Friday, October 11, 2013

Homemade Word Girl and Captain Huggy Face Costume

Halloween is fast approaching and I always seems to forget to share these costumes I made a few years ago. My oldest son was obsessed with Spider-man (still is!) and my oldest daughter wanted to be Word Girl with her younger brother dressed up as Captain Huggy Face.  I decided that we would just go with it and have a Super Hero themed Halloween. Getting a Spider-man costume was easy but Word Girl and Captain Huggy Face ended up being a challenge.

Here are the results.  (Note: I am not a professional photographer and my kids only pose for cute pictures when I DON'T want them too!!)


I didn't capture pictures along the way for a tutorial but I will try to run through how I created the costumes...

I used these two images as the inspiration for my costumes. 

Word Girl Costume Instructions: 
I dyed a set of white thermal long john's using red dye.  I got that idea from one of the few blog posts I did find from someone who had made a custom. My daughter wanted a yellow cape out of satin and wanted it sewn directly onto the shirt.  It is a double layer of fabric, I sewed a large rectangle, leaving a small area undone so I could turn, turned it, sewed the unfinished section then gathered it, pinned it along the shoulder line and used a double zig zag stitch to secure. The belt and star emblem are made out of felt that I Steam a Seam to adhere (carefully with a towel on top) and then sewed for durability.  The hat was purchased at Wal-mart and we simply removed a tassel that it had at the top. (shown in picture at the bottom) 

Captain Huggy Face Costume Instructions: 
I lucked out with Captain Huggy Face and found the blue shirt, thermal leggings and red shorts at a thrift store in town.  The colors were perfect.  The shirt actually has an Old Navy logo on it but I covered it with the lightening bolt (also out of felt, fused with Steam a Seam and then sewn). The leggings are thermals, I'm not sure of the brand.  The shorts are from a Superman PJ set and even have a little Superman logo at the waist but that is covered by the belt so they worked.  The Captain Huggy Face Cape is made from a simple single layer rectangle of fleece fabric.  I gathered it and sewed along the shoulder line in the same manner as the Word Girl costume. The belt is also made in the same manner as Word Girl, I cut pieces from felt, fused and sewed.  The belts are secured with Velcro at the center. 

Huggy's hat was the hardest part of the costume to figure out.  I used an adult size knitted bennie type hat from Wal-Mart.  It was very cheap maybe $2-3.  I cut out brown ears from felt using the same method as the belts (fuse together, sew) but I hand sewed them onto the hat.  A friend helped me with the idea for his little antenna.  It is a bundle or 3-5 (I can't remember exactly) pipe cleaners twisted together.  I poked a hole through the hat and pulled the ends of the pipe cleaners out like spokes on a wheel.  I then cut a circle of red felt and hand sewed that over the ends of the pipe cleaners inside the hat and put another circle (that I had made a small cut so that it would easily wrap around the pipe cleaner antenna) on the exterior of the hat.  I wrapped the pipe cleaner "pole" in a
scrap of grey felt and secured with hot glue.  I glued on a large gold pop pop for the top.  It was hard to figure out but in the end was my favorite part of the costume because it is quite close to the actual hat!

Captain Huggy Face collecting candy on Halloween!

These two siblings share a special bond and now two years later still refer to each other as Word Girl and Huggy!  My little guy has worn this costume (the top and pants only) at least 2-3 days a week for 2 years! {notice the holes in the sleeve??} 

Recently big sissy went off to college; they worn their costumes on the last day before for she left and had a Word Girl marathon. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Take Chances Quote - Free Printable

I love quotes.  Quotes that make me think, inspire me and sometimes just make me laugh.  I found this quote yesterday and wanted to share.


"Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow.  Pain nourishes your courage.  You have to fail in order to practice being brave."  Mary Tyler Moore

There are so many aspects of our lives that require us to take chances and make mistakes - that is how we grow!



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Helping your ADHD child succeed in school - Tips for Parents

I am happy to be joining Sherry Clarke of Clarke Coaching as a co-author on her blog.  This month we shared tips for how parents can help their ADHD kids in school.  As both an ADHD Mom and Parent I know school can sometimes be a struggle, these practical tips can make a difference.


