Mr. and Mrs. Geek Speak #8

24 Apr

Hey geeks! We’re back!!

And we’re back with guests! Last night we sat down with Mike and Tim from BTL Sports to talk Arrow and The Flash, two comic book shows on the CW.

Know that this podcast talks about our thoughts before watching the show and will delve into what we’ve seen so far so if you haven’t caught up and don’t want to be spoiled, plug your ears!

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Check back in when the season is over to see our thoughts on how both shows wrap it up. And check out BTL Sports for all things sports and pop culture.

Geekery: Any New Fitness Tech?

18 Mar

I’ve always been a fan of wearing technology that supports or improves my fitness. From the Polar Loop to the Fitbit, I’ve been through a few. I’m always curious how a new tracking device will work with my activities and how well it will log my daily steps.

My most recent fitness wearable is the Misfit Shine. After seeing it perform against my Polar Loop on a vacation, I was convinced it was a better wearable. It’s not perfectly accurate (as nothing is, yet) but because it can be worn on your shoe and it’s smaller so it doesn’t bother or get in the way, I found it easier to wear on my foot so that it more closely caught my steps rather than around my wrist where the tracking wasn’t so accurate.

But even that tool has been tossed aside. I keep forgetting to switch it from one pair of shoes to another and lately it’s become permanently attached to my flip flops. I started off my new job this year with it on my shoe and watching my step count

Of course, now that I’m not wearing it as frequently, any trip to Best Buy has me oogling the fitness tech aisle, hoping to find some shiny new gadget that will spark my interest.

As I glance down at all the new things on the market, nothing catches my attention and makes me feel ready to purchase. Nothing is new, exciting or any better than what I’m already using.

Other than these headphones that also track your heart rate while you are working out and listening to music, everything feels the same. And while I’m still drawn to all the new tech items and I crave the feeling of ripping open a new packaged gadget, I’m being pretty good about not buying anything.

For now…

I guess my question is, then, what will be next? We’ve had pedometers, heart rate monitors, step tracking devices that link to our phones, calorie counting sites and devices, and we’ve also got scales that link to your fitness accounts, too! What’s next? Where can we go from here?

Besides inserting some fitness tracker into our skin, a la The Hunger Gamers, I’ve seen the ones on our shoes, on our wrists and clipped to our clothes. I don’t quite see where else they can take us other than improving the technology already in place.

Ready for your tracker insertion?

 

If the step counters could be more accurate and if they could get our heart rate monitors to properly track our burned calories for a more closely monitored calorie count throughout the day, then I’d be a happy geek and I’ll be the first to buy the update version of whatever is hot. For now, it’s all the same ol’ hat!

What would you like to see change in the fitness technology world? Would you like to see anything completely new that’s not on the market yet? Let us your thoughts below!

Fitness: Make Ahead Smoothie in a Bag

8 Mar

This weekend I was very busy in the kitchen. After writing about meal planning and how preparing your lunches and big meals ahead of time for the week helps things run smoother, I was motivated to do just that. So I parked myself down on Saturday, wrote out a list, did some major shopping, and prepared five meals that went into my freeze for future use.

 

I was so pumped to continue prepping meals and taking the time to get us ahead of the game that I made up a few small bags filled with smoothie ingredients also meant to be frozen for future use.

 

 

 

My creative juices were flowing so I even had Little Geek sit down with me and make a quick how-to video to show how simple it really is!

Hope you enjoy!

Fitness: Meal Planning Ahoy!

7 Mar

Being prepared is the best way to be.  You can never be surprised by an unexpected turn of events and you will always know you are covered in case anything happens.

This is a bit dramatic. Yes, life can be a bit crazy and things can get a little topsy turvy but for the most part we humans adjust and adapt pretty well.

But there is a lot to be said about planning ahead which is why I find my weeks to go much smoother when I take the time to prepare a few things each weekend like my lunches and our family dinners.

Meal prep is exhausting! I mean, let’s be honest, you spend a good portion of a whole Sunday making food you aren’t going to eat right away. WHAT?!? But hear me out! It’s worth it.

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I start with mapping out my dinners and how I’m going to shop for them. I go so far as to plan out my grocery list by sections so that I’m not overwhelmed. I list out all the fruits and veggies from the produce section first then I map out all the proteins I’ll pick up at the butcher counter. I try to spend as little time as possible in the snack and packaged food aisles but I do spend some money on froze foods, especial fruit and veggies. Some weeks we go through the fresh stuff fast enough that they don’t go bad but having a bag or two of frozen produce helps in our smoothies and when we were craving something sweet. I also stock up on froze fish and chicken for those nights when we’re flying out the door for the gym or soccer practice or meetings or some other event that keeps us busy.

Then I head home and make some simple main dishes that will last us the week. Chicken is a favorite. I cook a batch of chicken breasts with some butter and an Italian seasonings packet sprinkled on them and it serves as our protein for lunch and dinner. They make great chicken, rice, and veggie bowls for dinner! Along with a large batch of chicken I make up some rice and steam a bunch of veggies. Or, if I’m feeling creative, I’ll swap out my rice for some sweet potatoes (or yams, I can never tell the difference).

