Sunday, June 30, 2013

Family Zoo Day

We enjoyed a trip to the zoo yesterday with friends-- it's only an hour away from us, and yet, the last time we went was April 2012.  The boys had so much fun, we really should go more often!  In the limited time we went, we were only able to do half of the zoo, before enjoying a picnic lunch and heading home.
 The elephants are Mommy's favorite.
 Checking out a giant egg.
Elephant tracking helicopter.
 Too much cuteness! Momma and baby gorilla!
 Hayden was a little weary of the dinosaur exhibit. This was our 1st time seeing the dinosaur exhibit and it was pretty cool. 
 Big dinosaur.  Little Hayden.
 Riding on the carousel with the boys, they really enjoyed spinning the nest.
Family photo op-- not sure what kind of face Leeland was making, but he was making that face in all of the photos.

Well, that's one thing checked off of our summer bucket list!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

P90x Week 2 Wrap Up

Checking off the days-- I feel a little silly saying that I feel accomplished after only completing only 2 weeks, but I do!  2 weeks down out of 13, and I already feel my body changing.  I can't wait to do the first 30 day update-- they hope is to take pictures and measurements at 30 days, 60 days and of course 90 days to track progress.  But without further ado, here's how week 2 went...

DAY 1 Chest & Back, and Ab Ripper:  Chest and Back is definitely my hardest day out of the week, I just don't have the strength yet.  I'm terrible at push-ups and terrible at pull-ups.  For now I do 1 or 2 push ups in the set normally and then drop to my knees.  The exercise is to max out, but when your max is so low, I just feel bad sitting there and waiting for the next exercise.  We just got a pull up bar, so on this day and last week I had been subbing with stretch bands on the pull ups, I'm interested to see how things change next week when we get the pull up bar mounted and I can use it for the first time.

DAY 2 Plyometrics:  I sweated like a pig, and was SO incredibly gassed when it was over, but I did it!  On this day I had a hard time getting up early and had to work out when the kids were awake, it was entertaining to say the least.  Hayden is in the stage of imitating everything everyone else does, so he was in his own little world trying to copy my moves.  And Leeland kept shouting for me to go faster, and asking over and over if I was done yet because he wanted to watch some morning cartoons.

DAY 3 Shoulders & Arms and Ab Ripper:  Really enjoying the arms and shoulder work outs.  I wasn't able to squeeze ab ripper into my day on this day but plan to make it up.

DAY 4 Yoga:  I still loathe yoga, I did have a bit of an ego boost though when I made up the ab ripper from the previous day.  So think back to Week 1 day 1, (which was only last week and not that far away,) I could seriously only do like 2 sit ups... and that was all.  Full sit ups are difficult!  Today I did 20!!  2 to 20 in a week and a half-- now that's working hard.  Makes me even more excited to see what my 30 day measurement results are like.

DAY 5 Legs & Back: Holy wall squats batman!  My thighs are on fire.  Daniel was here tonight and this was his first time seeing me in action, I realize that I'm not that far into it, but I already feel so proud.  And Daniel has been so incredibly supportive in making all of this happen-- helping me get it in the schedule and helping out with the kiddos.

DAY 6 Kenpo:  Kenpo is still my favorite and I look forward to it each week, 1) because I love it that much and 2) because it means the week is done.  We also enjoyed a half day at the zoo today and sweated our tushies off walking around checking out all of the animals.  That counts as exercise, right?

DAY 7 Rest: I always feel guilty resting, but my body craves it and it's nice to get rejuvenated for the week.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rosy Pink

Within minutes of posting the purple ombre rose wedding cake, I got a cake order for another rose cake for a friend's birthday.  She requested pink roses.  Personally, I can never make enough of these things, they're a lot of fun!  You guys might get tired of looking at all of my ombre goodies, but I'm having a good time over here making them. So enjoy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Bucket List

Last Friday was the 1st day of Summer!  Though, Summer is NOT my favorite season at all, I've really come to embrace it since having kids simply because the fun and activities of Summer bring so much joy to them.  We flat out can't afford a vacation this year (sad, I know, even sadder that this is the 2nd year), so Daniel and I had talked about just doing some fun activities and spreading them out throughout the Summer, a bucket list we'll call it.  So here are some of the fun things that we have come up with, and we'll see how many we accomplish before Labor Day!  In random order....

