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Looking Back

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.

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.

Wordless Wednesday: Faith and Hope

Faith and Hope

Faith and Hope give us the courage to take the first step towards achieving our dreams.

Taking a Look at Old Fashioned Movie, Book, and Devotional

Old Fashioned

Special thanks to FlyBy Promotions for providing a review copy of the movie, book, and devotional. All opinions are my own.

Old Fashioned MovieA Look at the Old Fashioned Movie…

Having old fashioned values in relationships in a modern world can turn some heads. When Clay turns his back on his former lifestyle and embraces old fashioned values in his relationships, people look at him likes he’s odd. In fact, over the years, it has cost him friends. When Amber comes into his life, his resolve is tested.

Old Fashioned focuses on two main themes: 1) old fashioned values in relationships and 2) forgiveness.

Clay is struggling with forgiving himself for his past sins, and he’s focusing on the letter of the law rather than the intent. His ideas of an old fashioned relationship are good, but his implementation can, at times, be a little off as he struggles to find balance between the old fashioned relationship scene and grace.

Amber has made a lot of mistakes and is constantly running from her past and relationships gone bad. Clay both intrigues her and infuriates her at the same time.

I wouldn’t classify this movie as a family friendly movie due to the topics being discussed. Clay and his buddies used to be party boys, so the movie covers all aspects of that lifestyle. Clay’s friend has a radio show where he talks about taking advantage of women. There is a good bit of drinking. If you want to use this as a teaching opportunity with older teens, I recommend viewing it first.

Movie Details:

A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America. DVD Releases on June 16, 2015 // 115 minutes // Genre: Drama // Rating PG-13

Old Fashioned BookA Look at the Old Fashioned Book…

Old Fashioned is a novelization of the movie by the same name. It’s virtually the same story as the movie, but you get to read a little more about how the individuals are thinking/feeling. I actually enjoyed the novel more than the movie as it gave greater insight into Clay and Amber’s lives and thought processes.

Book Details:

Turning his back on his reckless lifestyle, former frat boy Clay Walsh has settled down to turn an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town….and to purse lofty and outdated theories on love and romance. But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a gypsy soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can’t help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Amber also finds herself surprisingly drawn to Clay, but his ideas about relationships are unusual to say the least, and they bring to light her own deep wounds and fears about love. They say opposites attract, but can Clay and Amber move beyond their differences and their pasts to attempt an “old fashioned” courtship? Softcover; 303 pages

The Old Fashioned WayA Look at The Old Fashioned Way…

What does old fashioned really mean? Are we just romanticizing the way things used to be? Is there something to be said for men acting like men and women acting like women?

The Old Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance takes a closer look at the concepts covered in the movie, adds in some commentary, takes a Biblical look at the information, and encourages keeping a personal journal of responses to discussion questions. It’s a cross between a devotional and a discussion guide to the movie/book.

I appreciated the way that Ginger Kolbaba encourages readers/viewers to take a closer look at what an old fashioned relationship looks like within the context of a Biblical relationship. She also cautions against looking at the “good old days” through rose colored glasses.

There are 40 days of devotionals that include a quote from the movie, commentary, and scripture. Other things that may also be included are journaling activities, prayers, and things to consider. The focus really is on getting people to think about what a healthy, Biblical relationship looks like. It’s not about perfection. It most certainly will include grace and forgiveness. A healthy relationship will look different than what society declares is normal.

Devotional Details:

Contrary to popular opinion, being “old fashioned” doesn’t mean you’re dull or unromantic. In fact, a true old fashioned relationship can be more exciting and romantic than anything you’ve ever experienced! So what does it mean to do things the old fashioned way? Sure, it means opening doors, holding out chairs, and taking things slow. But a true old fashioned romance goes much, much deeper than that. Inspired by the motion picture Old Fashioned, this book will show you how to reclaim the lost art of romance by introducing you to romantic love as God intended it. Regardless of your past mistakes, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, or where you are now, you can find and create a love that will last a lifetime! As you work your way through this forty-day journey of inspiring readings and questions for reflection, you’ll discover all the unique and amazing benefits of doing things the old fashioned way. And before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to creating a love story for the ages. Softcover; 222 pages



Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness

Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness

Munchkin has been playing Nancy Drew games for many years. She got started on them after reading some of the books, and her interest in the games were renewed when the Nancy Drew movie came out several years ago. Since then, we have been picking up the computer games here and there. The older games were definitely more difficult and didn’t have all the hints that allow the newer games to be completed over a few days.

When we had the opportunity to receive a review copy of the latest game, Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness, I jumped on the opportunity as I knew that Munchkin would be thrilled to check out the new game. The game took her a few days to complete as she limited her playing time each day.

Here is what she thought of the game:

If you don’t like puzzles, you probably won’t like this game, but I really enjoyed all of the puzzles.


  • It has great graphics, good scenery, and good sound effects. The music was quite enjoyable.
  • The characters are interesting. It has a good plot with an amusing side-story between Ned, Nancy, and Burt.
  • The puzzles are challenging but accomplishable, and if you get stuck, hints are available.


  • It has jumpy transitions between scenes.
  • “Nance” was spelled as “Nan” in the first conversation between Ned and Nancy.
  • The villain was not treated as a villain for his crimes by everyone else.
  • One of the characters (Dagny), as revealed through a scribbling in a book and a texting conversation on her phone, was a lesbian and has more than one relationship going. While this is subtle enough where many may not pick up on it, I felt it was important to point out.

Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness is an overall interesting game, and I would give it four stars.

Nancy Drew Sea of Darkness

Game Details and Specs:

Set a Course for Danger and Discovery!

The celebrated ship “Heerlijkheid,” is usually the centerpiece of an Icelandic town’s local festival. Now that its captain has disappeared, the renovated vessel has become an eerie distraction. Did Captain Magnus sail away with a legendary treasure, or was he carried off into the night? Take the helm as detective Nancy Drew and set a course for the Sea of Darkness!

Game Features:

Solve puzzles and interrogate suspects as you retrace the steps of the missing captain
Learn the truth about the Heerlijkheid’s secret past and Iceland’s darkest days
Earn money by mastering your knowledge of the Land of Fire and Ice
Master maritime knots, terms and seaworthy tasks dating back to the 1700s
Sleuth at Amateur or Master level and erase any mistakes without starting over

Operating System:

  • Windows® Vista/7/8
  • OS X: OS X: 10.6.8 Snow Leopard/10.7 Lion/10.8 Mountain Lion/10.9 Mavericks/10.10 Yosemite or higher

Windows Minimum System Requirements:

  • 1.5 GHZ or greater Pentium 4 CPU or equivalent class
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 3GB or more hard drive space
  • 128 MB DirectX 9.0 compatible video card
  • 16 bit DirectX compatible sound card
  • 4x DVD drive
  • Keyboard, mouse and speakers

Mac Minimum System Requirements:

  • Intel processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 3 GB or more hard drive space
  • Intel GMA X3100, ATI X1600, NVIDIA 7300 graphics card or better
  • 4x DVD drive
  • Keyboard, mouse and speakers
  • Internet connection the first time the game is launched
  • This game will NOT run on PowerPC (G3/G4/G5) based Mac systems (PowerMac)

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the above mentioned game from Her Interactive. A positive review was neither required nor guaranteed. All opinions are based upon personal experiences with the game.