NANCYANNE55   78,580
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NANCYANNE55's Recent Blog Entries

Stability Ball Crunch Tips

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

When doing ab curls on a stability ball (the big ones full of air), make sure you extend back over the curve of the ball, and only come up to where your head is just barely above parallel with the ground.

I see so many people start with their torso parallel with to ground (or higher!) and wind up almost sitting up on the ball at the top of the movement This pretty much negates the advantage of having a ball. You'd get a more intense ab contraction if you did regular ab curls on the ground.

Additionally, keep in mind that the closer together the legs are, the harder the move is. So legs together from heel all the way to upper inner thigh is the most advanced method of doing stability ball crunches.

Also, as with any ab exercise, keep the abs tight and engaged throughout the movement. When you don't let momentum take over and instead actively use muscle all the way through, the exercise becomes both more challenging and more effective.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IRP1114 4/5/2014 4:20PM

    Thanks for posting! Great tips ; )! I need to use my stability ball more often!

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JAZZID 4/2/2014 10:12PM

    emoticon advice. Thanks Nancy. emoticon

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KIMCOLLINGS 4/2/2014 1:53PM

    Great advice!

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ROCKMAN6797 4/2/2014 9:35AM

    Good tips, thank you very much!
BTW, I made your ham and egg enchiladas last night and they were delicious!


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Links to Some of My Recipes

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I had someone tell me this morning that they searched Spark Recipes and couldn't find the link to my Chicken Noodle Casserole I'd just posted. Thought I'd do a blog with live links to some good, healthy recipes I've posted here on Spark and used regularly (most are my own that I created!):

Chicken Noodle Casserole:

Chili with Corn:

Ham and Egg Enchiladas:

Taco Soup:

And for some protein-rich snacks (Please note that I say "Or other non-calorie sweetener" next to the Splenda in the recipes that call for it. I've been criticized for using Splenda, but I've never claimed to be a clean-eating purist and have always given an option in my recipes.):

Chocolate PB Protein Brownie:

Cinnamon Swirl Protein bread (LOVE THIS!):

No-Bake Oatmeal Protein Balls:

And lastly, Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Protein Bars:

If you make any of them, I would REALLY appreciate it if you would leave a comment on the recipe. None of mine have comments yet. emoticon


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XXJDXX 3/28/2014 4:29PM

    My mouth started watering when I saw the pumpkin spice pumpkin protein bar recipe. I'm on it!

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ROCKMAN6797 3/28/2014 7:28AM

    The recipe for Ham and Egg Enchiladas sounds very interesting....I think I am going to give it a try!
Thanks for sharing!

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PENNYPEARLS 3/27/2014 11:31AM

    Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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My At-home Workout Setup

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Most days I work out at the gym, but on Friday I was doing my "Strong Curves" workout at home. I have a rather unconventional set-up to make it work, and thought I'd take some pictures to show that you don't need extensive equipment or copious amounts of space to get a good workout in.

My exercise equipment has migrated it's way into my son's room. (Looks better in a boys room, as I am a very aesthetic person.) We have a "no shoes on the carpet" rule at our house that I try to follow. This wasn't a problem, since I rarely worked out at home.

When I started the "Strong Curves" program earlier this year it occurred to me that many of the workouts could be done at home. This was a savings in both the time and gas money departments. The only problem was, how was I going to manage without walking on the carpet much in my workout shoes?

Finally it hit me: The entry way! We have a pretty large entry, and it's accessible to my son's room though French doors. (His room is technically a "study".) Moving the weights (which only go up to 30 lbs, but can be a real hassle when I have to tote them), out to the entry isn't much work at all. For floor work where I need some "cush" under my upper body I lay on the carpet and put my feet on the hard floor. To keep the bench from scooting in moves that would push it around, like bench push-ups, I put it on the carpet. Additionally, there is a mirror in the entry that helps with checking my form.

Here's my "workout room" on Friday. Note the exercise ball peeking out from behind the hall table:

And here is the view from the entry into my son's bedroom, where you can see the positioning of my weight rack and it's adjacency to my "workout room":

And lastly, his room re-assembled with the bench holding his "stuff" and the weights all in place. The ball is kept in the closet:

With the glass panel in our front door I feel sorry for the UPS guy if he ever shows up while I'm lifting........

This is not my dream home-workout set-up. I'd like to have dumbbells through 75's, a barbell, weight plates, and a classic bench-press bench, at least. Oh, heck... The fact is that I wish I had an entire basement to set up a complete home gym with all kinds of equipment. Dream on, eh? But it's what we have space for, so I make it work.

The point is that you don't have to have an "ideal" set up to get fit. Maybe you don't have a space this big. I haven't always. In my house in Ohio, which was 1200 square feet with four bedrooms (yes, you read that right), I only had weights through 10 lbs and a very small living room. I scooted the coffee table out of the way and got busy exercising in that very limited space. Before I had weights, I worked out with cans from the cupboard.

Did you know that rear lunges, push-ups, and bicycle crunches makes a full-body workout in a 3x6-foot space? Try doing a circuit of those, 10 per set, 5 or 6 times and tell me you didn't get a great workout!

Here are a couple of blogs I did years ago about getting started with a home workout, if you want more:

This one is on Equipment To Start An At-Home Exercise Program:

And here is one on Getting Stared Lifting Weights:

You don't HAVE to have formal weights, a bench, and an exercise ball to get a good workout. You DO have to have a little ingenuity and determination. Look at it as a game. "How do I make this work?" instead of "This just can't work!".

As my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Ladd, used to say. "Can't means won't".

Will you? Or won't you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEETLIPS 3/26/2014 10:01AM

    I also had a teacher tell me that and will revive it again. I loved reading this and glad I stopped by. Today, I am visiting folks that I are my Spark friends. Have a wonderful day.

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BOPPY_ 3/20/2014 1:07AM


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ALANDSE 3/19/2014 10:17PM

    Your looking great! Keep it up. I like your weight room. U.S.Marine emoticon

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MARINEMAMA 3/14/2014 6:01PM

    It looks greT!! WTG using the space you have!

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    I have that dream too but it is true that you can get a great work out in a very small space. I knocked a shelf out of a closet under the stairs- no I don't work out in there emoticon but I was able to put my ball and things in there and bring all that out in the living room instead of going down into the basement. It has made a difference in that I am ready to go. I am following along with some great DVD's but I know at some point I would like to have a personal trainer check what I'm doing to see if it is right
NOW- emoticon I have a Cory Everson workout that my son has put on my computer in the kitchen and I was home doing that and the fed ex guy came up to the stairs and knocked at the door and looked in...and well I was sweating and braless- er so next time I will make sure I have a curtain in front of the door or get that workout on a DVD. Love Corey- used to have a Rachel McLish years ago too....

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RGOCEAN 3/4/2014 9:41AM

  When you need to do it your figure it out and make it work as you did for Friday. If I was the UPS guy I would drop the package off fast and go to after seeing that you are in better shape than me!

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HUSKERLAND3 3/3/2014 10:17AM

    Nice set up

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    Sounds like a great space you have there when you need it.

Planning a home workout today too as we are snowed in:)

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HDHAWK 3/2/2014 6:59PM

    I only work out at home. We have an unfinished basement which isn't that pretty but it's a good place for a gym!

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GETSTRONGRRR 3/2/2014 6:55PM

    Where there's a will there's a way!! Sounds like you've got a real nice set-up (is that a glass door to the bedroom?)

I have been keeping a running log of my ideal home gym set-up. Once SWMBO and I settle down and figure out where we want to live for the rest of our lives, my dream is to have a home gym set-up somewhere....either in the basement, the garage, or a shed in the backyard. To help me plan, I have a whole Pinterest board set-up with ideas;


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MISSYGEEN 3/2/2014 2:05PM

    Great idea. I have a closet where I put my workout equipment (weights, resistance bands, tennis rackets, etc.) oddly enough, it is the most organized closet in the whole house. thanks for the ideas.

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IDICEM 3/2/2014 1:26PM

  What a great use of space! Thanks for sharing your solution. It gives me ideas.

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    Sounds awesome. I am thinking that boys do not need that big game room upstairs completely for their entertainment, I can sneak in some at-home goodies. Right now all I have are DVD's, hand weights up to 10 lbs, and a yoga ball. I want to invest in some resistance bands and learn how to use them properly.

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BEKESGIRL 3/2/2014 1:22PM

  I appreciate you sharing how you make exercise work. I'm encouraged by the idea that 3x6 is all that's needed to do a full body workout.

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FLYER99 3/2/2014 1:20PM

    What a wonderful blog. This gives great insight into how things can be done with a little "thinking time" and planning. I applaud you for that. Two years ago I sold my home and moved into an apartment. My apartment is fairly large with two bedrooms and I don't have as much space as you, but I turned my smaller bedroom into kind of a workout room.

I can't do many exercises due to some osteoarthritis. I have a list of exercises to avoid. But I work around that. For me, I do a lot of walking and weight aerobics. The point being, I guess, is that not only do we have to work within limitations of space, but also of what our bodies are capable of enduring.

I love reading your blogs and thank you so much for the effort you put into writing them. They are very informative and encouraging.

Have a beautiful day!


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Grocery List Template

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sooooo...... I just did a SparkPeople Radio interview and said I would put a template in for my grocery list. Well, it just figures that SparkBlogs don't let you upload documents. So I've done the next best thing and copied and pasted my grocery list here. Now the whole world gets to see our menu for this month. :-)

A few things to note:
1. Yes, I'm uber-organized. Call me OCD, if you'd like, but this makes menu planning and getting in and out of the store as quick and easy as possible for me.
2. My grocery list consists of two pages with two columns each. I need it this big, since I only do my "big shopping" once a month. I've indicated below what goes on which column.
3. In the radio interview I said that I shopped every 2 weeks. That was then, this is now. There used to be 9 people in our household and we got paid in the beginning and middle of the month. Now there are, on average, 4 people in the household and I get my portion of the household budget once a month. I'd rather just get it over in one fell swoop. (Side note- When I was shopping twice a month for 9 people, the grocery portion of the list was still about this same size. Can you imagine doing this every-other week?)
4. This is not the ONLY grocery buying I do. It's the stuff I can foresee needing at this point. We run out of fruit, milk, eggs, etc, and I have to run back to the store for them throughout the month.
5. You will note there are 15 meals planned. We typically go out for both lunch on Sundays after church, and pick my son (who is a mentally handicapped adult) up for dinner on Wednesdays (fast-food someplace where I can get a salad) before church. This leaves 22 nights in a 30 day month unaccounted for. But I've found that when I plan for every night I think we will be at home I always over-buy. It never fails: Not everyone is home, or we wind up going out for some reason, or there's a big "odds and ends" night (or two) to clear out perfectly good foods that aren't enough for a meal. (I heat it all up, set it out buffet-style, and we all dive for whatever we want before someone else gets it. Whatever doesn't get eaten gets pitched for once and for all. I've done this for years) 15 meals insures I don't overspend.
6. This list is for our local commissary. You will note I have what is on the aisle after the aisle number. After years of trying to recall which aisle the canned milk was on on, this made it easier for me to put the needed items in the right place and not be correcting my list in the store.
7. Yes, I plan on having "leftover" nights. I make enough to get us through 2 nights and then reheat the next night.
8. The numbers you'll see at the bottoms of the columns are the items in that column. I've found if I triple this, it gives me a rough estimate of how much the grocery list will cost.
9.This menu is NOT absolute! Anything is subject to change if I get to the store and see a really good deal on a healthy food. I'll scratch out something on the list and sub the better deal in.
10. Obviously, a pen comes with me and I cross items out as I put them in the cart. This makes sure I get it all. (I hate running back to the store for something I forgot!)
11. Yes, we have a pantry and a deep freeze. Without them, this much shopping would never work: The list would be shorter, and the shopping more frequent.

And now, without further ado:

Page 1 Column 1:

1.) Baked potato Bar w/
Bacon Bits
Sour cream

2.) Tuna Spaghetti w/ Angel hair and Kalamata Olives

3.) Honey Soy Marinated Tilapia
Creamy Avocado Pasta (x2)
Green beans

4.) Southwest Turkey Meatballs (to try- use canned corn and tomatoes, parsley instead of cilantro)

5.) Pizza (Frozen- Yes, I let the kids have this once a month!)

6. 7.) Taco’s (2 ground beef, 2 cheese)
Corn pudding

8.) Bean soup with ham and noodles
Bread machine wheat bread

9. 10.) Make-ahead Lasagna
Bread Machine Bread

11.) Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
White Beans, Spinach and tomatoes over linguini (to try folder)

13.) Bourbon St CP chicken (to try folder-x2)
Brown rice
Candied Carrots

14.) Easy Sweet & Sour chicken
Chow Mein noodles

15.) Sandy’s Casserole (To try folder)

Page 1 Column 2:


2 parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
5 Tomatoes
2 Onions
Large Carrots
Salad lettuce
4 baking potato
Chopped garlic
10 ounce bag spinach
2 avocados
Small iceberg

Aisle 2- (baking, sauces)

Peanut Butter- Girls
Smart balance mayo
No-Stick Spray
Baking powder
Cocoa powder
Flour- regular
Baking coconut oil
My coconut oil
Olive oil
Corn meal
Apricot jam
8 ounce bottle Russian dressing
Large sliced olives

Aisle 3- (soup, fruits, veggies, meat, Italian, milk)

Pears in fruit cups
Unsweetened applesauce
Chicken granules
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Angel hair pasta
12 ounces linguini
9 ¼ ounce tuna
2 cans diced tomatoes w/basil, garlic & oreg
2 cans white beans
Onion soup mix
Small Whole-Grain Elbow macaroni
2 large cans chicken
2 cream chicken soup
Can sliced mushrooms
2 large evaporated skim milk


Page 2 Column 1:

Aisle 4- (Ethnic, milk, rice, beans, coffee, candy, toppings)

Bag white beans
Chow mein noodles

Aisle 5- (breakfast, juice)

SF Syrup
Regular syrup
Small apple juice
Lemon juice

Aisle 6- (crackers, cookies, bars, soda, popcorn)

Fruit snacks

Aisle 7- (Snacks, chips, water, batteries, light bulbs)

Baked Chips


3 pounds lean ground beef (1, 2)
2 1/2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
1 ground turkey breast
12 boneless chicken thighs

Aisle 8- H&B aids-

Pain killer/anti-inflammatory
Fish oil
My shampoo
My conditioner

Aisle 9-(Baby, TP/paper towels, tape, dish)

12 Toilet Paper
Regular dish detergent


Page 2 Column 2:

Aisle 10 (laundry, cleaning, paper, pet treats)

Trash bags

Aisle 11- (deli, dog food)

Ham for soup
Turkey bacon
Lunch meat
Dog food

Back wall dairy-

1 eggs
15 ounce ricotta
Organic half and half
1 gal milk

Side wall dairy-

6 greek Yogurt
Smart balance
3 butter
1 String cheese
1 Cheddar sticks
5 C shredded cheddar (1,2, 2)
4 C shredded mozzarella (4)


green beans
Corn- small
2 broccoli
Tilapia- 2 nights


4 loaves


Easter basket Stuff


I hope this is found helpful!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EJOY-EVELYN 3/17/2014 12:39AM

    I enjoyed your interview. Your success is truly inspirational! Thanks for sharing your method of grocery shopping. Well done! May you continue meeting your goals successfully. Hug, hug -- Evelyn

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/3/2014 8:15PM

    emoticon emoticon

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    I plan meals and I am inspired to share!
I do go once a week but we buy so many fresh veggies(we go through about 6 avocados in a week and 3 bunches of kale etc...) that I need to and #1 DS is home right now so I need to do even more of that as he is vegetarian- and to me that means he needs to eat plant based not carb based emoticon
I know if I have a list and a plan I save money and time!
So- emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/28/2014 6:09:56 PM

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 2/28/2014 10:31AM

    I organize my grocery list the same way. We can get in and out in under 1/2 an hour this way:) No over spending and nothing off the list ends up in the cart:) Less temptation because I cannot stand running to store mid week.

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FLYER99 2/28/2014 9:19AM

    What a wonderful idea. I love sorting the list by aisles. I can never remember where items are. This is awesome. Thank you and I'm going to give this a shot because I am terrible at grocery shopping.

When is your SparkPeople Radio interview? I download all of the podcasts in segments and I find it's easier that way than to try and listen to the full show. I find the new host is really good.

Thanks for the list. I will refer to it often.

Have a tremendous day!



Comment edited on: 2/28/2014 9:20:43 AM

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GETSTRONGRRR 2/27/2014 7:29PM

    This is why my wife doesn't let me shop....I walk around the store and pick up things I think look cool or that we might need.

The last time she sent me out for a gallon of milk, I came home 2 hours later with $150 bucks worth of goodies!

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HDHAWK 2/27/2014 7:22PM

    I'm uber organized too. Love the list!

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TKADEEPBREATH 2/27/2014 6:28PM

    Very cool. .... I'll do this some day soon and follow your model. DH tends to pick up items I already have. He loves to shop so I'm lucky cuz I don't.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    I used to keep my list on a crumpled sheet of notebook paper, but now my local grocery store has a mobile app that lets me keep an electronic shopping list, add sales items to it from their weekly ad, and it tells me the aisles where the foods are located.

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LEWILL1982 2/27/2014 3:04PM

    That's amazing! Thanks for sharing!

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MBSHAZZER 2/27/2014 2:57PM

    OMG, you take it to the next level!!! I applaud your organizational skills! I suppose that when you had 9 people in the house, you had no choice, and now it's second nature.

