and I promise the two workouts I mentioned above will give you results within a couple weeks.

At one point pilates was my main form of staying in shape.  These days I try to jog twice a week, and use pilates when I see my arms or abs could use some attention.  Or during the weeks when I know I over ate in the weekend.  The beauty of these 10 minute exercises is that you barely break a sweat, if you even do at all, unlike cardio workouts. 

Unfortunately last weekend we packed up my beloved crosstrainer (elliptical machine) into a storage unit.  But to be fair, I haven't been really using is since I started jogging, plus the weather is too cold for my crosstrainer workouts in our outside shed!  When we eventually get a house we'll be sure to bring it back home and incorporate it into our fitness regime.

Besides jogging & pilates (wow, I almost sound fit but I promise I have 5-10lbs that come and go monthly) I dabble in other home exercise dvds.  I recently just tried some of Jillian Michaels workouts, but I'll save that for a future post.

If you haven't noticed the theme, I like to save money by not having a gym membership.  I can use the same exercise clothes for jogging, pilates, & the crosstrainer.  And equipment I have collected over time as I find them on sale.  I have pretty standard stuff like an exercise mat & light weight dumbbells, and of course a couple fads like the balance board & kettlebell.  All of this keeps me fit for little costs and saves time by being able to do it from home.

What do you do to stay in shape?

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Friday, January 16, 2015

Music Moments #7

It's only been 10 months since the last "music moments" so I would say it's time for an update!  So, what am I listening to right now?  Basically there are two albums I can't get enough of at the moment.

First off... Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear

She has such a different voice, I'm hooked!

You all probably know Chandelier from the radio (depending on which country you live in).  Love this song, it has a great story and beat.

Another popular single from this album is, Elastic Heart.  Again, a song full of emotion and a beat that just makes you bob with.  Too bad the music video is getting such negative press.  I actually think Maddie & Shia did a uniquely great job.

I really appreaciate that Sia (helps) write her own songs, it makes them seem deeper and more heart felt.  The entire album makes you feel you've stepped into someone else's head.  Besides the two most popular singles, there are other songs worth checking out on the album... Fire Meet Gasoline, Hostage, & Straight for the Knife.


The second album is completely different but still delves into deep feelings & relationships... Alex & Sierra - It's About Us

I mentioned them back in 2013 when they were competing on X Factor and now they finally have an album out!!!  Loved their style from their first perfomance on the show.

I am not sure if their music is playing on US radio's or not, but it should be.  It is yet to make it here in The Netherlands, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. 

They have to videos made and the songs are great, Scarecrow & Little Do You Know.  The songs are catchy & meaningful and make you want to sing along.

For their first album I think it went well, they didn't venture too far from the style that we all fell in love with during X Factor.  Other worthy songs on the album, Bumper Cars (it definitely needs an official video), I Love You, & Back to You.


Hope you all give them a chance and enjoy these two albums as much as I do!

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Finding Balance

Where have I been you ask?  (Or maybe not, ha-ha!)  Well, I allowed myself to get so ridiculously focused on my daily schedule that I turned into a human robot.  It happens!

Finding balance in life is so important and yet so hard.  We can't do it all at one time.

You know there are the things you have to do to survive... there are things you have to do to be a good wife & parent... there are things you have to do to run a house... plus juggling school & sports... there are meals to be made & bags to be packed... bills to be paid & plans to be made... there are hobbies & down time... I could go on and on.

But how do you juggle everything and still have an ounce of spontaneity & freedom left? 

That's where balance comes into play.

I think it will be a life long commitment, just like health.  There are no quick or easy answers.  It's just doing what's right for you & yours.

Thanks to a holiday refresher, and of course my husband pointing out the side road of life I had decided to veer down, I'm trying to get back on track.  Trying to find a way to balance the needs, wants, & of course fun in life.  I hope to get back to blogging, writing, & photography.  But first things first, I hope to get my personality back!  For the sake of my husband & daughter, and family & friends! 

So here's another step down the road of life, a step towards balance, my first blog post of 2015!  (Nothing like the pressure of the first post of the year, ha-ha!)

Hope all is well in your corner of the world and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blogging Anniversary #3

Wow, where does the time go?  Did you know this is my 3rd year of blogging?  I almost forgot!  Turns out, back in October my blog turned 3!

