DIY Chalkboards {Summertime Fun!}

Posted by on May 9, 2012 | 5 comments

…..

I want this summer of 2012 to be one my kids remember.  I want it to be fun.  I also want to be able to say to them, “Go Play Outside!” as often as possible.  I have lots of memories of being sent outside to play when I was growing up.  There’s just nothing like summer when you’re a kid.

For a long time this area of our house has been off limits.  It was full of mud, gopher holes, and sharp, dangerous tools.  This fall we’ll have been here three years.  And thankfully, this is the first summer where I think we really NEED this space for our family, and it’s ready!  I’ll be showing you more later, but for now, we’ll stick to these home-made chalkboards I made for the kids.  They’ve been a big hit, and were very straightforward to make.  I saw this idea on several blogs a few years ago, and of course now I can’t remember any of them.  I knew I could buy a chalkboard somewhere, but I wanted them to be small so the kids or I could move them easily, and I didn’t want to feel bad if they get banged up, as I’m sure they will.

I went to Home Depot one day to get something completely unrelated and came home with all the fixings to make these.  I grabbed three square pieces of wood (I could wander in the lumber part of Home Depot all day just to smell the wood).  I believe they are 2 ft. x 2 ft. I also grabbed 2 cans of this primer by Rustoleum:

And 2 cans of this Chalk Board Paint, also by Rustoleum.

Making these was very simple, but a bit time-consuming in order to let the primer and paint dry.  I just followed the directions on the can.  I’d throw on my painting clothes in the morning and slap a coat on.  Then in the afternoon I’d do another.

I did three coats of primer and three coats of chalkboard paint.  I think it took 3-4 days to complete.

The thing that was most helpful was using extra pavers to elevate the boards.  See this picture below?  This is how I started; do not start this way.  Find something thick and even that you don’t care about and stick it under the boards so you can’t see it.  Then you can paint the entire surface of the board AND the edges, and it is easy peasy.

We already had quite a collection of sidewalk chalk.  I was thinking about buying regular chalk until I saw how much sidewalk chalk we have.  We can wait.

I bought this handy carrying case at Target.  The bottom compartment still needs something- haven’t decided what we’ll put in there.

We use some planters I got in the dangerous dollar section at Target to hold water for dunking our chalk.  It makes the colors so vibrant.

The day we started using these, Anna was in heaven.  I drew a picture on the middle board to show her how to do the water, and she was ready to go.  This little girl is a creative type, just like her mommy. :)

Jack just has fun making a mess and asking me to draw things for him.  Helicopters are the most popular.

What fun things do your kids like to do outside?

And by the way- do my pictures not look SO much better?!  Hooray for new cameras!

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Nobody’s Perfect: The Craft Room

Posted by on May 7, 2012 | 3 comments

Hi everyone!  I hope you had a marvelous weekend.  Mine was busy and full of fun!  The main part of my weekend was spent at the Hullabaloo Family Music Festival here in San Diego (Rancho Bernardo, really, but San Diego, nonetheless).  It was a great success and I’m happy to be on the flip side of it so that I have an event under my belt.

Last night as I wandered my house, I realized that, in preparing for the festival, I had let a LOT of things go.  And so I give you another installation of “Nobody’s Perfect.”  To read about the background of this series, click here.

I have long dreamed of having a beautiful craft space, full of aesthetically pleasing nooks and crannies to store my supplies for sewing, Mod Podge-ing, and more.  The reality, though, is that I have to “make do” with what we have and can afford.   Combine that  with several weeks of preparing things for the festival, plus a birthday party coming and Mother’s Day…. I’ve been kind of busy.  I’ve also been horrible about cleaning up after myself.  As a result… well, take a look-see for yourself…

 

This room is also our guest room, hence the bed.  Hence the flat surface.  Hence the mess- it’s too easy to just open the door, toss something on it, and shut the door without realllllly looking to see how bad it is.

The bed from another angle.  Lots to clean up in here!

My sewing table.  There’s no way I can sew here right now- and I have a lot of projects to do!

Even the floor is…. a mess!  Time to get to it!

And clearly, from the quality of these photos, you can see that I’m still working on mastering my new Canon.  I’m happy to report that I’ve registered for a workshop later this month, so hopefully things will look much improved starting in late-May, early June.

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{My} Top 10 Reasons for Changing

Posted by on May 3, 2012 | 5 comments

 

…..