1. Go to the NC zoo.
2. Make S'mores.
3. Watch fireworks at least once.
4. Take Leeland to his first movie at the movie theatre.
5. Play miniature golf.
6. Preschool at home-- get through at least 10 letters of the alphabet.
7. Fly a kite.
8. Make (and play with) corn hole boards.
9. Visit the Natural Science Center and aquarium.
10. Go swimming, like a lot!
11. At least 2 date nights for Daniel and I (I know, I know, they're rare.)
12. An ice cream for dinner night (maybe even make our own ice cream.)
13. Have a family tie dye party.
14. Complete P90x.
15. Visit story time at the library (or our church) a few times.
16. Crochet Fall/Winter hats for the boys.
17. Pick lots of organic produce from our very 1st garden!
18. Get the hot tub up and running. (Though we probably won't use the heat part in the Summer.)
19.  Get a sprinkler and have some fun.
20. Plant some flowers/do some landscaping. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Darling Adventures Sew Along

Darling Adventures Blog was featured on See Kate Sew this week when she introduced her first sew along!  I looked at the project and thought it was super cute and seemed easy enough that I could complete it in the allotted time.  I actually sewed it up yesterday during the boys' nap time and it didn't take long at all.  It's a "journal cover" that would go over a composition notebook-- I always have composition notebooks around and was excited to decorate it and make it my own.  I also immediately thought that if I could figure it out and it turned out well that I could make some more to be gifts for people. 

I used fabric I already had on hand leftover from my hoop art I made a while back.  I decided to decorate mine with a reverse applique bird that has a black button eye.

If you want to make a journal cover too, there's still time to participate in the sew along-- just have your photos posted to Flickr by July 8th.  Happy sewing!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

P90x: Week 1 Wrap Up

The most difficult thing this week has been timing of the work outs.  Balancing the kids and kid-less time.  In a perfect world I would get up early and complete my work outs before the boys wake up.  However, we don't live in a perfect world.  Leeand has started waking up around 6am most days as opposed to his usual 730am, so it's a mind game deciding what time to get up to be able to get it done before he's up, not knowing when he'll be up.  And then also we co-sleep with Hayden, and most days if I attempt to sneak out of bed, Hayden realizes it very soon and begins to scream.  (Not a big deal the days that Daniel is off because he can stay in bed and snuggle with him, but when it's just me, it's a struggle.)  The first few days, I tried work outs during nap time thinking that would be easiest-- however, getting Hayden down for a nap isn't easy and takes a lot of work, AND after chasing the kiddos, getting up early, I'm exhausted by nap time and find it somewhat difficult to focus.  I just want to nap myself... OR take advantage of the kids sleeping to get some things done around the house...

BUT.... No more excuses!  The timing is going to be something that we just have to work out over the next few weeks.  They say it takes 21 days to build a habit, so it will boil down to trying different times and figuring out what what works best and building that habit.  It's going to be difficult in the beginning because I'm not used to another thing being added to my day, but it will be worth it.

So here's how the first week's work outs went:

DAY 1- Chest & Back and Ab Ripper:  This was my very 1st day of work outs and it was incredibly difficult.  I almost cried!  I could barely accomplish a push up.  I threw myself a pity party thinking that I didn't realize how far I had let myself go.  In reality, even when I was working out, I was never doing push-ups, so why would I be good at them? Ab ripper was equally as difficult.  Sit ups! Are you kidding me?!  Sit ups are NOT crunches, they are TOUGH!

DAY 2- Plyometrics:  I actually looked forward to plyometrics because I thought that I'm a runner and it would be where I excelled.  But holy cow, it was rough!  My thighs were BURNING!  That evening I was busily getting, doing, putting away laundry and changing the sheets on the bed, and the burn in the thighs kicked my butt going up and down the stairs.

DAY 3- Shoulders & Arms and Ab Ripper: After the first 2 days being so difficult and me wanting to cry because I was so incredibly terrible at it all, shoulders and arms was a major confidence booster! I really really enjoyed the shoulder and arms work outs and found them much easier for me than the previous days.  It also helps that I found that I need some heavier weights, so that's a boost in the ego knowing that I can lift heavier than I originally thought.  I did a little bit better at ab ripper on this day than day 1, though I didn't get anywhere near the amount of reps they are doing in the video.  My abs have been sore for a couple days now, so I guess I'll take that as a sign that it's working.

