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Friday, March 27, 2015

Home - Review and Trailer

Four Thumbs up (from myself and daughter, Rosa) for the adorable new movie "HOME".  We had the opportunity to see the movie this past weekend as part of a media preview event courtesy of Dreamworks Animation.  


The alien race Boov decide to take over the planet Earth in attempt to run away from their enemies {after all running away is what the Boov do}. Oh, (voiced by Jim Parsons) a loveable misfit finds himself on the run from his own people, and forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip (voiced by Rihanna) who is on a quest to reunite with "My Mom". Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.


Rosa (age 5.5) and I both enjoyed the movie a lot.  I loved the way Jim Parsons voice the character of Oh.  It was a perfect match.  The dialog is witty, the story line is moving, and (maybe it is pregnancy hormones) I cried and laughed, a lot.  

The music was great too.  (It's Rihanna, hello!) If you are interested you can get the Home Original Motion Picture SoundTrack on Amazon.com (affiliate link).  I highly recommend this movie for a great date with your children.  Just make sure they are sitting next to you, cause I guarantee you are going to want to reach over and give them at least one hug during the movie.  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Time Saving Tips for Healthy Eating



Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger Theresa Walker - BeachBody Coach


If you are a busy mom who wants to eat healthy, fresh foods, then you, like myself might find this a stretch some days.  It’s hard enough to find time to get the kids off to school, run all the errands, keep up on housework, help with homework, attend all the kids events…the list goes on.  So I’d like to share some of the tips I’ve learned over the years that have helped myself and my family to eat healthfully, even on the busiest days.  Some of these you may have heard before, but I’m hoping you can find something new that might help you as it has helped us.

Buy fruits and veggies in bulk and pre-cut what you can for the week.  Usually twice a week I’ll pull some out to wash, chop and seal in a ziplock bag or container.  Then when it’s time to make lunches or dinners or you are looking for a quick snack, you’ve got fast easy go-to options.   

CROCK POT- The crock pot is a busy person’s best friend!  If you don’t own one, go get one now.  They are affordable, and after your first dinner made, you will be wondering why you haven’t done this before.  My favorite crock pot recipe book series is called Fix It and Forget It.  They hold hundreds of recipes for the crock pot, many of my favorites come from those books.   You may also want to invest in the slow cooker liners as well, these are a few dollars for a box of 5 and save the time on clean up. 

Meal planning- It sounds simple, but often it falls by the wayside, I know I am at fault here.  But it really does help to plan your meals for the week.  Set up a wipe board in kitchen/on the fridge and every week fill it in.  That way you are never scrambling at 6pm with nothing defrosted trying to figure out what is for dinner.  You can even get the kids involved and let everyone choose a meal.

Keep healthy snacks in the car.  Some days you may not plan on being home so late from work or from running errands, but by keeping simple healthy snacks in your car like almonds, granola bars, pop corn or trail mix, you won’t find yourself running to 7-11. 

FREEZER MEALS- Meals made and prepared to go straight to the freezer and then pulled out through-out the week for a time-saving healthy dinner, are what many busy moms are doing these days.  Thanks to google and Pinterest you can find hundreds of freezer meal recipes at your finger-tips in minutes.  It may take some time initially to prepare, dice, and measure out the ingredients, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find the initial time spent is well worth it.  And then you will have a stocked freezer full of meals you can pull out through-out the week and cook in your crock pot or oven and take the stress off of your week-night meals! 

Buy a veggie steamer (I have one from Tupperware) and use it!  Ziplock even sells steaming bags.  Couple minutes in the microwave and voila!  Easy side dish to go with dinner. 



Explore the grocery store and find some healthy, yet easy prep meals. Here are some of the items I’ve found help me out quite a bit for fast, yet healthy dinners:

Butterball Turkey breast; I just place it in the crock pot with some broth, approximately 5 hours later it’s done.  



Perdue whole chicken roaster in a bag, preseasoned.  All you do is place in roasting pan in oven, cut slit in bag and let it cook for 90ish minutes, or until thermometer reads 180 F. 




Jennie-O Cook from frozen turkey burgers; these are amazing because you can pull them out anytime you need them.  





Trident Salmon Patties, again, cooks right from frozen.




Microwavable rice pouches, Uncle Ben’s makes some whole grain and wild grain options.  I know there is debate on cooking in these bags, but currently for our family, some nights we need something like this that is fast.  Better than the boxed dehydrated potatoes I used to buy in cheesy sauce. 

Trader Joes crab stuffed flounder, defrosts in fridge or fast defrost submerge in hot water, cooks 25 minutes in oven.

Trader Joes Mojito Salmon- cook from frozen or defrost/cook.  60-25 mins in oven

Trader Joes egg rolls and won ton soup.  Egg rolls go in the oven for about 20 mins, won ton cooks in microwave for 5 mins, add some steamed veggies and dinner is served. 

Obviously, one thing to note with most “fast” pre-packaged dinners, is to read the labels!  Most are full of fat, sugar and sodium.  There are more that are on the healthier side like those I’ve mentioned above I’m sure, if you have one you’d like to share, I’d love to know about it!       

Last but NOT least; think EASY!  I know we all love Pinterest and the fancy or unique recipes, but when you keep food simple, it’s usually healthy!  You don’t need to make yourself anything elaborate for dinner, because the more ingredients, the more calories.  A good example can be a salad, I like having a salad for lunch, but sometimes by the time I add on my chicken, chick peas, an egg, some tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, hmmm, what about some dried cranberries and feta….well you can see where this is going!  All of those ingredients are healthy, but they all pack a big calorie punch.  Next thing I know, I’ve made a 500 calorie salad, before even adding dressing!  The same can be true with dinner.  You find a yummy looking chicken casserole, take a look at EVERYTHING inside it.  Add it up, you may be surprised at how many calories you are eating.  So instead, get back to basics!  A roasted chicken, brown rice and asparagus.  A turkey burger, sweet potato fries and some broccoli.  Pork roast, baked potato and green beans.  Elaborate recipes are fun, but often they take time, ingredients add up in cost AND calories.  If most of your meals are prepared simply, with seasonings or a light sauce, you’ll be making a big impact on your diet.  Once you find some “simpler” or lighter recipes, rotate! Soon you will have a go-to list to shop with and the question “what’s for dinner” answered!

If you have tips that have helped you save time while eating healthy, please share them in the comments section!  I’d love to hear your ideas or comments.  And if you have a suggestion for a future blog, I’d also love to incorporate it.  Thanks for reading!    

Theresa Walker 
Theresa is a wife and stay at home mother of 2 energetic boys, DJ (8) and Aiden (5). She has a bachelors in Communications and prior to being a mother she worked at Better Investing magazine in advertising and as a Corporate Account Manager. These days she is fortunate enough to spend time with her boys checking out all of the local fun there is to be had. She and her family love to travel. She is also active in a large online mom's group through Facebook that she started called Planet Mom. She enjoys being active and one of her proudest accomplishments was running the Detroit Half Marathon as well as the Romeo to Richmond Half. In her free time you can find her running or biking through Stony Creek. Or curled up on a couch with a good book and her cat in her lap. She recently became a BeachBody Coach, so that she could share her love for health and fitness with others to help them reach their personal goals. You can find her Facebook page at Inspired Health & Fitness. She considers herself a "Fit Foodie" and loves trying new recipes, experimenting and new restaurants around town. She hopes she can share some of her tips for healthy eating and exercise for busy moms and Metro Detroit Mommy Fans.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last Weekend for Free Movies at MJR


This is the last weekend for free Movies at MJR. Children 12 and under are FREE, and adults only $1 for the featured film of the weekend!

Join us at all MJR locations including the all new Troy Grand Cinema 16 at the corner of Maple and Livernois roads!

Adrian Digital Cinema 10
3150 N. Adrian Hwy.
Adrian, MI 49221
517-265-3055

Brighton Towne Square Digital Cinema 20
8200 Murphy Dr.
Brighton, MI 48116
810-227-4700

Chesterfield Crossing Digital Cinema 16
50675 Gratiot Ave.
Chesterfield, MI 48051
586-598-2500

Marketplace Digital Cinema 20
35400 Van Dyke
Sterling Heights, MI 48312
586-264-1514

Partridge Creek Digital Cinema 14
17400 Hall Rd.
Clinton Township, MI 48038
586-263-0084

Southgate Digital Cinema 20
15651 Trenton Rd.
Southgate, MI 48195
734-284-FILM (3456)

Troy Grand Digital Cinema 16
100 East Maple Rd.
Troy, MI 48083

Waterford Digital Cinema 16
7501 Highland Rd.
Waterford Township, MI 48327
248-666-7900

Westland Grand Cinema 16
6800 N. Wayne Rd.
Westland, MI 48185
734-298-2657

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The clock is ticking: Plan your tricking

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger Robin Slawnyk - Crunchy Goddess.

April Fools is right around the corner and it's time to prepare your pranks!

Last year I didn't remember to plan anything, so the morning of - I did the usual, put a rubberband around the sink sprayer, hide the toothpaste - prank phone call.  Well, my Husband did get wet - but so did everything else in my kitchen and guess who had to clean it -- that's right, me.  I remember him chuckling while walking away... 'the joke's on who? oh yeah, YOU!'.  Then he didn't brush his teeth that day - so again, joke's on me.  This year - it will be better.  Afterall, I spend my days making life easier for him... time for my fun.  Are you with me?



Jokes for the adults in our lives:

Phone trouble:
Quickly sneak your DH's phone and take a screenshot of his home screen.  Then move do a different screen of the phone without apps and make that the wallpaper.  Watch in enjoyment as the frustration builds that his phone is not working.

Ballonify his home-office or man cave: 
Enlist the help of some latex balloons and an awesome multi-purpose air pump for some of this awesomesauce. (I am definitely doing this one - think of all the fun the kids will get to have when he throws them out into our living space) 





No use crying over spilled milk.  Especially when it's fake.
You will need: Elmers white glue, a piece of plexi-glass or glass surface, and coconut oil.  Smear coconut oil all over the flat surface, squeeze glue into a spill-like form and let dry.  Peel off, place on keyboard and wait for it....

Good luck, chuck
Put a tight and firmly stretched layer of saran wrap over the toilet paper and place it back on the roll holder.

Peaceful Pedi
Paint his toenails before he wakes up in the morning

Sock hunt
Either hide his socks, or mis-match them in his drawer

Nothing's going right
Hide all of his right shoes

Hey Smurfy
Put 2 drops of blue food coloring along the bristle line of his toothbrush.

Now, let's all cross our fingers that the guys don't see this blog post and get to planning for our fun!
Chances are, they wont remember that April Fool's is coming up - they hardly remember our birthdays! 


Moving on to..... Pranks for the little people:

Mis-match all of the socks in their sock drawer

Swap out the bags of cereal and put them in the wrong boxes

Hide their backpack or lunch bag

Set the clocks ahead, make them think they are late for school and leave early enough to go on a fun before-school adventure

Dye the milk a different color - and act like you have no idea what they are talking about!  It is white, not blue!

Fill their bedroom with balloons as illustrated above


Wishing you lots of laughs, on April Fools Day and always!  Now get on with your trouble-maker self!

