Sunday, February 24, 2013

Exercise Motivation

For a little over a month I have been working my way through the Insanity fitness program. It is a two month program. I made it through the first month and the recovery week as well as the first week of the second month. I also made it over half way into the second week of the second month and then I got sick. I barely had enough energy to get out of bed let alone enough energy to exercise, and this program requires A LOT of energy.

Before I started the second month I was pumped. I was excited. I was seeing results from before and half way done pictures I took. But then I started the first week of the second month and I was questioning everything. It was so difficult. I thought that I missed a month of training because I went from "I can do this" to "What! Where did this tough stuff come from?" I was laying on the floor for most of the exercises glaring at those people on my screen and thinking that they were all crazy. There was no way that the first month was enough training to get me ready for the second month. After I forced myself, very reluctantly I might add, to finish the first week and called/texted up a few friends who helped talk me into staying with the program, I was feeling better about the second week. But then I got sick. I am hoping to get back into it tomorrow morning, but I really just don't want to.

I decided that what I needed was some motivation. I wanted to make a motivation board. Something that I see everyday that gets me pumped to reach my fitness goals. I tried something like this a long time ago before Insanity ever crossed my mind. I put a picture with a good quote in my pantry. Every time I went to reach for something unhealthy, I would see this picture and close the door. If it worked then, why not now?

To start off, I turned to Pinterest for motivational quotes and pictures. Pinterest wasn't shy on any fitness tips and ideas for exercises, but I wanted more. With the right search, I was able to find wonderful pictures and quotes that really got me motivated to keep going or start all over in my case as I'm sure I will be laying on the floor most of this week thanks to taking off a few days. I started a new Pinterest board just for fitness motivation. If you are shy about what you pin, create a "secret board" where only you see it. From those pictures and quotes, I copied and pasted two pictures with quotes onto a Word document. Then, I typed a good quote in an empty place. That's it. The nice thing is that when those quotes/pictures are not doing it for me anymore, I can go to my Pinterest board and create a new poster. It is one page and I taped it on my wall right next to my bed so when I go to bed I see it and when I wake up I see it.

I hope it works. I'm going to need all the help I can.

I thought this quote was so fitting: "Train Insane or Remain the Same." Yup, I'm definitely insane!

Friday, February 22, 2013

February 19 holiday

What did you do on February 19? Well, we celebrated a national holiday. Which holiday you ask? It just so happens that February 19 was Chocolate Mint day. Didn't you know that? Oh come on, I thought everyone knew that?!? Okay, truth is I had no clue until a CNN article pointed it out. I mean, who needs to be asked to celebrate a chocolate holiday more than once? Not this gal!

The Celebratory Feast
My husband LOVES this Pistachio Mint Chocolate cake that his mom has made him for years. So, what better way to celebrate chocolate mint day than with a chocolate and mint cake? 

The Ingredients:
1 pkg. two layer yellow cake mix
1pkg. four serving Jello instant pudding pistachio flavor
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
8 drops green food coloring
1 cup chocolate flavor baking chips, coarsely chopped
20-24 chocolate covered thin mints

I did not have yellow cake mix so I used white.
I did not have peppermint extract, so I used Andes Creme De Menthe chips instead of chocolate chips to add the minty flavor.
I did not have green food coloring, so I used blue and yellow.
I did not have thin mints, so I used York peppermint patties.

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, extract, and food coloring in large mixing bowl. Blend, then beat at medium speed with electric mixer for four minutes. Stir in chips. Pour into greased and floured 13x9 inch pan.

I did this in two round pans because I wanted to add a middle layer of mints too add more mint flavor since I didn't have peppermint extract.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center coms out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Do not under bake. Remove cake from oven, and place thin mints in a single layer on top of cake to cover completely. Return to oven and bake three minutes longer to melt candies. Remove from oven and quickly spread melted candies evenly over cake. Cool. 

Because I was doing a middle layer, I melted the candies on one cake first. Then I put the second layer on top of the melted candies and melted the second layer. Finally, I spread the second layer of candies. Because I used York mints instead of thin mint candies, there was more of a marbled effect than usual. But it tasted great!

