Thursday, April 22, 2010

Growing Grass Heads for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!!

In celebration of Earth Day, I thought I would share this fun craft idea with you.  The other day at school Dylan made a Grass Head.  Isn't it cute?

I decided to do it with my class as an Earth Day craft and thought you may enjoy doing it with your kids too.
The detailed directions can be found at CraftBits.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What I Learned This Week - Weight Watchers Works

As many know, I've been on a weight loss journey since January 2007. By November of that same year I had lost 40 pounds and while I had not met my goal weight became pretty content with where I was.  I was in a healthy weight range for my height {be it way at the top}, I felt awesome, and I finally enjoyed clothes shopping.  It was good!  

Part of me though was disappointed that I didn't meet that magical number.  Now I must say while I did have a goal number, I didn't focus entirely on it, but rather my focus was more on clothing size.  I had a size 6 in my mind and that really was my ultimate goal.  So I decided I would keep going. But, other than a half pound here, nothing here, nothing there, maybe another half pound somewhere, and even a gain every now and then, nothing really changed.  I was maintaining, but never really any closer to my final goal. 

My heart wasn't in it.
My motivation had left.
I was too comfortable.

Flash forward to two weeks ago when I began packing for Florida.  
I had to do it.
I had to dig out my summer clothes; shorts, swim suits, tanks tops and all.   

Before I go further I guess I should let you all in on a little secret.  Since the beginning of the school year I've gained 10 pounds.  Now 10 pounds doesn't necessary sound a lot, but boy does it make a difference in clothes.  Not to mention ever since I turned 30 I've noticed a big shift in the majority of my body parts, and it isn't a shift for the good let me tell you!  So to make this rambling story short, I tried on the clothes and discovered I had exactly 3 pairs of shorts to take on vacation.  Did I tell you that last year I purchased an entire new summer wardrobe?  In size 6's?  

There I was staring at all my cute clothes. 
That fit last summer.  
I could get them on, up, and buttoned, but it wasn't pretty and nobody  wanted to see me wearing me!
I cried.

But, bringing it back to What I Learned This Week...
Weight Watchers works.

In the past year, I know you have read how I've started back on Weight Watchers again at least three times.  You may even be getting a bit tired of hearing me say it.  Your frustration could perhaps closely mirror my own.  But, trust me when I say that my clothes gave me the wake up call that I desperately needed.  

I went on vacation telling myself that I would NOT come back with the vacation 5lb souvenir I seem to always pick up.  I didn't.  I was up about 1 pound, but that fried clam sandwich and a couple ice cream cones was worth it!  

This past week I counted every.single.point. I planned some, ate salads, had more fruits and veggies, and even went out to eat three times.  I drank my water.  I exercised two days.  I stuck to the plan.

I LOST 2.4 pounds!
Weight Watchers works.

So I'm sticking with it. FOR REAL!
There are 7 weeks until summer vacation.
I'm 10 pounds away from my lowest weight {where I was wearing my size 6} and 18 pounds away from my ultimate number.  

My plan is to lose at least 1.5lb a week which means that my summer clothes will fit again just in time.  Then when I continue on, by the time I return to school I'll be at my goal weight!

Watch me do it!

To read about what everybody else learned this week, don't forget to visit Julie at From Inmates to Playdates!

Monday, April 19, 2010

In Our House...

When I visited Gifts From the Heart the other day I was touched by Alli's post on how Everybody's Different.  The great thing about the blogosphere is, just as Alli says, that we are all different.  When you take time to read a variety of blogs you become exposed to different lifestyles, beliefs, religions, politics, parenting styles...the list can go on and on.  While I read many blogs whose author's lives and beliefs are very similiar to mine, I really enjoy reading those whose are so different. They are the ones that often challenge my thinking and allow me to see something in new a light.  I like that!

After reading Alli's post {you really must read it for yourself} and reading those of the links she shared {yes, you must follow her links too} I was inspired to share with you some of the things you may see if you were to come visit me.

In our house...
you will find two working parents,
one child in a public school and another at full time daycare.
Our days are occupied, but nights normally free to do as we please.
The kids choose 2 extracurricular activities so they have time to just be 
       kids too.
On the weekends you may find us in our pj's at noon,
or my daughter only wearing her underwear {we are working on that one}.
During the summer we rarely wear shoes,
but instead walk barefoot outside enjoying the grass under our toes.
We sometimes eat ice cream and candy before dinner,
and leave the dishes in the sink to be taken care of later, 
or {gasp} even the next morning.
You may find tents built in the dining room,
trip over toys strewn throughout the house,
or see the kids running through the house as they pretend they are flying,
or being superheros,
or just caught up in a game of tag.
When the kids get hungry for a snack they know where the pantry and fridge 
        are and help themselves to what they want.
During dinner they have a "no thank you bite" but the rest is up to 
If they're hungry they will eat, if not, they won't.
You will probably find the tv on, but nobody really watching as they are 
        plugged in to their laptops, DS, or other electronic devices.
At 9pm the tv may still be on as the kids are snuggled in mommy and  
        daddy's bed watching a quiet show before heading to their own beds.
There will be dust on the wood, dog hair on the floor, and messy rooms.
Oh and when something fun is happening, we'll be there, adjusting schedules 
        and bedtimes so we don't miss out on a family adventure.  

