my short hair

Time to examine my thoughts on my experiment with Weight Watchers 360, the online version of Weight Watchers. First of all, I want to stress that this is my opinion. While the site and the mobile apps had interesting and useful features, I just did not use them very much and I never felt like I enjoyed the online community.

For example, I had a lot of trouble finding all my foods in the online food tracker and I rarely could get the barcode scanner to scan my stuff.  I also joined a group in the community, yet never got more than one message from the group. I think I was supposed to visit the group site more and chat up people. I am just too introverted and busy to mess with that.

As I am already on the computer as a blogger and involved in forums, I suspect I personally need to get away from the computer and spending time online in order to really change my lifestyle. As I mentioned in Day 7 of my Weight Watchers Diary, I feel like using the fitbit to keep you honest about your true exercise habits and being more active on a daily basis will help me more than just watching my food intake and changing some habits. All of those together of course, are great, but I already know much of what WW 360 is telling me, I am just not DOING the things. I did just notice that Weight Watchers looks like they are promoting a new item that will track your movements, called the activelink. Interesting. I may have tried the Weight Watchers 360 too early.

Anyway, if you are interested in using Weight Watchers and Weight Watchers online, I really recommend doing a trial of the online version but also visiting a local weight watchers group. You can see if you really need to be in a physical group for support or if the online fits your lifestyle. You can also do both an online and local support group at the same time, and the cost varies depending on what you choose.

I do like the Weight Watchers magazine, so I ordered that. I like the recipes and the how to prepare food videos that are available on the ipad app, that is part of the WW 360.

So, I guess my final thoughts on this are that they do have some really useful information, especially on how to prepare food in a healthy manner and how to make changes in your habits. Yet, I did not feel supported by the online forums and I didn’t love the food tracking app available for smartphones.

In the end, I think Weight Watchers 360 has lots of good information and decent apps, but I need more live accountability, myself.

Right now, there is a two week risk free trial showing up on the Weight Watchers site. So, now would be a decent time to try and see what you think!!

*I received a complimentary 3 month subscription to Weight Watchers Online.“People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.”

Veggie Tales

The Little House that Stood

Join Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and some new piggy friends in a parable of ‘The Wise and Foolish Builders’ from Matthew 7 in the new Veggie Tales, The Little House That Stood.

My daughter enjoyed this one, and when I asked her what she learned, she immediately replied that she learned “to follow God’s Word and build on a firm foundation.” So I guess she got the point of the story!

I managed to sit through it as well {grin}. It was cute. I am always watching with a critical eye, I admit. I liked two of the pigs and was annoyed by one. It is always good when the stories actually teach your children decent values. Overall, I liked the plot and basic theme of making good choices, by following the “Master Builder’s Handbook.”

The second video seemed to be placed because of Easter, with a Humpty Dumpty story. I didn’t enjoy that one as much as the first, mainly because I agreed the mayor needed a break!  Yet, it also kept my daughter’s attention and she seemed pleased by the happy ending.

Take a look at their website. They have tons of resources for parents, a discussion guide, coloring pages, and more.

You can also watch for fun stuff for your kids at Veggie Tales on facebook, or follow them on twitter.

AND, I get to give one The Little House That Stood DVD away!

Just leave me a comment telling me who you want to win the DVD for ~ OR who your favorite Veggie Tales character is! I will choose a winner on March 15, 2013.

 

 

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Little Angels Prayers for Everyday by Roma Downey

Little Angels Prayers for Everyday by Roma Downey

Remember your own bedside prayers? This book, Little Angels Prayers for Every Day, by Roma Downey with Illustrator Lisa Reed, brings back memories of some of my favorites.

This is so sweet for children ages about 2-6, in my opinion. Through this series, which teaches about God’s love, children can derive comfort and have their own special book!

Little Angels Prayers for Every Day offers children their own handbook of prayers. With likeable characters, such as the twins Alex and Zoe and their guardian angels and plenty of rhymes this book will be a nice gift for little hands. I like that the book is a padded board book, with 32 pages and a smaller size for young children. (6.25 x 7.25)

There are over 50 simple prayers for children to identify with and enjoy. The rhyming prayers start with morning prayers and continue throughout the day.