I thought this was funny: we have had a problem with our  kids getting into candy without our knowledge, but they leave the wrappers all over our house. As I was cleaning up the kitchen, I passed by the trashcan and saw this. It looks like one of our children raided the candy shelf again... But no, it was just me unwrapping several candies. 

And I give you the final product. Yummy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Family Calendar

Because of my husband's and my mixed up schedules we often forget who is doing what and when we are doing it. I have been looking for a solution for awhile now, and finally I found one that suits our family's needs. This idea came from a mix of these two places: Paint Chip Calendar and Organized Wall

After getting my hubby's input, I bought a poster frame from Walmart. It was the cheapest one they had- about $10. Next I picked out some paint chips. We wanted neutral since our house is a yellow color. I figured out how many squares I wanted to complete the calendar, and then raided the paint chips. I ended up with 5 of each color and 7 different colors. 

I also bought a little black organizer with 3 slots to hold papers, a small magnetic white board, a magnetic cup holder, and dry erase markers. 

I also used a paper cutter and glue.

At the last minute we changed our minds about the placement in our house, so we had to change the size of the poster frame. Lucky for me, my handy husband wanted to do that part. He first cut the foam mat. Then he cut the plexi glass and the plastic slip-on frame.

We laid out the paint chips how we wanted them and then cut them all down to the right size. Then we glued them on.

Once dry, I wrote the month, the dates, bills, and our schedules.

Here is the whole area. The white board is above calendar with the shopping list and the pen cup. On the right side is the paper holder where we put our bills. The white board came with sticky strips but the whole thing fell down within a day with a loud bang and pens everywhere. My husband decided that he was going to screw it into the wall. But first he screwed the cup to the board and then the board to the wall. It hasn't moved since. 

Since January, we have February up. January's schedule came down without any problems except for the places where my 6 year old used permanent marker to trace over my writing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentines Chocolate Truffles

This was my valentine from my husband. He made me Red Velvet Raspberry Truffles. They were so so so good! The best part is that he looked for something raspberry because he knew I like them. Here is the link for the recipe. The dipping part was a bit tricky he said, but that didn't affect the taste at all!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentines Morning

Like I said earlier, my husband and I enjoy doing fun things for our kids on certain holidays. They are at the ages where they just get so excited about the littlest things. It really is fun. This year for Valentines day we decided to cover various doors throughout the house with hearts. They were super excited in the morning. 

We laid out their Valentines gifts from they grandparents on the kitchen table so they could see them in the morning. 

We have a tradition to wait to open gifts until the evening when we can all sit around and mom and dad can watch each of them excited about each new thing they find. 

She is modeling her new jammie pants.

So is she. But her jammie pants are a bit big. She still wears them. I just have to fold them up a million times. I think I will simply stitch up the pant legs though. This way they can easily be undone when she shoots up in a few months.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Slouchy Hat

My husband and I get into the habit of watching specific TV series on Netflix about once every year or so. After we put the kids to bed and the house back together, we will sit down together and watch one or two episodes of the series we are watching at the time. Right now we are re-watching Lie to Me--a show that I wanted to watch when it aired on TV, but my hubby thought it looked stupid. Now I think he likes it more than me sometimes. This is actually okay with me because this way we don't have to wait a week to find out about the next episode. 

Anyway, while I totally enjoy watching the show, sometimes it is very hard for me to sit and do nothing. Today's project happened out of my compulsive need to keep my hands moving even when I am relaxing. It took me about two episodes (2 hours) to complete. I should mention it is crocheted. 

I would like to make some homemade presents again this year and was thinking about making a slouchy hat for someone. I wanted to try it out first. I found this pattern here. The problem with this is that I didn't have all the suggested hook sizes so my hat is not as slouchy as I thought I wanted. But as I tried it on during the process, I thought it would be just fine. I used an I hook for the entire project. I also did not do the BPSC stitch. 