School is back in session across the nation and today we are sharing a few ways parents can help ADHD child do well in school.

Exercise – Physical Activity
Children and adults with ADHD need to move.  Physical activity is good for everyone; however, those with ADHD have an even higher need for regular activity in order to focus. They need physical stimulus and activity regularly.  Unfortunately, one thing many schools are cutting back on is recess time and physical education classes. Often this equals your ADHD child coming home after sitting for most of his school day, which can cause tantrums and other negative behaviors.  This also often triggers fights about homework, because the last thing an ADHD child wants to do is sit for another even five minutes.  After- school sports, martial arts, dance, running around in the backyard or jumping on the trampoline are great ways to help your ADHD child decompress after school and actually increase his or her ability to focus again when it is time for homework.   Since they are engaged in structured time all day at school, it is very helpful for them to “just free play.”   ADHD Expert and Author Dr. John Ratey explains “Exercise is like medication…  Exercise turns on the attention system, the so-called executive functions — sequencing, working memory, prioritizing, inhibiting, and sustaining attention. On a practical level, it causes kids to be less impulsive, which makes them more primed to learn.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Back on Track... Mission Healthy Life with Rebs

The kids (well most of them!) and after a hiatus from my weight loss journey due to surgery and then the fun days of summer I've back on track.  Making lifestyle changes is never easy and even a few months off can equal slipping back into some of my old habits.  I decided to create a Facebook page to help keep me accountable and provide a place for me to share some of the tips and tricks that have worked for me along the way.  I'd love to have you join me!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why I want my children to Volunteer

Recently my husband, my newly adult stepdaughter and I spent some time volunteering with disaster response activities for a large wildfire in our community.  Although most of the time we did not volunteer on the same projects or at the same time it was a cool experience to volunteer on the same event.   Watching her choose to volunteer was a great reinforcement for all those times we helped volunteer her growing up!

Before becoming “mostly” a stay at home mom I spent a decade in the non-profit industry and one of the many hats I wore over the years was that of Volunteer Coordinator.  I love the non-profit industry and I have been able to work with several of the leading charities including Shriners Childrens Hospitals, The American Red Cross and the YMCA.  I grew up regularly volunteering through church and school projects. My husband and I share this passion – we actually met while working for the Red Cross!  Although we both no longer work there, we are still volunteers and refer to it is a family affair.   

As a mom and a former Volunteer Coordinator I want my kids to volunteer as they grow up and thought I would share 'why'...   You might call them reasons, lessons learned or even benefits but ultimately for me they are why I encourage my kids to volunteer. 

Exposure and Connection:  Charities or non-profits provide an excellent opportunity to exposure children to new experiences, people and opinions.   Volunteering can provide connections to friends, mentors, the community and causes that may inspire your children now and even shape future careers.  Even in smaller areas there are a variety of places to volunteer from recognized non-profits to schools or faith based initiatives.

Skills:  Non-profits are often more willing to provide training to volunteers because quite frankly – they need the help!  Volunteering provides a fabulous opportunity for children to learn a variety of skills from how to care for an animal, office and clerical, public speaking, photography, fundraising or interviewing.  There are also organizational specific skills such a disaster response, emotional first aid, childcare or teaching that volunteers can acquire through non-profit training programs that are often free.  One of my best volunteers over the years started at age 14 helping answer phones during a large national disaster, after four years and a variety of other assignments; he became the person who interviewed, placed and orienting new volunteers to the organization.  Due to his experience and organizational knowledge most people had no idea he was a teenager!  

Problem Solving:  Just as non-profits will introduce children to different experiences and people; volunteering will also require children to learn to be flexible and develop creativity.  Both of which are essential parts of problem solving.   Charities often have limited workforces, supplies and other resources.  This requires staff (paid and volunteer) to find ways to adapt and meet needs in non-traditional ways.  The adage “Necessity is the mother of invention” is almost always true in the non-profit world. 

Gratitude and Social Responsibility:  Every year, as Thanksgiving approached, I would receive calls from parents wanting to know if we had family volunteer opportunities available.  They wanted to teach their children about gratitude.   Volunteering allows children to see others needs and recognize inequalities and inadequacies in the world.  It can also motivate children to become more educated about the world or a specific problem, their own beliefs or how their actions can be a positive contribution to society.   