DAY 4- Yoga: I officially loathe yoga.  Daniel warned me that it was difficult (he isn't flexible) but that's not the reason that I despise it.  I'm an incredibly impatient person so yoga was a lot of slowing and winding down-- it goes very slow, and it takes going through 10 moves to get to the next move, then 11 moves to the next, 12 to the next.  It was quite irritating to me early in the morning.  I'm gonna confess that I didn't complete the full hour and a half of yoga, I only did 30 minutes.  I'll do better next week.  I may have to do the full video of yoga in 2 doses so it doesn't drive me crazy-- I know it will get better eventually once I learn the moves, then I'll be able to turn on my own music and do it at my own pace.

DAY 5- Legs & Back:  My legs are still incredibly tight and sore from plyometrics the other day, so I was incredibly nervous going into a leg work out with very sore muscles.  Just finished it up and it wasn't as bad on my sore muscles as I had anticipated.  Don't get me wrong, the work out definitely wasn't easy, squats and lunges over and over are no joke, but for the moment, my sore muscles actually feel better after having worked them out some more. Weird!

DAY 6- Kenpo:  For those who may not know, Kenpo is a variation of martial arts.  Doing Kenpo was SO much fun!  Though I did Tae Kwan Doe as a kid and also grew up with a brother, I punch a lot like a girl.  Girly punches aside though, it was a blast.  It also probably helped that this was one of the first work outs that I've really been able to keep up with and complete the reps as the instructors do them.  I sweated like a pig, seriously, like a lot, and I can only assume that means that I was doing it right.

DAY 7: REST DAY:  Praise the Lord!! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day in the kitchen....

I don't think I realized how productive I was yesterday until I looked at my Instagram feed. I was on a roll yesterday afternoon in the kitchen.  I felt like a domestic goddess! Or since Daniel and I have been watching far too many episodes of "Storm Chasers" in one sitting on Netflix, I could say in the words of Reed Timmer, I "dominated" the kitchen yesterday.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that, I pulled out some cooked chick peas out of the freezer and made some homemade hummus to snack on with veggies. (I use this hummus recipe except I start with dry beans that I cook myself in the crock pot and then I froze them in 1 cup portions to be able to pull out whenever I want them.)
I had some bananas that were going bad, and as opposed to the normal banana bread I make, I was looking for a healthier option and found this whole wheat banana muffin recipe-- it has no added sugar (is sweetened with some honey) and also has oats.  I had one this morning smeared with some peanut butter and it was pretty darn amazing!
Then I was also working on making some yogurt!  This is the 2nd time that I've made our own yogurt and I'm really enjoying it.  It's much more cost effective to make your own, and we can make it organic!  (Or for my raw milk loving friends, I bet you could go that route.)  I use this yogurt recipe with only a few modifications--After the 3 hours of it sitting unplugged, I go ahead and stir in 1/2 cup of honey and a few teaspoons of vanilla extract before placing it in the oven overnight. And I like thick yogurt, like greek style, so I use a little bit more store bought yogurt starter (though this 2nd time I was putting my homemade in) and I also strain mine in the fridge when it's done so that it's thicker. You can make it any flavor that you want, but from what I've read online, if you wanted to mix berries or something into it, you should mix them in with each serving just before you eat so that they don't get soggy, go bad, get gross.  Leeland has been gobbling it up just plain since it's sweetened with honey and has some vanilla flavoring. I usually add a little coconut or some strawberries to the top of mine.
I also hard boiled some eggs.  Now that I've begun p90x, I'm trying to be a bit more diligent in my snacking habits and the things that I choose.  And I happen to like hard boiled eggs and they aren't terrible for you.
And then after spending the afternoon in the kitchen doing all of the above, I cooked us a yummy dinner of teriyaki chicken stir fry and basmati brown rice.  It was DELICIOUS!!  I used sugar snap peas, red bell pepper, yellow squash, zucchini squash, onion, and of course the chicken which I baked prior.
Busy afternoon in the kitchen, but it didn't feel overly exhausting.  I love having healthy items pre-made in the fridge and ready to eat.  And in all honesty, I really love to be in the kitchen and love to bake/cook, the "hardest" part of the day was cleaning up my mess of pots and pans (and blender) once I was done.  Hope you all had a happy Friday and have a safe and blessed weekend!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No More Excuses (Before Pics)

No more excuses.... it's time to bring it... time to really work out!

What have been my excuses?

-The kids have been involved in the majority of my excuses as to why I can't work out-- can't do it daily, or can't make a commitment.
-I was nursing and couldn't figure out how to balance pumping and feeding baby.  (Still nursing, just not making the excuse anymore.)
-It's too hard. Yea, I went there.
-I want to spend time with my family.
-Daniel's schedule.  It makes it difficult to squeeze in work outs on his days on shift.