When it was finished, I wanted to add something to the top. I wasn't sure if I wanted flowers or something else, and as I was looking at various pictures of hats I found one that had an extra little piece going across the top. I decided to give it a try. This piece is simply a SC stitch and a little smaller width than the brim of the hat. I sewed a button to the edge for the finishing touch. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Box

Happy Valentines Day!
Yesterday was a special day for us as we got to celebrate valentines day with our kiddos. I know that many people find valentines day to be a "made up" holiday for an excuse to spend money to show someone you care about them when you should show that special someone everyday you care about them. But since my husband and I have had children, we enjoy celebrating valentines day because it is another day when we can surprise our kids with some fun things. More on the surprises later...

For now, I have a special box to share with you. My youngest daughter was instructed to create a valentines day box for school. I had seen these and even though they are technically called "Tattle Boxes," I thought they would make a cute valentines day monster. After consulting with my daughter, she decided this is what she wanted to do for her v-day box.

Step 1: Gather materials. For this part we used a tissue box, paint brush, acrylic paint, and newspaper. 
Because purple is her favorite color, that's the color she wanted the box to be. We mixed together red and blue to get a purpleish color.

I let her do most of the work. Sometimes I tend to get crazy involved in helping, but this time I knew she would be so proud if she did this on her own.

Step 2: While the paint is drying, gather the materials for the next part. This time we used blue card stock,  a hot glue gun, googily eyes, and plastic thread spools, and newspaper.

Step 3: We turned on the fan and the paint dried pretty quickly. We did a second coat and while that was drying, Little Miss cut teeth out of the blue paper. I'm not sure what prompted her to use blue for the teeth, but that's what she picked...

Step 4: She decided she liked the dots on the example boxes that I showed her from online, so we went with it. Again, I mixed some colors together to get a greenish color. She used a q-tip to dab the dots on the box. 

Step 5: Here is where I stepped in. I used the hot glue gun to attach the googily eyes to the thread spools. Then I used the glue gun to attach the teeth to the box. I thought this part might get tricky, but if you cut the paper into four pieces (at least for my style of box) and then put the glue on the paper instead of trying to put the glue on the inside of the box it goes rather smoothly. Lastly, glue the spools to the box.

It's cute, huh?

To finish it off, she wanted a bow. She was so excited to take it to school on Monday. Unfortunately, Monday we had a blizzard and school was cancelled. However, her box, which she named Melly, made it the next day and was filled with all kinds of fun valentines day goodies.

Jean Car Track

I have some really great friends, one of which is probably more crafty than I am. It is all her fault I make the time to go onto Pinterest at least once a day. One day our kids and she and I got together to work on crafts. our kids got an entire day to play. They had a blast. I helped her with her sewing machine so she could make these adorable towel robes for some cute little girls. We had so much fun that we decided to get together again. This time, she helped me make car tracks out of old jeans for my son's birthday. He loved them! 
Basically, she just cut out the jeans in track shapes, then she took a permanent marker and made dashes to resemble a road. 

We then sewed up the edges to prevent too much fraying. 

He loves playing with his cars and trucks and tracks. He is also pretty good at sharing with his two older sisters.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Snowman Button Ornament

For Christmas gifts to grandparents and our day care gal I wanted the kids to be involved. After searching through many many great ideas I knew I wanted to keep with our "theme" of homemade Christmas gifts. I came across a Pinterest pin that was of a button Christmas tree. I thought that would be great considering when we bought my husband's grandma's house I inherited a huge amount of buttons. 

A few summers ago, I enlisted the help of my younger brother and my mom to help me organize all the buttons. We started by separating them into different colors. At the time, I was feeding my child baby food from jars so I had plenty of those sitting around to store the different colored buttons. 

When I decided on the button tree I went to find green buttons that would work. Well, I didn't have enough of the right green ones. So I began looking for other things we could make with buttons. I found this website with a few ideas. I chose the snowman because I knew I had more white buttons than any other color.