Commitment:  I want my children to serve because they believe in something and want to do – not just because there is a monetary benefit attached.  Exposure to others who are already living this example is much more powerful than a lecture from me! Generally speaking there is no amount of money you could pay someone that would match the dedication of a volunteer that is committed to an organization or cause.  Most people would be truly amazed at the amount of time and energy dedicated volunteers contribute to causes simply because it is their passion.  In my years of experience I can tell you of countless times that the first person I saw in the morning (even on a really early morning) was a volunteer and the last person I talked to at night was a volunteer.  I don’t say this to encourage my child (or yours) to devote their lives to non-paying volunteer service but rather because that dedication, commitment and passion that leads volunteers to contribute their time and talents is an example I want my children to see!  

Need some ideas on how to get your kids involved?  Check out your local Volunteer Center or ask at your church or child’s school. 

Have little kids who aren't quite old enough to volunteer? Think of doing Random Acts of Kindness to plants the seeds as they grow older! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mission Healthy Mom - Turtle Power!

It's been over a year since I decided to change my lifestyle and become healthier.  I've made great progress but due to set backs (hernia surgery), life events and the typical plateaus of long term weight loss I sometimes get discouraged.  Recently, a friend posts a set of pictures on Facebook from Easter 2012 - which was several months before I started my journey.  Most of the pictures were of my cute little girl interacting with baby chicks. 

Isn't she cute??? 

Then, in the mix of the photos I caught a glimpse of myself.  I'm normally the one behind the camera and the more weight I had put on the less excited I was to get in any of the pictures.  

At first, I was drawn back to that place of not liking me in pictures but then I realized - that is the OLD me.  The unhealthy Mom, standing in the background, most likely tired and out of energy.  That is not who I am today. I don't have any "official" Easter pictures of me from 2012 but this year I was excited to be in the pictures with the kids.  After seeing the old and new me I realized how much progress I have made.  

Then I thought of a turtle.  

Ok, not that turtle.. but didn't my friend do an amazing job on her son's birthday cake? But I digress.  I'm talking about the famous turtle from the Tortoise and the Hare.  

A year later, I'm not finished, I'm still in progress, some days it feels like this journey (or me) is going as slow as a turtle.  Whether it is my surgery recovery taking months longer than expected or trying to fight through yet another plateau I'm reminding myself that in the end it is the turtle that wins.  Slow and steady really does win the race.  So whether it takes me six more months or another year to reach my healthiest weight in the end if I am moving forward, I'm winning the race. 

Are you a turtle?  How do you stay motivated?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cinnamon Caramel Popcorn Chex Mix - Kid Friendly Recipe

Chex mix is always a crowd pleaser and works great as a quick gift as well! It is also easy to involve the kids by having them measure the cereal, popcorn and mix it up (with supervision of course!). This blend is easy to mix up and always gets rave reviews. 

Cinnamon Caramel Popcorn Chex Mix
1 stick of butter
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of dark corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6-8 cups of popped buttered popcorn
4-6 cups of rice Chex
1 cup of cinnamon Life (optional - you use all Chex) 

Combine the popcorn and cereal in a large bowl or pan.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add sugar and corn syrup until well combined.  Make sure to stir frequently so it does not burn. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.  Drizzle the syrup mixture over the popcorn mixture and stir gently to incorporate.  If you want to add sprinkles (a kid favorite)... make sure to do it while the syrup is still slightly warm so they stick but not too hot or they will disolve.  Store in an plastic bag or air tight container. 

Tip:  This mix is not overly sweet and the coating is meant to add a light glaze, rather than completely coat every piece of popcorn and cereal. If you want it fully glazed, you can double the syrup mixture.  

This is great to put in a mason jar or bag up for a quick treat for a friend or teacher!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ten Things to Smile About: June

June isn't even over and I have a long list of happy things for the month.

My little man graduated Kindergarten!  He picked his own outfit for the ceremony.  Funny that he REFUSES to wear the jacket to church but he wanted to look really nice for the ceremony. 

