Friday, December 6, 2013

Rosy Cheeked Snowman Fridge

I am so excited about the return of our snowman fridge.  It's becoming quite the tradition at our house, and I don't know what we'll do when we get around to replacing this old refrigerator.  Each year we find something to add to the snowman to spruce him up a bit, and this year it was the addition of rosy pink cheeks!

It's amazing what two little pink circles can do to make our snowman look super excited to be back this year!

If you want to make your own snowman fridge, this is what you'll need:

  • Construction Paper
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Tape
  • Bowls, Cups, Lids for Tracing
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
Trace large circles for the eyes and buttons, and trace smaller circles for the mouth and rosy cheeks.  This could be great practice for children, and they can even cut out the circles if they are old enough to use scissors (remember safety scissors for the little one!).  

I don't trace anything for the nose or arms, but it can be done!  The nose could be a triangle, and the hat and arms could be made of rectangles.  Use this as an opportunity to discuss shapes!  When all the pieces are cut out, use a tape that's easily removable to put everything in place on the fridge.  Stand back and enjoy!!  

Note, Frosty the Snowman or Christmas carols playing the background while you are decorating the fridge are an added bonus!

Visit this post to see some of our snowmen from years past. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekend Wishlist - Anything is Possible

Anything is Possible

Anything is Possible by c-russell on Polyvore

I (for the first time I believe) actually knocked a few things off my wishlist from last week.  I acquired an amazing new lens, received my business cards in the mail, and pulled off a photo shoot I am super excited about.  This photography thing is really becoming real.  And I couldn't be more excited to see where it goes!

I thoroughly enjoy reading those questions for professional know the ones...What did you wish you knew starting out?  Or what would you tell a photographer just starting up?  Words of wisdom and tidbits of advice.  A couple months ago all of it seemed so overwhelming, and although it still is very much overwhelming, it's manageable.  I can do this.  I have so far to go, but I've also already come so far.  

I know in this business (and honestly any business right?) you will never stop learning.  There is always more to learn and understand.  And as my quote says "With enough coffee, anything is possible."  All I need to do is sit down at my computer with a warm cup and put on my headphones and learn something.  Work on something.  Anything.  Just to be constantly improving myself.

There are a few more things I need to take care of to make this business official, but it's so close!  I'm beginning to realize that professional photography involves a lot more paperwork than it does as a hobbyist.  I've got forms to iron out to keep up with all the legalities.  Heads up to Kelly Moore, I may even need a bigger gear bag soon!

If you're interested in seeing my photo shoots, head on over to the Captured by CJ Photography blog where the photos are posted.  And stay tuned for more of my Weekend Wishlists or check out past installments here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Beach Vacation Keepsake

Last month we had our first official family vacation.  It was actually our second trip to Florida as a family, but last time we were travelling and visiting with lots of other friends and family (being as it was for our wedding!).  This time it was just the four of us!

I knew going down there that I wanted to make one of these jars, so I planned ahead and packed some Ziploc bags for the sand and shells we collected on the beach.  The kids were super excited about bringing home sand and would have filled a five gallon bucket if I'd have allowed it!  

I picked up a simple postcard to use as the backdrop of our beach vacation jar from a souvenir shop while we were on vacation.  I wrote the dates of our trip on the back and tucked the key card from our hotel behind it too!  The only other thing I had to buy for the project was the jar, so in total, this little keepsake cost less than $5 to make!

Once I put the postcard in (it had to be trimmed up a little), I started spooning in the sand and topped it off with the seashells and a few pieces of seaweed that ended up in the sand we'd collected.  After closing it up, I tied a piece of twine around the lid for a little something extra.  The "tag" attached to it is actually the bottom section of the parking pass we were given from the hotel! 

It now has a nice little home on the mantel beside the sand unity vase we made at our wedding.  A little bit of the gulf coast in our home!  I love it!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weekend Wishlist - What's Next?

I haven't posted a weekend wishlist in a while, and it's high time I explain where I've been!  If you've noticed, I also haven't been around to update my photo of the day page.  It's not that I haven't been taking photos, because trust me...I have!  Tons of them!

I'm working on taking this photography hobby of mine seriously, and am looking forward to move from hobbyist to professional!  I'm excited about the prospect of client photo shoots and finally generating some income for my family.  And the ability to do that by doing something I love just excites me!

Ready for the Next Step!

