Make a Penguin Pal Craft to Fight Indoor Winter Blues

Is it ever going to end? Yes, I’m talking about the winter that refuses to go away. I feel like I haven’t seen the blue sky for ages and, frankly, I’m a little tired of seeing snow on the ground. Frankly, it’s been a little difficult for the girls and I on our days off. During the warmer months, we spend most of our time outside, going to the park, swimming in the pool, or just playing games in our yard. Now it takes nearly a half an hour to get all of our layers on and get out the door – and it’s only a few minutes before the girls are frozen and want to come back inside.

So what have we been up to? Lots and lots of crafts. Our supply closet has grown by leaps and bounds this winter, so I’ve decided to share one idea with you below. These arts & craft hours have been great for me, too. With the girls entertained, I have a few minutes to make hot tea, do some sit-ups while wearing my Tummy Tuck Belt, or start prepping dinner. Try out the craft below and let me know what you think!

Penguin Pal Craft

Needs:

  • One piece each of orange, black and white construction paper
  • One pair of large googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Child-safe scissors

Instructions:

  1. Cut a large oval out of the black paper, this will be the penguin’s body.
  2. Cut a skinny heart out of the white paper, for the penguin’s tummy.
  3. Cut three small hearts out of the orange paper – one will be for the penguin’s beak and two will be for the feet.
  4. Glue the hearts onto the penguin’s body. The white heart should be in the middle of the oval and two orange hearts should be at the very bottom of the oval. Glue the last orange heart in the middle of the white heart and add the googly eyes.

Sharing New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

A new year, a new me? Yes, I’m one of those women who without fail makes New Year’s resolutions and then lets them fall by the wayside by the time February rolls around. I did a lot of reflecting on my goals and why I fail during the month of December and I have concluded that my goals were too high. Run a marathon? Just isn’t going to happen. Eat Paleo? Too difficult with two little ones in the house. So this year I’ve scaled it back to more manageable terms.

  1. Create a workout routine that is both varied and easy to stick to. I’ve done pretty well with swimming but I’d like to start doing more yoga and pilates and look forward to biking more when the weather warms up.
  2. When making my plate at lunch or dinner, fill up at least half o the plate with vegetables. That way, I can continue to cook the same meals my husband and daughters enjoy, but I’ll fill myself up with the greens and healthy sides before digging into the indulgent dishes like mac n’ cheese.
  3. Continue to wear my Tummy Tuck Belt both around the house and during exercise. I’ve been really good about this lately and I want to keep it up!
  4. Make time to “date” my husband. With a busy work schedule and two little girls who are full of energy, it’s important that my husband and I make time for each other. Even if it’s watching a movie together when the girls are in bed, that’s time that is important to us and our marriage.

Taking the Workout Inside: Fall Swim Program

As much as I love fall, I am really dreading the cold winter months. In our town, it’s not unusual to see snow on the ground from November to early April! While it certainly pretty, it really puts a damper on my exercise program, as I try to run or bike outside daily. I recently posted about attending some classes at our local gym, and I’m working on ways to utilized the gym even more when the temperature drops.

My husband, who was a state-championship swimmer in high school, has been encouraging me to give swimming a try as a form of exercise. I’ve typically shied away from the pool just because of the extra time it takes to change and shower, but I recently found a list of its benefits. Swimming can strengthen and tone muscles, improve flexibility, reduce coronary heart disease, assist in weight-loss, and lower stress! When I read that, I thought set a goal to become a decent swimmer by next spring. The only problem with swimming workouts? I can’t wear my Tummy Tuck Belt in the pool!

Here’s one workout I found online that I’m going to try:

  • 100 yards: slow warm-up
  • 50 yards: flutter kick on my side
  • 50 yards: flutter kick with help of kickboard
  • 5 intervals of 50 yards: swim at a high pace for two laps, five times
  • 2 intervals of 50 yards: swim at a slow pace for two laps, two times
  • 100 yards: swim at a moderate pace
  • 100 yards: swim at a slow pace

We’ll see how it goes! Do any readers have advice for a novice swimmer? Leave your tips in the comments below!

