Thursday, July 24, 2014

Craft Day - Footprint Butterflies

I decided to up my difficulty level on the crafts and make footprint butterflies after I saw this picture on Pinterest:

Mine were not nearly as beautiful, but that was more due to my limited ability to draw the body of the butterfly than anything else. Also, it's hard to make these with big kid footprints. Baby footprints are much easier.

Big Sis painting her foot. I didn't get pictures of the painted baby feet because I was the one painting them. T-Rex cried while I was painting his foot because he wanted to play with the paints. Little K liked getting his foot painted, I think. He gave me a look that seemed to say, "Mom, what are you doing to me?"

T-Rex's footprints

Little K's finished product

T-Rex's finished product

Overall, this project was fun. I think the boy's turned out well. Big Sis's did not, so I don't choose to show it here. Like I said, this works out a lot better with baby feet!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Your Workout Doesn't Have to Be a Bore!

I don't like to exercise. I will admit it. Make me run on the treadmill (or speed walk is more like it for me) or walk just to walk but not go anywhere, I won't be doing it for long. If I'm going to exercise, I need to make it fun. Here's what has worked for me.

->Exercise with your children!
Especially in the summer, we can get a lot of exercise this way. I will walk them to the park. It's only about a mile away, maybe even less, but walking pushing a double stroller that weighs maybe 10 lbs on its own and has 40+ pounds of children's weight in it will sure get you a workout! Not to mention, some of the walk to the park is uphill! When we get there, I push my kids on the swings (upper body workout!) and I swing on the swings too.

Me at the park...Big Sis took this picture!

->Video games can give you a workout!

Do you have a Wii or an Xbox with a Kinect? Play one of the active/fitness games! You will be surprised how much of a workout they can give you.
My favorites are the Just Dance games for the Wii and the EA Active game for the Wii. The EA Active game bothers me a bit because you have to wear a leg strap and put the nunchuck in there. It doesn't like to pick up your moves properly every time, so it can get a bit frustrating. But when it works right, it's a great motivator and it has helped me learn how to do squats the right way!

->Use workout DVDs.
I have to admit I haven't used my workout DVDs in a while. I need to break these out. All of the DVDs I have, I actually do like doing and they give me quite a work out. It's also like having my own personal trainer there and it helps me make sure I'm doing the exercises the right way. I have Biggest Loser Boot Camp (with Bob), Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga (This one is harder than it sounds!), Ab Workout for Dummies, and Dancing with the Stars workout (with Maxim...try not to lose all your hydration through drooling, ladies...)
Matter of fact, posting about these videos has motivated me to do one of them later.

What do you do to make your workout fun?

Femme Fitale Fit Club

Monday, July 21, 2014

Craft Day!! Fun with Paints

It's time for another craft day! For this craft, we just let the creative spirits roam free. I gave my daughter and my son paints, paintbrushes, and sponge brushes and let them do whatever they wanted. This was T-Rex's first experience with paints. He did try to eat them and he did paint on his legs a little bit, but I wasn't worried. I recommend Crayola's washable kids paints. They come off of skin and clothes very easily. I didn't even need soap to clean him off at the end of our craft. He had a blast and Big Sis loves painting as well! I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Big Sis's finished products

Another one of Big Sis's paintings.

T-Rex's finished product

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quick and Easy Taco Chili

Here it is! My first recipe blog post! I don't consider myself a great cook by any means, but I came up with this new recipe. It tasted great, so I thought I would share it with my readers.

I call it...

Taco Chili!!

What you need:

2 pounds of 93% lean ground beef
2 packets of taco seasoning
2 cans of Bush's dark red kidney beans
1 tomato
1 onion

Brown the ground beef. I used a wok the combine all my ingredients. As the ground beef is browning, add beans, chopped tomato, and chopped onion. I put two cans of beans. My daughter though it was "too beanie", so you can always put less beans or more meat depending on your taste.
Since I used 93% lean ground beef, there wasn't much excess fat to drain off as it continued to cook. If you want to drain off all the extra, you can brown the beef and then add the veggies, but this will take a little longer.

Next step is to add the taco seasoning per the instructions. It is usually taco seasoning and 3/4 a cup of water per envelope. Since we are using two envelopes we will follow these instructions twice.

This can be served with rice on the side.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lessons I've Learned from My Cat - Photo Post

The latest challenge on Liv, Laugh, Love's July Blogger's Challenge is a photo post. I thought I'd continue my Lessons I've Learned series with a photo post of Lessons I've Learned from My Cat. This features photos of my cat, Prince. There is also an appearance by my first cat, Coco - may he rest in peace.(If you haven't read my other Lessons posts, you can read about Lessons I've Learned from My Second Grader, Lessons I've Learned from My Toddler, and Lessons I've Learned from My Newborn.)

--> Sleep when you can, anywhere you can! (And in any position that you find comfortable!)

"This car seat sure is comfy!"


--> Rock your own sense of style.

Prince rocking his mane.

--> Make your presence known.

Coco was a pro at this. I think every picture I have, he is either meowing or sleeping.

--> Stake your claim.

"These pants are mine."

"This laundry basket? Mine."

"This baby swing is mine."

"You want to use this? Too bad. It's mine."

"Did I mention that this baby is also mine?"

-->You are never too old to play!

As a baby...

Or a grown-up...

I hope you have enjoyed another installment of Lessons I've Learned...
What have you learned from your cat, dog, or other pet?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mission: Possible! Ten Breastfeeding Tips from a Mom Who Knows

So, you've decided to breastfeed your child. Great choice! I don't have to tell you about the benefits of breastfeeding. Everyone knows breast is best and I like to think most moms would breastfeed their child if given the right education and support. In fact, according to the CDC, as of 2010, 77% of mothers start breastfeeding their babies. Unfortunately, that number goes down as the child gets older with only 49% of moms breastfeeding babies the recommended 6 months. Some of the reasons for this include going back to work with little or no support for pumping, or just having trouble getting through the first weeks. I'd like to say I know all the answers, but I don't! I do my research and I learn as I go. However, having breastfed three children and having various experiences with each, I have some tips that may help out the moms who are planning on breastfeeding and want to come in to it prepared.