I compiled this version of the weekend wishlist on Polyvore as a pictorial reference of where I want to go.  I'm working on acquiring some new equipment, honing my post processing software skills, and getting outdoors and taking photos!  And looking forward to that future pay day!

I have been adding posts to my photography blog and my photography website is up and running.  I'm also posting updates on my Facebook page.  I'll continue to update this blog with the usual fun stuff like preschool activities and recipes, and I'll keep my photo shoots to the photography page!  Check them out and follow me there too so you don't miss a thing!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Weather Themed Sensory Tub

Now that school is out for the summer, I'm finally getting back to some of our preschool crafts and activities. We hadn't been doing a whole lot in that department over the last few months, and I'm running out of time!  It's hard to believe that my son will be starting kindergarten at the end of next month!  This summer is going to go so fast!

We've made a few trips to the library in the past couple weeks and aside from signing up for the summer reading program and picking up all kind of story books, we picked up several books about weather.  I grabbed books about storms, tornadoes, wind, and sun.  We are going to spend some time learning about the weather!  And so far, the weather has been perfect too, because one morning we woke up and it was raining.  I pulled out the book about rain, and we made a raindrop craft.  Yesterday was cloudy, so we learned about different types of clouds.  Today is bright and sunny, so we are reading a book about the sun and making a happy sun craft!

To go with our weather studies, I decided to put together a quick weather themed sensory tub.

It's been a while since I've made a new sensory tub for the kids to play with so when they realized what I was doing, they were pretty excited!

The main ingredient in this sensory tub is of course cotton ball clouds!  Yesterday's cloud activity used cotton balls to depict different types of clouds.  We based it on this post from Carrots are Orange.  And now I'm completely out of cotton balls!

I used the same big yellow gear for a sun that I used in our Space themed sensory tub.  I added a few hard golf balls and some little white pom poms to represent hail and snowflakes.  Thanks to last month's hailstorm, the kids are very familiar with how hard (and damaging) hail can be!

The tiny blue beads represent raindrops, and turned out to be a perfect choice.  The kids were picking them up and letting them drop out of the clouds like rain!  

I cut cloud shapes out of a dark patterned piece of felt to represent storm clouds, and I cut lightning bolts out of yellow foam sheets.  As I was going through our craft cabinet I came across some weather words from an old calendar we had and put them in the bin as well.  We can practice spelling out the words, and they can guess what the words are by the pictures on them.  

I found some little American flags that I put in as well.  My son was confused as to what they had to do with weather, until I asked him what made the flags move.  He held it up and blew on it, and then he yelled "wind!"  

The best part of watching them play with their new sensory tub is when they started using all the pieces to act out the Itsy Bitsy spider.  I ran and grabbed a spider from our old Halloween tub, and they put on a little play of the song!  Priceless!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The flags I've always wanted to take a picture of!

We live near a small town cemetery, but it has got to be one of the busiest cemeteries I've ever seen.  I'm not saying that like there are a lot of funerals there, but that there are always lots of people visiting!  Nearly every single grave is decorated year round, and people gather there frequently to reminisce or just be near their loved ones.   One time I drove by to see an old man sitting on a bench in front a headstone.  Hours later when I was returning home, he was still sitting there.

Each year around major holidays honoring our country's servicemen and women, about a hundred (or more) small American flags surround a monument dedicated to the members of the armed services who are buried in this cemetery.  It's a beautiful sight, but before now one that I've only admired as I drove right by.

On Memorial Day, I walked over to take some pictures.  Well I got about halfway there and realized that some kind of ceremony was going on.  There was music playing and police cars, a firetruck, and motorcycles everywhere.  We watched from a distance for a while and then turned around and made our way to the park instead.  I'd wait to take pictures when I wouldn't be in the way.

Today I got my chance.  On our way to the library, I noticed the flags were still up.  The sun was shining, and this part of the cemetery was deserted.  So I pulled the van over and pulled out the camera.  I absolutely love that I can do that!  I only snapped a few shots because the kids were eager to get to the library, but the next time they flags go up, I'll probably stop and snap some more!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Flower Pot

This is going to be a quick post, about a simple but adorable teacher appreciation gift we made for my son's pre-k teachers.  I saw these tulips floating around Pinterest the other morning and knew immediately they were something I wanted to make.  And when I remembered that our son's last day of pre-k and graduation program were quickly approaching I knew exactly what I needed to make them for!