Each of the kids got a chance to make one. The best part was dumping the buttons out to find the right sizes. Especially because months later, we are still finding buttons in random places throughout our house thanks to kids who love playing hide and seek with various items. =)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Halloween Costumes 2012

I know this holiday was a while ago, but this has been sitting in my "drafts" section for a long time. I thought these little cuties were just too cute not to post about.

Karate girl, happy witch, and rodeo clown.

My hubby in a skeleton shirt he helped me cut out. I actually wore that as school, but he got it that night for trick or treating. I just put spider webs and a spider on my face. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dia De Los Muertos

I finished student teaching quite awhile ago. But I've been holding on to this blog post idea since then. I student taught in 2nd grade and it was a blast! I finally feel like I know this is what I was meant to do in life. Once a week, while I was student teaching, we would have art in the classroom. In order to cover more than art during art time I sometimes tried to incorporate social studies as well. This particular week we were learning about Dia De Los Muertos. We watched a few short videos on what the celebration was and how they decorate. I explained that instead of focusing on gory and gruesome, like halloween does sometimes, the skulls and decorations are a symbol of happiness.

For this art project, we used styrofoam plates, the backs of paint brushes, the brush part of the paint brushes, large construction paper, and acrylic paint.

After showing the students different pictures of decorated skulls, they carved skulls on the back side of a foam plate using the back of the paint brush. Next, they painted a thin coat of bright colored paint on the back of the plate. Then, they stamped the plate onto construction paper. They rinsed their plate (we were lucky enough to have a sink in the classroom), dried it, and then painted another color on the plate. They stamped it again and then repeated the process until they had filled up their large construction paper. Then they chose a color to paint their background. After letting them dry, I strung our banners together and hung them in the hallway. I think they turned out great, don't you?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Quiet Book- Space and Robot

Last page! I knew I wanted a space and robot page from the beginning and did not find too many pages that were interactive and were space and robots online. So, I came up with these ideas. 

On the space page, you can button and unbutton the stars and move them around to different buttons. The space ship also moves up and down on a piece of ribbon. 

The robot's head, arms, and legs all snap on and off. His middle zips and sometimes, the kids can find little surprises hidden in the zipper part. 

Okay, so one day I had a good friend come over for a crafting/play date. The kids got to play while we got to craft. She helped me make several things. But while we were busy crafting away, my hubby came down and picked up a page of the quiet book. He began working on it and sewing it without anyone saying anything. Although he has no idea I took this, I had to get a picture, granted its not a great one, but proof that my hubby helped me with this project too! 

I did want some cohesiveness throughout the quiet book, so I used different shades of blue felt for each set of pages except on the front cover when I ran out of different shades of blue. After all the pages were put together, I sewed around the edges of front and back pages. Then I used a button hole stitch to create an opening for some kind of binding. I thought about using those little metal rings, and still might. But for now, I just used blue ribbon which seems to be working out just fine. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Quiet Book- Letters

Being in education, I have to try to squeeze learning into everything we do. I knew I wanted an alphabet page, but I wanted more from it than simply learning the names and sounds. So, I made a place for CVC words (Consonant, Vowel, Consonant). My son is no where near this point yet, but my girls are and they love making words with the velcro letters. My son is still learning sounds and names of the letters so when he begins reading, he too can make words.

The letters used are the iron on ones. I was not about to hand cut and sew on all these letters. I also used iron on velcro- I never knew this existed, but it does and it is AMAZING! Thanks for introducing me Heather.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Quiet Book- Counting, Shapes, and Colors

We couldn't have a quiet book without counting, shapes, and colors. 

The counting page is simply beads with ribbon to slide back and forth. 

The shapes are snap on, snap off to teach that skill as well. I was pretty excited that I was able to get all my shapes on one page. There are actually three pieces of felt used for each shape. 

First, I hand stitched the snaps onto the bottom and top piece of each shape. Then, I machine sewed the bottom to the felt page. Next, I blanket stitched the third shape piece onto the top shape piece that had the snap sewn on. This way, the thread from sewing the snaps on is hidden. Looks much nicer this way I think.