We had an even bigger graduation, our oldest graduated from high school.  Getting decent pictures that day turned out to be almost impossible but we are so proud of her.  

Schools out for SUMMER!  What better way to celebrate than with ice cream??  This also shows little sisters "cheese face".  

Started a summer schedule - so far we are having lots of fun with it!

One of our "Make Something Monday" projects - gake!  This was a HUGE hit. 

 Loved capturing this visual depiction of my kids drastically personalities.  Two are non-stop, always part of the action kids and the other would much rather find a quite corner and take things at his own pace.  We were at the library summer reading kick off and that's exactly what happened! 

Love all my kids and the littles especially adore their big sister.  
They are going to be very sad when she goes off to college. 

 Celebrating Father's Day with my husband and the crazy kids! 
The little kids helped make the carrot cake from scratch. 

Teachers!  My kids have been very blessed with some wonderful teachers and 
now that it is summer - I appreciate them even more!!!

I got to go back to my old job and serve as a volunteer chief for a multi-day full scale disaster exercise. 
It was great to be back and most of all to be with some of my old staff. Miss them! 

 Linking up over at Emmy Mom's Ten Things to Smile About...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Las Vegas Natural History Museum - A great kids Dinosaur Museum!

Dinosaurs seem to have a universal appeal with young children, especially little boys.  My 4 and 5 year old are no exception to this phenomenon.  We've had dinosaur birthday parties, dressed up as a paleontologist for Career Day at school and read more dinosaur books than I can count.  Yet, we had somehow not made it to the local Natural History Museum, or as my boys now refer to it - The Dinosaur Museum.  

Bank of America offers a great promotion for debit and credit card holders the first full weekend of each month, providing free admission to select museums across the country.  One of those museums is the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.  I finally took advantage of this special a few weeks ago and we had a lot of fun.  

First, I should say that I grew up in Washington DC so in some degree being raised with Smithsonian as your "local" museums has jaded me for life.  I do try to look at museums and attractions relative to the location and the age of my children. The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is a Smithsonian affiliated museum. It is small and definitely shows signs of age but for a town like Las Vegas and most children it is a great experience.  

The Museum is open 9am - 4pm daily which makes it convenient for families. The museum offers free interactive programs on the weekends on topics related to their exhibits, check out the Weekend Science page for current topics and times.  When we went the traveling exhibit was Sea Trek and the program we attended was about to Creature Camouflage.  The presenter did a good job of keeping it interactive and involving the participants (there were about 3-5 families with kids ranging in age from 2-12 would be my guess).  After the presentation there was a craft activity and then a chance to get up close with two smaller animals - a mouse and a lizard.  My four year son especially liked that part. 

In addition to a traveling exhibit the museum has wildlife, early Nevada, Egypt and of course Dinosaur exhibits. My kids favorite parts were the Dinosaur Area and the Young Scientist Area which is the interactive part of the museum for kids. They loved digging for fossils, creating rubbings and checking out the computer stations.  A fun little mini-aquarium let them "get inside" and find Nemo; big hit with my Disney loving children. The Dinosaur exhibit features a variety of different models including a large Triceratops and T-Rex that are animated by push of a button. 

We arrived about 10 am and stayed for a few hours, which included attending the presentation and animal interaction.  The museum was very quite when we arrived and got busier by the time we left about Noon but was by no means crowded.  There is a smaller playground located on the same property, just "behind" the museum.  We checked that out after our visit and the kids enjoyed being able to really run off some energy before getting back in the van.  Overall a great low key museum that provides interactive opportunities for the kids and is affordable, especially if take advantage of the Bank of American promotion, or the two for one coupon they generally have on their website.  

Las Vegas Natural History Museum
900 Las Vegas Blvd N (by Cashman)
Las Vegas NV 89101

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wetlands Nature Center and Park - Free Family and Kid Activities in Las Vegas

It is our first Tuesday of the Summer Game plan and that means its time for Take a Trip Tuesday.   I decided to take the kids to a new place we have never visited, the Clark County Wetlands Park and Nature Center.  I've been hearing good things about the Wetlands for a few years, had seen some friends photographs from the area but until we arrived I honestly didn't know there was a full scale nature center at the park.   Although the temperatures are pretty good today, only a high of 100 versus the end of the world 116 degrees that it was on Saturday, it was still a nice surprise to discover an indoor exhibit area to explore!