Just like life, blogging has an interesting way of taking different paths over time.  Especially a random blog like mine.  At times I am more focused on activities around the city where I live, other times health & fitness, and even a book review here or there.  Lately I have very little time to consistently post, unlike last year.  And I seem to often be blogging about being a parent, something I tried to veer away from in the past.
 
But with this new blogging year, changes are coming.  There's a lot going on in our personal lives.  Things I would like to post but have to wait for the right timing.  So until I can share these ideas & plans, you're just going to have to take the blog for what it is and has been.  And to help you do that, here are a few of my favorite posts from the past year:


Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pre-Cooking

Today I decided to pre-cook dinner.  I must admit it was strange standing there alone cooking a casserole just after lunch.  I'm used to scrambling to whip up a meal somewhere between my daughters bath time & bedtime.

I've considered pre-cookinng for a while now.  See, two days a week my kid has sports after school which gets us home just shy of dinner.  I often end up making the easier things in the fridge, which usually has little taste or variation of color.  Doesn't sound too appetizing, huh?
 
I tried pre-cooking one other time this school year and something happened with the milk in the lasagna mix and I didn't dare feed it to the family.  Then I had the pleasure of walking around all day smelling like lasagna and yet had nothing to show for it.  Much more, it was a complete waste of food.
 
This morning on the way to drop my daughter at school I decided I was going treat the family to something different.  Even though I know they'll both complain and I'll end up eating the same meal for the next two meals.  See, I cook to survive not because I enjoy it.  I'm not a talented or creative cook so I tend to stick to what I know or buy a box mix with the instructions and spices included.

Standing at the grocery store this morning I scanned the box mixes and a couple stood out, but I was in the mood for a casserole and had the time to cook so I settled for something new in the assortment.  Chicken Mozzarella  & Tomato Macaroni Casserole... sounds good, looks good,  and possibly my families worst nightmare, ha-ha!  But we agreed when she turned 5 she needed to expand her diet (and this includes us also).
 
The casserole is finished and waiting for us to return home.  All I have to do is heat it up in the oven during bath time and voila we have a yummy dinner!  Getting hungry thinking about it... which wasn't the case while cooking.  I found little pleasure randomly cooking in the middle of the day but I know the results are worth it!

-Turned out that my husband refused to eat it, my daughter panicked when I said it would be her dinner tomorrow, & me, well, I had two huge servings and thoroughly enjoyed it!-

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pumpkin Contest

I know I'm running late with this post, I'm just happy to finally find the time to write one!!!

 
One of the first memories I have of my relationship with my husband was carving pumpkins together in his parents back yard.  And since that time (many years ago), we have decided to share this fun time together with our daughter.  Her school was having a pumpkin carving contest and we happened to have a free weekend afternoon so we headed out to the farms and bought a few decent sized pumpkins.  In years passed we didn't take it so serious, but this year we wanted her to have something worth entering.  So of course my husband and 5 yr old picked out the biggest pumpkin they could find.  But see, we forgot just how hard it is to carve a thick pumpkin without the proper tools.  (Hey... Halloween only comes around once a year, it's easy to forget.)

 
We started with the medium sized pumpkin to practice.  And like I said, this year we weren't joking around so we even printed out templates to help with the design.  But after the hard work & time my husband put in just to get this pumpkin carved we realized the large pumpkin was going to be quite a challenge.  (The medium pumpkin turned out well, and looked quite scary at night!  But due to the strangely warm weather it rotted fast.)

 
 
Due to the amount of work, we decided we weren't going to carve the other small & medium pumpkin, we were running out of time & patience.  So instead of tracing around a template to cut, I just drew the template onto the pumpkins and let my daughter color them in.  (By the time she was finished coloring you couldn't see the template anymore, but she had fun.)

 
 
Now it was time to carve the large pumpkin, the one we actually wanted to enter in the school contest.  But we were tired, it was almost dinner, and none of the templates I could find seemed simple yet prize worthy.  Then my husband came up with the great idea to carve the school initials into the pumpkin, brilliant!  (It was the only one like it in the contest, we were quite proud!)


Did we win the contest?  Unfortunately no... but hey, the pumpkin hamburger deserved it.  Did we have fun?  Yes!  Did my husband come up with an idea for next year?  Yes, but that's our secret!

