Sunday, February 7, 2016

Make a Card Monday - Showers of Blessings

A quick card to accompany a gift for a baby shower or wedding shower.
I stamped the umbrella outline onto patterned paper and then cut it out. To add dimension, after I stamped the flowers and umbrella handle onto the white panel, I adhered the umbrella with foam dots. Cute, right? :)
Details:
cardstock: Bazzill (pink), Georgia Pacific (white), green (Recollections)
patterned paper: pink floral (DCWV)
embellishments: ribbon (unknown), foam dots (s.e.i)
color: Noir ink, Landscape (Palette)
tools: grass edge punch (Martha Stewart), Notch and Die tool (Basic Grey)
stamps: Scattered Showers (PTI) and Road to a Friends (TAC)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Non-Coach 21 Day Fix Review

For the past few years I've experienced some health issues... nothing terrible, just inconvenient and making me feel less than 100%. However over the past year I feel like I've been getting worse. After denial, denial, and a little more denial, I finally decided I should probably go to the doctor and get a complete physical and have everything tested.
Of course by the time I got around to actually opting to do it, I needed to wait two and a half months before our health insurance funds would be available for the new year.

In the meantime, I "stumbled" across a couple of articles online. (Stumbled is in quotes because I know nothing ever happens by coincidence. I know God was leading me to read those articles. Why else would I have clicked on something about a Paleo diet? My diet is more 'unsupervised child at a birthday party'.) I got info on how a Paleo diet can help autoimmune disease (*ding, ding* that's me), how much sugar affects our bodies (*ding, ding* that's me too), and what adrenal fatigue looks like (*ding, ding* that's kinda like me; yikes!), and how our diets can influence all of that. So, um, looks like I need to change what I eat.

I knew that my personality needed a plan to work off, especially being so addicted to sugar. God brought to mind a friend who had had great results with 21 Day Fix. Lightbulb. (God led me to that too. I'm not that smart on my own. lol) I got in touch with her and found out she was planning to start the second week of January. Perfect.

I got the program with the containers and was all excited
 
until I saw the size of the yellow container (starch aka bread, rice, crackers, oatmeal, yummy things that I love, even my fav veggies -- peas and sweet potatoes)
(It's not that bad though, honest!) After I read through everything, I immediately began pinning a million things on Pinterest, and then putting together a binder with all the info and recipes I'd need. Planning is essential with this program.
Here's what my binder looks like:
Front cover with Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength."
The first page is my menu plan for the week. I made a template in Word that I can print each week to plan my food.
Next up is a great cheat sheet from Pinterest on container sizes. It's helpful when bulk meal prepping or if your container is in use or needs to be washed.
Next up a food list (I needed to add a few things to it since my version of 21 Day Fix is newer than the one used to make this) and a measurements tracker. Both found here.
And a 4-up daily tracker for the 1200-1499 calorie range. (Found here. I might go with a smaller version that fits more days on a page down the road.)
Using cardstock and the bread tab Stampin Up punch, I made dividers for the daily tracking forms and my recipe categories (breakfast & bread, dinner, lunch, veggies & sides, desserts & shakeology)
 and dividers within categories if needed.
Then I printed off a ton of recipes from Pinterest and websites that I got via Pinterest. (I copied them and put them into Word to format them consistently. That's just my OCD at work and totally not necessary to do.) :)
Obviously the planning and printing are much easier than the actual eating and exercising. :)
Meal Prep for week 1:
 Mexican Taco Salad for lunch (so much food!) (1 red, 2 green, 1 blue, 1 orange):
My first homemade marinara (so sad considering I'm almost 40 and Italian. Sorry, Nonna).
 