The Nature Center was fabulous and turned out to be my kids favorite part of the visit. The Nature Center building includes both an exhibit area, a theater (we didn't stay for the movie) and space for a cafe (not currently open).  According to the staff, the Nature Center opened this April so maybe that is why I didn't know about it!  The Nature Center is a well designed, green building and also includes restrooms and water fountains you can access without actually going into the exhibit area. As a mom of young kids, I love when they make those types of things easy to access. My five year old was fascinated with the cool sink in the family bathroom!

The design of the center is very appealing, especially to children.  The lobby area features a mural with over-sized plants and animals.  There are a number of very large insects that move on the ceiling of the lobby and two fun sculptures they can stand behind, my boys are checking them out in the photo to the left.

The exhibit area opens with another great area for kids with a large mural and more over-sized animals that the kids can touch.  The bull frog even rabbits and the large snake features his most recent meal inside his stomach - yum!
The exhibit space is not very large but has quite a few different displays related to desert life including the plants, animals, water and flooding and early settlers.  There are 8 hands on children's activity tables in addition to the interactive features of the various displays.  My boys were especially impressed with the display related to animal scat.  But then, what little boy doesn't love a scientific display of poop?!?

 The Nature Center and Wetlands Park are free of charge, so this makes it an awesome option for families and kids in Las Vegas to visit.  In addition to the exhibit area there is a movie that is available but we didn't check that out, although I plan to on the next visit. It is located on the east side of town at the end of Tropicana, a few minutes east of Boulder Hwy. The trails are open dusk to dawn and the center is open from 9am - 3pm daily.  The staff were all helpful and friendly.

By the time we finished checking out the exhibit area it was getting close to nap time and much hotter so we only explored a very small portion of the Wetlands trail area. The Wetlands Park covers over 2,900 acres and some areas are still under construction.  The trails are both dirt and paved and those that I observed from the nature center and the parking lot seemed pretty easily accessible with a stroller.  We used a small umbrella stroller on the portion we explored by the small pond and it worked fine.  The kids liked checking out the pond and we were able to see insects, butterflies and what I think were tadpoles from the edge of the pond. We also heard many different wildlife that we could not see and the kids thought that was really cool.

You can access the trails without visiting the Nature Center.  There is also a set of bathrooms in the parking lot.  The entire area, both Center and Trails had very few other guests while we were there (Tuesday between 10am - Noon).  When we were driving into park, there was a sign for a neighborhood park.  I decided to check that out as we were leaving and found a fun little play area that we will check out on our next visit.  It has play equipment that blends in with the Wetlands park including a small climbing wall and large animal play objects.  There is a picnic table and benches, perfect for after you explore the area.  Overall I highly recommend this as a free option for kids and families in Las Vegas.  My kids are 2, 4 and almost 6 but this would be a good option for all ages or if you have a broad range of ages in your family.  I also love that it introduces city kids like mine to nature!  If you are looking for things to do with your kids or family this summer in Vegas check out the Wetlands Park.
Playground Area with small climbing wall -
follow signs for neighborhood park

Clark County Wetlands Park
7050 Wetlands Park Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89122 
(East side by Tropicana & Boulder Hwy)
Open 7 days a week - Trails from Dusk to Dawn, 
Center from 9am - 3pm
Closed New Years Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Game Plan... or my attempt to not go crazy with small children in the Vegas Heat!

June has arrived, we are counting down the final days of school and I've been busy pinning all the amazing Summer Bucket lists popping up on Pinterest.   This year my three youngest kids are 5, 4 and 2 and I've decided it's time to create a plan of attack for our summer.

I don't like to schedule everything but I find that if I just "hope" we will do things and have fun, we end up spending hours doing nothing. {Correction, I spend time trying to figure something out while the kids go crazy or fight - not all the time of course but that is generally how it feels}.  Another problem with not having a plan is that we live in Vegas. If we want to go out and do some activities we need to start early before its 1,000 degrees outside.  Let's just say I'm not a morning person so hoping I get moving early without something scheduled just doesn't work so well. I decided it I needed to take all these great ideas I'm pinning and come up with the Garcia Game Plan for Summer.