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kids Library Books

Now that my daughter visits the school library with her class I have little say in what she brings home, all I can hope for is that she is happy with her choice.  Sometimes I wonder how she ends up with the books she brings home... was it purely based on the cover picture... did the mom helping out that day ask her about her interests... are they only allowed to choose from a limited selection?  (Keep in mind she is 5yrs old.)

She's allowed to bring home 3 books every week, and with enthusiasm we read one per night, then revert back to our home collection for the other 4 night time stories a week.  Unfortunately, often, the books don't send the message I hoped.  I'm not looking for profound child philosophy, but more so a nice simple way to explain life to my child.  I noticed this last year at her Dutch school, and thought maybe the problem was my Dutch language skills, that I was picking the wrong books.  But I'm seeing the same problem at her new English speaking school.

 
Let me give you an example.  (I only chose these because she recently checked them out.)
The Trouble with Dogs - the book starts out great, the family has a naughty dog and they want to do something about it.  They hire someone to come in and teach the dog standard commands, and he is fairly successful.  The family then thinks these rules have sucked the fun out of the dog and decide to quit with the lessons.  Now what exactly is this teaching my child?  To give up?  That animals don't need to be trained?  That's not how things work in our house.
 
Eat Your Peas - ah, finally book to help my daughter realize how important it is to eat her vegetables.  Oh, not quite.  After multiple tantrums and endless unneeded promises/rewards from the parent the child turns the table and suggests that the mom eats her brussels sprouts.  How did it end?  Neither one ate their vegetables!  What is this teaching my child?  Bribes are an option?  Back talk is o.k.?  That if you flip out long enough mom will give up?

I'm not putting down the authors, I find writing children's book to be quite difficult.  It has to be simple, light hearted, and yet still send a good message, and hopefully a laugh along the way.  I'm more so just wondering why they ended the way they did.  I feel in life, if you don't like it, don't subject yourself to it.  (This goes way beyond books.)  But see, like I said, I don't have a choice in the books she happily brings home.  At least they opened up a good conversation, about how things work different in every home, and how things work in our home.

It wasn't just these books.... last year I remember checking out a book to help her get through nightmares.  What happens?  The tough kid gets scared, the book is full of scary drawings, and inevitably just upset her more.  There was also the book about feeling left out and making friends, in the end it offered no real solution a child could relate to.  I checked out a book about bullying, and again there was no real message by the end of the book.  It makes me wish I could write my own children's books, but like I mentioned, it's harder than you think.

Maybe I'm wishing she brought home fables... maybe I should pre-screen the books better... or maybe authors should think about the end result.  Again, I'm not bashing anyone, just raising awareness.  Any of you run into these issues?

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

Monday, October 13, 2014

Polyvore - Outfits #2

Last time I mentioned Polyvore I focused on one particular member and the great outfit combos she pumps out, but this time I just want to focus on Fall.  And outfits that I can actually recreate thanks to similar items in my closet... and a couple pieces that I would like to see in my closet.

The 1st Fall outfit is centered around the wrap/poncho.  I absolutely love the grey poncho!!!  I have one at home with a mix of pinks, blues, & beiges but a solid color seems to be easier to dress up and down. I also like how she has mixed the grey and brown, never thought of doing this.  If you want to see more of her ideas you can find her via this link.
 

The 2nd Fall outfit is simple, and can be worn everywhere.  It looks so easy, just wrap up in a warm cardigan, slip on some ballerina flats, toss on a scarf to tie it all together and you're gone.  I could see myself wearing this many places.  And what's even better, it can all be found at H&M.  More of her outfit combos can be found here.

 
The 3rd Fall outfit I like only for the awesome print and color combos of the cardigan.  The boots aren't my style, I prefer ankle boots.  But the cardigan, wow!  I might actually have to find something similar and add it to my closet.  A friend of mine has one in wool, which isn't my favorite fabric but there is hope of finding one here in The Netherlands.  For more of her outfit combos look here.


The 4th Fall outfit isn't from Polyvore but it still caught my eye.  (Found all of these outfits through Pinterest, btw.)  This outfit is nearly straight out of my closet, and I was happy to see this combo.  Makes me think I am occasionally on the right track!  But I must admit, I'm not into backpack purses, even though it looks convenient.  For more follow this link.
 

Now with these outfits in mind, I'm ready for the cooler weather and an excuse to wrap up in cozy thick cardigans!  Do you have any outfits you're excited to get back in to this Fall?

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica