Monday, May 25, 2015

Reshaping It All, my physical endeavor

I have shared my desires to get fit and stay active here on my blog before.  Another new year started and although I was a little more active, I still wasn't doing regular exercise and my pants told me so!  I was unable to fit into many of my pants from last winter.  Sniff, sniff.  If you saw me in the past few months, I was wearing one of the two pair of jeans I own that fit.  So sad - and I refused to buy more when I had a closet full just 8lbs away from fitting!

Last month I thought ahead to summer, I really didn't want to wear only part of my wardrobe for another season! Needing motivation, I ripped out a little newspaper ad about my town's upcoming 5K in June.  I tucked in on my wall organizer as a visual reminder of what I'd like to achieve again.  I wasn't sure I would do that exact 5K but I knew I needed a goal again. This was the first time since 2012 when I ran three 5Ks {my first and only ones}, that I wanted to run again.  It's just an easy way to work out!

But how to get there?  Clearly my sporadic hops on the treadmill were NOT going to be enough.  Ugh... I was so unmotivated and felt an inner battle.  I knew I needed some help emotionally so I picked up a book from my reading list called "Reshaping It All" by Candace Cameron Bure.  I was hoping she might say something that'd help me and did she ever!
{On her website}
I read the book and was very encouraged!  Not only with working out but with food too.  She talked a lot about using food as fuel rather than simply pleasure {although she loves to eat!}.  She discussed portion control and making better choices.
Before eating, HALT.  Ask yourself if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. p.60
Yikes!  I know I eat not just the wrong foods, but for the wrong reasons.  That was a great reality check.   She also reminded me that I have ultimate control over the choices I make and I need to be smarter.
"Instead of taming our uncontrolled appetite to behave like it should, we continue to nurture and spoil it overtime." p.13
 And she reminded me that when it comes to working out, it's also a choice.  Simple as that.
"Remember that your reaction to each situation - whether weak or strong - is the only thing that can hurt you, so choose it well." p.163
And something that was REALLY convicting... A series of questions from p.134 that asked how conscious I'm living.  She wrote that conscious living involves choice, determination and accountability.  I have been so wrong in so many areas.  Just look at the self-reflection questions:
  • Do you eat mindlessly, or do you consider the food you consume?
  • Do you channel surf, or do you turn the TV on to watch a program, and then turn it off when it's over?
  • Do you walk the aisles of the grocery store buying whatever looks good, or do you make a list and follow it?
  •  Do you listen as much as you talk?
  • When you read, does your mind wander off?
  • Do you surf the Internet, and later realize you just wasted a whole lot of time? 
  • Do you have a closet full of clothing that you bought on a whim?
  • Look around the room.  Do you see things that you constantly step over instead of putting them in their place?
"If you find that you're zoning out of life a little too often, this may be a good time to start monitoring yourself and start living again." 
See yourself in those questions, mindlessly going through life?  I do.

And my favorite scripture from the book, which I constantly have referred back to since I read it:
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  Hebrews 12:11
Towards the end of April, while I was reading this book, a local friend of mine blogged about her desire to get in shape and run her first 5K, something she's wanted to do for 6 years.  We are new friends and she had no idea of my past or struggles.  I filled her in and told her about the ad I clipped and together we agreed to run together!  She was just the accountability I needed to get through this new period of developing good and lasting habits!

Ultimately my goal is to do cardio every day, whether it's run, Zumba, hike with the family, etc.  Sometimes things come up like outings with the kids {ahem... beach days soon!} so those become my rest days.  I'm not training hard, just steady so don't need scheduled rest days.  I am living more consciously and with more intention.  So as simple as this sounds, I just look at my day and plan where I can fit in my workout.  Afterwards, I add it to my work out calendar because I am a visual person and like to see my activity and progress!
"Priorities have a way of squeezing out the less pleasant activities, unless we make a point to prioritize them." p.43 of Reshaping It All

A month ago I started strength training too, a goal I've had for awhile.  A couple years ago I heard about HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training at a MOMS group {shout out to Christina P!}.  I'm using an app called "Seven". It was free and has verbal prompts, which I love.  Here's a screen shot of the workout!  I do 30 seconds of each exercise with a 10 second rest between.  It takes 7 minutes hence the same... it's not a crazy movie with Brad Pitt - ha!  I'm not doing each thing at an intense level yet but am working my way to it!  

I've been working out for about a month and have a little breathing room in my pants already!  The scale hasn't moved much but I definitely feel a difference.  That has been an encouragement to me!  I also love not feeling guilty about not working out anymore!

I have a bunch of other things written down that I found encouraging from the book, Reshaping It All.  I feel that the inner battle raging in me is dulling.  I feel armed with more knowledge and know I can succeed!

