Friday, April 30, 2010

Ears and Tears

My oldest daughter will be eight.  Daddy finally agreed to let her pierce her ears.  It's all she's been talking about for months.  Her birthday isn't technically until June, but Mema is visiting from out of town and wanted to be a part of this momentous occasion.  

We got in the car and headed to Claire's.  She was a bundle of nerves. Sometimes she'd be real quiet.  Other times she'd be bursting with excitement. She asked several questions to gather as much information as she possibly could, trying to gauge how much this would actually hurt, and if it was worth the pain.  I told her that she didn't have to do it, but she wanted to.  

So we get there, pick out the over-priced earrings, fill out the appropriate paper work, and off we go.  Being the blogging mom that I am, I captured the whole thing on camera.  I will warn you that if you have a soft spot for tears, you may not want to look.  It could break any Mama's heart.  Or maybe not.  Maybe it only breaks mine because I birthed her.  Either way, here you go...

At the store, waiting her turn.  

In the chair, getting nervous.

I'm going to narrate for you.  This is what I think she is thinking and feeling...

"Wait, that's a little uncomfortable.  I'm not sure I like this."

"Owww!  That hurt!  You didn't tell me it would hurt THIS much!"  

"This is NOT worth it.  I change my mind."

At this point, the lady just let her cry and went on to the other ear.  Smart move.  She wasn't even paying attention to what the woman was doing.  Until, of course, she pierced her ear.  And that brought on more of this...

I took brief moments away from the camera to console my crying child.  I comforted her with soothing words and soft pats of reassurance.  Of course, she didn't believe a word I said.  I think she was pretty mad at me by that time. But, two seconds later, there was this...

She's very happy with her decision to pierce her ears.  They were sore, but she loves them.  She slept fine, and woke up saying that she's, "so into earrings right now."  20 minutes after that, I had to pull the backing off of her earring because the skin was caught in it.  But we won't talk about that.  Let's just say, she had a moment of not being so into earrings.  

I sent her to school today, in pigtails, so she could show off her sparkly ears.  

Thanks for stopping by, 

30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day Fifteen

We're half-way there!  Keep it up! 

TGIF!  Enjoy your weekend!  

Tip of the Day: Reward Your Success 

Set up a reward system so you can reward yourself for changed behaviors. Each of us have different values for measuring success. Yours should be structured to satisfy you, not others. That reward should make you hum from head to toe! Good examples include extra time for yourself with a favorite book, a manicure or pedicure, a trip with a special friend or relative or a class or lecture or play that stimulates your mind. Avoid rewards related to food and drink that may be sabotaging in the long run.

My reward is usually a new piece of clothing.  What's yours?     

Thursday, April 29, 2010

30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day Fourteen

Tip of the Day: Affirm Your Behavior 

Affirmations are powerful. Many people find that repeating certain sayings to themselves helps them accept things. They discover they are reprogramming their old ways of thinking. Affirmations should be positive such as "I am," "I have" as opposed to "I would like" or "I will try". Remind yourself daily, "I am a healthy person making changes in my lifestyle so I can live in the most healthy way."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day Thirteen

Tip of the Day: Plan for the Unexpected 

Lack of time is the most frequently mentioned reason for discontinuing a fitness program. Life is filled with surprises, so include strategies that assure you will make time for maintaining your commitment in the face of changing schedules, unexpected mini-crisis and external forces like long meetings, extra traffic, (put your external force here).  Unfortunately, we're not immune to these things.  The best thing you can do is prepare for the unexpected.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I was sitting at my computer today, lost in a couple blogs I was reading.  The girls were outside playing, but every once in a while I'd hear the door open, some clanging in the kitchen, and the door close.  After the third time, I decided I should go investigate.  Here's what I saw...

My youngest daughter, in her school clothes, playing in the mud.  

I turned around and saw this: 

Her partner in crime.  Also, in her school clothes. 

All of this mud play led to...

 and this...

 and a little bit of this...

 more of this..

and a whole lot of this...

It's a good thing they're cute. 

30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day Twelve

Tip of the Day: Identify Supporters and Saboteurs

Some of us can be the lone ranger, but most people need coaches, cheerleaders and people whose belief in and support of us reminds us of our commitment to change. The friendship and support of others will make it easier for you pass through the sometimes difficult transition from old to new behaviors. I know folks who have taken responsibility for themselves and embarked on a changed lifestyle only to discover that most beloved friends and family members feel they are being imposed upon. So, identify the people who will nurture you and help you maintain your well-being, as well as those (even your loved ones) who don't see your point of view. Those supporters will help you maintain your commitment during periods of stress.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Day

This is what I spent the day doing...