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Then comes the packing. I have these Ziploc containers that have three sections: small, medium and large. I pack my veggies into one, a handful of trail mix or almonds into the smallest, and then load up the larger compartment with my rice/potatoes and my protein of choice. I love these things! They work not only for me but also for little Geek, as well.

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His lunches look a little more playful with the cupcake wrappers used to hold fruit or chopped veggies. He loves cucumbers and tomatoes so I make sure to have some handy. We play around with wraps, sandwiches, and kabobs to mix in some protein for him and some healthy carbs. He enjoys helping me plan these little bento styled boxes for his school lunch. I think he gets a kick out of having so many options to eat.

Once we have food for our lunches all mapped out and ready to go, I spent some time on meal planning for dinner throughout the week. I skip the nights we have a late practice or when I have a meal already made from the night before. We get creative with leftover food and re-purpose different items to make new meals. Chicken works well in tacos, burritos, and rice bowls.

In the past I’ve gone ahead and prepped freezer bags of food to be plopped in the crock pot for a hearty dinner. I’ve done a number of recipes from Hawaiian pineapple chicken to stews and I always keep track of the meals that go over well so I can make them again in the future.  These are great for those soccer practice nights or evenings when I’m not home. I can pull a meal, put it in the crock pot, and have dinner waiting for the boys that is easy to serve.

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Does this take a lot of time? Yes! But it saves a lot of time during the week, too. And it can help alleviate the pressure of having homemade meals each day when there is so much going on in a busy household. Those few hours on Saturday or Sunday spent prepping all these meals makes the rest of the week run smoother and helps us keep our healthy goals within sight.

A few tips and tricks to help you plans out your week of meals.

  • Have enough containers that fit your needs. Whether it’s plain Tupperware, plastic baggies, or Bento styled boxes with compartments, have them cleaned and ready first thing. And make sure you have all the lids that match! Nothing is worse than starting to plan a weeks worth of meals then find out you have mismatched lids.
  • Keep side snacks on hand to fulfill those cravings in between meals. Jerky, almonds, trail mix, and granola are great fillers. Trail mix and granola are easily made and customized at home.
  • A scale is a handy tool to have. It makes portioning out the food much much easier.
  • Lists!!! Make lists of the ingredients you needs, the meals to make ahead of time AND lists of snacks to make and pack for each day.
  • Stickie notes help, too! If you log your food, using a stickie note to remember the weight of each item can make recording your meals a cinch. Stickie notes also mark whose lunch is whose when you are making multiple meals for more than just one person.
  • Good freezer bags are a must!! No cheap baggies! If they aren’t good quality they could possibly break while loading them or allow in the cold air and cause freezer burn. Nothing is worse than spending hours prepping meals only for them to go bad in the freezer because the bags used were no good!
  • Pinterest is your friend! Check it out for ideas, suggestions, and tips. No point in reinventing the wheel when there are lots of awesome resources out there to pull from. Many of my meal prep ideas come from Pinterest.
  • And lastly, give yourself a clean, LARGE work space. You’ll be handling a lot of food and making sure you have a clean work surface plus extra space will make you less nuts as you prep.

Check Mrs. Geek out on Pinterest and Instagram for any meal prep ideas.

Mr. And Mrs. Geek Speak #7

20 Feb

Hello all! It’s been awhile!

The past year we’ve taken some time away from podcasting and just did life. Yup, just lived life and did, you know, life…stuff.

But after some time away I decided to start it back up again and today I’m featuring our first podcast back with a special guest, my mom! We sit down in her backyard to share a little bit about raising a family, reading LOTS of books, and how our bodies change and so do our fitness intentions.

Enjoy!

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Mom’s current book: Howl’s Moving Castle

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My current book (one of many): Yes Please

Leave a comment, subscribe, and come back again!

Fitness: Get Up And MOVE!

26 Feb

We live in a world (well, most of us) that is constantly connected to others through technology. Many jobs these days also revolve around sitting in front of a computer for a multitude of reasons: accounting, purchasing, web design and more.

Life has become a game of sitting in one place at work, getting as much done as we can and then turning everything off to drive home (while sitting in a car or on a train/bus) and then sitting at our personal computers or in front of the TV. All this sitting can’t be good for us!

Recent research has been done showing that sitting for long periods of the day can be damaging to your health. USA Today shared an article about a study that was done and published in November of 2013 showing that every additional hour of sitting doubles a person’s chance of being disabled after the age of 60. They study took into account physical activity, obesity and socioeconomic factors along with other health factors when studying the results of the test. What they found is that everyone, no matter their age, would benefit from more light activity breaking up long periods of sitting down.