I shall leave you with these:
"Things that are important deserve nothing less than vigorous pursuit." p.85
"I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." 1 Cor 9:27 NASB
Living more consciously,
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My 1st thredUP experience

I recently made my first purchase with thredUP.  Have you heard of it before?  

Oh it’s ingenious!  It’s an online consignment shop and it’s so easy to use!!!!  You can search by clothing/accessory type, name brand, color, price and size!  The features are so obvious and simple to navigate!
I shopped for summer tops for myself {since I don't really need to try certain styles on}.  I selected my size and I chose the “under $10” price range!  Oh the search results!  It was amazing!  They show photos of the front and back plus include a little description.  I ordered a couple things with “slight wear” but I was still very happy with the quality!

You get free shipping if you spend $70 so I got a few tops for myself, two skirts for my daughter and pants for my son.  {Yes, they have kids stuff too!!!}  

As a first time customer I got 20% off so that brought my total down.  $54 got me allllll this!!!  

{Nice collage of my order from thredUP}
I was so happy that they applied the free shipping on $70 BEFORE the 20% discount.  Amazing!  

The box arrived and I was again impressed. Look how nice it is!

My items were wrapped in pretty tissue paper.  

And even cute little tags so the clothes felt new.

They also have shoes, jewelry and bags.  If you like name brands, you can shop by those filters!  And you can even request a bag and send them your unwanted clothes to consign!  You'll have to visit their website to learn more about that because I know nothing, but it's a neat option!!

If you decide you want to try it out, click HERE so we can both get $10 towards our next purchase!  If you do it, let me know what you got!  They'll send you an email like the photo above with all the clothes laid out... yet another fun detail!
Happy shopping!

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{PS. I have no connection to thredUP.  I just loved my first experience with them so much!!!}

Friday, May 1, 2015

Alphabet themed birthday

My youngest son turned 5 on April 30th and this year was the first time I did a party for him at home!  For the past couple years, I have simply organized play dates at either a park or Chuck E Cheese {via Facebook announcement} where I brought a cake and drinks for his friends.  It was just a simple way to make him feel special on his birthday!

This year his birthday fell on the same day as my weekly book club, and it worked out great because a whole bunch of kids come to that with their moms!  The ladies agreed to a potluck lunch to celebrate our last day in our current book.  We ate and chatted before some ladies left and it turned into party mode for the rest of us!

Colin and I talked about themes and he picked the alphabet!  Oh what a fun one!  I was able to use things I already had on hand to decorate and spent less than $5 on a couple things I needed like more balloons and streamers.  {Food and favors was where I spent money but that can fluctuate depending on your budget!}

Here are my decorations in the living room.
I wrote letters on post-it notes and the kids scattered them around like confetti.  This was also for a game.  {More on those in a sec!}

Various letter puzzles on the tables:

The dining room:

Using almost mostly what we owned, I just randomly put alphabet themed things all around my house.  ie. letters on the dryer in my downstairs bathroom, books, writing on dry erase boards and printed signs!

My friend Chrissy has a party business and made the cupcakes and marshmallow treats using Alphabets cereal. She made the wrappers to match my theme and they were soooo tasty!  Check out her Facebook page!!  This was her contribution to our potluck so I scored BIG time on that and didn't spend a dime!!  So grateful for her talent and generosity!

We played three games:

Spell the Alphabet
We split the kids into two teams.  Each team had to spell the alphabet using the post-it notes that were scattered on the wall like confetti.  Team work baby!

Pin Your Initial on the Alphabet
No donkey; no tail.  Just sticker letters on a board and a blindfold!

Musical Alphabet
Much like musical chairs but instead with painters tape on the living room floor!  My sweet daughter peeled a letter up after each round!

At the end, Colin got some great gifts from very generous people!  For party favors, I decided to do one bag per family.  Each child got their own bubbles, M&Ms, fruit snacks and stickers, but I only gave to each family one of the following: foam letters, magnetic letters and a notebook.  {I got everything from Job Lot, Walmart and The Dollar Tree for $1 or less.}

So that's how I did Colin's fifth birthday!  Once you pick a theme, it's easy to find things around the house!!!  We had a great day celebrating our son!  And with that, the Newman Kids birthday season {all in March/April with Easter!!} is OVER!  *wipes brow*!!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Simple coucous chicken salad

I just wanted to share a simple meal idea!  I cooked a roast chicken the other day and had leftovers in the fridge.  There was some meat left but not a whole lot to feed my family of five.  I took as much meat as I could off the bones while I boiled water for coucous {kinda like itty bitty rice but is pasta and takes minutes to make!}.  Once it was all ready, I added it to a bowl of spinach and chopped tomatoes, coated it all with Italian dressing.  Here's my fav:
Served it with sliced Italian bread and a meal was done!

