Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 is Going to be Epic


  All any of us can do is go into the new year with a positive mindset.  To go into it any other way is setting ourselves up for disaster.  Why would we purposely do that to ourselves?  There are already going to be bad days so lets not run out the gate seeking it out.

  My new year may not be quite epic but close enough is good enough for me.  I will shoot for epic and if I fall slightly short that's ok.  At least I aimed for it.  At least I set it not as a goal but as motivation.

  I do set up objectives.  I don't want to call them resolutions because I don't want to and because I don't want to be put in that pot of here's my resolutions and I didn't complete any, some or all of them so; I'm changing the terminology.

  Let's just keep it simple.  If they are simple I am more likely to take them seriously if I can actually achieve them.  Lol and to keep it simple I'm going with lucky number 12. Why?  Because there's 12 months so every month I'm responsible for them.

  My objectives:

1.  One book a month! (Number 12!)  This should almost be easy as I'm in a book club so that helps a little.

2.  Volunteer- once a month.  I will look into local organizations to schedule it ahead of time as much as I can so that stays on track!

3.  Organize a week out for posts and more organization for engagement.  I picked up a new planner today, yeah!

4.  Find time for me without guilt on a weekly.  

5.  One new recipe weekly!

6.  Finish state park visits! (15-16 left)

7.  Bucketlist items to be done THIS year. (I didn't do any least year)

8.  Water I need to drink more water!! I would love to see the results from actually following through with this.  I need to devise a plan and make myself accountable.

9.  Random act of kindness monthly.  You will only know after its been done. ;)

10.  I would like to become more centered.  Take things less personal,  increase my patience and be more restrained.  This will involve more reflection, mediation and maybe even asking for help on my part.

11.  I would love to continue outside appreciation. Hiking, pictures and exploring! 

12. Monthly craft or DIY project.  Remember I did get a couple toys for Christmas! 

  I would like to think all of these are obtainable but I already know some upcoming changes that are coming and can only think positive and hope for the best that I can stay on track and push through.

  I appreciate your encouragement and motivation! 

  2 more days and its a New Year! Good luck, be safe and have a good year! 

What are you most looking forward too this year? A birthday milestone? A trip? Graduation?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Garden of Lights

 A trip though the gardens at night with holiday lights displayed offers a great night out for the family.

Each year the display is equally as entertaining as the previous year.  You are amused at a waving snowman!

Or amused at the underwater theme.

The light displays have some displays with solid lights others may have animation or music.

The colors are nice to see either way and it's just neat to see a glowing butterfly!

Finally your tour ends with some little fellas that will get a smile out of at least one person in the car.

Since we have been to this display several years in a row I guess this is one of our traditions.  What's one of your traditions or places you go yearly over the holiday season?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Kindness Challenge (book review)

  Do you live in the kindest world? Do you wish you did?  I do not but, I wish I did.  As I write this I can't help but to think how unkind life really is.

Kindness is defined as the quality or state of being gentle or considerate.  This doesn't assign a particular task to any particular person.  It's pretty much up to everyones discretion.  It doesn't even have to cost anything or be related to material objects of any kind.

  Small consistent steps is what helps to keep on track.  30 days of focus on a area that needs improvement can't get worse, right?  Your intentions have to be genuine and you can't be kind for gratification.  

  This book guides you on the journey of kindness through prompts, statistics and personal stories.  With the book as an aid you are able to stay focused and on track when you feel like it's not working, feel defeat, or become discouraged.  Why keep trying when it's not being reciprocated?  

  You know what's funny is over the course of 30 days of focusing your intentions on someone else you yourself become a better person.  You learn to have patience and listen.  To hear and understand a person's intentions before your own.  You learn to see a scenario from another perspective.

  The Kindness Challenge will provide/supply you the motivation and inspiration to make your world a kinder place.  We all know one person is all it takes and one action can cause a reaction.  If all our actions are positive and purposeful we can slowly change the world around us.

  This is a great book in the sense that it's informative and provide insight and motivation in a positive format.  It's nice to know what to do, how to do it and why to do it!

