GreenWorks Walk to School Challenge

When I was a in elementary school, I was always envious of the "walkers."  These were the kids who lived close enough to school to walk.  I lived far from my elementary school, so I had to take a bus.  As a "busser" I could not go home for lunch.  When we had our annual Halloween parade, I had to change at school, but the walkers got to go home and change.  Luckily a friend of mine was a walker and she would take me home for lunch sometimes.  It was cool.

When we were looking for a preschool for my son, we were so lucky to have two good preschools within walking distance of our house.  I will never forget the experience of taking his little hand and walking him out of my arms and into school for the first time.  Or the fast walk home to cry until it was time to pick him up again.  We grew to love our walk to school together.  The anticipation on the way there of what they would be doing that day and on the way home the sharing of what he had learned and experienced was priceless.  Feeling the sunshine on warm days…dodging raindrops and jumping into puddles…trudging through the blizzard of '10…

It was just what we did. We didn't do it for health reasons, but what a nice benefit that was!  It gave my son lots of energy on the way to school and helped him relax a bit on the way home.  This is especially important with today's overuse of television and video games instead of active play.  October is International Walk to School Month (who knew?!) and in honor of it, Green Works has created a fun website to help families join the fun and walk or bike to school and in the process, earn some money for their school to the tune of $5,000. Parents can sign up here.  The top five schools with the highest participation could earn the big prize of five grand, but there's also individual prizes as well!

Remember, too, that walking to school is a great way to be "green."  Every school is trying hard to be more green (or they should be)-paper recycling centers, cutting back on paper usage, and reusing as much as possible all work together to help make this world a little bit better. 

So go green, use Green Works, and earn a little green for your school!

TKDDaughter gives the Green Works Walk to School Challenge a big:

BBMReview Black Belt Award

"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Clorox Green Works and received a $30 thank-you gift certificate."

UnderWAY and Smart for Life

July 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Fitness, Food and Drink, Health 

 We went to a friend’s house tonight for dinner.  It had been awhile since we had seen them and I was surprised at how great she looked.  With three kids, 6 and under, I was amazed that she could lose weight and get fit!  I myself haven’t been feeling the greatest about my appearance.  Standing at a nice, willowy 5’9”, people always refer to me a thin.  But I realized today that in the past 10 years, I put on 40+ lbs.  I have gone up far too many sizes and despise the fat stomach, flabby arms, and large butt.  No matter my excuses (years of fertility meds, three pregnancies in a year and a half (with no baby to show for it), eating poorly, not exercising…), changes needed to be made and soon.

 Around this time, I received a package to review from UnderWAY and Smart for Life.  The brochure said, “Lose up to 15 lbs in 4 weeks eating healthy, all natural Smart Foods.”  I was intrigued.  By following the program, eating and drinking the hunger busting foods and a smart dinner, you could lose weight without the normal hunger pains.  I was skeptical…my husband was not.  He’s a meal supplement kind of guy.  So, we both gave it a try for a day (using the samples provided).  I have to say I was surprised…the food was good.  You must eat their cookies (yes, you read that correctly) 6 times a day.  This keeps you from getting either ravenous or too full.  Their drinks, underWAY, taste great!  They come in three flavors and contain HeroFiber, whose name makes me giggle and imagine a drink bottle in superhero clothing.  J  And since I am a no caffeine girl, I love that it’s a decaf choice. The hubby is in love with the food and has claimed the rest of the box for himself.  (It’s my review,so we’ll see about that!)

 My only issue with the whole program is the no fruit requirement.  They address this in the brochure and I understand the necessity of it (all that natural sugar!!), but I love fruits and just about the only time we get fresh, ripe fruits in Western PA is right now, in the summer.  So, if I’m going to follow this program to the letter, it won’t be until fall when the fruit pickings are slim.

 The cookies and drinks certainly did keep me from being hungry.  It reminded me to make better choices at the dinner meal, too.  So, those 40 lbs I’m looking to lose?  I think between this and getting my butt off the couch, I’ve found a way to get my body back.  And I get to eat cookies-how cool is that?! RIght now you can get a speical 10% discount code for underWAY and Smart for Life products.  PLease use MCUS10OFFUW for underWAY products at and MCUS10OFFSFL at

 TKDDaughter and her hubby give underWAY and Smart for Life a:


BBMReview Brown Belt Award

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of underWAY and Smart for Life and received samples of the products to review. 

Melba Toast and “Dance Your Way to Hollywood”

May 10, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Fitness, Food and Drink, Giveaways 

I am that person who picks all the Melba toast out of a snack mix.  I blame it on my mom who during almost the entire time she was pregnant with me could eat nothing else but Melba toast.  I love using Melba toast as the base for a smoked salmon and chives appetizer (that I made up myself, thank you very much!) or to munch on with a salad.  Most recently, I dipped it in a veggie ranch dip…even my husband was chowing down on that!!