The book includes prayers for specific times, such as prayers to ask the Lord for help or guidance. Relevant Bible verses are included on many pages. I really think this is a good book for little ones to pore over.

We will be sending ours to a special little cousin!

See more on the website, on their Facebook page, on the author’s twitter or even on youtube.

Want to win a copy? Just leave me a comment letting me know who you want to win this book for!

I will draw a winner on March 15, 2013.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Christian Children's books, Faith, Children's Books

Well written Children’s Books

I just got an email about this and wanted to share~ we have some of these and they are very well written and discuss issues important to children with a Christian perspective. Things like, why does Dad not have a job to why should people have faith. Here are some:

Select Seasons of Faith picture books are just $5 each. That’s 50% off! Choose from the following titles for your little valentine:

  • The King’s Daughter
  • The Red Boat
  • The Prize Cake
  • Saying Farewell
  • Race with Midnight
  • Braving the Storm
  • Seventy Times Seven
  • You Can’t Come In

Sale ends February 14, 2013! Online: www.shopcbh.org

Just a solid series of books. The illustrators vary, but they are usually cute. This would be a real heart gift! 

You may also want to look into their devotional magazine for kids, called Keys for Kids.

My daughter loves these. They do ask for a donation, but they also offer a free subscription (one per family).

*I am actually not an affiliate, I just like these:)

CBH Ministries

CBH Ministries

Ryken's Bible Handbook, Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, Bible as literature, Bible Reference

A great addition to a home library.

Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, James Wilhoit , Hardcover, 672 pages, Trim Size 5 1/4 x 8

One of the fun things for me in reviewing faith based books is finding out things my husband knows and never mentions! Yes, my husband went to Wheaton and I love asking his opinion.

When I received this book my husband picked it up and mentioned that Philip Ryken is currently the President of Wheaton College.

I found it interesting, that one of the authors of this Bible Handbook is the president of Wheaton. (although, psst, he was not yet when this book published)

I became curious about Ryken’s history. Turns out, Ryken’s father is Christian literary scholar and Wheaton professor, Leland Ryken, and Philip Ryken graduated from Wheaton College with a double major in English literature and philosophy. He also received a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1992, and a Ph.D. in historical theology from Oxford in 1995.

After learning all this about the authors, I understand better why they would write such a Bible handbook, a Biblical reference that looks at each individual book in the Bible as literature, while also looking at the Bible as a whole, complex piece of literature full of literary genres, from the poetry of the psalms to the story parables.

This is a reference book that is extremely detailed, yet somehow fun to read! The reference goes through each book of the Bible, all 66. It is very easy to pick it up as you are studying a particular book of the Bible and just glean a little bit more about what you are reading. You also can just read the entire book as a book, it is so fascinating. I like how the authors break everything down into bits of information.

The beginning portion looks at how the Bible functions as a whole piece of literature. What the main storylines and themes are. You’ll look at the big characters. For example, God is the chief protagonist. (no surprise there, right?)

The main section is where you will go through the Bible book by book. For example, in looking at the Book of Esther, you will see an explanation on how Esther is a unified narrative, with a single main plot.

You will see the structure and unity of the story in (of) the Book of Esther. Little sidebar extras mention the “numbers” that are important in the story of Esther (i.e. 10 banquets). You get a rundown of the key places and characters, key doctrines and themes, tips for teaching the book, a quick overall overview and a lesson in what a “Hero” story is. As you finish up, there is a portion that describes the “Contribution of this Book to the Bible’s Story of Salvation in Christ.” This is a great bit of wrap-up, I think. Finally there is a bit on applying the book and some quotes that offer other’s perspectives on this book. In about eight pages, you can learn so much about what to look for in the book of Esther.

This is done for each book of the Bible. Some are, understandably much longer than the Book of Esther, yet still not ever boring.

In the back, you’ll find a one year Bible reading plan and about 15 pages of colorful maps.

I really recommend adding this book to your library. Five stars from me.

 

*I received a copy of this book to review from Tyndale House Publishers.

 

 

Weight Watchers Diary Day 7

February 6, 2013
food, cake, family birthday, butternut squash, snacks

The past few days have been a weird mix of doing well and totally failing!