This link over to Mama Miss is where you can find the FREE printable for the tulips and instructions on how to put them together:  They also include a link and tutorial for making your own rope vase using an old baby food jar.  

I didn't have any baby food jars, but decided to hit up the dollar store for some cheap glass vases.  When I got there however, I saw these adorable gray flower pots in a package of 4 for $1!  That deal was just too good to pass up.  I needed to make three pots, one for each of his teachers, and the extra pot lets me make one for myself too!

Once we had the tulips put together, I added in some fake moss.  It helps hold the pipe cleaner stems down in the pot and adds to the "planted" look of the flower pot.  

To finish off the gift, I went to my good friend Google to help me find a great gift tag.  I knew I wanted the message to be something about "growing", and I found exactly what I wanted at Living Locurto, this FREE printable gift tag:  They use the tag on real plants as teacher appreciation gifts.  I love that idea too!  I love getting plants!  Instead of gluing the tag to a Popsicle stick, I hole-punched them and tied a ribbon through the tag around the tulips in the vase.

And there you have it, a great long lasting, maintenance free teacher appreciation flower pot!  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weight Loss Progress Report

I have no clue what week I should be on, so I'm leaving that number off this one.  I can't tell you how many times I've stopped and restarted dieting in the last few months.  There's always something that seems to throw me off course (cough cough...Chinese takeout...cough cough).  When I initially started these reports again, I was doing them at the beginning of the week, and it was a week I never made it through.

Well this post is coming after a week of great progress and sticking with the plan!  I have been doing Atkins' Induction all week long.  I've been on MyFitnessPal daily logging my food and exercise, although that exercise has only consisted of mowing the lawn and a couple of walks so far.  I plan on adding back in my regular workouts.  P90X here I come!!

I know the big drop at the beginning of Atkins is losing water weight and throwing your body into Ketosis.  That means my body is burning fat for energy.  By not eating carbs, which your body would normally burn first, I'm forcing it to burn my body's fat stores instead.  So without further ado, the results of my first week back on Induction are:

One Week!!!  Seven Pounds!!!  (Well 'technically' it was 6.6 lbs, but MyFitnessPal rounds up.  Close enough right?)  Why oh why does it take me so long to realize this works?  I did it before, and I'm doing it again.  I was so proud of myself this week for maintaining my self control.  I had an opportunity for my favorite Chinese takout and I didn't take it.  I also went to a child's birthday party, and I didn't eat anything there!  There were many times I wanted to sneak into the pantry and devour some cookies, but I didn't!  And it paid off!!

I'm looking forward to the week ahead and continued success.  I already know of a few bumps in the road, but I'm planning ahead to get through them easily.  It's important to plan to know where your next meal is coming from or at least know what it is!

I've been exploring my favorite low carb recipe website for ideas.  The recipes on Linda's Low Carb are fantastic.  I've had a link to her website in my "Helpful Links" section for years now.  I love how it is broken down into categories so you can easily find a recipe for whatever meal or main ingredient you are looking for.  Some of my personal dinner favorites are the "Easy Cheesy Chili Chicken" and the "Enchilada Chicken Paillard".

Breakfast can be a little tricky.  I get in the habit of having the same thing over and over which can burn you out pretty quickly.  My go to breakfast is two eggs, two strips of bacon, and spinach with my coffee.  This is an improvement over my old breakfasts however which literally just consisted of coffee.

I did try something a little different one day this week.  I made a pizza omelet.  It was pepperoni, mushrooms, banana peppers, and spinach in a two-egg omelet topped with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.  And it was YUMMY!

I had a salad for lunch almost every day last week, but I didn't always use the same ingredients.  Sometimes it was iceberg lettuce, and sometimes it was romaine.  The one pictured above was topped with a sliced grilled bratwurst leftover from the night before.  I topped one with crumbled bacon and tomato for a very BLT tasting salad.  My favorite salad was what I had yesterday for lunch before heading off to that birthday party.  It kept me full and I didn't even feel like snacking while I was there.  I had a romaine lettuce salad, topped with Cesar dressing, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, banana peppers, and tomato.  It was my version of an Italian garden salad I once ordered from Donato's pizza, and it was delicious!!

