Momtastrophe or Momtastic

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Spoonful (or 12) of Sugar

I asked Ellen Miller of Isobreathing to give us the scoop on how food and drinks we consider healthy can be deceiving.

Read your labels!

The new year is upon us and many of us make our yearly resolutions to become healthier and lose weight. I was asked to write this article as an eye opener for many. Yes we have been told to read our labels but how many of you are actually doing this. While there are many components to reading labels I am going to focus on sugar for this article. I hope that the references below will help you be more aware before you purchase foods especially if you are feeding young children.

When reading labels do you know what ingredients are actually sugar?

Look for: malt, sorghum, sucrose, fructose, maltose, glucose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, maple, brown sugar, powered sugar, brown rice syrup, cane juice.

or sugar alcohols: mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol

Look there's sugar in my yogurt: A great article on how much sugar is in yogurt. We typically think of yogurt as a healthy option. The photo above shows 8 teaspoons!

Remember every 4 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon.

More Sugar Shockers:

Apple cider 81 grams (20 teaspoons),

Instant coffee with sugar cappuccino flavored 64 grams (16 teaspoons),

Fruit punch powdered mix 95 grams ( 23 teaspoons)

Sweet tea 95 grams,

Grape juice frozen concentrate sweetened 36 grams

Salad dressing for coleslaw reduced fat 38.4 grams

Canned fruit 77 grams

Dried cranberries sweetened 62.6 grams,

Carmel popcorn 64 grams,

Banana chips 25.7 grams

Granola bars oats fruits and nut 40 grams

Upon checking WebMD I found:

SoBe Energy or Elixir: 16 ounces = 52-54 grams sugar, 200-220 calories

SoBe Green Tea: 16 ounces = 50 grams sugar, 200 calories

Snapple Iced Tea, Peach, Lemon, or Raspberry: 16 ounces = 46-50 grams sugar, 200 calories

Arizona Iced Tea: 16 ounces = 48 grams sugar, 180 calories

Snapple Antioxidant Water, Agave Melon: 20 ounce bottle = 32 grams sugar, 140 calories

Glaceau Vitamin Water: 20 ounce bottle = 32 grams sugar, 125 calories

Gatorade Bring It, Shine On, or Be Tough: 16 ounces = 28 grams sugar, 100 calories

Instant Cocoa: You’d probably expect hot cocoa mix to have cocoa, or maybe powdered milk, highest on its list of ingredients. But for Swiss Miss Mocha Cappuccino and Marshmallow flavors, the first and second ingredients are sugar and corn syrup, with cocoa listed as the fourth ingredient.

Swiss Miss Mocha Cappuccino or Marshmallow flavors: 1 envelope made with 6 ounces water = 19 grams sugar, 120 calories

What can you do?

Read your labels, keep an eye out for the sneaky sugars and choose products without added sugar.

Make your own, to enjoy yogurt without the added sugar, make your own flavored yogurt starting with Greek Yogurt (it has 4.5g sugar per half cup and it is not from added sugars, but the sugar found naturally in the milk) and add in fruit.

Drink more Water, Hydration is very important in overall health and wellness add in a slice of lemon or lime to give your water flavor and save yourself the calories of the drinks listed above.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Decoding your DSLR Camera

One of my New Year Resolutions is to figure out how to use more than just the auto setting on my DSLR. I turned to my good friend and fellow April Mommy Cassie Sperling of Studio None Photography, located in San Diego, CA for help. (She is also famous and was recently on the Dr. Oz show which is super cool)

Guest Blogger Cassie Sperling:
So, you have this really cool DSLR camera, but you don't know how to use it outside of the auto mode. You find yourself playing around with it, but then realize, you can't take a photo in the dark. "I paid all this money for a nice camera and it won't take a picture in the dark..." That was me not too long ago. I purchased my first DSLR in 2008 and have taught myself, without any courses, how to take better photos.