In our house,
there are rules,
but some more bendable than others.
We all use our manners,
and everybody is respected.
You will see hugs and kisses shared freqently,
along with hearing "I love you" quite often.

In our house

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spending Saturday at Home

This has been my first Saturday at home without anything to do in over a month.  Boy did it feel good to just sleep in this morning!  Can I tell you how much I enjoy having two kids old enough to get up and make their own breakfast {aka pour their own cereal} so that I take my good ol' time getting up? I like this!

I must confess though when I say "without anything to do" I don't mean that quite literally.  As we all know, a mom always has something to do.  After I finally left my bed and had some breakfast and coffee myself, the kids and I blasted music and had a bit of a cleaning fest.  I wouldn't even have let a pizza delivery man come to our upstairs as it was!  Am I the only one that takes over a week to unpack from a vacation??  We still had four suitcases spread around our bedroom from our Florida vacation last week.  I am happy to report though that everything looks much better {mom you would be proud}, although more cleaning will be taking place tomorrow.

We went to swimming this afternoon and I'm always amazed by the strength my kiddos display during swim lessons.  I don't think I could swim half a lap, but they go back and forth effortlessly and then ask to play afterwards.  Now that Zoe can keep up with her big brother, they enjoy swimming together and make up little games to play.  I just love when they get along!

For the past hour or so I've been able to shut myself in my room for a little R&R, otherwise known as blogging, twittering, and facebooking.  I thought I would throw up this quick post because these are the days I want to remember.  The days where things are calm and peaceful!

Tonight the family is headed out on the town.  First it will be a family dinner out at a local Mexican restaurant and then the boys are off to the movies to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid which Dylan has been dying to see while Zoe and I head to the theatre to see a dance recital of Snow White.  It will be fun having a girls night together and I'm excited that the boys can go out and do something fun too.

It's wonderful to be able to just slow down and enjoy family time.
After all, spending time with those you love is what it is truly all about!!

I hope you are having a fabulous weekend so far!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

3-2-1 Blast Off

One of the highlights of our spring break vacation was watching the shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center.  Monday morning {4-5-10} we got up before the crack of dawn to head to the beach to see what we could see.  

The kids and I huddled together on the cold sand waiting for the launch.

Finally, the sky lit up as the shuttle made its way to outer space.

If you listen carefully you can hear a fellow shuttle observer say "GO USA", and I have to say that you definitely felt pride for your country standing there watching such an amazing event happen before your eyes.  It was awesome.

After watching the light disappear in the sky we jumped back in the car to go find some breakfast.  The excitement of the morning was a bit much for Zoe!

There are only four more launches scheduled before we say goodbye to our space program.  Sad. But, I'm glad that my family got to experience a launch from that close of a range.  

Memory created!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What I Learned This Week - The Best Vacations Are Cheap

Each year we plan our vacation during the week of spring break.  It works the best because Dyl and I are out of school and it is right before hubby's busy time at work {he works in the boating industry at the beach so summer vacations are out of the question}.  

My favorite vacation was when we flew out to California, around the San Diego area where I was born, and just explored.  We visited Disneyland, Legoland, and the famous zoo, but also took time to just enjoy the California sunshine driving up and down the coast stopping wherever our hearts desired.  Of course, I must say that was also by far the most expensive vacation we have went on too and like everybody else we have cut way back the past couple of years.

But that brings me to What I Learned This Week...
you can have an awesome vacation without spending an arm and a leg.

Last week was our annual vacation and we headed down to Florida with everybody else apparently as 95 south was quite the place to be.  We always drive there so we have extra money to spend while we are away rather than paying to fly our suitcases!! 

We are lucky that my in-laws along with brother-in-law's family live in Melbourne about a mile inland from the beach.  So we have a free place to stay and get to visit family we don't often get to see, which works out great.

Since we saved money by driving and had a free place to stay we only had to spend money on other activities and food.

The kids really wanted to go to Disney World this year so we decided to treat them to a day at Magic Kingdom.  Since we were staying only about an hour away we left early in the morning, stayed till after the fireworks, and then drove home.  Since we had been before, one day was enough for us to enjoy it.

