Monday, February 08, 2016

January Book Report


One of my goals this year is to read for 15 minutes a day and so far, I've been reading every day. Of course, now that I'm reading every day, I'm tearing through books. I read 4.5 books in January which thrills me to no end. 


I started the month with Wildflower by Drew Barrymore and I loved this book. Barrymore's breathy voice was apparent on each page and her love for her children is so robust. I also gleamed some words of wisdom from her. Barrymore put into words something that I've been struggling with. As women and as Mothers, we are told that we can have it all when in reality, no one can have it all. You have to decide where to focus your efforts and go from there. And in doing that, you can be awesome. 


I next read The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny which was wonderful as usual. I love Penny's writing and enjoy the way she both carefully wraps her reader in comfort while keeping them on the edge of their seats in suspense. I could read Louise Penny novels about Three Pines for ages. The mysteries that Chief Inspector Gamache works to solve always include the most tender of human emotions and a protagonist that is quite tender at heart.  


My third book of the month was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and I was enthralled. I've had this book for ages and can't believe I didn't read it until now. I stayed up way too late reading this book for a few nights. I cheered for The Girl, gasped at the suspense and kept turning the pages until the end. I was sad to learn that this was Hawkins first book because it meant there weren't others to read. I will be anxiously awaiting her next novel. 


My next book was Women Are Scary by Melanie Dale. I ended up abandoning this book halfway through but I'm mentioning it here because I did read half of it. I kept hoping that I would connect because I love the author's website but I could not get past the, "Ohhh meeting people is hard" schtick. This might be an awesome book for someone who isn't great at meeting new people but I'm really good at meeting people. #humblebrag


My final book for the month was The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion and I think I may have finished this one at 11:59 p.m. on January 31st. I loved The Rosie Project when I read it last year and was so excited about this follow-up novel. It honestly wasn't as good as the first one. I still found it to be an entertaining read and quite enjoyed hearing about Don and Rosie's new adventure. 

Friday, February 05, 2016

Monthly Goal Check-In (January)

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In order to stay true to my 2016 goals, I've decided to do a monthly check-in on them. I've started the year out with a bang and have already crossed two of my ten goals off my list!

1.  Complete the Barre3 Challenge from Jan. 4 to Jan. 31 - I did this! Well alllllllmost. The last week of the challenge came with a cold so I only got three workouts in instead of four but there were weeks where I did five workouts so I'm calling this a win. I've decided to adapt this goal for the year and I'm going to workout 4x a week (more is better!) 

2. Complete Whole30 in January - I did this too! I've been reincorporating some foods back into my diet this week and it's been going ok. I had a terrible stomach ache after eating some of my kid's macaroni and cheese which sucked. That was immediate feedback to really limit that kind of food. 

3. Keep purging the house with the Bowl Full of Lemons 14 Week Plan - I'm so behind on this but I've been working on the dining room and launch pad this week. Next week is the Living Room which I'm excited about. We installed some wall units last year and I need to finalize the decorating/storage options of them. I also want to address our end table situation. 

4. Complete Four (4) Day in the Life Challenges and participate in at least ten 10 on 10's - I did my first 10 on 10 in January and have scheduled our first Day in the Life Challenge on February 14th. I hope you join me! 

5. Complete TKGA Master Knitting Level I - I have not yet started back on this goal. I was busy working on Maggie's birthday sweater this past month and I'm thrilled that it is done. I'll probably start this goal in March. 

6. Grow a kick-ass Garden! Due to well winter, I haven't started on this goal yet but I will this month. I need to get more dirt and figure out what I want to plant when the time comes. Also I really need to build that chicken run so my chickens don't run away (again).

7. Read for 15 minutes a day- I have read every single day so far and I'll have a full report on what I've read next week. 

8. Volunteer with two organizations and include the girls - I've completed my orientation with Mary's Place and we are scheduled for our first shift in a few weeks. I'm excited for this opportunity with my girls. 

9. Catch up on my yearly photo books of the girls - I had kinda forgotten about this one so good reminder!

10. Get back to Blogging on a more regular basis and focus more on my writing - I've been so busy writing for other publications that this has not been as great as I want it to be BUT I'm doing it. 
Thursday, February 04, 2016

Valentine's Day Crafts and Cards For Your Kids

I love doing crafts with my kids and whenever Valentine's Day comes around, I get really excited about doing Valentine's Day Cards with them. I'll admit that I might get too excited. I've spent hours pouring over websites and Pinterest to find the best Valentine's Day Crafts and Cards to do with kids. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.

Image Credit: Homan at Home

1. Valentine's Day Candy Mice - This first one is adorable and fast! Homan at Home has designed the most adorable mice as Valentine's Day cards. Print these out, grab your scissors and start cutting. Place a lollipop inside and you have a fast and almost last minute Valentine's Day card for your kid's classroom.