First, I love the bucket list concept but I knew that wouldn't quite work for us.  My oldest son who just finished Kindergarten, loves check lists, but he also due to ADHD loves to hyperfocus.  He will see one thing on that list and I will hear about it non-stop until we do it, and quite frankly my sanity can't handle hearing about something twenty times a day that I know we can't do until August!

I knew both my ADHD self and my son needed something that enough structure to keep us on track and therefore having fun but also flexibility since life happens!  When I saw this idea, I fell in love! The idea comes from a Power of Moms post, a site that always has great support for Moms. I love the idea of having a "theme" for each day that I can plan for and my kids can look forward to but it also gives me flexibility to change it up easily.

Make Something Mondays - craft, bake, paint, build
Take a Trip Tuesdays - try a new park, museum, hike or activity
Wet and Wild Wednesdays - anything water related, pool, splash pads etc.
Thinking Thursdays - library, learning. experiments, practicing
Fabulous Fun Fridays - open day to pick anything fun to do together

After deciding on our schedule I made a big list of things to do including activities I know my kids like and choices from the summer buckets lists I'd pinned as inspiration. Almost all of our activities will be free or very low cost even our "trips".  Once that was done I started dividing the list into our "schedule".  This is my planning list, to keep us on track, not for the kids to see.

I also created another sheet that has a list of bonus activities - extra ideas to fill our days if needed, weekend activities - both scheduled and optional, and finally a list of "bored" activities I can suggest to the kids when they inevitably tell me they there is absolutely nothing to do! The bonus activities involve my participation while the "bored" list can be done individually with siblings.

I'm still deciding how to visually display our plan for the kids (it's not like school is over in two more days or anything - nothing like the last minute!). I thought about a take on an advent type calendar like we do for Christmas but I'm leaning towards just doing just one week at a time and using a card for each day that they can turn over and see what the activity for the day will be each morning. Once I actually create it I will try and remember to post it! My goal is to plan our week using my planning pages each Sunday when I do our family meal plan.  We will see how it goes.

I'm also still coming up with how to introduce this to the kids.  I'm thinking some type of celebration on the first day of our summer.  Any ideas?  Again, I've got lots of time to decide - you know a whole two days! 

Did you create a summer plan? bucket list? What's on your list? 

Happy Summer!  


Monday, March 4, 2013

5 Easy Ways for Moms to Reduce Calories and Eat Less

Eating less isn't always a good thing, but for people like me who love good food and have been eating too much for too many years, it is a necessary part of getting healthy. There is a lot of information out there about correct portion size and of course the best way to make sure you are eating the right amount is to weigh and measure your food.

But let's be honest, in the midst of a busy mom life and cooking dinner for your family or corralling little ones at lunch do you want to have to measure and weigh everything?  No.

So today I am sharing a few things that have worked for me to help control my portions and each more appropriate amounts of food.

1) Downsize your dishes

Unless you are eating a ton of veggies, the reality is that if you fill an average dinner plate you will most likely end up eating too much.  Switch to the salad plate for your protein and carbohydrates and fill another plate with your fruits and vegetables.  When you pour your morning cereal use a small bowl instead of the large cereal bowl. Downsizing your dishes also has the visual effect of not making you feel so deprived.  If I eat the same amount of food on a large plate and it takes up only half the plate it feels like I should eat more, even when I really shouldn't.

2) Drink a glass of water before you eat 

First, we often confuse thirst for hunger so if you like you are starving you might actually also be dehydrated. Also, drinking water helps you feel more full and eat less.

3) Borrow your toddler's plate

I don't know about you but if I have a choice between a yummy piece of chicken and lettuce I'm not always going to choose the lettuce.  I love fruits and veggies but I love good food in all forms!  A former co-worker told me once that she had lost a lot of weight and one of her tricks was using a divided plate.  She used a old tv dinner tray.  As a mom of toddlers most of my kids dishes are already divided into 3-5 compartments.  I found one of their plates with three compartments works great. I use the largest section for veggies and then the carbs and protein go into the smaller sections. This was really helpful for me in the beginning of my weight loss to easily control quantity without having to feel like I needed to measure everything.