The whole family loves the water so one day we just started driving in search of a beach when we came across a state park that had a perfect little cove for wading along with an Atlantic beach where the kids could body surf.  We had packed a picnic and enjoyed it on the beach together.  A full day of fun only cost us $8 for the entry into the state park.  Oh and $5 for the ice cream stop on the way home! 

The rest of the days were filled with more adventures around town.  We went fishing, on boat rides, hung out on the beach, walked down main street window shopping, visited an art gallery, made pottery, and just enjoyed being together. 

So while sometimes it is a lot of fun to spend the money for a one-of-a-kind vacation, this week I learned that the best vacations can be had for a whole lot less!!

Cheap Vacation Tips:
  •  Visit some of your out-of-town relatives {make sure they will enhance your vacation though and not stress you out} or even friends.  You get a free place to stay plus the chance to catch up with people you don't get too see very often.
  • Eat at home, but go into the local markets to find something interesting that you may not buy back home. Picnics are always fun {and cheap} too.
  • Explore the local areas.  Don't buy tickets for all the big attractions in the area, but instead drive around and see what you find.  Many places have state parks, local museums, interesting towns, small zoos, etc. 

Don't forget to visit From Inmates to Playdates to see what everybody else has learned this week!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hardest Part of Being a Working Mom

One of the hardest parts of being a working mom is deciding when to stay home and when to go to work, meaning when to take kids to daycare.  I'm not talking about every day of course, I've already told you how working makes me a better mom.  

Yesterday, Zoe and her bicycle had a run in.  

See, she has been dying to ride her bike on two wheels and while she can ride on two wheels wonderfully on her smaller bike, her new Christmas bike is just a tad too big for her feet to touch the ground comfortably.  So to give her some stability, but still allow her to practice her two wheels daddy raised her training wheels.  She was pedaling her little heart out when things went amiss.  As I was watching she tumbled in the grass with the bike tumbling right with her.  At first I didn't think much of it as the grass was very soft and Zoe is queen of jumping up and yelling "I'm ok."  But, this time she didn't jump up, but rather was grabbing her eye.  When I got to her I could see she had multiple cuts on her eye and it was already swelling.  I did what any sensible mommy would do...I screamed for daddy!!

When we got her in the house, we saw the cuts weren't too deep {Thank God!}, but it was swelling quickly and soon her eye was swollen shut.  After getting a couple opinions and testing her vision to make sure she could still see okay, we decided to skip an ER visit to see how it looks today.

Hence, the decision making.  
Do we send her to school?
Do we wait till the morning and then make a decision?
If she stays home, who will stay with her?

I'm not going to lie.  Decisions like these are tough.  In a way I think being a teacher makes it even more difficult.  Because on the one hand I have my little girl needing her mommy {or her daddy} while on the other hand I have 20 fifth-graders depending on me to welcome them back to school after spring break, ready to listen to all their stories.  

But, for today, my daughter wins!  
She needs her mommy pouring ibuprofen and tylenol down her throat, holding ice and warm cloths on her eyes, while rubbing her back.  We'll spend the day snuggled together with me waiting on her hand and foot while she "winks" {she told me that she will be okay because she knows how to wink} at me.  I will ease her fears of her eye being swollen shut, tell her that the kids will think her black eye is cool when she goes back to school, and help her try to forget the pain.  

For today I'll relish just being mommy..
Tomorrow I'll go back to being mommy and teacher.

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's Monday - Bullet Time

In case you missed it, I'm on vacation.  
In Florida.  
Where the sun is shining and the weather is perfect.  
Hence my lack in posting!  
One may even think with all this relaxing and vacationing that I would have time to post, but not happening.

Instead of posting, I've been busy doing other things like...
  • Spending a day on the boat with the family, watching pelicans fly, horseshoe crabs float, fish swim, manatees dive, dolphins jump.  I also listened to my kids squeal as they played in the spray of the water coming off the boat.
  • Watching my son turn into a fisherman and listened to him tell his fish stories.
  • Seeing the same son bravely launch the kayak into a canal by himself and paddle up and down.
  • Enjoying watching hubby and Zoe do the same!
  • Finding a lagoon by the ocean and waded throughout it with the family, thrilled that I could see my painted toes the whole time.
  • Holding my breath as Dylan and Zoe body surfed on the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Tasting ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and laughing at the chocolate mustache that was left on my daughters face.
  • Sitting by the side of the pool and listening to my children make up swimming games to entertain themselves while they played peacefully together.
  • Watching in awe as the shuttle launched into space over the Atlantic Ocean as I sat on the sandy beach.
  • Sampling my first quiche.  {I know!!  It was heavenly}

There has been so much more, but the family is calling. 
Time for homemade pizza night...

