Water and fruit and fun colors, oh my! A Cool Gear Review

One of the problems I have regarding weight loss is getting enough to drink. Water gets boring after a certain point when you are trying to drink half your weight in ounces. Which, for me is anywhere between 50 and 100 ounces. You thought I was going to tell you how much I weigh, didn’t you. Silly.

I don’t drink soda anymore (apparently one IBC root beer has 5 points and when you are only allowed 26 that seems like a lot) so I end up making unsweet tea a lot and turning to that instead of water. So I decided to reach out and see about reviewing a water infuser to see if that would help with my water intake.

Cool Gear was sweet enough to send me not just the water infuser I requested but another water bottle as well. These were the two I received: a 32 oz Rigid water bottle in a sassy hot pink (oh how did they know??) and a 23 oz double walled Infuser Chiller in a gorgeous blue.

We’ll start with the Rigid.

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It has a removeable ice core that you can freeze to help keep your drink cold. Seeing that I am trying to up my water intake I filled my Rigid with water, put it in the fridge overnight, and put the ice core in the freezer. The next day I took it out before workout time and spent several minutes struggling to put the ice core in. It takes quite a bit of force to lock it in place, assuming I was doing it correctly. I actually spent several minutes searching for the tag that I had thrown away to see if it gave me more instructions but it basically just said the core locks in place.

The spout on the Rigid is wide with a divider down the middle of it – I assume to keep you from choking on ice chunks. I’m not used to this style spout so it has taken some getting used to. But it’s nice to not have to struggle to get enough liquid out. The closure seems nice and tight but opens easily enough. The handle of the bottle is angled and has a spring opening so you can hang it from something, which is a nice touch. And, of course, I love the hot pink pattern and the fact that it is dishwasher safe.

As far as the ice core’s abilities to keep my water cold, well, I think I’d be just as good sticking with ice, but I did only use the core with fridge cold water – no extra ice added. It is not double walled or insulated so it does sweat and is going to be susceptible to whatever the outside temperature is more than an insulated bottle. I did not test the bottle’s ability to cool water that wasn’t already fridge cold but I don’t see myself using it that way. Tonight I filled it with ice and water and put the core back in the freezer to see how it does with the water being ice cold to start. Don’t get me wrong, it did help my water stay cool, just not as cold as I like it to be.

My overall rating is a 3.5 out of 5 stars. **Upon further research, this particular bottle isn’t available anymore but this (slightly smaller) version is.

Next up is the Infuser Chiller.

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Guys, I love this thing. I think my only complaint is it’s not big enough and that could be easily fixed by getting the next size up that Cool Gear offers. It’s a double walled cup with a screw-on lid, integrated (but removeable) straw, a removeable “basket” for adding in fruit (or whatever else you want to infuse your drink with), and a soft cover that goes over that so you can add fruit or water without removing the whole lid. Pretty awesome.

My first attempt at infused water was lemons and strawberries. I’m a bit anal so I rearranged my fruits a few times before I got them to fit in the basket just how I wanted. Don’t judge – I wanted maximum flavor infusing! I filled the cup through the hole in the lid and then popped the cap back on and put the whole cup in the fridge. I wanted to give it lots of time to soak up the fruit flavors. In the morning I pulled it out and took a big gulp and was pleasantly surprised at how much flavor my water had. It was a bit tart due to the amount of lemon but was still pretty good. I sucked a bunch down then popped the top cap off, filled it back up, and back into the fridge it went. I think I ended up filling it up 3 times total which I figure after taking out the fruit volume and what my kids drank was roughly 50 ounces. And it didn’t feel hard to do.

I do think that infusing the water overnight gives the best results. I’ve had some in the fridge for the last few hours tonight and it’s not quite strong enough yet. I layered my fruit this time and I think mixing it up in the basket would probably give better flavor. The only issue I really have with it is more of a user error and I have trouble getting the lid screwed on properly. I think there is a specific spot the lid needs to be lined up into to screw it on smoothly but I haven’t fully investigated that yet. I’ve managed to get it back on each time I needed to; it just took me a few tries.

Overal rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Seriously, this thing is great. I might end up upgrading to a pitcher.

Check out Cool Gear and see what they have. Their prices are reasonable and they have a TON of products and not all are beverage holders. Get yourself something to help keep your water intake up – I swear you’ll feel better for it. And if you’re feeling generous, get me one of these. 😉

**I received these products for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions and experiences are my own.**

Week 7

Weight Lost: .2lbs

So last week I had a GIANT derailment. Giantly giant. My mom came in Tuesday so we went to lunch. Friday night we ordered pizza (was not delicious) and then Saturday and Sunday I gorged myself on party food. Eek. No wonder that number up there doesn’t look so pretty. I really really just ate to excess over the weekend. Not my finest moments. And, considering it was a party I planned, I’m to blame for all the junk I ate. It was delicious but not even remotely good for me.

Another derailment came in the form of missing workouts 4 days of the week. Wednesday I wasn’t feeling up to it physically. I had started to get laryngitis again (for the 3rd time in 6 months) on Tuesday so by Wednesday it was really hard to talk and the effort of it kept me dizzy and lightheaded. I thought it would be best to skip the workout that day. Thursday Bear and I had dentist appointments (he did amazingly!) and then we had party stuff to work on plus a house to clean so I just reconciled myself to missing workouts for the rest of the week. I REALLY should have done at least one on Sunday to start catching up but I was SO worn out from party shenanigans that everything hurt and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So this week I have to double up 4 days. Barf. But I don’t want to slack on them especially since I ate my weight in brownie bites and thumbprint cookies last week.

The party, by the way, was great! Once I get some time to process the 14 billion pictures we took I’ll post some for you to see. I tend to slightly overdo stuff and this party was no exception. Now I still have the daunting process of putting the house back to pre-party standards and I’m not looking forward to it. Cleanup is not the best part.

Another fun thing coming is a product review for some new water bottles that were sent for me to try. I’m super excited to test them out as I am TERRIBLE at getting in my water intake for the day. I don’t drink soda much but I’m addicted to unsweetened tea with Splenda and that’s just not the same as water. So I will test those out soon and hopefully let y’all know what I think later on this week. I’m hoping to get some more products to test out that will help me (and hopefully some of y’all) on my journey to fitting into my “skinny” clothes.

Hoping for better results next week! Also, I might be in a body cast after doubling up on workouts all week.

Week 6

Weight Lost: .6lbs

Well… still lost weight. I still haven’t consistantly counted points beyond the first two weeks of WW. Not impressive. I’m trying to make similar choices but something (cake) keeps derailing me from eating right. This past week it was (another) carrot cake and eating out (again). This week it will be my mom coming and prepping for the baby’s birthday party. Then there will be leftovers from party food, etc… I REALLY need to get back on the ball.

Workouts are going well. I have exercised every day and even though I’ve come up with a zillion excuses not to I have done it anyway.

There really isn’t much to report from week 6 – I did a lot of working on party stuff and hanging out with my in-laws that were in town. I blame the carrot cake on them.

Week 5

Weight Lost: 0.6lbs

Baaaaaahhhhhhh. Terrible. Yes, I understand it’s still a loss and a win is a win but it’s such a TINY win. And it’s my fault because I officially haven’t counted points in 2 weeks. Hence the crappy numbers. Did a little better today except I still didn’t count points and probably went over my daily allowance. I HAVE to get back to eating right. Nothing fits and I refuse to buy new clothes until I lose more weight.

Three weeks of Bikini Body Mommy 4.0 down! The only days I’ve missed were the 2 at the beginning because I didn’t start on time. I’m ok with that. There are moments when I REALLY REALLY don’t like Briana and her torture routines but I am not going to give up. I already notice that I’m recovering faster from workouts. Most days I can even climb the stairs without my legs feeling as though they will give way beneath me.

I got new workout clothes! I know it sounds silly but it makes me more interested in working out. Maybe because before the stuff I was wearing didn’t fit very well… And I know it’s just in my house and no one sees me working out but wearing workout gear that fits (novel idea, huh?) and feels comfortable and doesn’t require adjusting everytime you move makes a big difference in the experience. Target had their C9 gear on the Cartwheel app (if you don’t have that and you live in the USA – because apparently Target isn’t in Canada anymore – download it now!) 20% off so I grabbed 2 of these shirts, 1 of this shirt, and 2 of these sports bras. I love the shirts and the sports bras are a GIANT improvement over the ones I had been wearing which were approximately 2-3 sizes too small.

We did WAY too much eating out this week. With not the greatest choices during those times. But I really really like fried okra and nachos. Not at the same time though. That would be weird.

Week 4

Weight lost: .8lbs  Hey! That’s better than last week!

Wow. Can’t believe I’ve been doing this for almost a month. I should have kept track of how many pineapples, bell peppers, and quarts of strawberries I’ve gone through.

Making brownies while working out isn’t necessarily the best choice. Even if those brownies are earmarked for the local police station in honor of National Police Week. Especially if those brownies are the best fudgey gooey brownies I’ve ever had. I mean, I had to taste one a few. Just the broken ones, of course. Couldn’t give those to anyone. Unfortunately (for you) I can’t share this recipe as it was given to me under threat of death if I were share it further. And even though I probably have described these brownies as “to die for” I’m not quite willing to back that statement up. So if you want some… well… you’ll have to come over.

I slipped on the stairs one morning this week and pulled something in my quad muscle. The whole thing didn’t hurt but a localized spot in the center felt like someone was stabbing me with a hot poker. So, needless to say, I skipped my workout that day but I made it up the next day! Pretty proud of myself that I haven’t skipped a day since I started working out except for the one, but I made that up. I haven’t always done wonderfully with my food choices but at least I’m working out!

I literally haven’t counted points at all this week. I have NO idea how that’s going to work out for me. I’ve tried still eating well but with all the leftovers from Mother’s Day it was really hard to count. And I don’t even want to know what the point count is for Fresh Strawberry Pie. Because it’s SOOOOOO good. That was my Mother’s Day present to me.

Bad moments. Not bad mothers.

This is something I read somewhere that I feel I need to get tattooed on myself. Somewhere I can see it daily. Like on my forehead so when I check out my frizzy hair and my newly zitty face in the mirror I can see it. And then every other time I see it throughout the day I might just remember that bad moments don’t make me a bad mom. Even if I REALLY REALLY feel like they do. Because some days, and more days than not lately, I feel like all I have are bad moments.

I don’t want to be the mom who yells at her toddler. I don’t. I go to bed each night telling myself I will be patient and understanding and I won’t yell or get angry or have a screaming mini-meltdown when my toddler doesn’t listen to me for the 73rd time that hour. And some days I follow my rules. And other days, which seem to be getting more frequent, I fail miserably. I read a post some time ago that I apparently need to print out and paste in various locations all over my house. You can read it here. If you don’t want to read it it basically talks about those moments you lose yourself because satan is digging at your self-esteem, your resolve, your patience, and playing up your inadequacies. But you should read it because it’s way better than my summary.

I want to be the mom that shows her children grace when they need it and consistency in the discipline they receive. I don’t want to lose my patience and yell and hurt the sweet heart of my precious boy. He is struggling with listening and obeying and doing the things he wants to do. I am struggling with being patient and consistent and teaching gently instead of being a shrew.

I’m not a bad mom. I love my children with every fiber of my being. I wouldn’t trade them for the world (even if I sometimes threaten to sell them to the gypsies). We have fun together and play and talk and I love those interactions. I know my son is growing and learning and I know I am too. I am growing in my role as their mom and learning how to navigate this new age and stage and the differences in having two.

So tomorrow, once again, I’ll try to be patient. I’ll try to use the right words to teach instead of yell. I’ll try to remember compassion when he’s melting down (again) because his napkin fell on the floor. And I might fail. Because I’m not perfect. I’m human and I’m flawed. But I will remember these precious gifts I’ve been given. I’ll remember that they are mine to teach and raise and love. And I will do my best.

Tasty Breakfast Muffins (Or Anytime-you-need-a-sweet-treat-that-won’t-derail-you Muffins)

So in the last two weeks I’ve make several batches of muffins to eat for breakfast. I tend to prefer sweet breakfast options unless I’m going the whole bacon-eggs-pancakes-hashbrowns route which, let’s face it, is neither practical on a daily basis or healthy. So enter tasty, not terribly unhealthy, muffins. Now, as I make them they are pretty small. I have used these for all the ones I have made since I started WW and the cups are smaller than regular baking cups. Side note: my only issue with the silicone baking cups is that, for whatever reason, they overcook the bottoms of the muffins. It’s a little weird and I haven’t figured out how to make it not do that but I still like that they are easy to use and clean. Soooo unpaid advertised over and back to muffins.

First we have Low-Fat Lemon Poppyseed Muffins. These are tasty fresh and also frozen. And, by frozen, I mean I will literally eat them straight out of the freezer. I know, I’m weird. But my friend H would totally back me up on that.

1 box Duncan Hines Lemon Cake Mix
1 C Non-fat sour cream or greek yogurt (I used greek yogurt in mine)
2 Tbsp Poppyseeds
3 egg whites
2 tsp Lemon Extract
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Batter will be thick. Fill greased muffin tins, muffin liners, or silicone baking liners. Bake 25-30 minutes until top springs back when touched. Don’t overbake them like I did my last batch. They get a little tough if overcooked. You want them just to start browning on top but that’s it. Cool about 10 minutes then top with glaze. You can eat them without the glaze for less sugar but really, the glaze is SO good so why would you want to?

Lemon Glaze

3/4 C Powdered Sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel
3-4 tsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and spoon over cooled muffins. I glaze them and then once the glaze sets up a big pop them in a freezer safe container. Boom, done. My silicone cups end up making 18 muffins that work out to 3 PointsPlus a piece using non-fat Greek Yogurt (including glaze).

Next up we have Greek Yogurt Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins. Ok, I’m sure there is a simpler title for these like maybe “Greek Yogurt Oat Muffins” but I feel like the eater needs to know there are both bananas and PB in them too. I’ve adapted this from the original recipe found here to add the peanut butter, which can be done in two ways.

Option 1:

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 C Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1/2 C Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
1/4 C brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 C quick oats
1/2 C chocolate chips – regular or mini (I prefer mini)

Preheat oven to 400. Using food processor, blend all ingredients except oats and chocolate chips until smooth. Add in oats, pulse until oats are small but not blended all the way in (original recipe calls for them to be blended smooth but I liked the texture better with the oats still in pieces). Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Fill greased muffin tin, baking liners, or silicone baking cups to make 12-16 muffins (depending on size of muffin tins – regular tins will make 12 muffins). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until top feels set and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. I prefer them room temp or just slightly warm versus straight out of the oven. Cool completely and freeze in freezer safe container.

Alternate lower-cal option:
1 C. Non-fat Greek Yogurt
4 Tbsp PB2 Powedered Peanut Butter
1/4 C Mini chocolate chips

This reduced the Points Plus in the muffins considerably down to 3 each or 4 for two, which is pretty good. My recipe makes 16 muffins. I prefer the smaller amount of chocolate chips over the original recipe. I like the texure of using the actual peanut butter over the PB2 but for the points/calorie difference I’ll suck it up and use the powdered stuff.

I hope you enjoy these! I know H has enjoyed the Lemon Poppyseed muffins this week for breakfast and so have my kiddoodles. Let me know what you think!