If you haven't had Melba toast in awhile (or ever??? really?), I encourage you to run out and grab a box.  I had no idea that there was more than one flavor-but there is!  We tried the Sea Salt and Spicy  3 Pepper. I preferred the Sea Salt, but my husband preferred the Spicy 3 Pepper.  You can check out some cool recipes for great summer entertaining here.

With summer on its way, we're all thinking about eating healthier and becoming more active.  The people at Old London Melba snacks are helping to get people focused on this.  They have launched the "Dance Your Way to Hollywood" sweepstakes.  You can enter to win a trip to Hollywood where you and a guest will get private dance lessons and tickets to watch a taping of a highly popular television show.  This is a four day, three night, all expenses paid trip including airfare and accommodations.  Can you feel you leg muscles toning up just reading that? 

Kudos to the people at Melba for making a healthy snack and a cool sweepstakes.  You can enter to win until June 30th.  TKDDaughter gives Melba Toast and the Dance Your Way to Hollywood sweepstakes a:


“I wrote  this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Old London Melba Toast and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

The Classical Three Section Staff

June 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Books, Fitness, Martial Arts, Sports 

I've played with a lot of weapons in my day, but the three section staff is a scary one. Does any other weapon scream quite so clearly "hey, hit yourself in the head!"

That's why I decided to check out "The Classical Three Section Staff" by Rick L. Wing.


I had my reservations about the book at first because it seemed like a normal color-by-numbers martial arts text (show a couple pictures, explain some foot positions, call it a day).

Although "Three Section Staff" does follow a pretty standard setup, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the content. The author provided excellent information about the history of the weapon and wrote in a very approachable manner. At no point did Wing try to sound like the master of all things staff.

One of my favorite parts of the book was in the beginning when Wing discussed the hand positions used with the staff. Seeing his pictures and examples of how the postures could be used was very enlightening.

Example of a Three Section Staff

Rather than trying to pass on a whole "Style", Wing geared the bulk of his book around a single two-man form. The form is a sample combative engagement of the three-section staff vs a spear. As Wing explains it, the techniques contained in this single form allow the practitioner to understand the core principles of the weapon. Therefore, the methods used here can be used anywhere.

The pictures contained in the book are very well taken and the angles help demonstrate what is happening. Although I personally haven't learned the form contained in the book, I have gleaned a lot from the ideas discussed.

Right now in my training I am not trying to become an expert at three section staff. If I ever did want to significantly increase my proficiency, I would certainly use this text as a highly valuable resource.

Overall, Ikigai108 gives "The Classical Three Section Staff"…


Would you like to purchase this book? Check it out here!

Power Training by Morio Higaonna

January 19, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: DVD, Fitness, Martial Arts 

I recently had the pleasure of watching "Power Training" by Morio Higaonna. It gave me a lot of food for thought when it comes to classical karate training.


"Power Training" is all about the different methods Higaonna uses to create strong and powerful karate practitioners. Higaonna himself is renowned worldwide as a skilled karateka and strong individual. Many people marvel at his archaic methods of training and wonder how he has achieved his famed abilities.

The video begins by exploring Higaonna's stretching methods
. Although this sounds pretty mundane, it is interesting to see the the ways he integrates karate style breathing into his routine.  Sometimes odd looking and sometimes a bit confusing, Higaonna's stretches leave you with something to add into your own workout.

Furthermore, Higaonna shows us how to do two man warmups and exercises.

This is probably just the westerner in me talking, but these drills are a little too up close and personal with your partner for me. Higaonna is practically climbing on top of his student half the time when helping him stretch. Personally, I prefer a little breathing room.

Next in the video is something for which Higaonna Sensei is famous – Hojo Undo. Hojo Undo is the usage of old style tools and methods in order to make the body tougher and stronger. Bells, rocks, and iron bars are just a few devices used to turn the body into a fighting weapon.


Shown here are ishi sashi, nagiri game, ch’ishi, and kongo ken.

This portion of the video was very interesting, and anyone who has dabbled with the idea of including Hojo Undo in their training would benefit from seeing Higaonna Sensei at work.

Shown next is kata and various two man drills. Higaonna and his assistant Tetsuji Nakamura show different ways of using pads to improve strikes, but also demonstrate ways of using body-to-body contact as yet another way to strengthen the body.

One drill I found particularly interesting was called Kakie
. This is something I have trained a bit in the past, and Tai Chi practitioners would recognize it as quite similar to "push hands".  This is an excellent drill to practice spontaneity and different strikes and joint locks.


Overall, I thought this video was very well produced and contained great information. Many martial arts dvds lack a certain production quality – "Power Training" does not follow that mold. Interesting, well edited, and insightful, I would watch this again to gain further insight into Higaonna's methods.

Ikigai108 gives "Power Training"…


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