  To find out more about the author, read a summary or purchase the book click here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas is Over

  Christmas is over!  Or is it?  Is Christmas over after you opened the presents? Traveled to all your families? When you get home?  I say it is over here as the kids are in bed.  All wore out from getting up early, peaking at their highest excitement level and are now sleeping.

  No more questions.  How did Santa....?  Can you open this please?  Can you make it work? All is calm.

I don't know if I appreciate this time the most out of the whole day or not.  It's fun to see the pure happiness but there's a lot going on through out the day.  I'm exhausted.  More so mentally then physically.

  I had to open presents.  Its becoming a whole new experience.  Toys are so secured in their box that even if they roll off a truck at 60mph; all will be ok.  Even if they fall off a sleigh at 30 feet in the air; all will be ok.

Take a look at this locking device on this toy. Now here's an area that even comes with directions and should have some.  You need to twist the knob into a groove for release.  Is all this plastic cheaper then the ties?  Does it secure the toy better?

  Not one box was the same.  These are the easiest tie downs in my opinion.  Ah, untwist it, pull it back threw and that's it.  Definitely the fastest securing system that I can master!

  Then comes the dolls.  Have you purchased a doll lately. Lately meaning these are not the tie downs from my childhood.   These remind me of the strips that secure pet food. You pull one string and it opens right up.  Except these don't work so magically.

  After all that work then preparing dinner; bedtime for me just couldn't come soon enough. I'm so exhausted; mentally exhausted.  

  Good night everyone!  I hope your holiday was great and everything will almost go back to normal tomorrow. I don't promise, I only hope.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Two Days Before Christmas Checklist

  The day is almost here! What day is that? Ask almost any child.  Mine has let me know multiple times on the same day that it's 2 days until Christmas.  Ok, already thank you for letting me know. I forgot it's only been an hour.

  Well but now that you told me; let's get busy.

1.  Wrap presents now or 2am tomorrow when the kids are sleeping.  You decide.

2.  Find those stockings because you have little kids and they are expecting them?  Where are they mom?  Where are you going to hang them?

3.  Find stuff to put in said stockings.  Second guess yourself about wrapping those items as well.  Plus will anyone really notice if it's Halloween candy if I toss in a candy cane or two?

4.  Clean the house because torn wrapping paper looks better on a clean floor.

5. Food prep for dinner. Or just make and eat cookies!  You know you made more then enough of those.

  As I have seen posted several times today Merry Christmas Eve Eve.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sing (movie review)

  Off to the movies we went yesterday.  There's nothing I like more then to catch a new movie then getting to see it on matinee prices!   Well I do like to see an adult movie and I do like to see a good movie but I can do that on a matinee price too so I guess that is still the best way to see a movie.

  The kids and I headed out to catch the movie Sing. Sing is an animated musical film rated PG and runs for 1 hour and 50 minutes.  The cast includes voices from: Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Rhea Perlmen  and Jennifer Hudson to name a few.

  The movie is comprised of a variety of animals ranging from koalas, giraffes, pigs, elephants, mice and more.  The animals all have an ability to sing; some better then others but when a reward for a talent show presents itself along with a prize of $100,000 animals come from everywhere to participate.

  Kids will enjoy the animals singing.  Adults and kids will enjoy both classic and current songs.  We have all seen the commercials but there are plenty more well known songs throughout the movie.

  You see some ingenuity from one animal so that they can participate in the show.  An animal chooses not to follow the family business and pursue their opportunity.  One animal proves that small packages carry a lot more then it appears. Another animal even eventually breaks out of her shell.

  This movie was ok.  My kids sat through it: meaning no potty breaks or fidgeting.  I was entertained by the music.  You already know it's going to be music based because it focuses on a theater. There is drama with the animals, lying, cheating and stealing.  The animals come together for a common goal. They forgive and forget and decide the show must go on.

  Nice movie to sing some songs and enjoy family time before the big day this weekend.  If your done shopping that is!

  Have a great weekend and if you do stop to see the movie drop me a message to let me know what you thought.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Ornaments equal Holiday Gifts

  Tis the season to break the bank or get creative.  Depending how many supplies you have on hand will depend on how many trips to the store but these trips still shouldn't break the bank.