So I've got a plan in my head, but I'm going to write it down.  On paper it always feels more official.  I like checking things off and staying on track.  I'm going to take this one week at a time, one day at a time really, but always looking ahead to my goal.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go order some more bacon from the butcher's!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Four Months Down

Goodbye April, Hello May!  I'm a little late on my end of April post, but better late than never right?  I haven't been blogging much at all this past month.  I never could find the time!  Looking back over the photos has reminded me how busy and crazy things were during April, but also what an amazing month it was!  Here's the collage of some of my favorite standouts from April.  I'll go into a little more detail below.

Our baby girl started her first dance class last month.  She's had three classes so far and will have 3 more in May.  We are definitely going to take her back in the fall.  She is absolutely amazing in class.  I have never seen her so focused and enthralled with what she's doing.

Early in April I went on my first trip to Turkey Run State Park.  I hope its definitely not my last because that place was stunning!  I might have feared for my life in a few spots on the trail!  It reminded me I need to get in better shape and find a backpack for carrying (and protecting!) my camera when we go hiking!

We also had our first big storm of the year which brought the largest hail we've ever seen here.  Our poor house took a serious beating!  We're still waiting to see what all will get replaced, but there's definitely new siding and a new roof in our future.  I hope we don't get anything else like that again any time soon.  Both kiddos were pretty scared and the dog barked throughout the entire storm!

Flowers are popping up everywhere now, and dandelions are multiplying like rabbits!  We have thousands I'm sure!  I missed my camera so much while it was at Nikon repair (the lens release pin malfunctioned and had to be replaced!), so the day it got back I couldn't wait to start snapping photos again.  It was a cloudy and rainy day though so all I got were some shots of the dandelions off the back porch.  Still I ended up with one of the prettiest pictures of a dandelion I've ever seen!

I'm looking forward to more trips to the park, zoo, and the rest of Ali's dance classes this month.  Gray also graduates from pre-k so there will be pictures from that!  I can't wait!  Until next time...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

A day late, but hey it's still the weekend right?  Spring is here and for probably the first time ever I'm in spring cleaning mode!!  I have done so much over the past few days, and I am trilled with how things are looking so far.  I've also been without my camera for the past few days because I had to send it off for repairs.  Who knew you could get so much done around the house when you don't have hundreds of pictures to take and edit?!

Well most of my spring cleaning has been concentrated on the kitchen so far.  So that's where my wishlist focuses.  Thanks to a dear friend, I discovered FlyLady this week, and I am hooked.  I never thought in my wildest dreams that some stranger sending me emails would motivate me to clean more, but she does!

I've rearranged cabinets, cleaned out drawers, organized, thrown away junk, and shined my sink!  I've got plenty more on my to-do list in there, but a little at a time goes a long way.  Now I just keep daydreaming about all the things I'd really like to do with the kitchen.

Kitchen Dreams

Kitchen Dreams by c-russell featuring Trish McEvoy beauty products

First off, I still need to clean the stove which has me wishing I had a flat surface cooktop instead of the coils and drip pans!  I also wish we had a tile backsplash!  That would make such a big difference!  And I wish I had more kitchen towels because we go through so many of them now!  

I have probably a thousand plastic grocery bags that we save and reuse but I honestly don't think we'll ever use that many!  I'd love to make the switch to reusable grocery bags and REMEMBER to use them every time we go to the store!

I also wish I had a window above our kitchen sink.  I want to look out and see a beautiful tulip tree blooming right now!  Our kitchen sink faces the living room so instead I see the TV, which is nice too but not like looking at flowers!  Instead, I can stand at the backdoor with my cup of coffee like the woman in this picture.  I watch the birds and bunnies that are almost always in the backyard.  But seriously, I still wish we had one of those trees.  If I had my camera, I'd be stalking it like the paparazzi right now!

So what's your wishlist for this weekend?  I'm heading back into the kitchen to finish up my to-do list and probably fix another cup of coffee!  Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful weekend!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

What's on your wishlist this weekend?  Since I got my haircut last night and it was styled with the most beautiful curls, what I want is for it to look like that all the time!  I wish I could do my hair like my stylist does.  He is amazing, and I don't know why I wait a year in between haircuts!  See for yourself?  He makes me look great!

I feel pretty, oh so pretty.  I feel pretty, and witty, and......where was I?