Thanks for the inspiration!  Shout out to:
http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/51061/20-april-fools-day-pranks
http://mashable.com/2013/03/31/epic-pranks/

Robin Slawnyk, Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger
Robin is a busy Wife and Mom of 4 and owner of CrunchyGoddess.com . She considers herself a stay-at-home Mom even though she is a Photographer and Holistic Practitioner working in her community. Robin homeschools her children and leads a very natural and organic lifestyle. You might consider her the "crunchy" one of the group, as her focus will be on the natural products and services available to us and like-minded families. 



Monday, March 23, 2015

14 Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants



Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger Theresa Walker - BeachBody Coach

One of the biggest hurdles when you are making a lifestyle change is eating out.  As they say, you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet!  Even though going out to dinner is a great opportunity to make it your cheat day, sometimes there are weeks we have several meals planned that are “out”.  In which case, you may need to find some healthier options on the menu.  Here are some of the best tips I’ve found that help keep the waistline in check:

  1. Drink water, skip the drinks.  If you know your meal is going to have extra calories you may want to hold off on the liquid calories.  Rule of thumb is that the more ingredients in a cocktail, higher the calories, an 8oz long island averages at 750, a 10oz margarita around 550!  If you can’t resist a drink, a good idea is to skip the appetizer and dessert.  Better drink options are a simple rum and diet coke (100 cals/8oz) or 8oz Mojito averages 200.  Other good ideas are wine, 5oz averages 125 cals or light beer.  Many restaurants also have “skinny cocktails”.  If you don’t see that option, ask the bartender!  Or, just get unsweetened ice tea or a coffee.
  2. Skip the bread.  Especially if you are ordering pasta or pizza, save the calories for your meal.  Or, if you can’t resist, have a half of the roll or sometimes just one bite will satiate your tastebuds.  Skip the butter.
  3. Do your homework BEFORE you choose the restaurant.  If possible, research options and choose a restaurant that has something that you will enjoy and NOT feel deprived; yet doesn’t blow the budget on calories.  Some restaurants have many more healthy options than others.  Don’t set yourself up for failure, why go to Red Robin if you know you can’t eat a salad while watching others eat burgers?  Instead find a place that has a delicious looking salad, or a yummy chicken dish.  If you don’t have a choice in where you go, go to the restaurants website and look at the options.  Many national chains have nutritional info right on their websites.  
  4. Decide what you will eat BEFORE you get to the destination.  This solves the dilemma when you get there and are faced with many tempting dishes to choose from.  It’s also much easier to stop and think at home before making a fast decision.  You are more likely to come up with something that will satisfy you and be a healthful choice.  You'll find once you get it into your head what you will be eating, you will look forward to it.
  5. When checking nutrition, make sure to not only look at calories, but fat, sugar and sodium.  You might have a choice between something at 500 calories and 700, but 500 could have 40g of fat while the 700 has 25g
  6. Some general rules of thumb: Grilled/broiled/baked/roasted/steamed, not breaded/fried/battered/glazed/smothered.  Red sauce (marinara) on pasta, not white (alfredo).  You can ask for light on the sauce, or even sauce on the side.  I’ve been to a lot of places where my meat is dripping in sauce, unnecessary!  Go light on the cheese or skip it.  Chicken and fish are generally lighter vs. red meat or pork, but watch how they are prepared.  Broth based soups are better than “cream of” or bisque soups.  Watch out for hidden calorie pits on salads: nuts, cheese, dried fruit and of course dressings.  These things are ok, in moderation, just be mindful they are high in calories.  Brown rice or anything whole grain vs. white. 
  7. Get all sauces or dressings on the side!  You will often find you don’t miss the sauce.  For instance, I’ve seen sandwiches on a menu that have BOTH mayo and pesto!  One is usually fine, and of course if you spread it, you can control how much goes onto the sandwich.  Ranch, Thousand Island, Blue Cheese, Caesar are highest in calories, any sort of vinaigrette or Italian is half the calories.  DIP your lettuce in the dressing, don’t pour!  You’ll save calories, unless you are drenching it. 