Round 2 (Week 4) meal prep (breakfast, lunch, some snacks):

Some tips that might be helpful to you:
Find recipes ahead of time
Meal plan ahead of time (Keep it simple. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day and alternate 4 lunches. Dinners are where I change things up.)
Only buy the groceries you need for that week if you need to really redo your pantry (I found a lot of things at Aldi's but my pantry is rather unhealthy. I can only get what I need each week to start building up a better pantry because of the budget. No huge $500 trip to Whole Foods for us. :) )
Plan to do this for the long haul; don't quit after your 21 days are over
Don't include your family's food the first round (It's easier to just cook for them like you normally would until you figure yourself out. Plus they can 'eat down' the pantry. Sorry, fam!) :)
Get mason jars for salad (keeps it crisp!) and containers for portioning (I liked these Glad containers: rectangle and round)

My review:
After round 1, I've lost 4 lbs. and 9 inches. I did't really need to lose weight so this is great progress for me. I do need to seriously tone up though. 21 Days later, I'm starting to see a vee in my abs. Never had that before. :) I haven't exercised in over a year (#embarrassing) so for my first round I modified everything. There is a person in the DVDs to follow if you need to modify. Until I feel strong enough, I'll continue to modify with her.

The workouts are quick but get results. (See above.) I can definitely feel it every day. The DVDs aren't annoying. Yeah, you know what I mean. 21 Day Fix isn't like those.
I already had a mat and some weights so there was no additional expense for me there. You can always start with soup cans as weights if you need.

There is plenty of food to eat, even at the lowest calorie level. If you need to lose a lot of weight, you might feel hungry. Talk to your coach about possibly bumping up your calorie level for awhile. I find that I need to eat eggs for breakfast to give me enough energy for my morning workout. And if I do two workouts in one day (like they suggest for week 3), I'm absolutely starving. 
I didn't use Shakeology but picked a different protein shake meal replacement powder. That's completely up to you. If you can't afford it, don't do it. We weren't really meant to drink our food on a long-term basis. Take a multi-vitamin and eat your containers of food instead. 
It does help to spread your reds out over the day to keep your energy level on an even keel.

I treated my first round as a no pressure try-out. Lots of grace for realizing I forgot things at the grocery store, lots of grace for learning what I need to eat when, lots of grace for realizing I put the food into the wrong container and that teaspoons are not for Stevia, lots of grace for the workouts, some grace for failed recipes. It takes time to get into a groove with it. At the beginning of week 4, it's starting to feel more natural... now I'm incorporating the family's food.
I have more energy, my skin is clearing up, I feel stronger and have less back pain, I haven't had a thryoid-induced hot flash, and my digestive issues have mostly disappeared. Yay! This is definitely the right road to be headed down.

Beachbody does have a 'rah rah, go team' kinda vibe sometimes but, in this instance, it's well earned. 21 Day Fix works. It's not just a diet; it really is a sustainable change in lifestyle.

My 11-year old daughter (who squeals the words 'sugar' and 'chocolate' with glee --- seriously; no joke --- and eats like me --- kinda picky, lots of carbs) was very skeptical about this. She followed me around for about 3 weeks asking a ton of questions about it. She implied that she didn't want any part of it. Three weeks later, she's working out with me every day, willing to change her breakfast choices (to not just cereal), and liking most of the dinners I've made for the family. If I can keep the youngling and padawan from suffering health-wise like I have, then this program will be more than worth it for the results I've already gotten.

I hope that helps you! If you're interested, let me know. I'm happy to answer questions or point you to a great coach. Be healthy (and eat black bean brownies)!

Linking up to some or all of these great blog parties:
Sunday: It's Overflowing
Monday: Inspire Me Monday at Sand and Sisal; Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories A to Z; Monthly Before and After at Thrifty Decor Chick
Wednesday: Wicked Awesome Wednesday at Handy Man, Crafty Woman; Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts; 
Friday: Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest; Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring; Friday Finds at Craftaholics Anonymous

School Summary - End of WWI, Easter Uprising, Ghandi, Stalin, and Egypt

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
A Summary of January 18-29
We're definitely in the 'week in, week out' repetitive part of the year. There are still good attitudes though which is helpful. (And the blizzard didn't hit until Friday afternoon so no staring sadly out the windows.)
Here's what we did:


Things that were scheduled:
Math
Algebra II is off to a rough start. I thought it would be easy for him to go from I to II without any break in between, but it's introducing a lot of new concepts right off the bat. I'm hoping it will start to get easier for him soon.
Language Arts (Grammar with Writing and Literature for both; Spelling for Soprano)
 