Spring is here and with the lovely weather and these fresh cut locks, I want to feel beautiful all the time!  I think it's definitely time to pick up a working curling iron so I can at least make the attempt at getting my hair to look like it does when I leave the salon.  I'm pretty sure it's also way past time to replace some of my makeup.  One day I'm going to splurge and replace my old Mary Kay compact with a new one filled with pretties!  I'm also ready for manicures and pedicures and flip flops and sandals.  I'm ready for skirts and capris, and most of all, the sun on my face!

Beautiful Curls

Old Navy fitted dress

H M h m
$6.08 -

Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron, 1"-Black Silver - Best Price

With that, I'm slowly building back up my motivation to lose the weight I want and get back to eating healthy again.  I have some wonderful warm weather clothes that I don't want to go to waste this year because they don't fit!  Monday's check in may not be the best, but I'm hoping after this week they get progressively better.  There's something about getting a little sun that always gets me in the mood to do better!

So there's my weekend wishlist.  Now I wish that all of you feel beautiful and have a great weekend too!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Three Months Gone

Goodbye Winter...Hello Spring!  Well, finally I feel like it is spring!  March finished with wonderful weather and one of my favorite holidays.  We spent the day at the zoo with some amazing friends!  It was a great way to spend the holiday, and we all had a blast!

Luckily, this Monday morning is the first of the month, and I get to do my recap of March instead of my weekly progress report.  Frankly, I haven't set foot on the scale since last week, and I don't want to!  I don't want to see how much I gained thanks to a few too many trips for Chinese takeout this week!!  See below for details on that.

Now without further ado, here's a little collage of a few of my favorite moments captured in photo from the past month.

See all of the daily March photos here.  

Mother Nature was crazy this past month!  We had a few days of great weather which allowed for trips to the park or playing outside.  But we had more snow in March than I think we've had in the past two winters combined!  Or at least that's what it felt like, so we made do with some fun indoor activities when the weather wasn't in our favor.  Also in March this year was Easter, and it is one of my favorite holidays thanks to all the bunnies you see everywhere.  Even Maddie got into the Easter spirit with her new dress and the bunny hat I made.

And despite what kind of weather we had during the day, March had some really awesome nights.  The moon has been big and full and absolutely stunning!  The colors were beautiful, whether it was cloudy or clear.  It made for some very intriguing photos!

Now I know it's Monday, and I should be doing my weekly check-in, but this was a really bad week in that department.  I ate crap, let the treadmill gather dust, never got enough sleep, and I can't remember the last time I had a glass of water!  I'm hoping with the return of warmer spring like weather, my motivation will return too!! 

I also need to stay away from Fast Wok....far. far. away!  It's too good!  It's fast.  It's easy.  It's cheap.  But it's so darn good!  It will be easier to stay away for a little while now at least because all the roads I would have normally taken to get there are closed starting today.  I'm not sure how long the construction is supposed to last, but I kind of hope it's a while!  This is the only time I'm happy about road construction.  Well, I'm not that happy about it, but my waistline is!  

I'm also happy about keeping this photo project going!  I've created a new page for April's photos.  I have something special in mind for today so I hope I get time to play with the camera later.  Here's to another great month of photos and memories!!  Happy April Fool's Day!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

This installment of weekend wishlist is featuring my favorite animal in honor of this very special holiday weekend.  I absolutely love this time of year because you get to see bunnies everywhere you look.  I know bunnies have absolutely nothing to do with the real reason for the holiday, but its an added bonus for me!

That Not My Bunny


Tech accessory

Handpainted Bunny Bookends

Above are links to some of the awesome items featured in this wishlist.  I've had the lebunnybleu shoes on my wishlist for a while.  I actually have a few pairs on a Pinterest wishlist board!  The Anthropologie bunny bookends are quite adorable.  I'd use those to hold up all of our bunny books including "Guess How Much I Love You" and "Bunny, My Honey", two of my favorites!!

I keep telling myself to get one of those adorable bunny iPhone cases, but I always talk myself out of it because it'd be impossible to put in my pocket or purse with those big ears and tail.  But it's just so darn cute, that talk is getting harder and harder.  Even if I only use it around the house, I think it'd be worth it!

Hope everyone has an amazing Easter weekend.  I'm hoping to see some real bunnies while we are out hunting for Easter eggs and enjoying the spring weather that has finally arrived!  Until next time....

Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 2 Progress Report

Well I need a do-over week!  This was a terrible week for just about all of my goals!  Everyone in the house has been sick, which is a terrible excuse, but it made it very easy to make poor choices this week.  It started off great, with the dip in the scale last Monday.  I had momentum and motivation!  I had three consecutive days on the treadmill working out, and I was eating better.  But the rest of the week, I let everything else take over.