  Over the last few days I have made items for my daughter to give as gifts.  A few trips to the dollar store and items I have had on hand have aided in some nice gestures of thoughtfulness and kindness.

  My two main items for gifts inspired by Pinterest:

A wine cork.  Which is really easy to find even if you don't drink.  Stop at a local restaurant, check with neighbors or even grocery stores that have wine tasting.

These plastic ornaments came from the dollar tree.  I like that you get two to a package.

Pinterest is great for any and everything.  You just need to have a plan in mind or risk the chance of losing time over searching for something and getting distracted and looking at something else.

  I have been on there looking at all things Christmas.  My daughter wanted somethings to give out and I wanted it to be unique.  I have no shame in that they are cheap gifts because they are homemade and unique.  The teacher will probably get tons of cookies, mugs and coffee gift certificates and when the air clears the food and drink will be gone!  

Cork Mouse!  For the mouse I used two corks.  1 for the whole body then I cut two circular pieces off for the ears. Face was applied with a marker.  Scarf was scrap ribbon. Arms, legs and tail were wire I picked up at the dollar store and twisted into limbs and after making an initial hole with a paperclip I pushed them in and secured them with hot glue. You could add a eyelet on top to make it an ornament.

Santa cork!  I deviated from the directions of painting him and just covered him in red felt.  Hat is also red felt with a cotton ball pulled apart for the trim and a white pompom.  Eyes are drawn on and his nose is loose felt rolled up.  His beard is pulled off a cotton table runner (dollar store purchase) but you could use a cotton ball pulled apart for this too.  Everything hot glued together.

The last two items made my daughter and I were like elves.  I made one and see made the other.  


We shredded a sheet of brown paper and she had the task of stuffing the ball.  The eyes and nose were hot glued down.  The antlers are one pipe cleaner.  I didn't have brown so it is black for this deer.  One piece of pipe cleaner wrapped around the top, then cut in half on each side and wrapped around again.

I loved this idea when I saw it and had to make it.  I didn't know a pig could be so cute.  He couldn't have been easier to make!  I didn't have pink paint so I went about it a little harder by adding drops of red and white and shaking it around the inside.  I was amazed and grateful to have found a pink button nose.  I drew in some little black beady eyes and cut out pink ears that I hot glued on.

There you have it folks! If you even have only a half hour you have time to make 4 cute, unique, homemade, handmade gifts!  

I'm glad I had glue sticks in bulk but after this season I may need to stock up on some more.

Have you made any unique gifts?  Have you gotten stuck on Pinterest for hours?  What's your favorite holiday item?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Playroom Prep Review

  I was recently presented with the opportunity to add a new book to our school day.  Currently we use a variety of printables as well as items I have on hand. The Playroom Prep book was a nice change.  It encouraged learning a little differently and it was nice to save on ink!

  He is learning the alphabet, shapes, colors and numbers.  Along with scissor skills, gluing, coloring and other hand and eye exercises.  He is also playing, crafting and enjoying learning!

  He enjoys going to school at home with his mom!  I think he understands the concept and appreciates the end result. Not to mention everyday is a surprise. What will I learn today?  What new letter will it be?

  The Playroom Prep book is a sturdy book with rings making it easy to flip to the next page and stay there!

 Each page is filled with bright colors and encourages a different action to be taken.  The whole book is reusable; so write and wipe!   Discuss the color, shape, letter, trace the items with a finger then a crayon.  My son can identify the shape. So to encourage him to think more I ask questions.  Can you find something else in the same shape.  What color is this shape? What else is that color.

  This book can aide in your teaching process at home.  Follow the 3 steps: prepare, discuss and trace.  The planning page located in the back of the book saves you from planning.

 Even if you switch the letters and days around you can work with the letter of choice and stick with the pages already provided and organized in the book.

  Add this to your home library and start using it in your teaching process.  Order your copy here.  I appreciate the ability to wipe the book clean and be able to reuse.  The pictures are nice and appealing.  The graphics are easily identifiable for all kids.  This is a great already organized book.  When you don't have time to plan it's all ready for you.  As my child grows we will continue to use it and change what we are learning from it.