And there were still three loads downstairs in the laundry room, waiting to be brought up.  How did I get so behind?!  

One great thing that came out of this mess, aside from clean underwear, was that I got to try out my homemade recipes for stain remover and laundry detergent.  They both worked great!  I plan on making a new batch.  Click here for the recipes.  

Thanks for stopping by,

30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day Eleven

I can't believe that we are almost half-way there.  To be honest, I've been so busy lately, it's only because of this blog and my friend, Amanda, that I've kept up with the challenge.  Having someone to be accountable to makes you push through those days when you'd rather sit and read blogs.  At least, it does for me.  I hope you have the privilege of having someone to work out with.  If you don't and you're still here, I commend you!   

This week, we are going to continue talking about setting goals.  It's important to know what you're working towards.  Your goal could be as short-term as making it through this challenge, or a more long-term goal of overall health. Take time this week, as we hit our half-way point, to figure out what you want out of this challenge, and what you want to happen when this challenge is over.  I'm going to give you the tip of the day, and below it, I'll give you a couple of goal ideas.  

Tip of the Day: Write Down Your Goals

It's important to put your goals in writing. Written goals are a tangible sign of a promise that you intend to keep. They can remind you of that promise when time is short or if other priorities become pressing. Written goals will also help you track your progress, make your accomplishments more obvious and help you identify problem areas that need more attention. Sadly, only 5% of Americans write down goals and objectives, but 95% of those who do, succeed. (A survey of Fortune 500 executives indicates that they may be successful because they write down their goals and objectives).

Some goals could be losing weight, having a healthy heart, working out so you can continue to eat the way you do (not the greatest goal for fitness, but at least you're moving and getting your heart pumping), fit into your clothes better, you want to be able to cross your legs, walking up the stairs without feeling like you're gonna die, feel better naked, have more confidence, be an example to your children or family, honor God with your body (Romans 12:11 Corinthians 6:19-20).  The list could go on and on.  

Take time today, even 5 minutes, to write down your goals.  Think about it while you work out.  Now, there's an idea!  Feel free to share some of your goals in the comment section.  It's nice to get them out there for other people to see.  For me, somehow, it makes it more real.  And, it could also encourage others with ideas for their own health goals.  

Happy Sweating,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Be Who You Were Meant to Be

I found this article at Simple Mom.  I wanted to share it with you because I like what the writer says, especially at the end of the article, "You have a choice. You can express the elegance you already possess as a human being, or you can barely glimmer. You already have everything you need."  
As a woman, I often use other women as my measuring stick.  While I believe we can learn a lot from other women, I don't believe we should measure ourselves against them, only feeling confident when we can accomplish the things that they can accomplish, fit into the clothes they can fit into, or be the mom they are.  
We were all created by God with a specific design in mind.  For us to try and be someone we were not created to be confuses in us the original plan for our lives.  So, don't try to be like anyone else.  Be who you were created to be!  
Enjoy the article below.  It gives helpful tips that I think could boost our self-confidence and help us to tap into who we are inside.  Let some of that goodness flow on the outside as well.  Have confidence that the God who designed you knew exactly what He was doing when He created you in your mother's womb.    
Thanks for stopping by,

Attraction is a funny thing.
If you’re like many, you believe physical appearance is the driving force behind attractiveness. If you hold that belief, you’d be wrong.
While physical appearance plays a role, your thoughts and how you carry yourself are the dominant power behind attractiveness. You don’t have to be dressed in the latest trends or wear the right label to be attractive. You also don’t have to lose the pounds to attain your ideal body weight.
With the right mindset, you can unveil your natural beauty. Here are ten ways how.

1. Be real.

A lot of people hide their true self by putting on false persona. When you do this, you not only  obstruct your true self, you also create false relationships.
There’s no reason to hide your faults or pretend they don’t exist. Embrace your true qualities; no one expects you to be perfect.
Those who are true to themselves are inherently more attractive. Never be embarrassed of falling short. Being real means accepting who you are and loving yourself as a result. Only when you love yourself can you genuinely begin to love others. And as your self respect increases, so does your attractiveness – self respect is the best aphrodisiac there is.

2. Talk with purpose.

There’s something attractive about those who have a purpose with their words. Don’t simply talk for the sake of filler. When you talk, speak with authority.
“Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” - Abraham Lincoln

3. Listen.

In an increasingly opinionated world, the skill of genuinely listening has become a lost art. When you talk, really talk — and when you listen, really listen. Suspend judgment, and open your heart and mind to listen.
The person who really knows how to listen is magnetic.