..... It's time to toss those excuses out the window.  It won't be easy, but I've really let myself go since having kiddos and I have REALLY REALLY struggled accepting my post- two babies body.

I haven't always been this way.  The year before Daniel and I got married, I ran my very first half marathon along with several 5k's and a 5 mile race.  That year (2008) I became a race addict. I ran at least 4 days a week and yearned for my next race and the adrenaline pump that it would bring.  I felt SO incredibly accomplished after my first half marathon and had the full intention of running it again the following year... The following year (2009) when that half marathon came around again, I was a married woman and 3-4 months pregnant with Leeland.  I know that lots of women run while they're pregnant, but I didn't feel comfortable with it.  I went on lots of long walks but I nixed the running.  I was still determined that after Leeland was born (2010) I would do that half marathon again, but juggling my lifestyle as a new mom, nursing Leeland, and Daniel working 2 jobs and going to school made it difficult to find the time.  I struggled in my training and was only able to run the women's only 5k.  Still an accomplishment but not what I had set out to do.  I was determined that the next year, I would run that half marathon, but guess what 2011 brought again.... I was pregnant.  Again I didn't feel comfortable running... 2012 brought Hayden, more nursing, juggling 2 kids, and an even funkier on shift/off shift schedule for Daniel.

It has been a constant battle mentally, physically and emotionally trying to get back in shape.  The time has been a huge issue with two kids!  I'm a stay at home mom with two very little boys (age 3 and 16 months) Daniel works 12 hour nights 4 days a week and then has 4 days off, (the first day he's sleeping of course.)  The timing is really key with the kiddos, if I want to be focused.  And then mentally, I'm not as fit as I was in 2008, I've had 2 kids and I've taken lots of breaks along the way.  It's really hard when I go for that first run and can barely accomplish a mile, when before I was running at least 3 miles 4 days a week.

My body bounced right back after Leeland was born.  I was back in my previous clothes, and aside from stretch marks, my stomach looked the same.  It was mostly breastfeeding that brought it back I'm sure, but a few runs here and there helped.  I sort of assumed the same would happen after Hayden was born, and it didn't.  I have a more "fluffy" belly, my jeans are super tight, and my arms flap.  I'm not proud of these attributes, and it's an emotional battle getting dressed everyday and wondering what my friends and family think about my post second baby body.  After some motivation from Daniel and a friend, I decided that it's time to do something about it.  Enter P90x.   I started this past Monday (17th).

The next 90 days are gonna be a struggle and a battle that I plan to document here.  Documentation to the world is going to be what holds me accountable.  At the end of the week, I'm not gonna want to get on here and blast to the world that I didn't do 2 of my work outs.  I want to be open and honest about my work outs and my results here in hopes to motivate others, and to see the results for myself.

So without further ado, here are some before photos (Please be kind, these were really difficult for me to post to the world) and some before measurements.

Please be kind reading my numbers.  I actually didn't even want to post them but Daniel talked me into it.  I had planned to just post the change later on without saying any before or after numbers, (ex- I lost 10 pounds, down 2 inches.)  We felt like this was a time to be real and thought it would be motivating to other real women out there to hear the actual numbers.


Weight: 188.6 pounds
Chest: 39 inches
Biceps: 13 inches
Thighs: 26 1/4 inches
Waist: 38 1/4 inches
Hips: 44 1/2 (They don't lie.)

Monday, June 17, 2013

What we've been up to....

We've been without computer all week after our charger frayed.  It worked frayed for a while, which now we know was probably a fire hazard-- I seriously got 1st degree burns from the metal magnet portion of it.  Now that we have a new charger (which doesn't burn you) I am now aware that it's not normal for a macbook charger to get that hot and we probably should've replaced it sooner and never left it unattended. (Oops!)  But here's a little of what our week looked like....

We did lots of playing, while it stormed a few days.
We survived our very 1st vacation Bible school!!  Leeland just became of age to participate this year.  He had a blast and I volunteered with the elementary school aged kids.  It was incredibly fun, even for the adults!  I look forward to many more years of VBS.
I have been working on a couple crochet projects, (and drinking some wine.)
We've enjoyed some yummy eats. (Five Guys is one of our faves.)
We covered the kitchen in finger paint working on Father's Day crafts.
Me and the boys grabbed dinner with my parents and sisters to celebrate Father's Day on Saturday.  We went to a small bistro in a very small town near where we live and Leeland was VERY excited about the fish pond and insisted on a photo with the fish. 
Some more playing.....
And we went on our first swim of the season!  Hayden slept literally the entire time we were at the pool, but Leeland couldn't get enough of the cold water. 
How was your week?  Hope it was well!  The weeks are truly just flying by this year, I can't keep up.  
Only 190 days till Christmas!! 