Exposure is your best friend in the photography world. Literally, just like your best friend, you find the exposure is sometimes way too bright for your liking, or too dark. Like your friendships, there needs to be a balance. Looking through your viewfinder (through the eye piece), you will see a meter on the bottom that lights up. Your goal here is to place the bar in the center of the meter to capture the best exposed photo. You can get creative with this feature if you want to purposefully over or under expose a photo.

"How do I get that bar to move?" you ask. There are a couple of ways to move that bar. ISO speed, shutter speed, and your f stop (or aperture), will help you create the perfect photo. Low light situations call for a higher ISO speed. The higher your ISO, the more light is let into your lens. Remember what I said about balance? High ISO speeds produce a lot of noise in your photos (the grainy pixels), so make adjustments with your f stop and shutter speed to create a nice balance. If you have editing software, such as Adobe Lightroom, you can reduce the noise in your photos and won't have to worry as much about a higher ISO speed. If you do not have editing software, play around with your settings, get them on the computer ASAP so you can get instant feedback and make adjustments in the future.

Your shutter speed works in the opposite direction as compared to the ISO. The higher the fraction on your shutter speed, the faster the shutter opens and closes, and the less light is allowed in through the lens. Sharp photos are produced with a faster shutter speed to reduce camera shake and to increase image stability. In combination with the ISO, your exposure is almost set.

You are in love with the photos that focus in on a subject, but are nice and blurry in the background, but how do you take that photo? (note from Mrs. Alexandria, I have always wondered this I am so excited to finally have the answer) The f stop, or aperture, determines the blur of the background, as well as how much light can be let into the lens. A low number for your f stop, such as 4.0, allows the lens to bring in more light to the camera. I always start out setting up the f stop to produce the image I am trying to capture, then I adjust the ISO speed and shutter speed.

Now that you are balanced, what are we missing? Our subject! The most important aspect of your photo. Kids are the perfect subject to test out your photography skills. With their fast action, they keep you on your toes, and will keep you adjusting your settings on your DSLR.

I have found, if you want a child to cooperate with you to get the perfect shot, start out by getting down on their level. Less intimidation is key...well, that and bribes too. Play with the angles as you capture your images; at the same time, interact with the kid. Sometimes it is hard to forget they are just sitting there building up large amounts of energy. Try some photos from up high, down low, to the side, from behind, or even straight on. Practice will make you a better photographer and it will also help you develop your own style. Remember, the more photos you take, the more you can learn about your camera, its settings, and your own style. Go grab your DSLR and start playing!

Be sure to follow Cassie on Facebook or send her an email if you have any questions

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Free Dog Treats!

In honor of my best furry friend Remy turning 10 this month I will be giving away a free bag of Remy Ribbons with each dog treat order at Aunt Sasha's Barked Goods! Give the gift of love to your best friend this holiday season with all-natural doggie treats. My dogs give them 2 paws up!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pinterest Project: Crayon Art

I found another fun project idea on pinterest, crayon art! It looked like a simple enough project, attach crayons to canvas and melt with a hair dryer or put crayons through a glue gun and melt. Above you can see the first method which my sister created this weekend (The top photo she placed pieces of crayon on the canvas which was laid flat and the hair dryer was held above the canvas and the second the canvas was upright to allow the crayon to melt downward). I decided to use the glue gun approach (I only splattered a little across my face, ouch!)

First I went online and googled silhouette stickers. I found a few I liked and printed them out. I then cut them out and traced them onto my canvas. I then filled in the picture with a black fabric marker.

Next, I covered my drawing with cardboard and painters tape.

I set my up my project in a cardboard box and used a blank canvas to test out how the melted crayon was going to flow.

The melted crayon came out in splatters, drips and runs, there really was not much consistency to it. I had to use a pencil behind each crayon to help push the crayon through. As you can see in the picture the process got a little messy (thank goodness it mostly stayed contained in the cardboard box)

Here is my final result!

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