Monday, November 28, 2011

Painting With Kids

 How was your Thanksgiving? Ours went well. Ate too much. Gotta make sure I keep to working out now that Body Back session is over. A new one is starting in Jan. I'll let you know my stats tomorrow.

 It's been pretty cold around here lately wouldn't you agree? Yea, yea I know we are in Alaska. But I don't remember it being this cold almost every day in November last year! So we have been inside a lot. I'm trying to get outside more, but I dislike putting on the kids snow gear very much. Who is going to invent a suit that has built in boots, gloves, and a hat? That would make my life a whole lot easier!

 Okay, so yes we've been inside a lot. Arts and crafts going on over at this household. So I wanted to share an easy craft to do with the kiddos. Just FYI, prepare BEFORE you tell the kids that you are doing this. I 'bout threw my hands up and said forget it because it was taking me too long and kids were starting to get inpatient. Wait I guess that would mean that I was getting inpatient....anyways....

 Items needed:
-paint (acrylic, finger paint, etc)
-paintbrushes (hands)
-masking tape

 Grab masking tape and cut out your kids name. I was also thinking of just using words like "love" or "play." This part took the longest so I suggest preparing that before having the kids come to paint. The curves were hard so I was getting a little frustrated with Brookes name. If you got a kid that has "tim" as a name, you got it easy!

 Then let them choose the colors and paint! I got the idea off Pinterest and they used finger paints, but I didn't have any. I thought acrylic would be a little easier and not as messy.

 Kaden is all about spiderman, can you tell? This is also great for kids working on motor development skills. Brooke enjoyed painting and we were working on using those muscles!

 Let it dry and then peel off the masking tape. Viola! Great kid art to hang up in their room!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anchorage Public Library

 I love books. I could get lost in a book all day, which is really hard when I have 3 little ones running around. I can get a chapter here or there. Sometimes it's mommy guilt saying "you can't read, you have dishes and laundry to do!" I'm still learning how to fight back with that huge voice.

 I LOVE peeking into the room to see my kids looking through books. The photo above was not staged. Kaden and Brooke were sitting back to back reading and Kora was looking as well. Books are usually scattered all over the floor daily. We have build a great collection from celebrations, just cause, and the Imagination Library.  (Great program for kids to get a FREE book monthly till they are 5!)

 It is always fun to get new books, so we head to the library to check out some "new" books. Do you have a library card? Going to the library is a LIFESAVER for winter months here in Alaska. They have great programs for little ones. Even in the summer, there is always something going on. They have programs for ALL ages! Be sure to visit their site to find out what event is coming up.

 We like to visit the Loussac library. They have a great kids section with a great resource area (as seen above.) Did you know that you can check out lap sit bags and storypackets?! It's these cool bags with several books and other goodies in them. The themes range from Alaskan tales to trucks to the zoo! I've been using this for Kaden's homeschool. I didn't have to go in and find a whole bunch of books on the theme we are covering. This is also great if you want to get in and get out with a bunch of books! Did you know you can put books on hold for you online? It's how I save time (and my sanity) when going in. The kids for some reason don't have fun when I'm trying to find a book for me, go figure.

 I think it is very inviting for families to sit and read. I haven't visited all of the libraries, but I'm pretty sure each of them have a cool little kid section. We like visiting the muldoon as well. Here is a list of the library locations in the larger cities of Alaska: Anchorage municipality, Fairbanks , Juneau, Kenai, Homer, Seward. Which one is your home library?

 At the Loussac library, there are also puzzles, felt boards and blocks for building. I think next time I'll have my books ready for pickup so I can get some reading in and then let them play. The day we went, I made a couple of rookie mistakes. Stayed to long, is that even possible? Oh wait, with kids, yes. Stayed too long and it was lunch and nap time. What was I thinking? Needless to say Brooke screamed/screeched, whatever you want to call it, it was loud and embarrassing. THEN I was paying attention to the man who was getting me a new card and Brooke was gone. Kaden asked, "where's Brooke?" At first I didn't think she could get that far away. When I walked around and couldn't find her, all these thoughts started racing through my head. Do I get them to lock the doors, what if someone took her, what if she got on the elevator, what do I do! Probably 2 minutes passed, seemed like 15, and then I started YELLING her name. A lady pointed me upstairs, and sure enough there she was, laughing. She made it up 2 flights of stairs very quickly and quiet.

 Has something like that ever happened to you? It is the scariest thing! Well just getting out of the library, the kids were going crazy as well as myself. I don't know how I left without tears. We will be back, just with a better plan of attack and we won't stay as long. What works for you at the library? Or any public place with small, walking kiddos.

 Just FYI, the mayor is proposing budget cuts for our libraries. The Samson-Dimond library was already closed, so sad. I would really hate to see more budget cuts to a great community resource. Visit the Anchorage Library Foundation to learn more and how to get involved. Have you liked the Anchorage Public Library facebook page yet? They let you know when all the fun events are going on. So if you haven't done it, go get a library card!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Body Back: Momma Wants Her Booty Back

 Okay, I just finished the "Momma Wants Her Booty Back" DVD....... I hate you Lisa Drumman. This video KICKED my BOOTY!!! And my little chicken legs! I probably should not of eaten those 3 handfuls of chocolate chips before doing the video.

 Can I just tell you that through the video I was saying "oh come on Lisa, are we done yet?" and "you've got to be kidding me, we are not done yet?" and "we are ONLY half way!"  Yes the workout is only 30 minutes. This is how out of shape I am.

 Out of all the videos, this was the hardest one for me. I consider myself athletic, but this shows me how out of it I truly am. On several of the exercises I had to rest because I couldn't even keep up with the lady who was doing the easy moderation exercise. Then several other times I had to stop because I was cramping.