Also, I'm coming for dinner! YUM!

I am by myself most of the time. I usually go to the grocery store 2x per month, sometimes 3 to fill in with fresh fruits and veg. However, being only one person, I can definitely do oatmeal for dinner and no one complains! :-)

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    Wow ... I have yet to master the art of meal planning ...

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Journey Back to Size 6- Week 8

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cautiously optimistic, here- Weight 169.8 this morning. That's down almost 2 pounds from last week.

This is a weight I believe. I was not dehydrated: I drank water like mad yesterday and my sodium levels were high according to Spark. So my tendency is to believe that this is a true fat loss.

I had in my head several things that were going to change if the scale refused to budge again, but since it moved I'll just keep up the status quo and see what happens next week.

In other Nancy Anne news, I got a pedometer. In the past my motto was "Who cares how many steps you take, as long as you are moving all you can?". But I have been thinking lately I'm not moving a whole lot and wanted to have a method to not only keep an eye on it, but also to motivate myself to move more. Yesterday was a cardio day and I logged 10,000 steps (just under 5 miles). Today is just lifting, so I don't expect the number to be as high. I'm sure I'll work on finding ways to get more movement into my days as I keep looking at this thing.....

The other thing I've done is making water more of a priority. I started realizing I had let my water intake go by the wayside. I was down to about 12 cups a day, which may seem like a lot for most people, but I tend to do best when I consume a gallon of water or more a day. So I've been making a conservative effort to drink more water the past few days.

And lastly, I've noticed that my daily fiber level is almost always lower than what Spark recommends. This surprised me, as I thought my fiber intake was good. Upon examination, I realized my veggie consumption has really dropped off. So I've been working on eating more veggies. I don't know that this will help with weight loss, but it is good for my health. And I'm all about getting healthier.

I don't know if these things helped with the loss this week, but regardless they are habits I need to develop and there is no time like the present. We shall see if I have another loss next week, or if I'm back up to 171.6, which seems to be my latest "fat and happy" weight. Anymore, nothing surprises me. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/3/2014 8:17PM


·*¨) ✫ ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´ .·´ ¸¸.·¨¯`·.✫
¸.·*¨) ✫ ¸.·*¨)✫ Spread the Spark
(¸.·´ .·´ (¸.·´¸¸.·¨¯`·.✫

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FLYER99 2/28/2014 9:11AM

    Excellent analysis. Wow, you do your homework. I bought a pedometer last year and it surprised me the number of steps I DIDN'T walk. I thought I was walking much more than it showed. And it wasn't a faulty pedometer - it was a faulty ME. So I am trying to correct this.

If we can do a little bit of analysis to see what we have done and what we are doing, it goes a long way toward attaining our goals. That's the main reason I use the nutrition and fitness trackers on here all the time.

Good job on the weight loss and, together,

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HDHAWK 2/28/2014 8:49AM

    Congrats on the loss. I know when I eat more veggies the scale is more apt to move. Keep up the great work!

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MARINEMAMA 2/27/2014 7:06PM

    WTG emoticon

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IRP1114 2/27/2014 4:53PM

    Good habits to keep an eye on! Great job making real progress. I am sure you are feeling the progress too!!! emoticon

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SUZIB123 2/27/2014 3:20PM

    Yaa- now that's progress.
I like to weight once every week but I don't get near a scale if I have had high sodium foods. Life's to short to go **^^## over a number. Veggie's are so good for you, when eating out I try to stick to veggie meals. I'd be up all night if I drank that much water! emoticon

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FITGIRL15 2/27/2014 3:11PM

    CHAOTICMOM4... she said she has increased her veggie consumption.

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FITGIRL15 2/27/2014 3:10PM

    A loss on the scale is always a pleasant surpise! Congrats!!!

Yes, I always find that when I drink more water I have less time to eat crappy food, and it makes me feel full, so who wants to eat when they are already full?

I also find that when I am getting enough sleep, my weigh loss/health goals are easier to achieve! Are you burning the midnight oil?

I hope this has started the ball rolling for you!!! It certainly is a step in the right direction!!! Woo Hooo!

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LEWILL1982 2/27/2014 2:57PM

    Those all seem like positive changes. Congrats on the loss! I'm curious to know what you would have changed if the scale hadn't moved favorably for you this week.

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CHAOTICMOM4 2/27/2014 2:39PM

    Congrats, I know you've been anxiously waiting for today's weigh-in. can dropping your veggie consumption be healthy?

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