  I was provided this book free for my honest review and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Let's Craft! DIY wreath

  It has been a good holiday crafting season for me.  I have managed to make some gifts that I am proud to give away.  I'm far away from opening a shop and selling but I think I can confidently slide my wares to those close to me!

  This project was first seen here.  Gabbi provides you with easy instructions if you have the patience to tackle this project yourself.  I think I have earned a stripe for accomplishing this but if your feeling less motivated she will help you out!  She has an Etsy shop and sells them.

  I'm not going to provide you with the steps.  Gabbi has that all covered.  Hop over to her site and make one or buy one.

I spent $6 on everything you see.  I bought everything at the Dollar Store.

 4 tube of ornaments (red,green,gold and silver)
 1 gold strand of garland
 1 green foam circle
(Green ribbon to hang I had on hand)

Did you know that $6 could look this good?  Go ahead and impress your family and maybe a friend or too.

  Don't forget to hop over and check out Gabbi's Etsy shop.

  So many wreaths so little time. This is my 3rd one!  I'll show you my other one later!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Getting creative with chalk markers (review)

  Say hello to the new markers in town.  I have been eyeing these chalk markers for a while and got to try them out.

  Think of art.  Think of bright colors. Think of your art being enhanced to another level.  All of that can happen with these markers. You can make your statement with these marker!

  12 colors to include gold and silver have you covered for all your coloring needs.

 The marker also have a 2 tip option. 6mm point allowing for a thin outline or a thick shade.

The reversible tips are easy to pull out and flip over in order to change the tip out.

  To get started with the markers you need to push the tip down first, followed by shaking them then press tip down to fill with ink on surface.

  These markers perform best on nonporous areas.  It is suggested to test on small areas prior to using them.

  I used them on a chalkboard! Tried on the corner with a successful removal when I wiped it off.

This is the board after I wiped off the marker.

Everything came off but the gold lettering was a little harder to get off. You can still see traces of it after I scrubbed it off.  

You can also use it for special messages on your mirror!

Grab some velcro and leave a pen there for those times when grocery items pop in.

Overall I think the markers are great.  They are a fun item to use on anything and I really like the bright colors.  I can't wait till I get some blackboard labels and I will be labeling everything.

I received this product for a discount on exchange for my honest review and all opinions are my own. 

Pick up a pack or two for stocking stuffers here! Kids, adults and all aspiring adults will appreciate these.  


Friday, December 9, 2016

9 Days of 30 Day Fitness Challenge Recap

  So at the beginning of the month I made a couple goals.  One of those goals was to workout in one way or the other for the month of Dec.  Yes, I did workout before but never everyday. Never with the mindset that I had to get a workout in EVERY day.  Never have I ever worked out with a purpose everyday until now.

Here's what 9 days of working out looks like!

Day 1 I started on the elliptical.

Day 2 I swam laps for 30 minutes.

Day 3 I worked out at home but not alone!

Day 4 I ran on the treadmill.

Day 5 I rowed 5000m.

Day 6 I took a Piloxing class.

Day 7 I swam sat in the hot tub and spent minutes in the sauna.

Day 8 on the bike.

Day 9 also on the bike.

  I would like to say that's a pretty productive 9 days.  Some of my cardio days included weight training with an exception of the class and swimming days.  I alternate between legs, arms and abs.  This second week I started with protein shakes in the morning and even meal prepped my lunches for the week.
  I am not looking for major changes although some pants have slid on a little better then they used to; that's kind of nice let's just be honest.  The scale hasn't moved but, you know what they say its about how your clothes fit!  I just want to condition my body and tone it.  I wanted to set a challenge/goal for myself and 30 days of fitness sounded like a good place to start.  9 days down 3 weeks to go!  See what I did there?  The weeks were less then the days so I am fooling myself.
  If you feel motivated to join me I would love to hear your goals whether they are fitness related or not.  What are you currently challenging yourself with?  Finish reading one more book before the end of the month?  Finish shopping a week ahead of Christmas?