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Beat the Heat with a Berry Smoothie Treat

Refreshing berry smoothie to beat the summer heat

Summer is here, and the desert heat has come with it. When the temps hit 105 degrees in the shade today, I knew that we would be wiped after our outing, so I reached for my faithful blender as I knew it was time to make a refreshing, healthy smoothie to help beat the heat.

It’s no secret that I’ve been on a fitness journey the last few months. I’ve been focusing even more on real foods, whole foods, foods that heal and nourish. That’s not to say that I don’t eat some junk, because I do, but it’s not as often as in the past.

Most days, I like to begin the day with a berry smoothie. Ideally, I would use all fresh, organic berries, but that isn’t always possible. For those times when fresh berries aren’t available, I use frozen organic berries. I’m hoping to be able to freeze some farmer’s market berries this year rather than purchasing prepackaged store-bought berries, but we’ll have to see what is available. The drought conditions around here haven’t made things easy for the farmers.

Use the extra berry smoothie to make delicious smoothie popsicles to beat the summer heat.

On hot super hot days, like today, I will not only have a smoothie in the morning, but I’ll also have one around mid-day. Sometimes, I make them in the evenings for the whole family as it’s a light, yet filling, evening snack. If I have any leftover smoothie, I like to turn the smoothie into smoothie popsicles which is another fun way to beat the heat.

While you can use milk (dairy, coconut, almond, rice) or juice in the smoothie, I normally use water as my base as it means that I’m not adding additional sugar and calories from fruit juice or milk. The addition of a banana holds the smoothie together nicely. Depending on the day, I’ll toss in different goodies to increase the nutrients like Moringa Powder. Those extra nutrients are especially important on high energy output days. I can definitely feel it if I forgot to have my “power” smoothie.

Beat the summer heat with berry smoothie treats

If I want a little splurge, I’ll add a little whipped cream on top. Yum! I don’t do that all the time, so it still feels like I treat when I do. If D and Munchkin are also having smoothies, I usually add a little honey to their smoothies as they like them a little sweeter. Of course, it’s always fun to use a cute paper straw to add a little something extra to the presentation.

Beat the Heat with a Berry Smoothie Treat
A refreshing, healthy berry smoothie helps beat the summer heat. Use the extra smoothie mix to make delicious popsicles.
Recipe type: Drinks
  • 1 cup water (or other liquid)
  • 1 cup mixed, organic berries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Sweetener, optional
  • Whipped cream, optional
  1. Poor water into the blender and add berries. If using frozen berries, pulse the frozen berries and water until they are well combined.
  2. Add banana and blend until thoroughly combined.
  3. Poor into glass. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
If you have any extra, you can either store it in the fridge to drink later, or you can pour it into popsicle molds and freeze to make smoothie popsicles.



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Wordless Wednesday: Wildfire

Wildfire season has begun.

The sun sets on day 1 of the lake fire wildfire.

The sun slips behind the mountains with clouds of wildfire smoke in the air.

Looking out over the basin that is filled with wildfire smoke.

The sun sets on day 2 of the lake fire wildfire.

Wildfire Sunset

Last week, I wrote about wildfire safety tips because we were experiencing our first wildfire of the season. This week’s almost Wordless Wednesday post features some of the images taken during the wildfire. It’s always amazing how beauty can come out of disaster and devastation.

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Family Life’s Passport 2 Purity Getaway Kit

The Passport 2 Purity Set gives parents the tools they need to create a meaningful getaway to talk about important matters in their child's life. #passport2purity #flyby

Special thanks to FlyBy Promotions for providing a review copy of the Passport 2 Purity materials for us to go over in our home.

13. One of the magical numbers in a child’s life. At 13, they become a teenager, a young adult. It wasn’t long ago that the age of 13 marked the time when a boy became a man. Many cultures mark this day with a celebration as a way to honor the person coming of age. Somewhere along the way, we have lost sight of the importance of celebrating such milestones with our kids. For Munchkin, we made a big deal of her 13th birthday including notes of encouragement from family members and a purity ring from Daddy.

As our children grow up, they are faced with many decisions. It’s our job to help guide them along their path and prepare them for their future. One of the important tasks along the way is talking about sex. It’s one of those topics that many parents shy away from, but it’s certainly not something that we want them learning about first from friends, school, or the media. We want them to learn about it in a way that will stress that sex isn’t something that should be jumped into just because everyone else is doing it.

A special gift to remember this weekend getaway can help make the talk more memorable. #passport2purity #flyby

We have to talk about what???

Will it be comfortable to talk to your kiddo about sex? Most likely, no. Is it important? Yes. You know your child better than anyone else, so you may find that you need to have the talk sooner rather than later. You may also find that having open conversations as the topic comes up will help prepare the way for a more serious talk later. Whatever approach you take, make sure your child knows that you are there to answer any questions that they have about adolescence. Make sure you work on being more relaxed about talking to your child about all topics, even the uncomfortable ones.

