Sunday, February 28, 2010


So Chase and I started following this book that Dave Ramsey wrote. Well in the book he tells you to start pulling out money to use for cash to buy things you need. Pretty much everything besides bills. Which is called the envelope system. It has worked for us for quite a few months. Here's what I did before I made the new one I have now.
This is what it was before. I just taped lots of envelopes together to cardboard ends. It was quite the project. 
Another angle of it. I had ribbon around it for a tie stapled to the cardboard outer part. Then it ripped so for me to keep it together I just used a rubberband. 
This is it afterwards. I didn't want to have a bunch of them so I put many things in one. I'm finally being able to keep all the money together. Yes I did stitch the lettering on. It took me a few days to get this done, and I'm not too happy with how it turned out, but I can always try again. I have a big pouch that I put all of them in. 

It will save me time and money now. :) I'm super happy that I have them. Let me just say we have not gone over budget since sometime last year because of doing it this way. Let me know if you have any questions and I will be glad to answer them about the envelope system. Or if you want help setting up a budget I'm more than happy to help there too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cute Pictures

So I promised a great post. Well it's 11:48pm, and I'm pooped! So here are a few pictures of Hurley that are cute. Enjoy. That's all I have for a Friday night. time for bed!
 This is what he did one day when I was in the office and Chase was in the kitchen. He's crazy, and his back itches all the time. Poor dude.
Can we say... LAZY! :) This little guy is freezing now. Thanks to a pricey gas bill, and ended up having to turn down the heat. Now he's got his sweater.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


No, not dead. Just super busy. Promise I will have a new post for this weekend. Something amazing. Just wait...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Health Food Facts and Fiction

So here's another article that I thought was really helpful in your journey (I would hope you have a journey) to eat better. Again I added emphasis on things that you should be concerned with. Here's the article if you want to read it online.

Health Food Fact and Fiction

In the old days, differentiating healthy foods from unhealthy foods was simple; fruits and vegetables were healthy, sweets and fried foods were not. However, today, this distinction is not so clear. "Healthy" products are popping up left and right on supermarket shelves. Often the products' names (not the nutrition facts labels) trick many into assuming they are healthy. The following bite reveals the most common "faux health foods"-unhealthy foods perceived as healthy offerings.

Nutrition Facts and Figures
Here are five foods incorrectly assumed to be healthy:

1. Wheat crackers: As soon as one sees the word "wheat" the first assumption is that the food must be nutrient dense. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. "Wheat" does not mean "whole wheat". In fact, wheat crackers (regardless if they are enriched, stone-ground, or otherwise) are actually made from refined white flour...therefore they have less nutritional value than whole wheat crackers and definitely less fiber. So, unless they are "whole wheat" crackers, don't be deceived into thinking they are healthy

Good Choices:
Ak Mak 100% whole wheat crackers
Kavli Crispy Garlic whole rye crackers

Bad Choices:
Golden Stone Ground Wheat crackers
Nabisco Original Wheat Thins

2. Yogurt covered snacks: While yogurt itself is an extremely nutrient-dense, healthy snack, beware of yogurt covered raisins, pretzels, and nuts. The main ingredients in the "yogurt" coating are sugar and palm kernel oil, NOT yogurt. As a result, the calories and fat grams really add up. Compared to a 100 calorie cup of plain non-fat yogurt, 1 cup of yogurt covered peanuts contains 921 calories and 73 g fat, 1 cup of yogurt covered raisins contains 750 calories and 14 g fat and 1 cup of yogurt covered pretzels contains 392 calories and 14 g fat. Therefore, your best bet is to stick to consuming yogurt separately from nuts, pretzels, and raisins, rather than as yogurt covered snacks.

Good Choices:
1 cup plain, non-fat organic yogurt
Small portion of mixed nuts, raisins, and pretzels

Bad Choices:
Yogurt covered nuts, raisins, or pretzels

3. Granola: A heaping bowl of granola with fresh fruit and yogurt is the gold standard of healthy breakfasts for many. Despite being a good source of potassium, vitamin A, iron, protein, fiber, and B vitamins, granola is loaded in calories and fat! A cup of granola contains ~600 calories and 30 grams of fat; this alone can comprise half of one's daily calorie and fat intake. Therefore, unless you are just sprinkling a little low-fat granola on top of your yogurt or fruit, you are better off opting for a high fiber cereal that is lower in calories and fat.

Good Choices:
Kashi Good Friends Cereal
Nature's Path Organic Optimum Slim

Bad Choices:
Bear Naked All Natural Granola
International Harvest Fruitfull Cran-Cashew-Pecan Organic Granola

4. Bran and Oat Muffins: In an effort to avoid ordering a high calorie/fat bagel with cream cheese on the way to work, many have turned to what they assume is a healthier choice: muffins. Unfortunately, most muffins, even bran, carrot, multigrain, and oat ones, do not usually offer any more nutritional benefits than a bagel. In fact, some contain even more calories, sugar and fat! For example, a typical Starbuck's muffin has 450 calories, 20 grams of fat and only 1-2 grams of fiber at most. Many other store bought muffins, even those that are low-fat, contain close to 400 calories and very little fiber. Therefore, unless you are making the muffins yourself (and keeping their size in check) you are much better off starting the day with whole grain toast and peanut butter.

