16 April 2014

Week 7: Giving Up

I'm going to give up.

Then I think about how far I've come.

I can't run very fast.

Then I remember that I AM running.

I only lost one pound last week, and gained a pound the week before.

Then I realize I'm still 9 pounds lighter than when I started.

I have a health condition that makes it harder to lose weight.

Then I am thankful that this condition is manageable and I am not the only one who has it.

What we tell ourselves has more impact than we realize.  When you are chasing after a goal, or a dream, tell yourself the things you would tell someone else if they were walking in your shoes.  It is very easy to let your own negative messages take over when you are struggling through a rough patch.  For every negative thing you catch yourself thinking, follow it up with a positive thought.  I didn't get to this point by allowing my fears and my negativity to rule my mind.  Our minds are way more powerful than we realize.  Once you learn to control your own mind, you will be unstoppable.

09 April 2014

Weeks 5-6: finding what works

I can't believe week 5 has come and gone and I am cruising through week 6 already!  Physically speaking, last week was a good week!  My runs felt great.  Two of the days I even ran for 20 minutes without stopping to walk.  That is the longest I've gone so far.  There were other obstacles to overcome, however.  The biggest one being my schedule.  See, our basement is gym slash toy room slash studio slash craft room slash guest bedroom.  Also, my usual wake up is 5:15am.  So, when Grandma came to visit, I decided that a 5:15 am wake up call to thudding, huffing and puffing, was not the most hospitable thing I could do.  It worked out fine, because I was just able to sleep in a little and then run during the kids' nap time, but I realized early on that this was not what I wanted for my normal work out.

When I first started five and a half weeks ago, the first full week of attempting to wake up early was a complete fail.  I just couldn't convince myself to shake off the sleep and do it.  This resulted in me doing my run during the kids' nap time, which would be fine...if all three buggers actually slept during nap time.  My soon to be five year old hasn't taken a regular nap in almost a year, and my three and a half year old just recently started nixing his own nap time.  I still make them have "quiet time", which is at least 30 minutes of quiet activity in their own room.  Perfect time for me to run, right?  Well, it would be, if my girl didn't need to come out of her room and down the stairs for "a certain book", or "a drink of water" or "my good crayons".  It's always something.  And the boy is curious.  He hears the girl's door open and then he needs to see what's going on.  Long story short, that first week I was finding it very difficult to finish a run without stopping to be on "mommy duty" or to try and have a conversation while at the height of exertion (I am so not a social runner!) while my girl asked me 20 million questions.  Instead of feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after a good work out I was just as stressed, annoyed, and in an overall bad mood.  It was clear it wasn't working out.  I needed this time to be alone.  So, after a few days of this realization setting in, I was finally able to get my butt up out of bed before the sun came up.  And it was the best thing I ever could have done for myself at the beginning of this journey.

Are you stuck?  Do you find that you really want to start a workout regimen, but you can't quite figure out how to get it done?  

Try it one way for a bit and if that doesn't work out, try another way.  Don't keep trying to establish a routine that doesn't really jive with your schedule.  

Also, try to always use the word "jive" in some way.  It's awesome.  

If you try to force a routine that doesn't work for you, you will continue to dread it and thus set yourself up for failure before you've even begun.  Give it a week.  If it's not working out, switch it up.  Keep trying till you find something that works for you.  Jon Acuff wrote a post the other day called How I work: 6 tips to getting up early.  The whole post was good, but one point really resonated with me.  His number 3 was to do something fun in the morning.  He said don't try to do something you hate because that will just give you more reason to not get up.  

So don't try to force a routine on yourself that makes you miserable.  It will just give you more reason to not start.

I am not a morning person.  I never have been.  
But I love to run, and I love having some time to myself to think and to read.  I love having some calm before the storm of chaos that usually surrounds living life with three very messy and energetic little people.

So for that, I can get up.  

Figure out what works, then do it!

07 April 2014

Crafting with Kids: Potato Cow

My daughter loves to make things.  If she can see it in her head, she will attempt to make it.  Thats why, when I was at a consignment sale this past weekend and found this book, the question was not whether or not to buy it, but whether or not to give it to her now, or wait until her birthday next weekend.  I mean, the title of the book is Make It Yourself, which really could be her middle name.  I couldn't resist.  I knew she would love it and we are done buying for her birthday, so I went ahead and gave it to her.  She goes to sleep looking at it, and she wakes up asking me if we can do one of the crafts in it that day.  