My Top Ten Breastfeeding Tips:
#1 - Educate yourself! Read all about it! Join support groups like La Leche League or online/Facebook support groups. Ask questions of other breastfeeding moms that you may know. The more you know, the easier it will be to get past those hurdles that you will most definitely encounter. One of my favorite websites for breastfeeding information is KellyMom.

#2 - Three words: Skin-to-skin! I had c-sections with both of my boys. Some say that when you have a c-section it takes longer for your milk to come in. I did skin-to-skin with my boys in the hospital and my milk was in by day three or four with both of them!

Pic by Jen Schneider

#3 - Get comfortable. Get a comfy chair for nursing. You'll spend a lot of time there. Get a good nursing pillow and while your in the hospital work with the lactation consultants to find the hold that works best for you.

#4 - Newborn babies have really tiny stomachs. This means they eat often. It may be every two hours, but when you feed baby for 30 minutes, he may want to come back to the breast an hour later. That's ok. He may be hungry again. He may just want to suckle. Give him what he needs. Nothing is wrong with you or him. This is normal.

#5 - Get some lanolin. Contrary to what some may say, it shouldn't really hurt THAT much to breastfeed. Sure, it's a sensation you have to get used to. But if the baby is latched properly, it won't hurt while he's nursing. UNLESS - he is nursing what seems almost non stop. Your nipples will get a little sore. So, let them air dry if you can. Then put a little lanolin on them. It helps with the soreness and will make breastfeeding more tolerable.

#6 - Find some ways for Daddy to help out. It's really easy for the baby's dad to feel left out because you spend most of the time with him. After all, he's eating 8 to 10 times a day! But if you find some ways for dad to help out, baby can bond with his dad as well! Dad can change the baby's diaper and bring him to you to feed him at night. He can spend some skin-to-skin time with baby too!

#7 - Going back to work? Get a freezer stash going! You don't have to start this right away, but you should start it at least a couple of weeks before you go back to work so you can stay ahead of what the baby needs. I didn't do this and I regretted it later because I couldn't keep up with my baby's needs and had to supplement with formula. It's a good idea to pump in the mornings because you usually have the most milk in the mornings. You can pump when the baby nurses (if you're that coordinated) or you can pump right after the baby is done nursing. You may only get one or two ounces a session, but that's ok. You're just building up a stash and one to two ounces is normal. Pumping gets out way less than the baby ever could.

#8 - Don't forget the nursing pads! You are going to need them, especially in the earlier days when you are nursing a lot. I noticed the more that my son wanted to nurse, the more I would leak when he was not nursing! And if you are going out, you might want to throw some extras in your purse/diaper bag along with an extra bra and shirt! Better safe than sorry.

#9 - Have a lot of healthy snacks around the house. You will get hungry! I tried to make sure I ate after every time the baby would eat (except in the middle of the night) and that I drank plenty of water. Eating healthy snacks throughout the day and drinking lots of water will also help you lose that baby weight faster.

#10 - Don't be ashamed to breastfeed! For some, this is easier said than done. We've grown up in a culture that tells us that breasts are sexual. They are something men like to look at, sure. But let's not let this take away from their real purpose, nourishing our little ones! You may not feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, with or without a cover. That's ok. Do what feels comfortable for you. If that means you supplement with formula or bring pumped bottles along when you go out, that's fine. Just remember, you don't need to apologize for breastfeeding. Most states have laws that say you can breastfeed your baby ANYWHERE. So don't let someone tell you that you need to leave or go in a bathroom or to your car to breastfeed your baby. Be discreet about it, of course, but remember your baby is just eating and you are doing what is right for your baby!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Weight Loss Journal - I Got Stuck!

Well, I officially plateaued. I've been stuck at 170 since May. What to do now? Well, for the past month and a half I've been slacking off. I'll admit that. My daughter got out of school and there was no reason to walk 2 miles every day anymore so I stopped. I play Just Dance every once in a while. I do chores around the house to burn some calories. But all in all, I have not been on it with the exercise and I've paid the price. I also overdid it a little with the eating over the 4th of July weekend. I guess I had lost a little confidence that I could lose that last 20 pounds.

Yesterday, my parents came over and I found a video from my dad's 60th birthday. It had pictures of me at various points in time. These went back all the way to 1999, to 2007 right after my daughter was born, and around 2009 or so when I was definitely at my largest weight. Seeing how much my weight fluctuated and how small I was at times really gave me the determination to get back on track. I already look way better than I did back in 2009. I know I may never get back to how I looked in 1999, but that doesn't mean I can't try!

So today I broke out my EA Active game on the Wii. I played for 20 minutes, and I was sweating buckets! It was intense! I am going to do the 30 day challenge on this game and see how that goes. I will throw in some other workouts too, like walks to the part or just chasing the kids around the yard. We've got to get a zoo trip in again too this summer. I'm ready to lose that last 20 pounds and then some!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Craft - Watermelon Paper Plates

In an effort to curb the massive TV time in our home, I have instituted "craft time". Our first craft was found on a Pinterest post at the blogFrogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails. This craft is so easy. My 20 month old son did very well. It's also fun, so my 7-year-old daughter enjoyed it too.

Big Sister's watermelon

T-Rex's watermelon

T-Rex was new at the craft thing. He tried to eat markers and paper, but we got through it and made a really cute project!