End of Summer Means Return to Regular Routine

Whew! Do you ever get to the end of the summer and just can’t wait to kick up your feet and take a load off? Our little family of four has been going non-stop since June and only now that fall is in sight to I feel like I can catch my breath. This fall will be a little different than most, since Sarah started kindergarten this week! Yes, I’m just like all the other mama’s out there who cried and cried when I dropped her off at school the first day. She, of course, ran off and started making friends immediately, which made me proud, but it’s such a hard thing to see them growing up so quickly.

Now that it’s just Elizabeth and me during the day, it may be a little less hectic. I’ve signed her up for a toddler gymnastics program at our local sports club and I’m looking forward to seeing her interact with other little ones. Just like with Sarah, it is so incredible as a parent to see the skills and manners you’ve taught your child at home put into place in public. We’re still working on “please” and “thank you” with Elizabeth, but it’s coming soon!

Another reason I’m looking forward to fall is the chance to get back to a regular routine. This summer I wasn’t able to make it to the gym as much as usual, but I probably burned just as many calories chasing after the girls as I would have. I’ll be able to attend workout classes or hit the cardio machines while Elizabeth is in her gymnastics program and I’m making sure to wear my Tummy Tuck Belt while we’re running errands around town. One good habit we picked up this summer is family bike rides after dinner – my husband and I look forward to continuing this after-dinner ritual until it gets too cold outside.

What are you looking forward to most about fall? What healthy things did you and your family do together this summer?

Losing Baby Weight, Normal Mom Style

While standing in the checkout line in the grocery store yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly celebrity moms tend to lose their baby weight. It’s like they were never even pregnant! I guess if I was a movie start with millions in the bank, I’d hire someone to get me in shape as well.

After having our youngest daughter, Elizabeth, I was itching for some kind of physical activity. When I was pregnant, I could hardly do anything besides laps around the neighborhood to keep me feeling fit. All of a sudden, I felt like I wanted to swim and bike and do kickboxing and any other exercise I could find! However, it’s important to start small after a period of inactivity. I started by wearing my Tummy Tuck Belt on a daily basis just around the house. I then added back power walking and yoga, while still wearing my belt, and moved up to aerobics classes at our gym and some jogging.

Notice that I’m not recommending 100 sit-ups, 100 push-ups, and running 12 miles a day! It seems like every time I pick up one of these celebrity magazines, that’s what their personal trainers are telling them to do. And for the new mom, that’s just not doable or healthy! As I’ve said a million times before eating healthy and working out is the best way to stay in shape, no gimmicks!

Mixing Up Your Workout: Tips & Tricks

I’ve talked a lot recently about eating healthy and watching my sugar intake, so today I want to talk a little about working out and staying fit. As a mommy with a full-time job, I will start by saying it is hard to find time to work out during the week. But, as I have mentioned before, my husband and I are working hard to carve out time to exercise and support each other. I can’t say enough great things about my hubby – there have been several times in the past month he’s offered to entertain the girls so I can go for a quick bike ride or do a workout online.

Speaking of online workouts, have you been using Pinterest to find ideas for exercising? I have and I am thrilled with the quantity and quality of the workouts I’ve found there. For example, I’ve recently been doing this crazy workout I call “The Hundreds.” All you need is 20 minutes and some good tunes to keep you pumped up. I always try to throw on my Tummy Tuck Belt before I workout too! For “The Hundreds” workout you do the following: 100 jumping jacks, 90 crunches, 80 squats, 70 leg lifts, 60 more jumping jacks, 50 crunches, 40 squats, 30 leg lifts, 20 more jumping jacks and run for 10 minutes. Crazy, right? I didn’t say it was easy and I definitely struggled with it for the first two weeks, but I can say that I feel better and I think I can tell a difference!

Have you tried any online workouts? Which ones do you like the best?

Spring is Almost Here! What are You Looking Forward To?

If April showers bring May flowers, then what do March showers bring? In our house we are beyond ready for spring: enough with the cold, enough with the snow, and enough with the puffy jackets. I’m diagnosing these two girlies of mine with a serious case of cabin fever and the hubby and I are tired of spending all our weekends indoors.

What is your favorite part about spring? In four words, my favorite thing about the upcoming season is this: end of daylight savings. It is so nice to leave the dental office where I work and have a little sunlight left over on my drive home. Just those fifteen minutes in my car watching the sun set leave me refreshed and ready to spend some time with my wonderful family. My other favorite thing about spring is that it’s followed by summer. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I am actually ready for swimsuit season! Not only have I been eating healthy, which I have discussed here before, but my husband and I have been swimming laps at the local Y when we can and I’ve been using my Tummy Tuck Belt five days a week! No longer will I fear our family’s summer vacation, and thank goodness!