I need to record exactly why I’m doing this so that when it gets…

  • tough
  • challenging
  • annoying
  • and all of the above

I can refer to a list to remind myself why the heck I’m working so hard.  So here goes nothin’:

 

My Top 10 Reasons for Changing My Eating Habits &

Getting in {KickAss} Shape

 

10:  So I won’t dread getting on the scale at the doctor anymore (or look away)

This started when I was pregnant with my first.  When the scale crossed 200 I thought, “Holy Jesus, save me!”  As someone who had floated through life easily weighing 120-140, crossing the 200 mark was a harsh wake up.  Yes, I was carrying life, but still.  Ever since then I’ve been in denial about my weight, for whatever reason.  It’s time to just make that number behave!

9:  So I can be proud of myself for doing something challenging

I am really good at getting a project started.  I would receive an A+ for stocking my crafting supplies.  But how many of my projects have I completed?  It takes me forever.  I want to finish this.  Even though I know it will never really be finished, because as we get older we have to work harder- I want to achieve my goal, and then sustain it. Boo yah.

8:  So I can like myself in photos

There’s nothing worse than seeing yourself from any angle that isn’t totally complimentary.  I want to rock full-length photo shots and maybe even do a boudoir photo shoot- THAT would be awesome.

7:  So I can wear some pretty awesome clothes that don’t quite fit right now

I have a small collection of clothes that I LOVE.  Hopefully they will still be relatively in style when they fit again.  I did get rid of a lot of clothes that were too small and out of style, but this little collection- I miss it.  Cute skirts, fun tops- I shall see them again.

6:  So I can look at myself passing in any mirror and say, ‘Check THAT shit out” instead of averting my eyes

I don’t want to walk past a mirror and not love what I see.  We all deserve that.

5:  So I can be confident both inside and out

My confidence has taken a beating in the last year.  “Did I make the right choice- leaving teaching and trying this new adventure?”  “Can I be successful at something besides what I’ve done for the last 12 years?”  It’s easy to lose confidence.  I think knowing I look totally rad would be a nice boost.

4:  So I can shop and not be limited by what looks good on my body type

I hate looking at awesome clothes and thinking, “Nope.  Wouldn’t look good on these hips.”  Or, “Me?  In that?  Nah.”

3:  So I can wear slinky PJs and feel good about it

My husband has been subjected to some pretty heinous sweat pants.  He deserves to see me in something pretty.

2:  For me

I deserve to be healthy, happy, and to live a life that is free of guilt for simple choices like eating and physical fitness.  I deserve health.  We all do.  But we have to maintain it for ourselves- no one else can.  That’s a big lesson I’m learning right now- I am the one in charge of my current condition.  Nobody else.  So if I’m mad, I have to be mad at me.  Nobody else.

1:  For my kids

This is sort of a no-brainer, but really…  I want to be a cool, fun, energetic mother.  I want to play with them, chase them, toss them in the air and tickle them, and keep up with them without killing myself.  I want them to remember me as an active part of their childhood, not just watching from the sidelines.

I want them to be active, too. If I’m sedentary I’m setting the wrong example.

I knew I made the right choice when Anna came out the other day as I was doing a workout video.  As I was attempting some crunches she came in the room.

“What are you doing, Mommy?”

“I’m exercising, Sweet Pea.”

“Why?”

Ah, yes.  Why.

“To be a healthy mommy.”

“Oh.  That’s good!”

Done.

 

What are your reasons for living a healthy life?  Give me even more motivation!

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Our CSA {Love}

Posted by on May 1, 2012 | 2 comments

 

We joined a CSA!  A friend of mine was posting about a local company that will deliver fresh fruits & veggies right to your door.  When I read that I thought to myself, “Well, no more excuses.”  I knew that if we joined a CSA but I had to go pick up the box, I would miss a week here or there.  But if they’ll bring it to me?  Love.  And now that I’m doing a weight-loss challenge (today is Day #1!) it will help a lot that I have fresh stuff to eat.

Now, every Wednesday is Squeeze Play Day.  Sometime in the morning they bring a box of fresh veggies & fruit to our door.  I’m never quite sure what they’ll bring, but it’s always beautiful, plentiful and organic.  How awesome is that?

If you are in California and interested in finding a CSA in your area, you should check out Abundant Harvest Organics.  They have a ton of locations where you can sign up for the same kind of thing, though I’m sure it varies area to area. One thing I love about our particular CSA is that they charge us weekly, which is nice for our budget.  We don’t have to pay for an entire season all at once.

Here are some photos of things we’ve received in our first few boxes.  They make for fun photography practice, too.

 

Time to open the box!

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

And these peas; Oh, my they were so tasty! We cooked them with our butternut squash ravioli and it was heavenly- didn’t even need sauce.  Just a bit of olive oil & salt, good to go.  YUM.

We love you, Squeeze Play!  Thanks for making it possible for us to get good, organic produce!