We finally did our first one today: make a cow out of two potatoes.  

Materials Used:
1. White and black or brown craft paint
2. Two paint cups
3. paintbrush
4. One large potato and one small potato
5. Toothpicks
6. String/Yarn
7. Scissors
8. Pipe cleaners

We also did a video tutorial, and she was such a little natural in it, that I just completely forgot to take pictures.  However, it's pretty self explanatory enough, and I did take a picture of the pages out of the book after all was said and done.

I will update this post with the video link when I have it.  I think it was a success!  She's already talking about how she's going to add to the herd with more potato cows.  

02 April 2014

DIY Carseat Recover

This project has been on my to do list for almost a year.  I am crazy excited that I've finally done it!  It was definitely a challenge.  It wasn't really that hard of a project, but what made it difficult was the bulkiness and thickness of it once it was close to being back together.

Here's how it all went down...

I took the cover off and studied it.  I also took lots of pictures as I needed to be able to put it back together once it was all ripped apart!

My plan going in was to rip it apart, piece by piece, discard the old, pink fabric and sew the new fabric onto the padding.  Upon studying the cover, it seemed most feasible to start with the brown fabric that went all the way around and actually folds over the seat with elastic to keep it on.  You can barely see a sliver of brown on the outsides of the seat in the above photo.  There is dark brown bias tape that is sewn across the front on the bottom, then it connects to the elastic with the brown from there and wraps all the way around and down to the other side.  I noticed that this piece was still in pretty good shape, that it matched my new fabric, and would save me a ton of time if I kept it intact and didn't replace it.  So that's what I did!  Then once I took that piece off I decided to work my way to the center in taking it apart.

Here is a picture after the stretch material with elastic was taken off.  Look at the color difference!  I think this seat was more than ready for a face lift!  At this point I also realized that this cover didn't actually have fabric to remove from the padding.  The padding was printed!  I was happy to realize this because this meant I would save even more time.  Instead of ripping the old fabric off the padding, I would be sewing the new fabric directly onto it.

Saving time is always a plus, especially if you happened to have lost your seam ripper over a year ago and somehow completely forget to buy a new one every single time you're in the store.  Seriously.  Every time.  So what I do, without a ripper, is just pull the material apart at the seam until it stops, then use my big scissors to clip the next couple threads, pull it apart again, and so on.  

Once I had all the pieces ripped apart I laid them out on the new fabric as a pattern.  

Used some pins to make sure they didn't move around while I was cutting.  On a side note, if working while your 20 month old is awake and toddling around, do not leave the pins on the edge of the table thinking that they are close enough to you to rescue if he gets it in his mind to investigate.  Because he will.  And his chubby little fingers will move faster than you thought possible, resulting in finding yourself two minutes later, on your hands and knees, picking up every. single. one. off the floor.  

Once I had them all stuck, I cut them out.  

I started getting excited with this step, seeing the new fabric on the shapes.  I love new fabric.


Now we're getting somewhere!  The next step I did was to sew a zigzag stitch all around the pieces, just so it wouldn't slip out of place as I was sewing the pieces back together.  I liked not having to worry about my seam allowance.  Since I could see where it had already been sewn together, I just had to make sure I stayed beside that line.  Then when sewing the pieces together it was like I already had a guide in place.

This part was a little tricky.  I originally thought I would have to sew buttonholes into the new fabric, but that's not what I ended up doing.  I realized it was much simpler to just sew a really tight zigzag stitch around the holes, then just cut the slit open.  Now, if you are an accomplished seamstress, or even an intermediate level, please be kind as you see the next few pics.  I realize they are not the neatest thing ever.  I will blame part of it on the fact that with the seat cover being so bulky it was very hard to see what I was doing and hard to make nice and neat stitching lines.  That said, I blame the rest of it on the fact that even after having my own sewing machine for a few years, I am still very much a beginner sewer!  So here we go:
I sewed it on my machine with the right side down, so that I could see where the hole was to sew around it.

Then folded it in half so that I could use my scissors to snip a hole.

Then I unfolded it and cut up to the stitching on both sides.

These tiny holes were really tricky to get neat....as you can tell.  This was the neatest one I did, if that tells ya anything.

Now I had all the fabric sewn on and all the holes made.  I was down to the last step of sewing it all back together and so excited to see the final result!

