Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wellness Wednesday - 7 Of My Favorite Fitness Finds

I wouldn't say I love working out, but I do it, almost every day. I get bored easily, and since I'm a stay at home mama with a husband who is out the door by 5:30am, I can't just get up and go to the gym early in the morning.

HEART RATE MONITOR

I use this one:



It's not the newest model, but it's affordable and keeps track of your heart rate and calories burned. This is helpful to me because I'm only five feet tall and not really overweight - so calories burned is much lower for me than the average person. This helps me get a good picture of how hard I'm working and I can easily pump it up a little if my target heart rate isn't in zone...You can set it to beep to let you know! Alternatively, I can chill out a little when it's going wild! I tend to have a high heart rate naturally.

HOUSE SHOES

Ok, this sounds silly, but I workout in my house to online workout videos. We don't wear shoes in our house. It grosses me out. So, I used to workout barefoot...which now seems insane to me. I bought myself a pair of inexpensive but highlighter-bright (why not?) tennis shoes to workout in the house.

FITNESS BLENDER

At Fitness Blender, there are over 400 FREE workout videos, a free calendar to keep track of workouts, and a husband and wife duo, that is just really awesome. They want affordable health and fitness to be available to everyone. There are meal plans and challenges available for purchase (very affordable) on the site, but I've never bought one. All of the videos in those challenges are free already on the site, they just set up a specific plan for you when you purchase. They even just came out with a free APP!

YOU TUBE
You Tube is the home of A LOT of trash...but you know what? There are a ton of awesome, full length workout videos. Some of my favorite subscriptions, other than Fitness Blender are: jessicasmithtv, BeFit, and POPSUGAR Fitness. You can also find celebrity trainers on there too like Jackie Warner, Jillian Michaels, Chris Freytag, and Cindy Whitmarsh - all of whom I enjoy working out with!

WATER BOTTLE

One of my Christmas gifts from my husband was this water bottle. It's a glass one with a silicone sleeve. I love it. It holds 20oz. so I try to drink 3 per day and it's really be very helpful to me.

MY FITNESS PAL

The site is free,  you can scan your food and recorded your exercise and food intake. I use this periodically to get back on track with my eating. The only problem I personally have with this, is I'm a scratch cook. Most of what I eat is made with my own two hands. This can be extremely tedious to figure out calorie counting...So, when I feel frustrated, I use something probably considered archaic.

FOOD JOURNAL
There tons of fancy ones out there...but I use a notebook and list my water intake, weight, exercise and food eaten for the day...Then I take a picture of it and send it to a friend to keep me accountable...Even that one day when I ate a large blizzard...*hanging my head in shame*

FREE WEIGHTS
Weight training is my favorite kind of workout. Obviously I alternate with cardio and a few days of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but I love my weights. Don't be discouraged if you can't spend the money on weights right now. Honestly, 6 years ago, I started with water bottles. Then, my sister-in-law loaned me a pair of 3 lb. You'll get there. Start where you are.

I will use anywhere between 3lb. and 20lb. free weights, and a kettle bell.

I have metal and coated dumbbells, but I do prefer the coated ones (similar to the ones below). They're nicer to grip, in my opinion (and don't scratch my wedding rings). I do use weight lifting gloves sometimes, too.



I own this kettle bell, but I'm looking to purchase a heavier 10-12lb. one as well.



So, nothing here is fancy, necessary or expensive. What are some of your favorite gadgets?


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tips And Hints Tuesday - 5 Easy Ways Keep Kids' Rooms Clean

Kids' rooms can get out of control, and FAST!

We have always had our kids help with chores, even from the youngest of ages. I'm a bit Type A when it comes to clutter and keeping like toys together. My second-born however, is NOT. She likes to mix everything together, every day.

We have finally gotten to the point where we're both happy with the arrangement. Our bedrooms are small, and our second-daughter's room is exceptionally small.

I can't say enough, that kids need to get used to picking up after themselves before they pull out new toys, move onto another activity, and before they go to bed. It's a habit in our house and because of that, I really don't have to say much about clean up.


FIND A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

This might take some time. It can be a huge job to sort through the massive amount of toys, legos and little pieces your kids accumulate. However, if you start with a place for the toys they play with most - slowly things become sorted on their own. Clear bins REALLY help kids to see where to put things.