My legs were sore so I stopped working out.  We all have colds, so we spent a lot of time resting, eating takeout instead of cooking something decent, and snacking because we were bored.  Very bad idea!  And it all showed this morning when I stepped on the scale!

Like the weather, my motivation reverted back to it's winter hibernation!  Seriously, I thought this was Spring Break week, not Winter Vacation!  But, it's a new week now.  I already know my workout today is going to be shoveling snow thanks to the lying groundhog and Mother Nature who are in cahoots to keep our spring away!  

Yesterday afternoon, the freezing rain started.  For a brief moment it seemed like we might not get the snow that had been predicted.  But just as quickly as the sleet started, the snow covered the ground.  And kept on and kept on.  

By dinner time, everything was already covered, and big heavy snowflakes were still falling when we went to bed.

And this is the view we woke up to this morning.  I can't find my ruler, or I'd be out there checking to see exactly how much we got overnight.  It is still snowing too, although not as heavily.  It really is a beautiful view, but not what I want to see on Spring Break!  I really don't want to be hiding Easter eggs in the snow for the kids next weekend!  

The fact that it's Spring Break still remains.  Only a short while until school will be out which means summer will be here.  Summer where I want to put on a swimsuit and go swimming.  Lay out in the sun!  Tank tops and skirts and flip flops.  Not weight gain and hiding indoors in lounge pants and sweatshirts!  Motivation may come and go, just like the snow this spring, but I still need to make a change.  I still need to do better!  Here's to next week!  May the weight and the snow that came this week both be gone!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekend Wishlist

How would you spend a sick day?  When you and everyone else in the house is sick, I'd say there's nothing you wish for more than quiet, rest, and a speedy recovery.  Well, and maybe to not run out of tissues.

Best Sick Day Ever

Best Sick Day Ever by c-russell on Polyvore

On this sick day, I would totally rock those Doctor Who pajamas with my red and runny nose.  I'd curl up under a blanket on the couch and turn on series 2 of Doctor Who, since it starts off with David Tennant in pajamas too after all!  Then, I'd take a nap and dream of being whisked away as the Doctor's newest companion.  Allons-y!  Yes, that sounds like the best sick day ever!  

Too bad moms don't get sick days.  I'm just hoping maybe I get to sleep in a little longer.  I will be spending my weekend blowing kids' noses and also my own, rubbing vapor rub on chests, and maybe making some chicken soup.  Dreams of the Tardis will have to wait.  Here's to hoping we are all better soon!  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Make Our Garden Grow

It's been a long time since I'd actually heard the song "Make Our Garden Grow", but I listened to it a few times while putting this treasury together this morning.  My usual weekend treasury game seems to have been replaced with another promotion, but we still have Shops of the Day to promote so that's what I'm doing now.  And listening to classical music in the background just makes it that much more enjoyable.

It amazed me that although it's been years since I'd heard the song, I was able to start humming along immediately and remembered some of the words too.  It's such a romantic song that really has nothing to do with a real garden, but it's still so beautiful!

The Promoting Creative Friends Shops of the Day featured in this treasury are:

I fell in love with the little garden rabbit as soon as I saw him.  I'd definitely put that cute little guy in a flower bed (sadly I don't have a garden).  I'm also a very big fan of the vintage apron with the rabbits on it!  It's amazing!

All of these items have me eager for spring and summer and being outdoors.  I can't believe that it's officially spring, but we woke up to frost on the ground this morning.  There's even snow in the upcoming forecast.  I think Mother Nature forget to turn a few pages on her calendar!  I'm ready for everything to start turning green, and for flowers to bloom.  Now just for the weather to catch up!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rage Against the Minivan: Let’s bring the holidays down a notch

A friend of mine shared this post on Facebook this morning.  I clicked on it because I was mostly intrigued by the blog name, not so much the post.  It reminded me of this picture my sister sent me after we got our minivan!  But the post is excellent!  It's not long, its funny, but most of all, it's true!

Rage Against the Minivan: Let’s bring the holidays down a notch:
"Today was St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday I had completely forgotten about until
Jafta stumbled into the living room at about 11:30pm last night..."
 I'm thankful that my kids are still young enough to not get the full exposure of public school pressure over holidays.  My oldest is only in pre-k this year, and while they have celebrated the larger holidays, there is none of this nonsense over a new made up holiday every week.