Image Credit: momdot

2. Glitter Pink Ombre Play Dough - I love making play dough but I'm not a huge fan of the mess my kids make with it. Instead I pawn it off on other unsuspecting parents (my secret is out!) by making it for holidays. I love this recipe from momdot because it includes everything my oldest loves - Pink and Glitter.


3. Cupid Arrows - These are the cutest Valentine's Crafts and I can think of so many places and ways to use them. Find out how to make them on Keeping Up With The Joneses.

Image Credit: No Time for Flashcards

4. Bird Seed Hearts - I'm seriously considering making these for the chickens because it will solidify my crazy chicken lady title. In all seriousness, I love the idea of making a more natural, yet crafty Valentine's Day gift and these hit all the right marks.

Image Credit: Molly Moo Crafts

5. Melted Crayon Hearts - I LOVE this craft. In fact, I made these one year and plan to make them again soon as the broken crayons are really piling up. I also love the little cards that Molly Moo Crafts included with their crayon hearts.

Image Credit: Molly Moo Crafts

6. Pirate Valentine's - You can't go wrong with Pirates and Valentine's Day Cards. Molly Moo Crafts has some pretty grrrreat cards to check out.

Image Credit: B Lovely Events

7. Treat Toppers - These free printable treat toppers let you package your favorite treats with a real crafty flair.  Stuff some M&Ms into a clear bag and top with your favorite printable for an exquisite touch and low effort.


Image Credit: Sweet C's Designs

8. Tiny Animal Valentines - These tiny animal valentines are great because they make me laugh and yet are also totally easy to craft up. Print these up and pair with a fantastic animal toy for a card that is sure to be a hit!

Image Credit: Dandee Designs


9. Astronaut Valentine - Is your Valentine out of this world? Show them with an astronaut card! I love this design and the toy is a great touch!

Image Credit: The Imagination Tree

10. Blow Painting Heart Art - I love how beautiful these cards come out with a tiny bit of creativity. I think this would be a great activity for the older kids to craft up.
Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Treating Yourself, Pet Photos and Hikes Are This Week's Links From Around The Web

MollyThrow

Treat Yo' Self (without food or spending $$) I love these ideas! Because we all need to treat ourselves but we don't need special food treats or to spend gobs of money.

Relearning the Art of Eating This is hard.

Talking With Young Children About Their Bodies I'm constantly talking to my girls about their bodies and while there have been some embarrassing moments (queue the "I HAVE A VAGINA" yell in the grocery store image here), I am quite proud of teaching my kids that their bodies are their bodies. I really want them to have a good, healthy relationship with their bodies and to know what parts are private and just for them.

Celebrating Your Pet's Life With Photos My brother and his wife had photos taken of their dog shortly before he passed. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the life of a good dog.

10 PNW Hikes To Do With Your Girlfriend's This Summer I love hiking and I can not wait to get out there more. The rains have been lessening and so I can feel the call of the wild. I hope to get in a few hikes with friends this summer and the kids.

Bang Out a Sweater Even though this sweater would look terrible on me and I have so many other knitting projects to finish, I CAN NOT STOP THINKING ABOUT DOING THIS! Anyone want to convince me? or stop me? 
Saturday, January 30, 2016

Whole30 Week 4 Update (+barre3 Challenge)

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Today is my final day of Whole30 and I'm so excited! I can say that I did this. I will admit right here to having a real latte a day or two ago. It was so good. I was in yet another coffee shop and the idea of having black coffee or an almond milk latte literally turned my stomach. Before I knew it, I had a short latte in my hands and happiness on my lips. So maybe I didn't do it 100% perfectly but I'm counting it as done. 

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This was the perfect reset for me. I curbed my sugar cravings. I returned to food prep. I learned that I comfort myself with food way too often. I lost just over 9 pounds and gained so much energy. I'm planning to taper to an 80% Whole30 20% Non-Whole30 plan as I reintroduce foods. I need to lose more weight and I love my energy levels but I can't eat Whole30 100% of the time. It is just too restrictive for me. 

It was busy day and I was still tired from being out late last night watching Weezer, so I skipped my barre3 studio class. But I got my #barre3challenge 10 min workout in while the kids were playing in the tub. #winning

As for the barre3 challenge, it was great! Tomorrow is the last day and while this week has been a bust for workouts, it did help me get myself back on the exercise train. I was sick this week which made getting to 6 a.m. barre3 classes a struggle. My goal this year is to exercise 4 times a week (minimum). Some weeks (like this one), I am not going to do that but I think if I try for it most weeks, I'll do great. I love exercising and I plan to join ClassPass again soon to try out some new options. I'm also hitting up CorePower Yoga, Orange Theory and another studio for their free weeks soon. I want to mix up my workouts to keep them fresh while still continuing on with barre3. 

And with that, two goals have been crossed off my 2016 Goals
 
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