MAKE IT EASY TO PICK UP

We use the open bins below for books and specific toys. Our girls know what goes where and it's quick and easy for little hands to clean up with these. They don't have to open lids, and it's easy to see inside.



We also sort little toys with these:



And some of our Barbies stand up in these when they're picked up:



There's also something to be said for a simple zip-top bag. Ours hold the smallest of toys like barbie accessories, very well. We even save the plastic snap bags in which kids chapsticks and nail polish - and even character underwear come! They are more durable and again, are easy for tiny fingers to close.


TOSS THE JUNK

This is a periodic and never-ending job. Take a grocery bag in there every now and then and toss all of those kids' meal toys and ripped paper creations that have no business cluttering up the space. Donate or put on a rotation and pack away things they don't play with. If it's sitting in there and getting no use but you feel bad getting rid of it - part ways. If you don't love something - "release it and let someone else love it." This is said by one of my favorites at flylady.net.


ROTATE

Our play-doh stays high up in the hall closet so only I can reach it when it's time to play. At the moment, Strawberry Shortcake and her cronies are in one of the plastic shoeboxes linked above, in the bedroom closet. They're easy for me to reach when she wants it, but out of the way enough so that it's not all dumped out all of the time.

PICK UP OR SUCK UP

Our 9 year old's room is almost always picked up and our 4 year old is well on her way. But, before I vacuum (and maybe this sounds awful) I call out "pick up or suck up," and that means, whatever is on the floor in the next 10 minutes will be eaten by my yellow Dyson. I haven't had to test the theory. It's all in fun and the kids don't get mad; it just means, go pick up your stuff.

With a little consistency, this stuff works very well. The kids get to play with what they want, when they want and I'm not overwhelmed by the mess!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Discipline...

Over the last six months, I've done some serious evaluating. Making the decision to become a full-time stay-at-home mom was a difficult but exciting choice, and from the moment we felt led to take that leap, my mind was spinning.

I'm passionate about becoming a godly mom and wife, and let me tell you, God isn't starting with much here. I have such a short fuse and half the time, I don't even realizing I'm snapping.

I could go on, but much of what I've discovered about disciplining my children over time is that, it's less about changing their behavior and more about changing mine.

So hard.

Tonight wore me down. We're coming off the heels of Christmas and my three year old has been sick for the past week. Couple being spoiled with gifts, junk food and late nights with fevers and constant TV, and you've got a recipe for a disaster. She's been in full meltdown mode.  I've said before that I think consistency is the key; whatever your method, be prepared to follow though - first time and every time. I realize this is sometimes easier said than done.

Matt went back to work today, Hannah to school, and Emma opened her eyes ready to conquer all in her path. It started with getting dressed, wearing a coat, not being allowed to watch TV, banging her knee, throwing toys and refusing to put shoes on. I was tired before 8:30am.

Leaving my parents' house today, I told her either way, she had to put her shoes on to leave. If she fought with me about it, she couldn't have her music in the car. She tested that - and had a music-less ride home.

Later this evening, our little spitfire, refused to eat her dinner, sit on the potty, take a bath and put on her pajamas. After many warnings and punishments, little Emma went to bed before 7:00pm. I sat and rocked a hysterical little girl, begging for a 100th chance. Watching her trying to catch her breath from crying so hard, I wanted to give in. I was fighting back tears. I had to stick to my guns. If I don't follow through, she will never take me seriously, follow the rules, or learn to be disciplined. She won't understand that their are consequences for her actions.

I couldn't help but think of how God is with us. He doesn't want to discipline us. But he wants us to be healthy and whole. He gives us chance after chance. He wants us to do the right thing. It's not about him torturing us when we make a mistake. It's about making us a little uncomfortable when we're knowingly making bad decisions so that we redirect our paths. It's out of complete love. It's so hard for me to grasp,  especially as someone who can tend to be anxious, but looking at my baby and refusing to give in, I understood. It broke my heart. I was glad it was dark in her room because, as her little eyes stared at me piercing my soul, tears were stinging mine.

She's sound asleep, exhausted from not feeling well, and I'm praying tomorrow is a better day. I'm drained but confident that tonight, I did the right thing, helping Emma take a baby step toward a more fulfilling life.

Parenting is hard. I wonder how God feels.

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.


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