Good Choices:
Vitamuffin (individual muffin top)
Homemade low-fat muffins (1 ounce each)

Bad Choices:
Store bought muffins

5. Dried fruit: While dried fruit is obviously made from healthy fresh fruit, it is not equivalent in terms of calories when comparing equal portions. While 1 cup of fresh cut up apples contains 60 calories, 1 cup of dried apples contains 210 calories. Likewise, 1 cup of fresh apricot halves contains 74 calories while 1 cup of dried apricot halves contains 315 calories. To understand why this is so, you have to put in perspective how much you are eating. One fresh apricot is equivalent in calories to one dried apricot; however, while it is easy to consume 10-15 dried apricots, it is NOT so easy to consume 10-15 fresh apricots in one sitting! So, if you are not likely to stick to just the 1/4 cup serving of dried fruit, you are better off opting for fresh fruit instead. Note: the worst offender of dried fruits is dried banana chips...Unlike most other dried fruits these are fried, which not only increases their calorie count, but their fat count as well.

Good Choices:
Fresh fruit
Small portions of dried fruit

Bad Choices:
Banana chips
Large portions of dried fruit

Alyse's Advice
With all the tricky food product marketing, advertisements and names, it is very important to be a savvy shopper and read food labels to ensure that a food is good for you. No longer can you judge how healthy a food is solely by its name."

I hope this helps.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Eating Healthy

There are many people now a day who don't know how to read a food label. I don't think I really understood it myself before I had taken Nutrition in college. I found this article on Livestrong.com that I thought would help a lot of people, just for the sake of learning to read the labels. It's called Reading Food Labels. Here's the article so you can read it for yourself or if you want to show other people. I have added a few of my own comments in a different color so you know who wrote what. I also bolded a few areas so people would really read that particular area. 

Reading Food Labels

"There was a time when food labels did not feature a Nutrition Facts box. Before 1990 all that was required was a listing of ingredients on a label. The only way to know if something might be healthy or not was that the ingredients were listed in order of amount by weight. This is still the case so that when you see that the first ingredient is sugar you know that there is more sugar by weight any of the other ingredients.

Now, of course, consumers have a lot more info. It can still be a bit of a challenge if you don't know much about nutrition. Here is a guide to what's on a label.

Start by breaking the Nutrition Facts box down into sections.

The first section (in blue) contains the serving size and the number of servings in that package. This is the place that can easily trick you because a lot of smaller packages are really a single serving but the manufacturer will list this as two or three servings. Some cynics might believe that this is done to trick people into thinking that there is less in a package than they might otherwise believe. [Which I believe to be true. Check the serving size!]
A good example is a bottle of juice. You're going to drink the whole bottle, right? Looking at the Nutrition Facts there are 120 calories listed but if you don't notice that there are actually two servings, you won't realize that there are actually 240 calories.

The red section shows the number of calories. Simple enough but always be suspect and look back at the number of servings per container. This section also tells you how many of those calories are from fat. In this case it's pretty high--almost half. This works as a good guide about whether what you are getting ready to eat has too much fat.

This third section is the one that is the most important. It shows you how much fat cholesterol and sodium are in the package. There is also a breakdown of the fats by type--Saturated and Trans Fats. Note if food contains Trans Fats. Put those back on the shelf. You want a food or ingredient with zero (0) Trans Fats.

The white section has similar information on carbs and protein. One key in this section is to focus on the amount of sugars. While a lot of foods are high in natural sugars--fruit, juices and the like--it's a good idea to limit the amount of sugar.

The green sections show both fiber and vitamins and minerals.

The purple section is the best for you to use as a guide. It is where you can find the easiest of information. This section is the Percent Daily Value--that is the percentage of fat, cholesterol and sodium that you should have in a day. In this example the food has 18 percent of the total fat you should have for the day (this is based on a 2,000 calorie diet).

It is recommended to use the 20 / 5 rule when glancing at a package. If the fat, sodium or cholesterol are under 5 percent that is good and over 20 percent you should consider carefully.

The opposite is true for carbs, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Less than 5 percent is bad and the higher the better.

Less than 5 Percent More than 20 Percent
Fat Good Bad
Sodium Good Bad
Cholesterol Good Bad
Carbohydrates Bad Good
Fiber Bad Good
Vitamins A & C Bad Good
Calcium, Iron Bad Good

Lastly, the orange section gives a guide about the amount of each nutrient that is advised for at 2,000 (and sometimes a 2,500) calorie diet. Use this as a guide and remember that for most people 2,000 calories is more than they actually need."

Another thing the article failed to mention was how much fiber in an item will help you know if it is whole grain. If you read the label a lot of time it will say that it has enriched flour. Well you obviously want to avoid that. You need good fiber so you can body can be regular. A rule of thumb to know if something is fairly good for you is to think for every 100 calories you should have 2 grams of fiber. If it doesn't then don't get it.

The number one best way to record how much you are taking in is a food journal. It will help with weight loss. Because once you reach your number of calories for the day then you might want to reconsider eating that bowl of ice cream right before bed. When I was using my ipod, there was a livestrong app and also a sparkpeople app that you can download and record how much you eat in a day. They tell you by your weight how much of each you need. All you do is enter in the food that you had, and it will calculate the amount of calories. Here are the sites SparkPeople and Livestrong. Just sign up and create and account. They also have a lot of awesome articles on weight loss, and meal plans if you are having a hard time coming up with good nutritional things to eat.

I hope this article helped. If you have any questions about anything I'm able to help. I am not a nutritionist in any way, but I want to be able to help people who don't know how to read food labels.