4. Laugh.

When you laugh, you radiate an inner beauty. While it’s possible to overdo it, laughing is virtually always positive. Plus, a sense of humor is alluring. No one likes to be around a grouch.

5. Smile.

Combined with laughing, smiling is one of the easiest ways to radiate attractiveness. When you smile, you connect with everyone around you. Did you know the most successful individuals are the ones that smile the most? It’s true.
Plus, a smile is contagious. Your smile will help others smile.

6. Walk with your head up.

How do you walk — with your head down? A simple shift in the way you walk will do wonders in how you are seen by others. Confidence goes a long way. Look up and observe the beauty of the world, and in turn you will radiate it.

7. Look people in the eye.

The ability to look others in the eye displays a certain confidence. It also allows for a better connection with others. Practice making eye contact with those you’re around. Acknowledge them. Looking them in the eyes shows you care.

8. Don’t complain.

If you’re like the majority of people, a great deal of your thoughts and conversations involve complaining. Complaining is like a rocking chair. At first it feels comfortable and you feel like you’re accomplishing something, but you don’t end up getting anywhere. Do everything in your power not to complain.
Plus, it’s a fundamental truth that those who complain attract more situations to complain about.  Instead, embrace each and every moment as a blessing. Don’t expect to glow if you choose to whine.

9. Feel attractive.

How can you expect to be attractive if you don’t feel like you are? Each of us overflows with natural beauty. When you feel attractive, you release attractiveness.
Now, there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness — always avoid the latter. When you sincerely believe you are an attractive individual, those around you will think the same.

10. Be open.

People aren’t attracted to people who are closed off and inaccessible. Be open to authentic relationships and watch the connections unfold.  We are all part of human race. When you allow others to connect with you, you instantly become more appealing. Be real, open and willing, and watch your authentic relationships manifest themselves.
You have a choice. You can express the elegance you already possess as a human being, or you can barely glimmer. You already have everything you need.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Nest

Every year since I've lived in this house, birds have made nests and had their little babies on our back patio.  It started when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.  I would eat breakfast, watch Mama Bird build her nest, tend to her eggs, and then eventually, her baby birds.  Of course, I would rub my belly and think about my own baby.  

This year, I didn't see a nest from my window as I usually do.  But, as I walked around the house, I saw this: 

I can't believe the amount of work that goes into building a nest.  When I have the privilege of watching the Mama bird construct the nest, I'm amazed at how persistent they are.  They literally do this one piece of material at a time.  They'd grab their material, place it on the ledge, fly away and get another.  Rinse and repeat.  Over and over until the job gets done.  Often, the wind blows and knocks down what they just put up.  It's so time consuming and tedious.  This year, we had a stack of hay left over from last year sitting around.  By the looks of their nest, this is where they got most of their material.  

One year, a baby bird fell out of the nest.  I know that we can't touch them because Mama Bird would reject them.  So, I made Hubby go out there with a clean paper plate, pick it up and place it back in the nest.  I knew Mama Bird was watching from the yard.  They are never far way.  I held my breath as we waited for her to come back.  She fed ALL of the babies! Phew!  

I'll keep you updated with the nest.  It won't be long before we see awkward baby birds stretching their necks for food.  

Thanks for stopping by, 

30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day Ten

TGIF!  Enjoy your weekend! 

Tip of the Day: Set Goals

Setting Goals (And Objectives)
Goal setting is the art that makes everything else possible. It adds aim to energy, focuses effort and, for some, structures time. Surveys show that people who plan ahead are much more successful over the long term than those who plunge in without knowing where they're going or how they'll get there. You wouldn't take a long road trip without a map so it makes good sense to have a compass (and road map) for your fitness objectives.