I believe they had a party at Halloween, the Christmas party was cancelled because of a snow day, and the kids exchanged Valentines.  Thankfully, the only thing he brought home from St. Patrick's Day was a shamrock necklace the kids made in class.

For Valentine's, I was so excited to do the store bought box of Valentines with my son this year.  I found a box of Phineas and Ferb Valetnine cards with pencils at the dollar store!  We sat at the kitchen table with his list of classmates, and he got to choose which card to give to each of his friends.  He printed his name and their name on each and every card.  I was so proud of him!

He did come home that day with a small amount of candy, but after sharing a couple pieces with his sister it was just a small treat.  I'm ok with that!  If he'd have come home with a Halloween size till, I'd probably have thrown it all away!  And we didn't even get very much for Halloween last year.  We went trick-or-treating late, and many people were already out of candy.  I'm going to remember that for future trick-or-treating excursions.  We still get the fun of a walk around the neighborhood seeing the kids in costume, but a lot fewer calories in the bucket at the end of the night!

Just like in the original post, we don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day around here.  I've never understood the allure of this holiday.  I didn't even wear green, and I didn't suggest the kids do it either.  If I was going to do anything, it would have been something like the shamrock craft he'd done at school.  Crafts are so much better than candy!

Now for the upcoming Easter holiday.  It's always been my favorite.  I'm not ashamed to admit that my reasons have nothing to do with the actual reason for the holiday either.  I'm a bunny fanatic!  And it just so happens that this time of year there's a bunny on everything, everywhere.  Easter is one of the few times a year my family usually gets together (and somewhat gets along).  It's springtime, and the winter blues are fading away.  We're happier.  We get to dress up.  There's bunnies!  Can you see why I love it so much?

I have never used a kit to dye eggs.  In fact, last year was the first year I've ever dyed eggs.  We used some rubberbands to (attempt to) make some fun designs and food coloring.  Who needs fancy?  We don't!

When the Easter bunny stops by our house every year now, he brings very little candy or chocolate.  He usually brings a new toy, outfit, book, or something useful like new toothbrushes!  We'll have an Easter egg hunt, but any plastic eggs will have a few coins for the piggy bank or ONE piece of candy in them.  There are no jumbo eggs stuffed with a days worth of calories.  And you know what, the kids have just as much fun!

My kids aren't even that exposed to the holiday hype yet, and I'm already frustrated by it.  I feel like many moms are on a mission to outdo themselves and others each and every holiday.  When does the madness stop?  My hope for our house, it to never let it get started!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week 1 Progress Report

Happy Monday morning!  We are happy it's Monday right?  Yeah, I know...not funny!  Well, I'm at least happy to report a move in the right direction this past week.  Today I weighed in at 1.2 lbs less than I did last week.  For me, I'd say that's a good start!

If I dared set foot on the scale before this week, I'd usually see a similar result in the opposite direction.  I want no more of that!  I worked out on the treadmill 4 times this past week, but only between 20-30 minutes each time.  I think 4 days is maintainable for this, but I'd like to increase that time to 30-40 minutes and increase the intensity of those workouts.  That's something to work on for the week ahead!

I also plan to throw in a P90X DVD here and there for some strength exercises.  The shoulders and arms workouts used to be one of my favorites.  I remember having a hard time lifting my arm to brush my hair when I got done with one of those workouts!  It's time to do that again!

Also on the menu this week, or rather what needs to come off the menu this week...carbs!  I did a better job this first week of not snacking, but I still had far too many carbs at meals.  Last night, we also got my favorite takeout for dinner which I knew I would regret this morning, but it was delicious and made me feel better after one heck of a stressful week.  I can live with that!

I'm working on drinking more water during the day, something I generally have a problem with.  I like my morning coffee and a Pepsi Max with dinner, but often there's not much in between.  Last week, I made a trip for over 40 gallons of spring water, so I have no reason not to be drinking lots and lots of water!

I'm going to end this week's progress report with another old picture of me.  This was taken at my daughter's first birthday party during my Atkin's phase.  I was 5 pounds from my goal weight at the time and sporting a brand new size 2 skirt.  I felt great!

With warmer temps right around the corner, I'm going to want to wear that skirt again!  I'm going to make sure it fits this year!

How did you do last week?  Any victories on or off the scale?