“Levine says if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve been sitting too long. He recommends getting up for 10 minutes of every hour.” (USA Today)

So what can we do? Every little bit counts, is what they are saying. While the Mayo Clinic suggests that everyone moves at least 30 minutes a day, enough to boost your heart rate, it is also being suggested for those with a sedentary lifestyle to move at least 10 minutes every hour. And to do this, here are a few tips from The Fit Geek Family to help you move it, move it!

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    1. Set alarms! Whether with a watch or a timer or your smart phone, set a timer to remind you to get up, walk a bit, then return to your desk.
    2. Drink lots of water! No seriously, get a bottle, fill it up and drink it. After a while, you’ll need a bathroom break or to fill it up again. It’s a double whammy of health when you are drinking water AND getting up!
    3. Use a coworker to remind you to get up and move with them! Having a friend also helps with motivation and gives you a chance to socialize while getting up for a break.
    4. Some browsers have the ability to download plug ins that will help monitor your time on the web, like WasteNoTime. Set one up and keep your surfing in check by locking your browser and forcing you to get up and move!
    5. Use your calendar to set up reminders to get up and walk around.
    6. Get an activity monitor like the UP band by Jawbone that will vibrate and remind you to move if you have been sitting too long. The Polar Loop also has an inactivity alert on their phone app.
    7. Lastly, if it is available and within your budget (or your company’s budge) invest in a standing desk.

For most suggestions check out this great article from Lifehacker all about sitting for long periods of time and your health. Along with all the data in the USA Today article, at the very end they list a few tips on how to get up and get moving. Don’t skip the end!

Sitting for too long is, in general, not great for your health in the long run. Even if you work out for the suggested amount of time for a healthy adult, sitting for long spells can counteract all the good you are doing with your workouts. Move, stretch, walk, get some fresh air. But whatever you choose to do, just make sure you are up and moving as often as possible to keep yourself healthy and happy!

Family: A Trip To The Library

24 Feb

Libraries have been around for ages. Some of the first known libraries date back to 2600 BC! Of course, those libraries were mostly archives of written transactions and were mainly on clay tablets, but humans from early days have been collecting writings in one place to be read and consumed long before our currently known libraries.

This year, I promised Mr. Geek that I would help the family save money by borrowing books more often than buying them. I buy books in series that I love to read and reread but I also buy books for Little Geek as well. Our home library is very well fleshed out and it ranges from pop-up books from his childhood to collections of poetry by some of my favorite authors. The problem with buying books like I do is space and cost. With such a small home that we rent, we’re quickly running out of room.

But I love books. Even with the technology today making it possible to read anything in electronic form, I’m still in love with reading a book in hand, flipping through the pages, and smelling the wonderful scent of ink on paper. I don’t think this will ever go away and to this day I prefer the old fashioned way. Maybe that will change over time but I certainly hope books never completely go away.

To help curb my spending on books, we went and got ourselves library cards from our local library. As we signed ourselves up, we learned that our library offered more than just books but also events and clubs. I think the first day we spent there, we learned of a homework club, a movie watching club, family game day and other fun events that brought together the communities and families looking for free entertainment for people of all ages.

Since getting our cards, we’ve been back to the library every 3 weeks. Little Geek LOVES the kids section and lives in the book stacks full of young reader series. So far we’ve discovered two that he is very fond of: Dragonbreath and Dragon Slayers’ Academy. And as you can see, he’s got a passion for dragons! There are so many options that get lost in the sea of books and series that having the ability to try them out at no cost is a blessing. We’ve loved having the chance to sit on the floor, scan through a few books then choose a few to take home to try out. photo AAE637AF-EDE3-47C8-AFBA-4369DE75CA7F_zpsnmqjldun.jpg

Libraries seem to be a fading interest in our world of high speeds and instant connect technology but many have kept up with the times and include video game days and blu ray rentals. And while computers and Playstations may be the future, I still believe that having access to free reading materials is a must. Not only for the money savings but for the ability to explore and gain knowledge that should be accessible to all.

We’re lucky, our library is very accessible and full of great finds but it is also connected to another great library in a nearby city that offers much of the same but is bigger. That interconnected web between locations gives us a larger searching radius to find titles we want and it also gives us more calendars to check out for events happening around us.

What started out as just a card for Little Geek turned into me getting my own card so that I could check out books, too! I was originally checking out young adult books when we checked out a book for him but in the end, the call of the rest of the library got to me and I got my own card. Now I can finally read all those books I was supposed to in high school! The first book I did check out was Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I had finished the first two but was hesitating to read the last book. I felt the same hesitation with the last Harry Potter book because it was the end of the series and I wasn’t ready to let it be done. But I sucked it up and read it… IN FOUR DAYS! This is why a library is good! I don’t feel so guilty spending the money on a book I’ll devour in only a few short days. Now I can plow through and simply return it without spending a cent!

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If you and your family are looking for a way to get active in your community, have events to attend together, and have free access to DVDs, Blu Rays, books, and other reading materials, check out your local library and get yourself a card! It’s simple and free and offers so many things to do and see for people of all ages that it’s silly to not get one!

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