And the winner is.....

I hope that everyone else had as much fun entering the Ooe & Auti Giveaway as I did hosting it. I'm the self proclaimed giveaway queen, entering any and all I can find and winning several, so it's really fun to be on the other side of things. 

I want to give a special thanks to Ooe & Auti for making such great products and helping to make my very first giveaway a success.  I hope that there are many more giveaways to come to the blog, but without further ado, the winner of the $25 Ooe & Auti gift certificate is......

((drum roll))..... suspense.....

Jessica Bower!!!

Congrats girl, I will be in touch about your prize!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Albion Fit Coupon Code

I've been doing lots of pinning over on Pinterest (Follow me here.) of cute items from a company called Albion Fit.  They make quality swim and active wear and I've been drooling for a while.

Here's a little taste of a few things that I adore from Albion Fit--

This ruffly goodness called the Stormy Seas Swimsuit in Charcoal Gray.
.... Or this nautical bow suit, the little shorts are just too cute!
Oh, and we can't forget the activewear needed to get your beach/swim bod. I can totally see myself running or doing yoga in a pair of these crop lounge pants.
... and how adorable is the pink and white draw cord top?
.... Cute stuff right?  Ready to order?  Well I've collaborated with Albion Fit to save you $10 on your next purchase.  Use the code "nest10" to save.  The coupon code will expire on 6/11/2013.  Don't forget that they offer free shipping on orders over $100 and thanks for stopping by!

**All photos courtesy of and all opinions are my own.

Ooe & Auti Giveaway

If you've been a reader for a while then you already know this about me, but if you happen to be dropping in for the first time, then I will just tell you, I LOVE birthdays!!  I'm not just talking about my birthday, I love all birthdays.  They are just all around fun.  (Hence the reason I was involved in the Love & Envelopes birthday girl club for two years.)

But when it comes to my kid's birthdays, I go all out.  I spend months pondering on the theme and searching Pinterest for the latest trends and DIY projects.  The gatherings may be small (for now) since we do family only invites, but the party is not lacking.  Themed invites, good food, decor, and you already know I make the cake... and every year the boys get a birthday shirt. Up to this point, the shirts always have their name and age on them along with a cute graphic that goes with the party.  Daniel seems to think that I can only get away with those until the boys are 5.... but I think we'll go beyond that. Even if they don't want their name on their shirt, they'll still get a themed shirt for sure.

And where do I get these adorable shirts you ask?

At an amazing little shop called Ooe & Auti, and you can find their Facebook here.

Here's just a sampling of the cuteness that you will find from this shop....
 More of Leeland's train party can be found here.
 Hayden's little man mustache party can be found here.
And Leeland's Bob The Builder 3rd birthday here.

Adorable, right?  Leeland actually helped pick out his "scoop" shirt for his 3rd birthday this year, and he anxiously waited for it to come in the mail.  

These shirts take the party decor cuteness to a whole new level, but don't limit yourself to just parties, Ooe & Auti has some fabulous designs for holidays and some really cute quotes and sayings for everyday wear.  Or, have a new addition coming to the family?  Don't forget their big brother and big sister shirts. 

I have been beyond satisfied with the shirts that we've bought from Ooe & Auti.  And even more thrilled with the excellent customer service, if they don't have what you are looking for, just email them, the result of that email could be something super adorable like Hayden's mustache shirt.

Now for the fun stuff-- I'm very excitedly giving away a $25 gift certificate to Ooe & Auti's Shop!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and be thinking about what you would order with the gift certificate if you win.

If it were me, it'd be a tough choice.... something cute for 4th of July? Or a sweet little shirt in honor of Daniel?
*Photo credit to Ooe & Auti
*Photo Credit to Ooe & Auti

 The giveaway will end at midnight on June 15th. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rainbow Cupcakes

There's at least 100 (maybe 1,000) tutorials out there for rainbow cakes and cupcakes, so I'll spare you the hairy details of how I made them and leave you to do a simple search on Pinterest..... But without further ado, here are the rainbow cupcakes I made for the dessert social at the Beautiful Life Conference this past weekend...