Note:  I was not compensated for this post.  I am totally writing about it because I love Squeeze Play and think they are all rad.  No freebies here- just the real deal, folks.

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Me, the HCG Diet, and a Challenge

Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 | 13 comments

 

I’m not a person of extremes.  At least, I don’t think I am.  I definitely tend to go “middle of the road” in most social situations; I don’t like to stand out, but I’m not a wall flower, either.  But this story here, friends, is a bit extreme for me.

For a long time I had it in my mind that while I was in my childbearing years I would not be hard on myself about my looks.  I didn’t want to work myself into a frenzy after each birth to lose weight and get fit, only to get pregnant again and gain the weight back.  I didn’t go crazy (for the most part) with eating, but I ate pretty much what I wanted.  I exercised as I could, but with the addition of each child it has become increasingly more challenging to workout for obvious reasons.  When you have three kids ages 4 (soontobe5holycow) and under, things are busy. Looking back, I don’t regret that choice.  It was nice to just let myself be me, not worry about it, and let life happen.

With my first pregnancy I did gain a significant amount of weight, and after Anna was born, I had a hard time dropping the weight, so I did a shake cleanse to give my body a boost.  It helped, and then I went back to “normal” eating.  After my 2nd, Jack, was born I had a much easier time losing the weight, probably because he breastfed (Anna and I had a tongue thrust issue) and the weight sort of melted off me.   Once Emily was born, nearly the same thing happened.  I breastfed, the weight came off, and I didn’t think about dieting much.

When Emily turned seven months, we stopped breastfeeding (mainly because the introduction of teeth to the process made it less than fun).   I noticed pretty soon after that my pants were getting tighter and my clothing choices were becoming limited.  Things weren’t fitting.  I was putting back on my “fat pants” because they were comfy and they fit around my waist.  But it wasn’t until I saw this picture of myself from Jack’s Birthday that I realized something needed to change.

I know that the camera adds 10 pounds, but it was very clear to me after seeing this photo of myself that there was more than a 10-pound thing going on here.  But the way I looked wasn’t the only issue.  I didn’t feel good.  I was tired, I’ll spare you all the bowel issues I was having, and I just didn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be.  The day after this photo was taken I turned 36 years old.  It was time to think about things.

Back in November a friend of mine’s son was turning 3.  This friend and I used to work together, so I used to see her on a nearly-daily basis.   At her son’s birthday party, though, I hadn’t seen her since summer time.  I walked across the field at this park and did a mental double take as I saw her walking towards me from a distance.  Was that her?  Yes.  But something was different.

As I got closer to her I realized that she had lost weight.  Not just a little weight- a LOT.  This friend, who I’ll call T, has a similar body-type to mine.  She has a bigger bust, but otherwise we are similar.  The new T, however, was svelte, had what seemed to be a new jawline, and looked flippin’ fantastic.  I hugged her.  I stepped back.  I gave her the once over and asked, “What did you DO?!”  She told me about this crazy-sounding diet called HCG.  I asked about it, and thought to myself, “That sounds insane.”

A few months passed and then T came over to my house.  She had lost more weight.  She was wearing a size 8.  EIGHT.  “Hmmm,” I thought.  “Maybe I’ll look into it.”  I read up online.  I thought about it.  I ordered some HCG drops.  They arrived, and I put them in my guest room/craft room in a corner and went about my life for a while.  The tighter my pants got, the more inclined I was to read the literature that came with the drops and do it.  Pretty soon, I had a plan in mind.

If you haven’t read about HCG, it’s a pretty controversial diet.  I’m not going to get into the details of it- you can Google it on your own for all of the details.  The main thing is:

  • You take a set amount of HCG drops (which varies by brand)
  • You limit your intake of calories to 500 per day.  Yes, you read that right, 500.
  • The foods that you can eat are pretty limited.
  • Most HCG drop brands claim that you will lose approximately one pound per day.
  • You do not exercise; to do so when you limit your calories so severely would be insane; this was nice for me- I didn’t have time to workout anyway.

It’s extreme to many people.  But for me, it also made some sense.  I needed to sort of “break up” with food.  At the time of Jack’s Birthday I had passed the point of just eating what I wanted.  I had ventured into mindless eating.  If I was the slightest bit hungry, I ate something.  Cookies, cake, carbs, high-fat foods- I didn’t have too many limits.  I had cut back on processed food for our family, and had quit drinking soda, but I was still frying chicken, and eating too many baked goods.