Passport 2 Purity helps make the talk about sex, purity, adolescence, relationships, peer pressure… with your child a little easier. In fact, it turns the talk into a weekend of fun and bonding. It gives you a step-by-step guide on how to talk to your kids and includes fun activities to drive the message home. Dennis and Barbara Rainey are your guides throughout this weekend. There are times throughout the weekend when there needs to be separate talks for the boys and girls, so Barbara handles the girl talk while Dennis handles the guy talk.

Make the talk using the Passport 2 Purity materials more special by having a getaway weekend. #passport2purity #flyby

The Getaway Weekend

To make things easier, the program has a schedule all laid out for you. It’s a two day program, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.

Your getaway begins on a Friday evening. It’s recommended that you actually do get away from home, so you can make the weekend something truly special for your child. Not to mention, you’ll be away from the normal distractions that come with staying at home. I don’t know about you, but if we stay at home, I tend to get caught up in tasks that need to be done which means I need to be intentional about setting aside time for quality family time. That’s why it’s often easier to get away as you remove yourself from the daily grind – especially if you leave the electronics behind. That being said, you will be listening to 2 different sessions as well as doing a couple of projects, so you’ll want to make sure you have an mp3 player or cd player available.

On Saturday morning, you’ll complete 2 more sessions including a couple of projects. There is an optional session that is gender specific which you may or may not decide to do depending on how comfortable you are with the information being presented and how it is presented. It’s highly recommended that you do at least talk about the subjects covered as you don’t want your child to deal with it on their own.

Saturday afternoon is free time that is meant to be spent doing something really special with your child based upon their interests.

Saturday evening is spent on session five as well as a project. You’ll be wrapping up your evening with a celebration dinner where, if desired, you’ll present your child with a gift as a keepsake from the weekend. While the weekend is over, there is still more for the child to do when they get back in the form of 25 devotionals. As your child goes through the devotionals, you’ll want to continue to touch base with them and pray with them. Don’t stop talking and bonding just because the weekend has ended.

The Passport 2 Purity Program requires preparation and prayer on the part of the parent. #passport2purity #flyby

Prepare and Pray for Your Child

It’s important to note that this isn’t just a pick up and go type of program. It requires preparation on the part of the parent to make the weekend successful. The Tour Guide is your best friend as it contains check-lists and everything you need to be prepared for the weekend. The most important part of all of this is praying for your child. All of this is great, but it’s all for not if you’re not praying for your child before, during, and after the weekend. There is a really good chance that there will be times throughout the weekend that you and/or your child will be uncomfortable with the topics being covered, but it’s important to continue working your way through the program.

All of the sessions are on cds, but there is also a cd that contains all of the sessions in mp3 format which makes it easy to put the sessions on you phone, tablet, or mp3 player. The student journal has a place for the parents to write a special note to the child as well as a place to put some photos of the parent(s) as they grew up. This program is set up to help open the communication lines between parents and children as it gives them a chance to talk about puberty, sex, purity, relationships…

As a parent, I highly recommend listening to all of the sessions prior to listening to them with your child. You want to know what will be said and not caught off guard. Some topics may be set aside for a later date, or you may find that you need to adjust how the information is being presented. Remember, you know your child best. I personally found that they approached all the topics well, but each child is different, so keep that in mind as you prepare for the weekend.

Parenting is not an easy job, but it is rewarding. This updated Passport 2 Purity program is there to help you have a little easier time with talking about some difficult topics with your growing child. The years between childhood and becoming an adult are not easy for the parent or the child, but it’s important that we’re fully committed to each child to give them the best chance for a successful life.

About the Passport 2 Purity Getaway Kit:

  1. Tour Guide for the parent
  2. Travel Journal for the preteen including 25 follow-up devotions
  3. (8) CDs containing 5 sessions, scripture memory songs and downloadable MP3s:
    • Session 1: Beginning the Journey – Challenges, Traps, and Choices
    • Session 2: Running With The Herd – Friendships and Peer Pressure
    • Session 3: Ready For An Upgrade? – Changes in Him, Changes in Her
    • Session 4: Destination: Lé Pure – Setting Boundaries
    • Session 5: Crossing The Date Line – Seeing Dating Differently

Connect with Family Life on the Family Life Website, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also connect with Dennis Rainey and Barbara Rainey on Twitter.

Want to purchase the kit? You can use the promo code PASSPORT to receive a 25% discount on the PASSPORT2PURITY GETAWAY KIT THIRD EDITION through 8/31/15.

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Fitness Friday: Yoga and Fitness Bands

Special thanks to Phantom Fitness for providing a sample of their fitness loop bands for me to test out during my workouts.

Testing out the fitness loop bands from Phantom Fitness #phantomfit #fitnessreview

Well, this week continued to be a struggle with migraines and regular headaches. The headaches eased up enough that I was able to at least do some yoga and some fitness band work. The yoga helped keep the tension out of my muscles that tends to build up with headaches and having to rest a lot. The fitness band work allowed me to get at least a little resistance exercise in without the physical activity associated with my normal fitness routine.

It’s been really hot, so trying to stay hydrated has been a constant battle. We’ve gone through a lot of water around here this week. Knowing that dehydration can cause headaches to get worse, I made sure that I was drinking lots of water.

Meals have been kept simple since I just haven’t felt up to making overly difficult dishes. (Not that I’m a big fan of complicated meals.) We still focused on healthy, real food meals with only a couple of exceptions like when Munchkin and D decided to have hot dogs. (I passed on the hot dogs even though they were turkey dogs.) Snacks included fruits, veggies, and popcorn. I’m definitely missing my smoothies, but the blender is just way too loud when my head hurts.


Set of 4 Fitness Loop Bands with storage bag from Phantom Fitness #phantomfit #fitness

I have used a variety of fitness bands in the past, but I had never used the fitness band loop. I received a set of resistance loop bands from Phantom Fit to test out and review in my home. They’re like giant rubberbands which is rather fun. Normally, when you want to do certain exercises with fitness bands, you have to tie the ends of the resistance bands together to create the loop. The loop bands avoid that extra step, and you don’t have to go to the trouble of needing to untie them when you’re done.

The set that I received included 4 different bands (light – blue, medium – red, heavy – green, extra heavy – black) with a storage bag. I like the storage bag as it help keep at least some of the dog hair off the bands, and it keeps them all together. The different weights of bands allows me to adjust the resistance used in the different exercises.

These are loop bands are a nice edition to the fitness bands that we already own as they provide a different experience from the traditional fitness bands. I really prefer to use these over the other fitness bands in any exercises that require a loop. The are a comfortable width, so they don’t dig into the skin when in use.

Now, I just need to get rid of these headaches, so I can get back into my regular fitness program. :) I’m **gasp** actually missing the harder physical activities. Who would have thought? I’m thankful that I was at least able to get in some exercise this week. We’ll see what this next week holds.

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Wildfire Season: Safety Tips

Smoke filled sky from the #lakefire wildfire

We woke up this morning to a sky filled with smoke. It made for an amazing sunrise, but breathing in ash and smoke kind of takes away some of the beauty. It was a reminder that wildfire season is upon us. Since moving to the desert, we’ve experienced several different wildfires, but thankfully, we’ve never had to be evacuated. That being said, we always make sure that we’re ready “just in case” when wildfire season begins.

We recently spent a good bit of time creating a defensible space around our home. It’s a lot of work, but it feels good to have that little bit of extra security.

Here are a few things to keep in mind during wildfire season:

Prepare for wildfire season with these wildfire safety tips #wildfiresafety

Protecting Your Home

  1. Defensible Space. You should have at least a space of 30 feet, but 100 feet is better if you have pine or other flammable trees around your home. This space should be free of debris that could easily catch on fire. Trees should be trimmed so they are 15 feet from the ground. If you have tree tops that touch, you’ll want to trim them back. Make sure all trees and bushes are pruned, so they do not touch the house. Make sure your wood pile is at least 100 feet from your home.
  2. Water. Make sure you have water to put out small fires and wet down areas around the house. If you have an electric pump, have a back-up generator available to pump the water. Make sure your hose reaches various areas on your property or have a portable water supply available.
  3. Supplies. Make sure you have shovels, rakes, and other tools to be able to fight the fire (including a bucket). Have multiple fire extinguishers on hand and make sure they are still in usable condition. Have a ladder available that allows you to get on the roof, if needed.
  4. Maintenance. Clean and inspect your chimney at least twice a year. Remove garbage and other flammable items from around the home. Clean debris from chimney, roof, and porch.

Protecting Your Family

  1. Emergency Plan. Make sure you have a family emergency plan in place and that everyone understands it. Practice your emergency plan. Have a place for the entire family to meet up if something goes wrong. Have a plan for communication if your family gets separated.
  2. Emergency Kit. Put together an emergency kit that has all the supplies you would need for 72 hours. Don’t forget medications and other necessary day-to-day supplies. Have a plan for your important documents. Make sure your important documents are stored in a fireproof safe.
  3. Safety Measures. Make sure you have fire alarms installed and that your routinely check them to make sure they are functioning properly.

Fire Safety

During wildfire season, the slightest thing can set off a fire. Make sure you that you’re following local fire regulations especially during the dry seasons. Follow safe procedures for disposing of flammable items. Make sure any fires – even those on the grill – are properly put out. Never leave a fire unattended.

For more information about wildfire safety, you can head over to firewise.org. They have some great information as well as courses on wildfire safety for homeowners and a firewise landscaping course.

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