 

Weight Watchers Diary — Login Day 7

Well, I have been doing pretty awful on my Weight Watchers challenge. I have been relying on the Weight Watchers mobile app, and that just isn’t helping me stay on track. It did not help that in the past few days, we had the SuperBowl and a family birthday.. Those two events ruined my plans to be cautious with eating.

On the bright side, prior to the SuperBowl and making a (fantastic) Ina Garten Carrot Cake, I did make a really good roasted butternut squash and parsnip casserole. It was very low in points due to the vegetables, and I was proud I tried parsnips.

Overall, though, once you have an IPA, your food budget is pretty shot. The day after, I also talked to a friend who uses a FitBit and swears that is a great item, so I am going to look into that. I need to increase activity. I know I cannot just count on reducing calories to get fit again. I am in my {ahem} 40’s, and accidental calories really count these days.

So, to help succeed the rest of this week, I plan to

  • login to the Weight Watchers online–no use counting on the app, I need more support, maybe some chat?
  • add some activity. Anything is something
  • think about going to a WW meeting. I’m not super thrilled with this online stuff. I like the recipes and knowing the points and serving sizes but that’s not stopping me from overindulging.
  • Read up on the FitBit

Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

“I received a trial of the Weight Watchers 360 program to facilitate this review.” “People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.”

The Vertical Self Review

February 5, 2013

The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers

The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers

When I read about this book, through Tommy Nelson and Booksneeze, it sounded fantastic. The theme of the book seemed to be about sifting through our misguided media driven culture to find our true self in Christ.

However, when I received this book for review, I had trouble getting into it. The prose seemed too wordy, almost verbose and I found my mind wandering while reading. I was surprised as I rarely do that. So, I put the book aside for awhile. I got it out again, and read a few more chapters several months later. I thought some of the author’s examination of our media driven culture to be interesting and I agree that we, individually are more controlled by imagery in the media than we suspect, yet, I still felt the book was lacking cohesiveness to me. I figured it might be written with a really specific audience in mind and I was not that audience.

I did feel that the information given was good and reflected biblical truth, yet it just was too dry for me. I ultimately did not even finish this book and donated it to our church library.

*BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my review.

 

Weight Watchers Diary Day 2

January 31, 2013
weight watchers 360 app

Getting used to planning what I will eat

 

Weight Watchers Dairy — Login Day 2

Well, today was my true kick –off day! I was ready, after trying out the Weight Watchers 360 and the app last night. So far today, I am doing super well.

At 8 am, I was a bit shocked to realize my “bit” of milk in my coffee was actually a ¼ cup of milk and worth 1 point. I often have about 4 cups of coffee throughout the day, so there’s a cup of milk. I had a few light bulb moments like this as the day went on.

I did sit each time, while eating. I KNOW this will help me, because I am bad about eating little bits while fixing the kids meals. This way, nothing goes in my mouth unless I am sitting (except water/coffee!) I do better choosing all or nothing goals like this.

I had one frustration today.  I hate to be a Debbie Downer but I want to be brutally honest so others can see this from all angles. My frustration was with the barcode scanner. Many of my foods were not recognized by the scanner.

I have used My Fitness Pal before and I liked that scanner. For now, I figure it may be user error and I will keep at it, but I want to be able to scan and enter bar codes, not figure out every detail of a food myself. Even for some Natura Cabernet Sauvingnon…I could not find any calorie information even on the Natura website. I have not asked for help on the forum, so I should probably do that.

I guess my biggest wish right now would be that I could scan everything more easily. I’m about to make some homemade chili and I want my true calories not what someone else thinks may be in this. Hmmmm. This will take a bit of time.

But, nevertheless, I sit here today knowing I have eaten less and been more aware of my intake. I also did some cleaning, so a grabbed 1 extra weight watchers point for that. Tomorrow I hit the new Kinnect exercise video I got for Christmas.

I also got some things at the store to try a new recipe. This was a featured recipe on the app and is only 1 point!

weight watchers 360

weight watchers featured recipe

Another plus is that my children are watching and becoming more aware of portion sizes. I have always taught them that, but it is true that they learn what they see me do…not always the same as what I say.

“I received a trial of the WW online program to facilitate my review.” “People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.”

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