Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday Challenge: DVD Organization

Looking for a perfect Spring cleaning project that can involve your kids that will get you organized for summer? While we all have high hopes that we'll check off a fun activity on the summer bucket list everyday, let's be real - there are going to be days, no matter how hot it is outside, that you're going to want to plop them in front a movie to shut them up for a solid 2 hours. Which is why this project is a must if you're feeling like your DVD, music  and/or video game collection is out of control.

Now normally involving the kids in any sort of organizational project is a total nightmare but let's attempt to make this fun. First corral the kids and tell them to make a big pile of all the DVD's. Explain to them that they are to make two piles; ones they watch and ones they don't. Do NOT tell them upfront that the movies in the "don't watch" pile are going to be given away. Kids tend to become hoarders then. After the two piles are sorted, tell them they are going to donate the "don't watch" movies to kids less fortunate. Hint: good teaching moment here. ;)

Have the kids then dump the donate pile into a bag, load into the car for you and their work is done.

As for the remaining favorites, head to the Container Store or buy online the 120-disc acrylic storage box. The innovative design of this media organizer holds a whopping 120 CDs or DVDs (without cases) in a small amount of space. The stackable box features channels that suspend colorful hanging sleeves that protect discs from scratches.  It includes 60 double-sided sleeves in six colors but additional storage sleeves are available (sold separately).

Once you have the storage box, toss the plastic cases and slip the discs into the sleeves. File them alphabetically and then tuck the box away or display on a side shelf since its so cute and organized.

And if you want to add movie day to the summer bucket list, take it to the next level and make it "Mimosas and Movies." My girlfriend does this and I think it's brilliant. Make it a playdate. Invite over your girlfriend and her kids. While they watch, you sip a mimosa and get some girl time. Cheers!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Food Friday: Spaghetti with Kale Pesto

Wondering how to incorporate kale - the health world's favorite dark, leafy green of 2014 - into your diet beyond kale chips and green smoothies? Here is a twist on spaghetti that will pump some serious vitamins into an average everyday meal.

~Spaghetti with Kale Pesto~
Recipe from Dr. Oz's "The Good Life" magazine

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes 4 servings


8 oz. kale (Tuscan if available), stemmed, leaves torn (5 cups loosely packed leaves)
1 clove garlic
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
6 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti


> Add the kale, garlic, Parmesan, almonds, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until very finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Slowly add the olive oil with the machine running. Pulse until the mixture is thoroughly combined and smooth.

> Cook the pasta in salted water. Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water.

> Add 3/4 cup pesto (any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for at least a week) and 2 Tbsp pasta water to a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add pasta and toss until thoroughly coated, adding more pasta water by tablespoon if necessary to form a creamy sauce.


Did you know? Kale is being called “the new beef,” “the queen of greens” and “a nutritional powerhouse.” Here are ten great benefits of adding more kale to your diet:

1. Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.

2. Kale is high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.

3. Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.

5. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.

6. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.

7. Kale is high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.

8. Kale is high in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.

9. Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility

10. Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Digital Savings 101

Did you know that 96.8 million adults will use digital coupons this year? Are you one of them? Normally I am not but my mom recently turned me on to If I'm not shopping on Amazon, I'll always search the store on Retail Me Not prior to purchasing to see if they have a valid promo code to save a little extra.

Wondering where to look? The Internet can be a treasure trove when it comes to getting the most for your money. Thanks to Family Circle magazine, Denise Winston, author of Money Starts Here! Your Practical Guide to Survive and Thrive in Any Economy, and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, these recommended sites are the best to bookmark for bargains on food, fun and more.
At this gateway to savings, you'll see dozens of deals at a glance from the top couponing destinations (the homepage is constantly updated with a slew of news feeds). Each of the featured sites includes a range of shopping categories, so you can snag coupons for groceries as well as your teen's favorite mall store from the same page.
Got your eye on a leather handbag or that space-saving coffeemaker? Find product details, where-to-buy info and current sales prices for everything on your wish list and shave costs by an average of 20% to 25% on clothing, appliances, electronics and home goods. Set up an alert so you'll be notified when a certain item hits the price you've named.
Pocket some dough while filling your food cart. Make a shopping list and then search locally for those products with the "Quick Shop" option, which can save you up to 50% by culling rock-bottom prices from various stores.
If you need some inspiration for a budget getaway, Travelzoo's e-newsletter, This Week's Top 20, gleans great deals on flights, hotels, trip packages and cruises with the help of more than 2,000 travel and entertainment companies. All recommendations have been expert-tested to ensure they're first-rate.
Buy certificates at reduced prices to more than 18,000 restaurants nationwide and you can enjoy more family dinners out (and date nights too) without groaning over the tab. Search by name, location or cuisine to find exactly what you're craving.
We've all been given gift cards we'll never use. Sell them to Granny and then buy discounted ones (most are more than 10% cheaper than current value) for the stores you love. Sign up to be alerted when a card at one of your preferred vendors becomes available.
No time to skim local daily deal sites? No problem. Let a newsletter do the work. Create one by choosing your favorite sites from the many offered here (LivingSocial, Groupon and Woot, for example) and you'll be sent a list of bargains. Discounts are available in more than 200 cities.
It's the place to go for printable coupons and online promotional codes. On average you can save about $20 per transaction with discounts for chains like Macy's and Target as well as local boutiques.
Subscribers receive information on samples and giveaway contests in addition to deals and coupons several times a week. What's not to love?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beating the Belly Blues

Hello again!!!! My apologizes for going MIA on y'all. I thought I would give myself some grace during the transition from two to four kids...overnight. We are nothing but overjoyed with the addition of our identical twin girls, Reese and Rio, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's friggin' HARD work!!! There is nothing like doing multiple babies at ONE time. On top of attending to two active boys, ages 5 and just turned 3. It is anything but quiet around my hood.