I told my husband I wanted to do the diet, and that I had already bought the drops.  I waited for him to tell me I was crazy, but instead he gave me his support, which really helped.  It may have helped him to know that I wasn’t planning on cutting my calories back to 500/day.  That just seemed unreasonable to me.  But I did feel that trying the drops, which were supposed to help with appetite suppression, combined with really limiting what KINDS of food I ate, would give me results.   I wasn’t sure how long I would do it, but I told myself I’d try it for at least a month.

At the time that I started the HCG diet, I weighed 180 pounds.  I did it for a month.  I lost 15 pounds, which felt much better than losing 30 pounds in 30 days.  Here’s my before and after pictures:

(Remember, new camera=bad pics for a while.  And DANG I need to smile!) :)

 Some people will look at these and say, “Not much of a difference.”  But I feel SO much better.  Some things I did during this last month that have really changed me:

  • I cut out red meat.  This is not a requirement of the diet, but one that I made.  I think I ate one steak soon after I started because it was a birthday dinner, and I had a burger at one point, but that was it.
  • We joined a CSA.  I’ll post more about this soon.
  • I snacked on almonds. A lot. They were my go-to snack.
  • I let myself be hungry.  I had become so automatic with my eating habits; at the smallest pang of hunger I would shove something in my mouth.  Now, when I am hungry, I drink some water and wait.  If I’m still hungry I grab a few almonds.
  • I drank tons of water and gave up everything else except coffee (I’m a mom of 3; I need coffee).
  • I cut out all dairy.  I hated it at first. But now I realize that I need to see a doctor because I think I either have a gluten intolerance or a dairy intolerance; maybe both.

What did I eat?  Mainly fruits, vegetables and proteins via fish and chicken.   I got really close with the chicken breast and my panini press, which can also be used as a grill.

I decided, though, to take a break.  Two reasons.

Reason #1:

I was tired on this diet.  It was a different kind of tired- I actually felt better because of my food choices, but my energy levels ebbed and flowed throughout the day, and I was more tired than not tired.  By the end of the day I would crash and have headaches.

Reason #2:

I’m joining a fitness challenge, and it starts TOMORROW!  I’m so excited to be part of my friend, Wendy’s challenge, called “I Will Rock This.”    There’s cash money involved, and 25 women working together to cheer each other on.  It’s neat- we’re competing against each other AND we’re being nice to each other.  Very cool.

So tomorrow I’m going to be starting a new workout plan, maintain a diet of protein, fruits & veggies (emphasis on the veggies), and we’ll see how it goes.  I will give you updates every week or so, just for grins.

If you have any questions about the HCG diet, please leave me a comment or feel free to contact me.  Just don’t leave me any nasty comments- “to each her own” and I’ll just delete nasty remarks anyway. :)

Wish me luck!

 

 

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…and so, it is finished (for now)

Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 | 3 comments

Man, oh MAN!  I had my work cut out for me!  Granted, I did not have eight hours of uninterrupted Pinterest editing, which made it a challenge (Yes, I do place diaper changes above editing my pins).  I did not get nearly as far as I thought I would.  You can tell in my first post from yesterday that I had high hopes to accomplish a lot.

In reality?

I cleaned up one board, my former Food and Drink  board.  Now it’s my Main Course board.  I also added:

Sweet Tooth (for all of the tasty desserts and sweet treats I’ve found)

Side Dishes

Apps. As in Food. 

Drinky Drinks for adult beverages (I need to pin more of those).

Breakfast Bliss (Breakfast is my favorite meal)

Snack It Up

Breads. Carbs. Love.

I can now find pinned food much more easily, so that will be nice.

I’m so glad I figured out a way to edit a pin board quickly, but it still took a lot of time- especially when I found pins that weren’t “legit” due to a lack of a good url, or an incorrect url.  I still have work to do.  I didn’t get to “give credit” where it’s due on every pin.  But my intent is clear:  I want to be a good pinner.

I’m not sure why it’s important to me.  Possibly because I’m a crafter, and I’d like to know that if someone pins content I created, I get credit for it.  Or that if someone pins something of mine, and someone sees that pin, they’ll be able to find me on this huge thing we call the Internet.

Regardless, I plan to continue to update my boards until they are all updated.  I’ll be sure to post when I “finish”- if that ever happens.  I do plan to not add any pins until I’m done, unless I see something I absolutely can’t bear the thought of forgetting about.

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How to Edit Your Pinterest Boards; #CUYPB2012

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 | 6 comments

Hi everyone!

I’m dilligently working to update my Pinterest Boards today.  I came across a way to edit your boards to make it less cumbersome.  I hope you find it helpful.  It is my great hope that Pinterest can develop a way to edit our boards that is easier- more drag and drop, less clicky-click, please.

 

Also, some other general tips for you including:

-credit

– descriptions

– 502 errors

 

And lastly, Broken Pin info:

 

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