Goals Should Be Smart 
  • S = Specific. Saying, "I'll go to exercise class," is not a specific goal. I have a clearer picture when I write, "Next week I will attend step class at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday."
  • M = Measurable. Set goals that are measurable in quality or quantity. Measuring body fat percentage, hip to waist ratio or journaling and record keeping of diet intake or workouts achieved or increases in heart rate reserve are powerful and motivating tools to assuring a new habit becomes a long term behavior. Instead, make plans for an individual workout that nurtures you. Many folks find they're more committed to measurable goals if they report to a friend or colleague willing to help monitor their progress.
  • A = Attainable. In the enthusiasm of the moment we often make promises that are difficult to keep when enthusiasm wanes. If you're looking for a magic bullet the chances are you'll end up shooting yourself in the foot. Realizing that change doesn't happen overnight will help you set realistic goals you can achieve. It's the SMALL changes that are the key to permanent lifestyle change. For example, if are trying to lose weight you should avoid the painful rebound of crash dieting by planning to lose no more than one or two pounds a week.
  • R = Realistic. Goals should reflective of your values and compatible with your lifestyle. If not they can be the source of distress. Success is about learning how to customize your activities to find the right fit for you. For example, if you don't enjoy working out with others it's unrealistic to join an aerobic exercise class. I enjoy being with people most of the time, but have learned that my new heart rate monitor based exercise program is much more fun when I stride out on my own where I can manage my pace without distraction and return with a sense of accomplishment in addition to the satisfaction of another completed workout.
  • T = Timely. It's not smart to plan too many changes at once-it's too threatening to your internal sense of balance. Before you begin be certain you can identify other areas of your life that might be stressful and prevent you from "doing what you want to do". For example, although a workout can be an important stress reducer if it makes your schedule more unmanageable you may have to postpone a new weight training program or fitness class until it's more in keeping with a balanced lifestyle.
Happy Sweating,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Who's Got My Camera?

While I was digging in the dirt the other day, my girls got a hold of my camera. Later, when I uploaded the images from my camera to my Mac, I was looking at all these pictures, having no idea how they got there.  Then I saw this and realized who had my camera: 

Meet "Scoodles", the newest addition to our house.  This is my six year olds Zhu Zhu pet... or as I like to refer to it, "the closest thing they're going to get to a real, live hamster".  

Oh, and there's this: 

This is the crazy chicken in our garden.  It's colorful and nuts, just like us. This chicken looks like I feel sometimes.  

But, then there were these: 

Not bad for two little monkeys.  

Thanks for stopping by,

30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day Nine

Tip of the Day: Fight Boredom!
(Article taken from

Are you finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning for your daily walk and making up excuses to skip the gym on the way home? Even the most dedicated exercisers occasionally get bored with their routine. Waning motivation, cutting workouts short and not having your old enthusiasm all are signs of a stale exercise regimen.

Quick Fix: 

First, evaluate your current routine to determine what really bores you. A new variation on your favorite activity -- such as cardio-funk or kickboxing instead of step aerobics, or hoisting free weights instead of working on machines -- may be enough to reinvigorate a stale routine.

If you've always worked out indoors, logging miles on a treadmill, stairclimber or stationary bike, move your workout outside for a welcome change of scenery. Run, hike or bike on trails; swim in a lake or ocean.

Bigger Changes: 

When tweaking your routine isn't enough, make bigger changes. Take up an entirely new activity - especially something you never thought you'd do. If you've always stuck to solitary pursuits, sign up for a team sport, such as volleyball, basketball or even doubles tennis. Or tackle something you've always shied away from - indulge your thirst for adventure with a rock- climbing class (start on an indoor wall, then move to the real thing as your skills improve).

Good Company: 

Working out alone often is an oasis of solitude in a busy day, but maybe you need some company. Exercise companions add a social element to any routine. Ask a friend to be your workout partner -- you won't skip a workout if someone is waiting for you.

Just about every sport or activity has a club; to find one, ask around at gyms or local community centers. Keeping up with the crowd also means you'll be challenged to improve your skills. Ask about organized workouts and fun runs offered by local track clubs, as well as group rides hosted by cycling clubs.

Challenge Yourself: 

Many exercisers work out simply to stay in shape, and most of the time that's just fine. But setting a goal, such as finishing a 10K race or completing a rough-water swim, will give your daily workouts more meaning.

Start by incorporating bursts of speed into your workouts. After a gentle warm-up, alternate a fast pace with a slower one for recovery. This can be as simple as sprinting to the next tree, or as structured as running intervals on a track or sprinting laps in the pool.

Add Variety: 

Elite triathletes pioneered the cross-training concept, and it works for the rest of us, too. If you usually focus on one activity, substitute another a few days a week. Ideally, any exercise program includes elements of cardiovascular exercise, weight training and flexibility.

New Toys: 

Small exercise gadgets aren't necessary, but they can make your workouts more fun and challenging. Heart-rate monitors, aquatic toys and safety equipment are just a few items to consider. Find out which new training gadgets are available for your favorite activity.

Take a Break: 

Sometimes you really do need time off. In that case, cut back on your usual routine, and substitute other activities (like running or riding bikes with your kids). You might even find one that you enjoy more than your old favorites.