Today however, I did have some time while my angels are napping and my boys are at school. I thought I'd log onto the blog and see what's shakin. Surprisingly, you're all still giving Hailey's Helpful Hints some love despite my absence. In fact - my one post "Tame the Tum - Spare Tire or Stress Bulge?" continues to get blown up on Pinterest! Who would have thought 4,946,000 people would be interested in such an article?? And no that's not a typo - 4 MILLION+ peeps. I too am shocked. And so thankful for the readers!!

So as I sat here thinking about what to blog on, I figured it's only appropriate to provide some helpful tips on something you all interested in - belly fat and bloating!

Sadly belly fat doesn’t just innocently sit under your skin and force you to loosen your belt another notch. It lives deep in your body, around your organs. And according to Dr. Oz, that deep fat is a troublemaker. It cranks out hormones and proteins that can trigger chronic inflammation and raise your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even colon cancer.

Did you know?

You need to eat fat to lose fat. It’s time to stop being fat-phobic and start focusing on getting the right fats. Eating healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - those are the types found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts - may trim what’s around your middle. One study found that people who got 25% of their daily calories from healthy fats gained less belly fat than people who ate fewer healthy fats.

Belly fat hates whole grains. That’s why you should love them. Refined grains like white pasta and white rice tend to feed a muffin top and may increase your risk for problems like diabetes, too. But eating whole grains like quinoa, barley, and whole wheat pasta might boost weight loss. In one study, people who included whole grains in their diets lost nearly eight pounds in 12 weeks, while refined-grain eaters lost only about six.

Belly fat thrives on stress. When the pressure's on, your body produces the "stress hormone" cortisol, which makes fat pile up around your midsection. Pretty discouraging when are surrounded by stress all day, everyday. Try these instant calmers and start getting stress under control in as little as 60 seconds.

Are you one of the many that wake up with a flat belly only to find that by the end of the day your stomach looks like you are 6 months pregnant? Ugh, isn't that the worst?? So many women are misled that they need to get on the floor and bust out 1,000 sit-ups. Not the case. According to gastroenterologist Dr. Robynne Chutkan, below is a step by step plan - that you can start today - to eliminate hidden causes of tummy trouble and beat your bloat in the kitchen.
Step 1: Start your day with an anti-bloat elixir - Many people are jinxing themselves right off the bat by reaching for bagels or sugary cereals first thing in the morning. These foods clog up your system and set you up for day-long gas buildup. Instead, get your system moving right away by blending together this fiber-rich elixir that helps food move through your digestive tract.
Aim to get 25 grams or more of fiber a day, but if you normally eat a low-fiber diet, start slow and gradually increase the amount. If you notice a little extra bloating at first, don't be deterred – most people's bodies will adjust to increased amounts of fiber over time.

Step 2: Supersize your lunch - Many people eat their biggest meal at dinner, but eating too late at night can cause a log jam in your gut. To help beat bloat, you should enjoy a three-course lunch instead. Make sure your lunch includes about 10 grams of fiber to help keep your food moving. Here's a good example of a fiber-rich, delicious lunch option:
  • First course: Salad (add in all your favorite veggies and a light dressing)
  • Main course: Grilled fish with sweet potato and a cup of steamed broccoli
Step 3: Eat a finely chopped dinner and avoid leftovers - Now that you've had your supersize lunch, go for a one-course, easy-to-digest dinner. Big meals and big bites can be hard for our bodies to digest in the evening. Chopped food can facilitate digestion and leaves less empty space trapped in the belly. A bowl of chopped chicken, veggies and rice is a great option.
The second dinner rule is no eating leftovers. You may think you're doing yourself a favor by bringing home your leftover food for later meals, but allowing certain starches like pasta, rice and potatoes to cool and then reheating them can change their molecular structure and make them more likely to plug up your colon and cause significant discomfort.

Step 4:  Cut out dairy - Unfortunately, to say goodbye to bloat, you may have to say goodbye to dairy as well. At some point in their lives, nearly 75% of people experience lactose intolerance, which may be permanent or temporary. A little bit of lactose intolerance can contribute a lot to bloat.
Here are some easy swaps for dairy lovers:
  • Drink almond milk instead of cow's milk in your coffee, cereal, or smoothies
  • Try coconut-milk ice cream instead of regular ice cream
  • Try vegan cheese instead of normal cheese
It's important to make sure you're still getting plenty of calcium in your diet, but you have plenty of non-dairy options. Among them are salmon, sardines, mineral water, oranges, almond milk, sesame seeds and many nuts.

Bonus tip: Try fennel seeds - If you need a quick remedy for sudden bloat, try fennel seeds. They help melt away gas bubbles and only cost pennies a pinch. Try chewing a half-teaspoon before every meal.

You can read more about busting bloat in Dr. Chutkan's book, Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage.