Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preschool Activity Bags

One of the reasons I created this blog was to have a central place that I could keep track of all the amazing websites I find with activities and lessons for the kids and crafts for me. Lately I have found SO many amazing resources, but haven't had lots of time to link them on here...well, that stops today!! To make things simple for me and to make sure I don't miss saving an important resource, if I find a great blog or website I am going to make sure and put it on here, even if it is just a quick note with a link. I can always go back and elaborate, but at least I will have a reference point for it!!

So, for today, here is a link for some great preschool activity bags on a blog that I love for MANY reasons.

The blog is Walking by the Way and you can click HERE to go directly to the page with the preschool activity bags.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Almost good-bye

Wow, I can't believe it's almost over!! I apologize for the lack of posts...When I signed up for this contest I totally forgot that we were heading out on the open road the last weekend of the contest!! We went on an RV trip to Joshua Tree National Forest and of course, there was no internet access. We had a great time climbing at Jumbo Rocks and playing baseball with the kids and just enjoying the family time. I tried to watch what I ate but of course indulged in a few S'mores and other campfire goodies!!

This contest has really been an eye opener and has given me the motivation I needed to get started losing all this weight. I may have only lost an average of 1 pound a week, but that's still more than I was losing before, and that's all that matters!! I now have good exercise equipment that I really like, a healthy relationship with food and an exercise routine that will keep the pounds dropping long after this competition is over.

I want to thank everyone who has stayed with us through this journey and supported us - we needed your motivation to really get through this and feel like it was worth it!! Please make sure to check up with us on our personal blogs and please feel free to leave me your blog address or email it to me so I can follow your blogs and keep in contact!! I love that I've made so many new friends!!

I will be here for the mini-contest next season and can't wait to see how everyone's final weigh-in goes...I was pleasantly surprised with mine and sad that I couldn't have gotten into this groove 6 weeks ago!!

Way to go everyone!!!

My email: socalcutie82@hotmail.com

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The dreaded weight loss plateau

So, I thought people only hit that dreaded plateau after they've lost lots of weight and were more in a normal range, but apparently that isn't so!! I've been exercising every day and watching what I eat - and before, this would have resulted in at least a 3 pound weight loss for the week. But, not this week...the most frustrating part?? I am losing SIZE - yep, that's an easy one to see - but barely any weight!! Normally this would be great because size is all I really care about, but when you're in a WEIGHT LOSS competition it really doesn't help unless it shows up on the scale.

So, for those wondering "Gee, she has barely lost any weight" it's not from lack of trying...This last week was amazing, exercising every day for at least 45 minutes...and I LOVED it!! I was eating great and have visibly lost weight, but barely anything on the scale. The only thing I can think of is that it has to do with the fact that I'm gaining muscle from the weights and cycling, so that's tripping up the weight issue?!?!

It's just so irritating because you work so hard and then you barely get anything on the scale to make you feel like it was all worth it. I'm not going to stop exercising every day with my new equipment, and I'm still going to keep up my new healthy eating habits, but I just had to share this because when everybody sees the weigh-ins they are going to see that I have barely lost anything, and I want to at least give you a reason why! I seem to remember that this happened the first week I did Zumba too, I was burning TONS of calories but nothing showed up on the scale, but then the next week it started showing...since this is the first week I have exercised every day, and it was way more than I ever did before, I'm hoping that this is the same thing...

So, hopefully next week it will all come together and the fruits of my hard labor will be known!!

Hope you all had a great week!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

On a roll

This is just a quick update and short brag session... I have exercised for anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes every day since Sunday!! I love it... And each day I go a few minutes longer!  My daughter comes out in the garage with me and  does her school work and I can watch some of the YouTube videos that I would never have enough time to watch! I love having this elliptical and bike all in one - seriously the best investment we ever made!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On a roll

Alrighty, I FINALLY have some good news!! Over the weekend my amazing hubby got me a new elliptical/stationary bike!! It's nothing amazing, or expensive - but it works, and that's all that matters!! I have 3 days now of exercising behind me and this week I'm going for at least 45 minutes a day, every day. I have almost half the week done so things are looking good. I have also been weighing myself every morning, first thing in the morning to get a consistent reading on where my weight is. I know, it seems silly, but when you weight yourself later in the day you weigh more, and I need the constant visual reminder that I need to lose and that I am at least not gaining weight.

How many times a week do you weigh yourself? Do you do it once a week to be surprised, or do you do it every other day, or every day to have a constant reminder??

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's a new day...

It's a new week, a new day - a new chance to start over!!

Saturday, after my rant on Friday night, my husband hit Craig's List and found me a new elliptical. Better yet, it's a bike and an elliptical!! It's nothing fancy, but it works...and as a result, I got to exercise again yesterday - FINALLY!!!

I really enjoyed being able to exercise again, and now I can read a book while I exercise!

I also decided that since it's a new week I'm going to break out our camcorder and start making some memories on film with the kids.  Just another angle for weight loss motivation because no one wants to be the fat mom in the home videos.  I am excited that I will be able to document my weight loss through film too and then keep those videos as motivation in the future!! After meeting up with some of my favorite YouTubers on Saturday morning I really got the inspiration I needed to just start filming. I still have to work out how to get the HD quality from my camera to the computer, but I'm sure with time I will get the hang of it.

So...if you want to see our first video and my slightly less chubby face, check us out!!

Rain, Rain, go away - Ep. #1

Hope you all had a good weekend...my weigh-in wasn't super satisfying, but it wasn't disappointing either.  This week I am finally armed with all the tools I need, a good scale, great motivation and new exercise equipment...IT'S ON!!!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Blondies and YouTube

Today is a new day....I decided to break out the camcorder and start recording the craziness that is our life...I also made a new recipe that we showed in the video, Peanut Butter Blondies...and they were DELICIOUS!!! I left for choir practice this morning and came home to quite a few pieces missing - Greg loved them, and if he loved them I KNOW they are good!!

So, here is the recipe...you can check out the video on YouTube to see what they look like and hear Karyl testify of their delicious awesomeness!!

This recipe is a large one, it makes two 9x13 pans. I halved everything and made only one and it worked just fine...You can either just make the 2 pans (which isn't a bad idea, they disappear fast!!) or half the recipe and make just one (and no, I didn't use 1-1/2 eggs - I just used 2 and it was fine!).  I will put the original recipe first for two pans, then my scaled down version below...the instructions are the same for both.  Enjoy and let me know what you think!


Two 9 x 13 pans:

2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 pound (about 2-1/2 cups) packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tblsp. vanilla

1 pound (about 3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup hot water

ONE 9x13 PAN

1 cups flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 pound (about 1-1/4 cups) packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 Tblsp. vanilla (I didn't measure - just guessed)

1/2 pound (a little less than 2 cups) powdered sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/6 cup hot water (just filled a small cup with hot tap water and drizzled in a little at a time)


-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat your pan(s) with cooking spray.

-In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) beat shortening, peanut butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs; beat 3 minutes more. Add vanilla.
-On low speed, beat in the flour mixture.
-If doing the double recipe, divide the batter - then pour batter into pan(s). Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes until lightly browned (my single pan needed all 30 of those minutes). Let cool slightly.
-FROSTING - Beat powdered sugar, peanut butter, shortening, salt and vanilla. Add hot water a little at a time. Beat until smooth. Spread over blondies while still warm.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I did it...I finally bought a digital scale!!

I have a gift card to Target that I have been saving for something that I wanted - something that I wanted to buy, but didn't want to feel guilty about spending money on.

I have been using my sister-in-laws' scale for weigh-ins...it's a great scale, but it's a 50 mile drive to use it. Not a huge deal since we visit them a lot, but the few weekends that we weren't planning on going down there created a problem since I needed to weigh-in, so at least once I had to weigh-in earlier than I wanted.

Now, I have a scale right here in my own house.  I love this scale!! While I don't entirely understand all the bells and whistles yet (I can use them, just don't know what a lot of those numbers mean) I love the ease of use (despite some reviews from people online who said it was just impossible to use) and I love the design of it.

So, I weighed myself last night to see what I was dealing with...then I weighed myself first thing this morning and it's true - there is a difference between weighing yourself in the morning and at night, it was a 1 pound difference!! That made me feel better because it means that I haven't gone as far off course as I had thought last night. This is good - because after seeing the weight on the scale last night my poor husband got the bad end of a frustration induced rant from me about how I haven't been able to exercise and how I just don't want to be fat anymore, that I know I can lose the weight if I just find time to exercise. He then offered to clean the garage out right then and there if it calmed me down...such a sweetheart!! I eventually came down from my rant and realized that it was probably just the monthly hormones wreaking havoc on my already tightly wound emotions and insisted he didn't need to clear what is supposed to be my exercise space at 11:00pm.

I know he'll get his stuff moved and organized this week so I can have my exercise space in the garage back...and I know that I'm not going to gain 20 pounds in a week because I haven't been able to exercise as much as I would like...and I know that part of the weight gain this past week is because of that time of the month...but sometimes you just forgot to be rational when you're exhausted and your jeans are a little tight and your oldest kid keeps coming into your room every 2 minutes at 11:00 pm using every excuse in the book to NOT go to bed....yeah, I was a little high strung last night, and I kinda lost it.

On the bright side, on my way into our room before losing it I had grabbed a full-size Crunch bar from one of the Trick or Treat bags with that ever-wonderful attitude of "heck, my jeans are already tight and I'm feeling fat anyways, what's another 250 calories" - and after I had calmed down I looked at the Crunch bar and decided that really, I didn't want that - that I might have been upset, but eating that would only be temporary relief, AND it would just add to the "growing" problem.  So, I threw it on the dresser and got into bed.  So, the whole situation did help me to realize one thing - that all this healthy eating and really trying to watch what I eat has paid off because let's face it, if a chubby girl can walk away from a Crunch bar in the heat of the moment, something has clicked in her brain for the better.

Today is a new day....I'm headed to Downtown Disney with just the baby to a meet-up with 2 of my favorite YouTube families and I am excited about it.  Not just because I get to meet Our Little Planet and EZE and Coco Bean, but because I have already planned to park in the structure and walk to the meeting spot...then afterwards I plan on walking the ENTIRE length of Downtown Disney, then walking back to the park entrances before going back to the car. I should cover almost 2 miles this afternoon!!! I can't wait!!! I have to remind myself that every day is a new day, and that a few days of screwing up doesn't mess up everything else you've worked hard for. I'm going to start over today and go from there...I even think that I might try and get my new YouTube channel up and running - I'm hoping that this meetup will inspire me to start vlogging about our family more and recording more memories on film!!

Hope you all have a great Saturday - and if you're anywhere near Disneyland this morning around 11am, I'll be at the fountain in front of the entrances, right where you get off the trams (in front of the La Brea Bakery)!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Newly motivated

After a week of rationing bite-size Snickers and trying to find ways to get some extra exercising in (it's pouring this morning so no walking today!) I received some new motivation to get moving and hide the bite-size badness my kids brought home on Monday night...

I saw a video of myself a few months before I got pregnant with our third baby, in mid 2010.  Yesterday I decided to go through all our camcorder footage from the past 5 years and organize and move it to an external hard drive so I could edit and organize it all (I finally found the disk that came with the camera to put movies together and burn DVDs).  I found a clip where I had been videoing our daughter dancing around at Disney's California Adventure Park and had asked my husband to video my son and I (I wanted to get him dancing on camera - I try to avoid the moving pictures...) and as I was watching the clip I almost cried...I looked so large. Now, I am 20 pounds lighter right now than I was then, and I have to admit, looking at that video made me feel REALLY good about where I am now - but it also made me realize how much I REALLY don't ever want to be that woman again.  I never want someone to look at me and see that ever again.

So...even though it's pouring outside and my plans for a walk have been derailed, I have the motivation I needed to get out an exercise DVD.  When my son takes a nap I will be putting the baby down for a nap as well, pulling the van out of the garage and exercising out there.  I will have my daughter bring out her school work and she can work on it in the garage with me while I exercise. This is it, I think seeing that video really made me feel like I'd hit rock bottom. I even felt bad for my husband...he's never once made comments to me about losing weight, or telling me I shouldn't be eating junk food when I did. I actually felt guilty that he had to claim that chunky monkey when we were out in public. 

On the plus side, I can definitely see the difference 20 pounds makes - and for the first time in many years I felt good about the way I looked - I might still be chunky, but at least I'm not THAT chunky anymore!! So, today is a new day. I am going to head to Target and get my own scale so I can weight myself every few days instead of having to wait to drive to my husband's family's home on the weekends. One thing I have discovered is absolutely essential to weight management is a good scale.  If you are constantly weighing yourself you will know when you are starting to creep up and can nip it in the bud before it gets bad - unlike the way I was doing it before, which was when clothes starting getting too tight it was time to start thinking about doing something.

I guess sometimes it takes seeing that old video, or feeling like you've hit rock bottom to really get that kick in the pants you needed. I still have a goal of reaching One-derland before this competition is over, and if I can get serious and do this I think it's still possible!!! I am just having such a hard time motivating myself with so much other stuff going on....kids, cleaning, homeschooling, working from home, a new baby - I need to focus and remember that I am just as important and that losing weight isn't a selfish goal. If I lose weight everyone wins because I'll be healthier and have more energy and I'll be a much better representation of our family.

I would love to hear any motivational comments you guys might have - did you have a rock-bottom moment that made you stop and say "enough is enough?"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Awesome Lapbook resource - The Rag Coat

I like to imagine that hundreds of people read my little blog and that every one of them finds at least one resource or idea on here that helps make there life easier or just a little less stressful...why?? Because that's my favorite part of reading lots of blogs, finding even just one thing that makes my life easier. Right now my favorite things to find are homeschooling resources, especially free lapbooks since I have a kindergartner. Lapbooks are amazing for many, many reasons, but the main one is that it gets all your information in one contained folder, AND you have pictures and colors and lots of visual interest for younger kids. Oh, and I love cutting everything out and putting it together (next year I am going to have to give that up though and let Karyl do her own cutting and gluing since she can use that as an opportunity to work on organization and to fine tune her motor skills).

So...with my love of lapbooks hanging over our heads, I give you an amazing lapbook resource I discovered the other day while looking for additional content to put in a lapbook for the book "The Rag Coat" which we are reading with our Five In A Row curriculum.

Aussie Pumpkin Patch - The Rag Coat Lapbook

The link above will take you to the actual post with this specific lapbook, but you can easily hit the "home" button at the top to go to the homepage and see what else she has to offer. I havent' done much exploring to see what else is there, but if the rest of the stuff is anything like the lapbook I found I will be visiting her again!!

The greatest invention since sliced bread

Bite Size and Fun Size Candy

OK, I'll admit, things like penicillin and hand sanitizer kinda trump these sugary tidbits, but this is a weight loss blog - so go with me on this one!!

First off, let me apologize for not being terribly consistent with my blogging...when I entered this competition I had so many creative ideas for blog posts and things I wanted to share with those who would listen - then the time came to produce and life just kinda kicked my butt. It's been 3 weeks and my kids are still coughing, I still have a sore throat and cough, and unfortunately, when I get sick the house doesn't self - clean, the magical meal elf doesn't suddenly show up to make dinner appear, and despite my best efforts the baby still can't feed herself 6 times a day.

I was so pumped about this competition...I really thought I had a chance at losing some serious weight. Then I realized that being a mother of 3 working full-time (even working from home takes some serious work!!) and homeschooling a kindergartner kind of takes most of the free time I might have. So after a few weeks I have realized that even just losing a pound a week is a miracle in itself. I also took a serious look at my weight loss goals and realized that it's OK if I can't compete with the awesomeness of those who are losing multiple pounds a week...while I'll admit I'm totally jealous, I have to remember that any weight loss is a triumph...and heck, even at a pound a week, after 10 weeks, that's 10 pounds. Keep it up and 20 weeks is a whopping 20 pounds...and you can see where I'm going.  I also know that slow weight loss is more meaningful weight loss in terms of keeping the weight off, and I now understand why - because you are creating habits, and skills for eating and exercising that become part of your daily life. You begin to make eating healthy a regular habit and don't have to think about it all the time. Want proof?? Over the past 4 weeks I have developed a new favorite snack - Honeycrisp apples!! That's right - I am truly discovering that fruit is nature's candy. Honestly, I can sit and eat a Honeycrisp apple and satisfy any sweet craving I have.

So...back to the top of my post - why are those bite size goodies such an amazing invention?? Because they are the best friend to calorie counting people everywhere. We all know that when you eat candy, no one wants to eat just one bite of a whole candy bar....AND...who wants to eat just one flavor - we want to eat something crunchy, and something smooth and something with peanut butter maybe, right??

Going through our kids' Trick or Treat bags, we found lots of these tiny morsels and I was really thrilled to see them! I love that when I have a candy craving I can grab 2 or 3 of these little guys and satisfy that sweet tooth without having to waste over 200 calories like I would with a normal size candy bar. You get those few bites you need to satisfy, but you feel like you're eating more because you're opening a few different wrappers.

Anyone else feel like that??

I hope everyone here had a happy and safe Halloween!! We loved it...with 2 kids now old enough to really enjoy the night we had a blast!! Not only did the kids score some serious loot, I got some GREAT exercise!! We took our double stroller with us so we could go further and then the kids could just ride back instead of having to stop and turn back earlier to save sore feet and whining. I also had our baby in a front - facing carrier the entire time which was a workout in itself. I was sore afterwards (the entire walk back to my in-law's house was uphill!!) but it was totally worth it!! I also learned that our baby LOVES that front-facing carrier, and will even fall asleep if she's tired enough, so I can now go for walks with all 3 kids!! That's right, I can put the older 2 in the double jogger and put the baby in the carrier!! There won't be any jogging, or even power walking, but I think that even walking for an hour at about a 2 mile pace is going to burn some serious calories when you're pushing a 25-30 pound stroller with 75 pounds of kid seated inside, PLUS carrying 13 pounds of baby on your chest. I'm sure I look ridiculous, but the fact that I can go out for a walk without having to worry about kids running in the street is totally worth the stares!!

I promise to try and be better about posting - and to try to hopefully lose more than just a pound this week.  With the new walking options I think I should start seeing much better results since I can burn a few more calories!! This past week was a tough one because I did finally have that one lovely visitor that all of the other contestants have been seeing these past few weeks - and I totally forgot how much water you retain when mother nature sends her evil minions to visit. I haven't had to really deal with it in over a year since I just had a baby a few months ago!! So, hopefully by next weigh-in that will be out of the way and I should be a lot more pleased with the scale!!

Talk to you soon!!