Electives:
Greek and Computer Science (Tenor), American Sign Language, Photography, and Sewing (Soprano)
Everything is moving along fine and they are enjoying their elective choices... except sewing. It's not easy and doesn't come naturally. Unfortunately, Soprano's usual response in that type of situation is to simply give up. So we've added a small battle of wills to the mix. The potholder got finished though. :)

My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times
We reached the end of WWI and the treaty of Versailles. I love how all the countries made it Germany's fault. Um, guys, they didn't start it. It is interesting though to see how that treaty set in motion more unrest and eventually WWII.

Bible: This year we will be learning (reviewing) basic Christian beliefs and memorizing key Bible passages. The curricula allows for several weeks of reviewing verses of our choice. We jumping back to the book of James from last year. We reviewed chapters 1 through 4, focusing on 3 and 4. I need to remember to record them saying the whole book this year. I wanted to but forgot last year.
 
History and Geography: 
We're not really feeling a lot of the activities this year. We briefly tried the passport activity -- it was way too much work, skipped the Flanders Field memorization (we're seriously bad Charlotte Mason'ers), skipped the salt march and the research project, and skipped the 14 points. We did the worksheets. lol (Where is Lenin and Arabic writing.) We also did the outlines and writing from outlines, timeline pieces, and maps. 
Science: We're also using the World of Science reading assignments to review what we learned this summer.
Other MFW: 
Music:  We listened to several pieces by George Gershwin. At first I was a little disappointed our CD was only instrumental versions. Then I went online to see the lyrics. They're not all bad, but I'm appreciating the instrumental a little more now.
Art: More Impressionism and more Van Gogh
Extras:
Web:
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 17-34.
Videos:
The Presidents by The History Channel
There is a Sergeant York movie but we're waiting until the read-aloud is finished before watching it.

Favorite Books: 
none -- our library had slim pickings for weeks 20 and 21.

Monday, January 18, 2016

School Summary - War What Is It Good For? Nothing (Except Women's Suffrage)

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
 
A Summary of January 4-15
Christmas break went much faster than I had hoped. I had way more things to cross off my to-do list. But we're back at it and have finished 19 weeks. Which means we're over halfway through our school year.
Here's what we did:

Things that were scheduled:
Math
Tenor finished Algebra I and started right into Algebra II. I didn't realize that the first two lessons (A and B) were part of the curricula and not just extra practice from the previous year. So his first few lessons were a little rough until he went back and did A and B.
 
Language Arts (Grammar with Writing and Literature for both; Spelling for Soprano)
Electives:
Greek and Computer Science (Tenor), American Sign Language, Photography, and Sewing (Soprano)
Um, yeah. The sewing is going super slowly. We did not finish that potholder. We didn't even touch sewing over break. I'm going to try to be more diligent about it this spring.

My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times
We moved into the turn of the century and war after war. Sometimes I think people today think of war as being something that happened a long time ago and shouldn't be happening today. Unfortunately, while I wish it didn't happen so much, it hasn't ever stopped. I'm not sure there's ever been a time in history when war wasn't occurring somewhere in the world.

Bible: This year we will be learning (reviewing) basic Christian beliefs and memorizing key Bible passages. The curricula allows for several weeks of reviewing verses of our choice. We jumping back to the book of James from last year. We reviewed chapters 1 and 2. It took a couple days for it to start coming back.
 
History and Geography: 
We studied the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 1800s and then the Balkan Wars. Then the Mexican and Russian Revolutions and World War I.
We skipped the martenitsa craft, adapted the Armenian Khachkars (ie only colored)
did not write our own Mariachi song, make Faberge Eggs, research hemophilia, or bake Anzac biscuits. Outlining, timeline, and maps got done though. 
Science: We're also using the World of Science reading assignments to review what we learned this summer.
Other MFW: 
Music:  Sousa to Satchmo is done. We began George Gershwin but my CD doesn't have the booklet, and I have the older TM. I read about him from Young Scholar's Guide to Composers instead.