A little too excited, possibly.  This was not the easiest sewing I've ever done, due to the bulkiness of the cover.  I held it together as best I could, and sometimes it seemed like I was just shoving it under the needle.  My machine did something here and it scared the shnickles out of me.  In about .2 seconds I envisioned my hand being mangled under the needle and I jumped about a foot, jerking my hand back, and catching it on a pin.

After I calmed down I sewed all the sides together, then worked in the reverse order of how I took it apart.  

Oh, and remember how I said I got all the holes sewn and cut?  Yeah, not so much.  When I finished the cover I excitedly got the seat out and started putting the cover on, only to realize there were no holes for the belt to come up through.  Back to the machine.  Did the two last holes and THEN it was finished!

My intent in doing this was so that my little boy didn't have to ride around in a pink butterfly car seat (even though at 1-2 years old he could really care less).  When I finished it and asked my 4 year old if she liked it she said, "It looks like a girl seat".  Ah, oh well.  Better than the dirty butterflies, anyway.  

It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought as far as trying to sew something so bulky, and yet it was really quite simple.  So that's it!  Looks like a brand new seat!

31 March 2014

Week 4: PCOS Sucks.

Running/working out is not pretty.  Plain and simple.
I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) about 7 and a half years ago.  If you're not sure what that is, you can get some great info HERE.  My succinct and very poor explanation of it is that it is basically a hormonal disorder that, if left unchecked, can lead to many different diseases, including one that runs rampant in my family, diabetes.  A hormone imbalance can affect a person in a ton of different ways.  Emotionally, physically, it's a grand roller coaster ride that won't stop to let you off.  I usually love roller coasters, but I've had my fill of this one.  Doctors like to put you on birth control (to regulate cycle) and if you're trying to get pregnant?  Well that's a whole other ride.  Infertility rates are very high in women with PCOS.  I told my doctor once that I thought my birth control was messing with my system, that it was not helping in the area of my PCOS.  He basically shrugged me off, saying it has nothing to do with it.  My thinking is, if I already have a hormonal disorder, how is pumping more hormones into the mix going to help?  I don't know, I am still researching a lot.  When I was first diagnosed, the only thing I heard when being explained this condition was that it was going to be very hard, maybe impossible, to have children.  The only thing I have ever known I wanted out of life.  There is much more to that story, but my point in this post is this: There are a lot of things that could stop me on this journey to health.  I have a few things against me.  PCOS being one of them.  It is proven that if you have this disorder, it makes it even more difficult to lose weight.  But you know what?

I met my monthly weight loss goal this month.

It is HARDER to lose weight.  Not IMPOSSIBLE.  I am seeing more and more cases out there of women who are managing their PCOS with simple diet and exercise.  I have joined an online support group of PCOS sufferers.  I am doing everything I can to set myself up for success.  

The 5k I signed up for is on Mother's Day.  I have never run a 5k before, even though I have wanted to for a very long time.  How fitting is it, that my first one be a Mother's Day run?  This race will be very significant for me, in so many ways.  I've always been a stubborn determined person.  I have decided that having PCOS will not defeat me.  It will only make me more creative in achieving my goals.  

Week 4 was the hardest one yet.  Not only was I increasing the workout, I was sick with a bad cold on top of it all.  I almost didn't run on the really hard days, but I had several small victories this week, and I'm proud to say that I completed it and am now looking forward to week 5!  Bring it!

18 March 2014

Week 3 And The Power Of The Mind


I've been thinking a lot lately about the power of the mind.  What we tell ourselves will be what we believe and will directly affect the outcome.

Today is Day 2 of week 3 on my journey.  Up to this point I have been feeling great, unstoppable.  But this morning when the alarm woke me at 5:30, I wanted nothing more than to crawl back under the covers and pretend I didn't hear it.

I stood in my closet, looking at my pile of work out attire that I had pulled the night before, waging a mental war.

I didn't sleep good last night.  Sleep is so important to good health!  I really should go back to bed since it's better for my health.

Don't do it.  Just get dressed.  You need this.

Is that a stomach ache?  I probably won't feel good all day if I get up now.  I will feel sick if I don't go back to bed.  Just one more hour.

You've pushed yourself through a heck of a lot more than a mere stomach ache.  You played a full tilt basketball game with the flu (true story).  You can do this.  You have to do this.  You need this.  