What are your favorite parts about spring?

Happy 2013! My New Year’s Resolutions are here!

Hello readers and happy New Year! I am so sorry that I have been a bad blogger so far this month, but truthfully, the holidays really wore us out. Not to mention we all caught the flu last week and still aren’t feeling 100%. We’ll just say there has been a lot of family time and not much computer time around here. Even though I’m a little late, I do want to share some of my resolutions for 2013.

Live Healthier – This is a big one that my husband and I talked about a lot over the holidays and we were lying around feeling miserable last week. I’ve decided to start planning out our meals better, using more veggies and not keeping as many sweets in the house. Not only do we want to cook healthier meals for the entire family, but we’ve decided that it’s time to join a gym and commit to regular exercise. Personally, I want to recommit to my Tummy Tuck Belt and using it while when I am working out and at work or around the house. More than anything, we want to teach our daughters that it is important to take care of your body and live a healthy lifestyle all the time (not just for a couple months at the start of the year).

Be More Organized – Our little house is nearly overflowing now that we are a family of four. Not to mention that the girls acquired too many toys and playthings over the holidays! Since we are definitely staying in our house for several more years, I am committed to being better about tossing things we are no longer using and only keeping the necessities. Do the girls really need 20 Barbies a piece? Is there any reason I’m hanging on to clothes I wore in college? No and no. So off to the Salvation Army they go!

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit and Travel Tips

The holidays are here! I absolutely love Christmas and if you walked in my house today you wouldn’t be surprised. It’s been a full-family effort to get it all decorated – from the Christmas trees to the wreath on the door, the candles in each window and the lights on the roof, I am so thankful to have a husband that loves Christmas as much as me. We got engaged on Christmas day so the holidays are extra special for us. Our daughter, Sarah, is finally old enough to get caught up in the holiday magic and it has been great to share some of our favorite traditions with her. We took her and Elizabeth to the mall on Saturday to get their picture taken with Santa and it turned out perfectly! My husband and I were both surprised with how well Elizabeth behaved – most young babies are terrified of Santa but Elizabeth just kept looking at him and grabbing his beard (sorry, Santa)!

Even though our house is all bedecked for the holidays, we will be doing a good bit of traveling next week – long car trips to visit my family as well as my husband’s parents. On the packing list: toys and games for the girls, lots of snacks, Christmas tunes, and my Tummy Tuck Belt. Why that last item? Well, I feel like traveling is a great time to use my belt since I’ll be in the car for many hours I can put it on before and after. Plus, with all the Christmas treats I plan to eat, it will come in handy!

Happy holidays to all my readers! Wishing you happy days and safe travels.

Learning to Curb Your Cravings

Hello everyone! Can you believe it’s already November? The holidays are nearly upon us and I feel like it was just a few weeks ago I was writing about summer vacation and fresh produce! Our family had such a fun time last week celebrating Charlotte’s first Halloween – although Sarah just couldn’t understand why her little sister wasn’t excited about collecting (and eating) candy. I did my best to stay away from the sweets on Wednesday night after we circled the neighborhood, but I couldn’t say no to a candy apple! Sarah was dressed up as Belle, her favorite Disney princess, and Sarah was an adorable little bunny.

In my last post I talked about how hard it is sometimes to stay away from cravings – a difficult task when the holidays are filled with all kinds of delicious food. I did a little research online and found these tips for curbing your cravings:

  • Give in a little and treat yourself every once in a while.
  • If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up – just try to make the next several meals very, very healthy.
  • Drink plenty of water – sometimes you think you’re hungry when your body is really craving water.
  • Chew a piece of gum.
  • Eat on a regular schedule and don’t let yourself get too hungry – it’s easier to justify unhealthy food when you’re starving!

My top way to stop myself from overeating or sneaking chocolate out of the cabinet is to wear my Tummy Tuck Belt. When I am about to eat something unhealthy, I think about my Tummy Tuck Belt that I have on under my clothes and how I’m trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and lose weight and suddenly, I realize I don’t need that second donut. What is your best tip for curbing your cravings? Let me know!