Art: We kept on with Impressionism by studying van Gogh and painting his sunflowers. (Totally makes me think of a Doctor Who episode. BBC messes up my view of history. lol) I was impressed with their efforts.

Extras:
Web:
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 17-34.
Ottoman Empire history video
Titanic Lapbook
Titanic Resources
Sergeant York audio book
War Horse movie curriculua
If WWI was a bar fight (no major liquor references... very funny) 
WWI slang, pics of helmets, soldier paper doll, by-the-numbers infographic, coloring pages, In the Trenches activity, Telemann telegraph, diorama tutorial, and trench tour.
Faberge Egg craft    
Gershwin unit study
Gershwin notebooking page
Gershwin poster
Videos:
The Presidents by The History Channel
Meet Me in St. Louis
Music Man
Winter's End
War Horse (highly recommend!)
There is a Sergeant York movie but we're waiting until the read-aloud is finished before watching it.

Favorite Books: 
Big Moon Tortilla (Arizona) by Joy Cowley
American Girl Josefina books (New Mexico)
The President and Mom's Apple Pie (W.H. Taft) by Michael Garland
Vincent Van Gogh by Mike Venezia
William Howard Taft by Mike Venezia
You Wouldn't Want to Sail on the Titanic by Stewart
Switch On, Switch Off by Melvin Berger
Welcome to the Sea of Sand (Arizona) by Jane Yolen

Friday, January 15, 2016

Winter PomPom Wreath

I've seen several cute pompom wreaths on Pinterest (like this and this)and wasn't really loving my post-Christmas front door decor. So... I decided to make a pompom wreath for winter with icy but fun winter colors.

Michael's had a big yarn sale so I picked up 6 skeins in white, ivory, red, aqua, teal, and gray for under $10. My first step was to cut a base from cardboard and then wrap it with yarn. (I've learned that hard way that because my front door has windows, the back of my wreaths need to be pretty too.) I took the aqua, teal, and gray and braided them into a long strand to use as a hanger. If you go that route, be sure to measure how much of a hanger you need before you cut your length.
After the base was prepped, I made a bunch of pompoms using a maker tool from Hobby Lobby. I know there's a way to do it with a fork or by wrapping it around your fingers but the tool made it much easier.
I made 3 small, 3 medium, and 3 large pompoms in each of the colors.
Assembly was pretty easy. Just a lot of hot glue and squishing. 
Easy Peasy. It reminds me of ice skating and winter mittens.
 
Linking up to some or all of these great blog parties:
Sunday: It's Overflowing; Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming;
Monday: Inspire Me Monday at Sand and Sisal; Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories A to Z; Monthly Before and After at Thrifty Decor Chick
Wednesday: Wicked Awesome Wednesday at Handy Man, Crafty Woman; Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts; 
Friday: Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest; Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring;

Saturday, December 26, 2015

School Summary - 3 Weeks of Late 1800s and Early 1900s Then Break

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
Soprano's Mandarin Square
A Summary of December 7 -24
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we had one day shy of four weeks of school. With holiday projects and preparations, it took some serious willpower to get everything done. Now that Christmas is behind us, we'll enjoy a break until the Monday after New Year's Day. Then head into our 18th week... the halfway mark for our school year!

Here's what we did:

Things that were scheduled:
Math
Tenor is one lesson and a test short of finishing Algebra I! I tried to talk him into doing some extra so we could start the new year in Algebra II but he was not inclined. :)
 
Language Arts (Grammar with Writing and Literature for both; Spelling for Soprano)
Just doing the composition assignments in their Grammar books instead of an entire separate writing curriculum has been wonderful this year. Although they still dig their heels in when it's time to do one. Soprano finished an essay on alligators and did some work on friendly and business letters.
Electives:
Greek and Computer Science (Tenor), American Sign Language, Photography, and Sewing (Soprano)
Dare I say again that we need to catch-up on sewing? I'm hoping to finish her current project (a pieced potholder) and start the next over break. 
A bound blanket she made as a Christmas gift using a pre-sewn front panel for her brand-new baby cousin
Tenor aced his Greek mid-term, but is really behind on projects for his computer science course. Hmm, maybe I'll nudge him to work on those over break too.