Yeah but that was forever ago.  I'm so much older now.

That's a dumb excuse and you know it.  You need this.  You will be better for it.  You will be happy you did it.  No more excuses; no more delay.

I got dressed.

I ran.

And guess what?  I may be a little tired, but I don't have a stomach ache.  In fact, I feel pretty good.  And more importantly, I had a victory today.  My body wanted to phone it in.  And I wouldn't let it.

What we tell ourselves matters.  We know ourselves best, after all.

So if your mental mantra is not helping you, change it.  Tell yourself you can do it.

Because you CAN do it.  Your body will do what you will it to do.  It doesn't have a choice.  So make the better choice.  You will be so glad you did!

16 March 2014

Cardboard Wall File

I love to be organized.  It's easier to find things, the day runs more smoothly, and my stress level stays low.  Not to mention the kiddos.  They can feel it when i'm stressed, even if I'm really good at covering it.  I work really hard at staying organized, because I know the effects that disorganization can have on us.  Granted, I fail miserably sometimes; it seems to be always a work in progress.  So here is one little step I've taken towards my goal to be organized:

It's such a little thing, yet it has brought a little more organization to my desk/office area.  My "desk" is actually an old, small kitchen table that the husband and I bought when we were first married.  As our family grew, so did the kitchen table and this has become the "desk".  I would love to have an actual desk, but we just don't have the place for it at this point in the game.  So I have found that I just need to get a little creative with the organization and also that I have to stay on top of it.  With no files or drawers it is essential to keep the mail, bills, etc in check.

I have a lot of receipts that I need to keep track of for the cake pop business, so this is so far proving to be very helpful.  Our days are always busy, so I never really have time to file receipts as I go.  Receipts get tossed in here until the end of the month when I take them out, put them in chronological order and file them away in a manilla envelope.  This would also make a great short term file for coupons.  I'm thinking of making another one to hold coupons that I pull to use from week to week.

I didn't know what all I would use when making this so I just grabbed a bunch of stuff from my craft stash.  And it's simple, really.  Here is what I ended up using:

1. Cardboard cereal boxes
2. Scissors
3. Double Sided tape
4. Scrapbook paper
5. Letter stickers
6. Packing tape (not pictured)

First thing I did was cut into the cardboard and cut off all the edges.

Then by eyeing the area where I knew I wanted it to hang, I gauged what size I wanted the rectangle, then used a straight edge to draw a cutting line.

I held the front and back sides up to the wall to see how big I wanted the opening to be.  It was about 3 inches.  I measured 3 inches and drew a line.

then at the other end I measured 1.5 inches and marked it with a dot.

Then I used a straight edge to draw lines connecting all three points to make my triangle for the side of the wall file.

On a side note, can anyone tell me why my hands always look so deformed in pictures?  On second thought, don't tell me.  We will just all agree that I take very bad hand pictures.  Moving on..

I've got the triangles cut out, now it's time to tape everything together.  I used packing tape, but any kind of tape would probably work.  Unless you need the strength of the packing tape b/c you're going to file really heavy receipts.  Or your rock collection.  Then you probably want to go with the packing tape also.  But that's just my opinion.

I put a strip of tape on one side of the triangle,

then I used the corner of my table to make sure it stuck at an angle.

When I taped the other side, I had a little trouble with the tape not wanting to stick into the corners, so I just used the tip of my pen to get it right up against the other side.  Any overhanging tape like you see in this next picture I just bent over the side.

Finished!  Now I just had to cover it and make it more pretty and less cereal-boxey.

Oh, also you might notice that the front panel is shorter than the back panel.  After I had them cut out I realized for it to hang the way I wanted it to they couldn't be the same height, so I cut off like an inch, inch and a half from the top of the front panel, and then in turn had to cut the side triangles at a slight angle so that it came down to meet the top of the front panel.  This probably all sounds gibberish at this point, but this project is really something that you can kind of figure out as you go.

For the scrapbook paper I just laid the file down and traced it and then cut them out and taped to the front and sides.

You can see the triangle here is a little taller than the front panel.  That was before I fixed it.  It was pretty simple just to cut it after it was taped together.

Slapped some letter stickers on it and that was it!  

Very quick, simple, and together in no time.  Now my receipts have a home, I spent no money out of pocket, and I am a little less cranky.  Which, let's be honest, is better for everyone.

Happy organizing!