  8. Don’t forget you can ask the server to customize!  PF Changs offers the option to prepare in a broth vs. oil.  If it’s breaded, you can ask for grilled, sauce on the side, no butter, brown rice instead of white.  You will be surprised at how accommodating restaurants can be. 
  9. Order your sandwich on a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.  Or take the top half of your bun off.  Skip the cheese, add some pickles, onions, tomatoes.  Mustard has only 5 calories, a lot less than ketchup or mayo.  Ask for an extra pickles, they are zero calories and will help fill you up. 
  10. Share a meal with a friend or partner then add a soup or salad.  If you get dessert- share.  If you don’t have someone to share with, ask for half boxed up before it comes out to you, you won’t be as tempted with it out of sight.  And chances are you’ll find you are full anyway. 
  11. Start your meal with veggies!  If you get a veggie and hummus plate for an appetizer, or a salad to start, you are already filling up your stomach with something good for you!  All the less room for your next courses. 
  12. Don’t go out to eat starving!  DON’T SKIP meals during the day just so you can “save up” for dinner!  You are messing with your metabolism and it isn’t going to work.  Plus, when you get to dinner you are going to gorge.  Many nutritionists recommend in fact eating a small handful of nuts before going out.  If I know I won’t be getting a veggie when I go out, I make sure to have a big serving before I leave.  For example- if I’m just having burgers and fries and don’t want to pay for a side salad, no worries, I’ll just have them at home!  Again, you will be filling up on good stuff, less room for higher-calorie foods. 
  13. Beware for hidden calorie pits hiding as “healthy options”.  Many times I’ve looked over nutritional info and tried to guess what will be healthier- fish taco’s or a burger?  Turkey burgers are always better than ground beef right?  Or zucchini fries vs. potato.  And of course a SALAD would be better than a chicken pita.  NOPE.  In all of these cases I’ve found the opposite to be true!  Just because it’s fish doesn’t mean it’s not breaded, cooked in oils, dripping in mayo-based sauces etc.  And turkey burgers are usually very comparable to a ground beef burger, rarely do I see it much lower in calories to make it worth my while.  (I do enjoy turkey burgers though!)  Any sort of “veggie fry”, is going to be breaded and cooked in oil, not worth it.  And even salads, as I’ve said, can be dripping in dressings and topped with so much bacon that it’s higher calories than a sandwich.  That’s why it pays to research before going out. 
  14. Eat only until you are full.  In fact, STOP eating before you feel over-full.  Don’t force yourself to end with a “clean plate”.   There is nothing wrong with taking some home.  Or, some restaurants will give you a half order if you ask. 
Hopefully some of these tips will make it easier for you to make healthful choices when eating out.  You don’t need to be perfect, ENJOY a great meal out!  But making even just one small change and skipping the pop (and several refills) can save you a lot of calories, or finding a low-cal dressing you enjoy.  These all add up over a week, month, year!

Theresa Walker 
Theresa is a wife and stay at home mother of 2 energetic boys, DJ (8) and Aiden (5). She has a bachelors in Communications and prior to being a mother she worked at Better Investing magazine in advertising and as a Corporate Account Manager. These days she is fortunate enough to spend time with her boys checking out all of the local fun there is to be had. She and her family love to travel. She is also active in a large online mom's group through Facebook that she started called Planet Mom. She enjoys being active and one of her proudest accomplishments was running the Detroit Half Marathon as well as the Romeo to Richmond Half. In her free time you can find her running or biking through Stony Creek. Or curled up on a couch with a good book and her cat in her lap. She recently became a BeachBody Coach, so that she could share her love for health and fitness with others to help them reach their personal goals. You can find her Facebook page at Inspired Health & Fitness. She considers herself a "Fit Foodie" and loves trying new recipes, experimenting and new restaurants around town. She hopes she can share some of her tips for healthy eating and exercise for busy moms and Metro Detroit Mommy Fans.