All my kids ate this which is rare in this house so I had to pass it along!
Happy eating!
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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Cleaning Endeavor 2015

Back in November of 2012, I wrote this post {HERE} about the clutter in my home, how it accumulated and how I intended to deal with it.  I started a Facebook group called "Clutter Cleaners Accountability" so those of us who needed extra encouragement could post before and after pics or simply verbalize our goals to make them more real!  {It is a closed group so if you are on FB and want to join, come on over!!}

While looking around my home, I realize how much I need this group again!  I posted this photo last week!

It's a fun way to conquer little jobs that you often pass by!  There is something so satisfying in seeing before and after pictures!!

Now that Spring is here, many of us want to Spring Clean but it seems too overwhelming.  If you'd like to join me on my journey, I'm going to tackle it little by little and post regularly on CCA while perhaps blogging about it in chunks.

I created a cleaning schedule some time ago.  It just gives me a guideline to go by so I have a focus each day!  I do not always follow it {my endeavor!}, but it's nice to have a plan.

The first step is to write down all the little things that need to get done in that specific zone that you do NOT do on a regular basis.  These are the things you walk by and say "I'll do that later."  {ie. get that cobweb in the corner!}
Let's take my kitchen for example.... My lower priority list looks like this:

  1. change lightbulb
  2. fix tile on floor
  3. clean vents
  4. wash windows
  5. caulk counter edge
  6. vacuum under fridge
  7. clean oven

I always do general tidying and dishes but tend to stop there. This really helps me so when Monday rolls around I can attack one or all of my lower priority items depending on my availability.

What do you have to do?  Organize the pantry?  Purge mugs?  Organize spices?  Write it all down on a sheet of paper!  One room per sheet!  And it's good to walk around your home and SEE what you need  to do!

When the cleaning day comes around for that assigned zone, look at that list and DO something on it!  You'll soon discover it didn't take as long as you thought and you end up doing more!  For those of us on CCA, it's fun to post a photo of the zone we are about to attack, while others prefer to show the before and after photos together.  Either way there is something motivating about sharing these little things with others!  So again, you are welcome to join me on my Spring Cleaning 2015 journey over at Clutter Cleaners Accountability.  Hope to see you there!  {But if you aren't on Facebook, don't worry, I plan to summarize things here on my blog too!}

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Declutter your mind

Please join me over at the OneStopforMom blog where we're talking about decluttering your mind!  If you have a hard time falling asleep, this simple tip might help!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

I was greedy

Many years ago before I was married, I had my own apartment.  I was in the Canadian Reserves and had to go away for 5 weeks one summer for training.  I had a friend who was in university and worked but still lived with her parents.  I talked to her about subletting my place to help me with costs plus to bring in my mail and water my plants.  She told me straight up that she didn't want to spend a lot of money because she was on a tight budget.  Yet for her, the idea of living alone for a few weeks and in town {shaving time off her commute} was appealing to her.  We agreed on a set amount for her to pay me and I went away knowing my home was taken care of.  It was a mutually convenient situation.

When I came home after my medic course, this friend announced that she bought a car.  She was so excited and wanted to show me, but I was mad and refused.  I was so annoyed that after telling me about her tight budget, she had enough to buy a car!  That was the reason we had agreed on a very low amount for her to stay in my apartment!  She explained that we had agreed on an amount and she worked around that, but I was stubborn.  I felt taken advantage of.
Fast forward to this morning.  I am reading the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20.  A landowner hired workers for his vineyard and they worked all day long.  Other workers came on the job site later in the day but they all got paid the same amount.  The workers who were there first and worked the most hours, felt that it was unfair to be paid the same as people who worked fewer hours.  But the landowner reminded them that they hadn't been cheated.  They agreed to work for a certain wage and he paid them that.  If he wanted to pay the others the same, he could do what he wanted with his money.  Here's the passage:
11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

photo credit
After reading about the vineyard workers, my mind drifted to that friend and apartment situation that was 18 years ago!  I was so wrong!  I should have been grateful that someone even stayed at my apartment and paid me what she did to help with my rent.  After all, it was my responsibility anyway!  I should have been more understanding of my hardworking friend who was in university full-time plus working.  {This is the same friend who had a paper route when she was in Junior High and always demonstrated a strong work ethic.}  And I was wrong to get mad when we agreed on an amount because I was being purely selfish and greedy.

Essentially I wanted more of her money!  {Talk about humbling me now!}  I was so self-centered and my personal situation didn't change whether she had a car or not.  I realize how wrong I was and I will be sending her a message next to apologize for that!

Equally, the workers' pay didn't change whether more people came on the job site or not.  They should have been content too.  We must be careful to not compare what we have to what is going around us.  We will end up feeling cheated and slighted because of our selfish nature.

Reminds me of this quote by Theodore Roosevelt:

I need to be more thankful and grateful for what I have rather than looking for more.  What about you?

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