My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times
Weeks 15-17... were all over the place. I appreciate the chronological study of history. It's interesting to see how events in different countries influenced and affected other countries all over the world. However we're going so fast. :) I wish we had just a bit more time to really absorb everything.


Bible: This year we will be learning (reviewing) basic Christian beliefs and memorizing key Bible passages. We learned Philippians 4:6-7 and Matthew 6:33.
 
History and Geography: 
We looked again at the westward movement of American people (thereby displacing Native Americans). We talked about industrialization (thereby displacing cottage workers) and how the stock market came about, and then tracked two stocks.
Graphing Kroger's stock
Graphing J.C. Penney's stock
After a week of "investing" --- Soprano's choice didn't do very well.
We jumped into Asian history studying the Sino-Japanese War and then the Boxer Rebellion.
The student sheet has a misprint. The red is supposed to be on the top of the circle (see right). Tenor likes to read ahead and followed the student sheet not me reading the activity book and got them reversed.
The stances for Kung Fu are very similar too, but named differently from, Tae Kwon Do, which Tenor still takes. He explained that kicks and punches all stem from these basic positions.



Over to the U.S. and Teddy Roosevelt and the Panama Canal project
Then to Russia for Czar Alexander II, Nicholas II, and Nicholas III.
(We did the Russian ballet positions activity but the youngling and padawan asked to not have the pics online. It wasn't that bad, honest. :) )
Back to Asia and China's the Last Emperor
Tenor's Chinese Mandarin Squares
Across the Pacific to America and the Wright Brothers
Right back to Vietnam's quest for independence
And then finally stopping in Persia (Iran).

I have history lag. :)
We skipped building our own torpedo, doing Vietnamese water puppetry (really??), and Bedouin Weaving (It was Christmas Eve.) Outlining, timeline, and maps got done though. 
Science: We're also using the World of Science reading assignments to review what we learned this summer.
Other MFW: 
Music:  We're bridging the gap from Sousa to Satchmo with the DVD included in the MFW kit. It's interesting to see how march music evolved into jazz. But the DVD has a super long intro that you can't skip past that's kind of annoying. We've been doubling up weeks just to avoid watching that intro over and over. :)
Art: We learned about Remington and copied the masters. Then we continued with Impressionism and Renoir.
Extras:
Web:
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 1-16. Here is the list for weeks 17-34.
Videos:
The Presidents by The History Channel
Newsies
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (Episode 30)
Fiddler on the Roof
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (with Shirley Temple)
Samantha: An American Girl
Animated Hero Classics: The Wright Brothers
The King and I
The Magic School Bus: Taking Flight

Favorite Books: 
Frederic Remington by Mike Venezia
Samantha books from American Girl
Leah's Pony (Oklahoma) by Elizabeth Friedrich
My Brothers' Flying Machine by Jane Yolen

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Crafty Ornaments

Two years ago, Bass got me the big Papertrey Ink kit for a Christmas gift so I could make our Christmas cards. In the kit, I got 6 half circle ornament pieces. I wasn't sure I wanted to attempt anything with them but I found this on Pinterest and was inspired to make my own.
It didn't go well.
Plan B was to try this neutral aqua version. I decided to make it a little more rustic though and used Kraft instead of aqua.

My other crafty project was inspired by this.
I found my high school tassel and our college tassels. I have no idea where Bass's high school tassel is but I have spare ornaments to use if it turns up.

I took the charms off the tassels and used my jewelry pliers and jump rings to attach them to the ornament toppers. I added the relevant information to a mini banner I cut using the banner from the PTI Tinsel and Tags die set.

Because our tree "needed" more ornaments. :)

Details:

cardstock: #110 white (Recollections), Kraft (unknown)
color: Classic Kraft (PTI)
embellishments: snow (PTI)
tools: Tinsel and Tags dies (PTI)
stamps: Tinsel and Tags (PTI)
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