4) Buy things you don't like

One of the challenges for many moms trying to lose weight is that we can't just eliminate everything we shouldn't eat from our house.  Some foods that tempt us are find for our husband or toddler.  Should we inspire and encourage our families to eat healthy - yes.  But that doesn't mean my little ones can never have a treat.  My solution - buy things I just don't like.  If I am buying ice cream, I buy a flavor or brand my family likes but I don't. On a recent road trip I was buying snacks and passed the Twizzlers. Twizzlers are my ultimate road trip food and although they aren't as bad as some treats, I knew I wouldn't stop at the suggested serving size, so instead I bought Red Vines.  I can't stand Red Vines but my family all loves them. Easy way for them to not feel deprived and me to not be tempted.

5) Choose already portioned foods, especially for treats

This is hard for me because I try to limit the amount of processed and artificial foods we eat and most portioned foods are processed. I am in no means 100% clean or real food only but it is something I strive for in choosing what we eat.  But will power and I are not always friends... Maybe you have great willpower and when the serving size on the brownies says one, you only eat one.  For me... well there is a reason I weighed almost 250 lbs, one brownie was never enough.  I knew when I started changing my habits that I couldn't cut out treats for life.  I have always been a chocolate lover, never having chocolate again just isn't realistic.  Instead I knew I would need to learn how to eat a small portion, instead of the king size candy bar.  I've learned that buying ice cream bars is better for me than a container of ice cream because the size is already controlled. Its easier to buy individual serving sizes of chips because then the bag is done.  Its easier to buy a Twix or Reeses because I can quickly and easily share half and therefore only consume half the calories! It doesn't work for everything but I find it helpful for things that I consider treats and need to learn to eat the serving size and not what my taste buds demand!

Friday, February 15, 2013


It seems simple enough right?

Put one foot in front of the other... 

The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step... 

Just do it... 

Why is it so hard?  Every decision to make a change requires a start.  

June 12, 2012 

The day I decided it was just as hard to be fat, as it was to be healthy.  

And so...

I started.  Was it perfect? Have I had setbacks, of course.  Eight months later I am 50 pounds lighter, happier, and excited for where this journey will take me next. 

There are lots of ways to get healthy and lose weight, but none of them work unless you START.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One more Valentine Idea - Teacher Appreciation Treat Printable

As part of our Random Acts of Kindness activities I wanted to give a Valentine's treat to all of the teachers and aides that work with my kids, not just their classroom teachers.  I had a hard time deciding something, that was simple and inexpensive.

I finally decided to do just a little bag of candy - Dove Hearts and Hershey Gold Nuggets and created a little topper that said, "For a teachers with a special heart, you are a treasure".  Cheesy I know, but hopefully it made them smile and even if it didn't the chocolate was good!  I'm sharing the image I created below. I used it as a treat bag topper and printed my kids names on the back fold over portion. This is just the graphic that could be used as a card or treat topper or any other number of ways.

To all the amazing teachers out there - Thank you for all you do!  I am sincere when I say I don't think I could do it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine, you deserve a High 5! Sticky hand non-candy Valentine

Last minute as always, but we are finishing up our Valentine's tonight.  Between my boys I have to do over 50 Valentine's for their classes, so I like to find something inexpensive as little costs can add up quick.  I also like something unique and non-candy if possible.  Finding something that fits all of those can be difficult.

I'm pretty happy with how these turned out.  I grabbed a big bag of 72 Sticky Hands on Oriental Trading when they were having a free shipping special so paid less than $8.00 total.  My son has a February birthday so I am going to put the extras in his party bags.  

I love the photo Valentine's we did last year but wanted to do something really simple this year so just created a quick black and white card.  It took me less than ten minutes to do the little card and you know what - my kids still loved them.

The boys wrote their names on the back, I left the sticky hands in their individual wrapping and stapled them onto the card.  I wish you could see the hand a little better but this way they don't loose their stickiness (is that a word?). 

*The sticky hands I linked to are a little different then the ones I bought last month, but I couldn't find the exact ones I purchased. 

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