{I have tons of pictures to share, but now just isn't the time.  They'll be coming soon!}

Saturday, April 3, 2010

You Capture - Feet


This weeks challenge is all about the FEET.
Now I'm not a big foot fan unless we are talking pedicures or shoes, but as I was uploading my pictures from our car ride yesterday I knew I had the perfect picture for this challenge.

While I was taking my turn driving, hubby took the opportunity to hang out in the backseat with Zoe.  He took off his shoes and propped up his feet to enjoy a book on his nook.  Zoe took the opportunity to get comfy too and as she propped up her feet and began reading her book, she took a deep breath and declared, "This is the life."

I captured the moment and couldn't agree with Zoe's statement more.

This is the life and I'm so blessed that it's mine.

You Capture is being hosted by Keli this week as Beth is busy adoring her brand new baby. Go check out all the other feet on display!

Next Weeks Theme: Comfort

Lessons from the Highway

Every spring break we make the annual trek to Florida.

We’re very lucky that we have family who live near the beach and only 45 minutes to Orlando so there is always plenty to keep us busy, plus a free place to stay…yes, we are spoiled.

This year was no different.
We packed up the car and on Good Friday headed south on our 14 16 hour trip. Of course we started off 3 hours late.
I could tell you that it was because my hubby had issues setting the alarm clock for 3am, but to be honest I was happy that I got a couple extra hours of sleep considering I was up until midnight, the night before, folding clothes.

The trip was pretty uneventful and we were moving right along, that is until we hit the middle of South Carolina where we came to a STOP.  Now we were given warnings as flashing constructions signs told us of an "incident ahead" and declared "to be prepared to stop" but we chose to ignore them.  We wanted to be blissfully ignorant of what we were about to encounter.

But, sure enough we soon came to a stop for that incident we had been warned about. For about an hour+ we crawled.  Stopping and going, stopping and going, while we watched the gps clock continue to move our ETA back further and further.  As I'm sure you can imagine, 6 hours into a car ride, we were not waiting patiently.  Tempers were short, kids whiny, and did I mention we were all hot as the temperature guage showed 90 degrees and the sun was beating through the windows?

Slowly we kept moving forward though until we finally came upon the reason for our unpleasantness.

There in the middle of the median was what used to be a big truck, like one of those F150 trucks.  But it didn't have a cab.  The cab was flat.  Even with the bed of the truck.   

I had chills.

For the past hour I had been selfishly complaining about how I wanted traffic to move, how hot I was, how we were never going to get to Florida.  Meanwhile the driver and possibly passengers of that vehicle may have been fighting for their life or even worse not fighting at all.

That shut me up,
and I didn't complain for the rest of the ride.

So tonight I'm laying in a comfortable bed at my destination with my family safe and sound.  I'm praying for those who were in that truck along with the families who were notified of the accident.  I truly hope that they survived and will reach their destination too.

May I try harder next time to contain my complaints and remember the lessons I learned from the highway.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Goodbye March Madness, Hello April!

Wow!  What an insanely busy month March was.
I can't believe we are already 4 months into 2010.  Absolutely unbelievable how fast time goes these days.  

March was especially hectic as I was only home one full weekend and that was for my hubby's b-day.  The rest of the weekends were spent at Bloggy Boot Camp, FitBloggin, and most recently at The Golden Inn for Smores at the Shores girlfriend getaway.  

The best part of all the events was meeting so many of my blogger buddies in person.  AMAZING.  Each event was vastly different, but all of them exactly what I needed.  Bloggy Boot Camp inspired me to get back on my blogging track and taught me some great tricks to implement, FitBloggin inspired me to get running again and focus some of my blog time on fitness, and Smores at the Shores allowed me some time for just me.  It was perfect to end the month by relaxing, eating delicious meals, enjoying a massage, and just sitting on my computer in silence watching the waves crash outside my hotel balcony. Oh and yes the chocolate was a nice addition too!

But, even though it's been fun, I'm ready to slow down.  I think I'm done for awhile.  

Time to get back into our regular routine.  
Time to hang out with the family.
Time for some lazy Saturdays staying in our pj's till noon.

Time to...
oh yeah get packing for spring vacation!

Hello April.
Hello Spring.

Guess those lazy Saturdays can wait a couple more weeks!

For all the crazy people who I know are just waiting for me to write here on the blog how we won't be home for awhile so you can come rob us blind, I say good luck.  We do have a house sitter or more like a dog sitter so if you think you can get past our crazy dog, then I say more power to you! 
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