Once you've fought your first battle with boredom, you'll know the tricks to keep exercise from becoming too routine. Trying new sports, new classes and new activities - and learning how to throw a little variety into old favorites - an help you overcome the nagging inclination to devise those creative excuses for not working out.

Happy Sweating,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I had a stressful couple of days and wanted to find something to relieve stress, get my hands dirty, and just think. So, I decided to dig in the dirt. Our veggies needed to be transplanted anyway, so I got diggin'. Boy, it felt great! I got our cucumbers separated (see pic above), divided up our carrots, celery, and tomatoes. I planted our sprouting onions, and now it's just time to wait. 

I found the whole process to be very calming. I didn't think I'd have such a good time with such tedious work. But it was just what I needed.

Here's a picture that my six year old daughter took of me...

Of course, after spending three hours in the dirt, dinner was late, baths were missed, and homework was forgotten.  Ooops.  Don't worry, I fed my kids, got homework done the next morning, and showers will happen tonight.  It was well worth it.  

I did, however, encounter one problem that could have been avoided:

"How could this have been avoided?" you ask.  Well, gloves would have worked, but I loved feeling the dirt. Here's a trick for you: if you take a bar of soap and scrape your nails along the bar to get soap under your fingernails, then put on your gloves, you won't get anything under your nails.  The soap is there to act as a guard against dirt.  

I haven't tried this yet, I just recently read about it.  I typically don't like things under my nails, but I figure soap will be easier to remove than dirt is, even with a scrub brush.  I scrubbed the best I could, but then gave up and ended up cutting what nails I did have, short.  That works too.  

Go dig in the dirt!  It's fun.  

Thanks for stopping by, 

30-Day Fitness Challenge - Day Eight

Tip of the Day: Accept Your Body
(Article taken from 

Because thin females and muscular males are seen as the ideal in our society and because we have come to believe that body size and shape are totally under a person's control, most people enter diet and exercise programs with unrealistic goals and expectations. If you continually strive to achieve a socially imposed ideal, you will never be free of your insecurities or your self-consciousness. You must truly realize and then learn to accept that we are not all meant to be fashion-model size.

Our body size and structure reflects not only our eating and exercise habits but also our genetics. The role this latter factor plays in determining weight seems to vary greatly between individuals. We are all born with a certain body type inherited from our parents. Although hardly anyone is a pure body type, there are three different applicable categories: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.

Characteristically, ectomorphs have a light build with slight muscular development. They are usually tall and thin with small frames and narrow hips and shoulders.

Mesomorphs have a husky, muscular build. They often have broad shoulders, and their weight is concentrated in the upper body, making them look compact or stocky.

Endomorphs are characterized by a heavy, rounded build with shoulders usually narrower than their hips. They have a round, soft appearance and are more often overweight or obese.

When we understand and appreciate our bodies, we are able to work with them, not against them. Although many of us are a combination of two body types, we cannot become what we are not. However, everyone can improve their appearance and their health and performance levels by implementing the principles of a safe and effective eating and exercise program.

Even if you have a genetic predisposition to being overweight, the way you live is what ultimately determines whether you become fat. Genes clearly play a role, but they certainly don't determine what you're going to have for dinner or how often you exercise. Chances are if you're living an unhealthy lifestyle, you'll become fat and unhealthy.

All of us can't be thin. But every single one of us can be healthy. By focusing on what you're eating and how much you're exercising, you'll be able to achieve optimum health and fitness, even though you may not achieve society's ideal of thinness. Accepting yourself does not mean that you're hopeless and that it's okay to do nothing. It means that you feel good and care about yourself, and that you want to be the very best you can be, regardless of your genetics, regardless of society's standards.

To achieve this level of optimum wellness, you must have a positive self image. This means that your feelings about your body are not influenced by events in your daily life. For many people, life's problems are projected onto their body. "If only I were thinner--or more muscular, I would have made the team, gotten the job, been chosen. . . . If only I were thinner--or more muscular, I could meet more people, find the right guy/girl, be happy." This self-defeating habit is reinforced by the images we see in advertising; your body becomes an easy target for everything wrong in your life.

When you have a positive self-image, you value and respect your body; you are also more likely to feel good about living a healthy lifestyle.

No matter how much genetics predetermines how you store and lose fat, the body you've been given will still respond positively to being appreciated and treated well. Focusing on fun physical activity and eating healthy foods will help you feel good whatever your size. Developing a healthy, positive image of yourself is the first critical factor in your fitness success. Having a strong sense of self-worth provides the basis for making rational and affirming decisions about your health. Good luck, stay positive, and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle!

Happy Sweating,


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