 What helped me get through this workout was looking at those mommas on the video and how amazing their bodies looked. "I can get there right?" Well maybe I need to stop eating 3 handfuls of chocolate chips!

 I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow. I know it was a great workout, even though I was cursing Lisa and so wanted to just sit down. So I guess I do truly love you Lisa. Thanks for helping me get my booty back.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fact Friday

I still get excited when I see a moose, even after I've lived here for 7 years. Do you know how to read their body language? If you come a cross a moose and the long hairs on the hump are raised, ears are down and it starts licking its lips, you better back away. Do you know what to do if a moose charges you? Get behind something solid like a tree. They can be dangerous and can kick with their back and front feet.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fact Friday

 The heaviest snowfall in one day in Alaska happened on December 29, 1955 in Thompson Pass. They got 62 inches of snow which is a little over 5 feet!!  Talk about getting snowed in!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Z to A Kreations Giveaway

 Isn't this cute! Guess, I'm giving one away!! You get to chose the colors! Even better, it's not for your little one but for YOU! This warm headband is made by Abbe over at Z to A Kreations. I asked Abbe a couple of questions to get to know her and her business more.

Tell us about yourself and how you started the business.
 I started crocheting with my mom when I was in elementary school.  Over the years I have crocheted many gifts for family and friends. Our son Zak was born 11 months ago, and I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  With encouragement from my husband, family, and friends, we started Z to A Kreations as a place to order affordable and adorable crochet photo props and head wear. Since starting up a few months ago the response has been great, I am excited about all the orders I have been receiving.

Where do we find your products?
  Z to A Kreations works with several local photographers with props for newborn sessions.  I can crochet many different types and sizes of head wear, including our very popular head warmers.  Z to A Kreations has a Facebook page with many items we can make for you.  I recently put items into my first craft fair and look forward to another coming up.

What do you love about Alaska?
 There are many things we love about Alaska.  In the summer, we enjoy the long daylight hours fishing from the Peninsula to the Interior.  We have taken advantage of the snow this season by taking Zak out on a sled.  We are almost always accompanied by our Husky, Angel.

 Visit Abbe's facebook page to see her color assortment! The winner will one of these great headbands in the color they want! In order to win, please write a comment with a way to contact you. You have to be an Alaska resident. =) A winner will be chosen Sunday night. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BodyBack- Momma Wants Her Body Back

  How are you at taking care of your body since you had kids? Um, not so good for me. I would look at pictures of moms with amazing bodies and wish I could look the same way. I've always grown up being active in sports and in pretty good health. After having kids, I had a hard time taking care of myself. I tried Curves and a membership at the Alaska Club. But I failed at those. Took to much time and effort. I also didn't have someone keeping me accountable. I'm lazy in this area. I did do Stroller Strides when Kaden was a baby and I lost weight. But I started having more kids and it got harder keeping them in strollers.

 My friend Chandra, owner of Stroller Strides in Anchorage, contacted me to see if I wanted to try BodyBack out. Here is what is involved in the 8 week session:

Two group workouts per week
Mama Wants her Body Back meal plan and food journal
Before and After fitness assessments and measurements
Online coaching and support
Workout DVDs
Resistance band

 I figured I needed to lose weight and this might be my best option! One of the great things about this program is that it is for moms only. My kids can stay at home with dad while I get my workout on because it's later in the evening.

 My first meeting was to get assessed with sit ups, push ups, run a mile and get numbers from my body. I'll share, I could not do a SINGLE sit up!! Those kids did a number on me! I think I did well on the push ups, carrying kids around keeps my arms in some sort of shape. I weighed in at 160lb. Oh and I volunteered to take a photo of me in a sports bra for a "before" photo. I'll save your eyes from that one though. =)

  I took home 3 booklets for my meal plan. I was doing the Belly Fat Cure before this meal plan so that kind of help jump start eating right. I believe eating clean doesn't happen over night. I've taken out a lot of processed foods as well as sugar. The meal plan from BodyBack gives me a lot of ideas for snacks and meals that are healthy. Takes the thinking out of "what's for dinner?" What I have learned is that I need to be more organized. If I don't have what I need in the house, I will be eating several pieces of buttered toast or those chocolate chips in the freezer. This is an area that I am working on, being prepared.

 Besides meeting twice a week with Chandra, who works my butt off, I have to do several videos a week. I get to choose when to do them and they are very short. BUT do the job. My husband actually does the videos with me sometimes and he is sweating. There are modifications in the videos for advanced and beginners. Very easy to do. I will be using these videos after I am done with the 8 week session.

 I highly recommend this program. The price is $250 for Stroller Strides moms, $275 for non-Stroller Strides moms, and $200 for active military moms. I know it seems like a lot up front, but it is well worth it! A lot cheaper then a gym membership and you kind of get your own trainer. You also get accountability and support, which has really helped me, even on the days that I feel like I failed.

 So what about results? I've lost 5 lbs so far. Going to Vegas and Washington for a week did not help. BUT I think I'm also gaining muscle, which weighs more then fat. I feel and look stronger. I feel better in my clothes and I can see a difference. Definitely not there yet. I would like to lose 15 lbs. But its not about the losing weight for me as much as it is to being healthy. My eating habits are changing for the better, and I think twice about chomping on the cookie. Sometimes I grab a yogurt instead but sometimes I still grab that cookie. Old habits are hard to die, that's why I know this is not happening over night. But I'm very happy with the outcome so far!

 Need more info? Visit here to learn more!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where have you been!?

  It's been a month, did you miss me? This has been a busy month! We FINALLY moved back into our condo. Boxes are still left unpacked, probably will be for months. Then my aunt and mom took me to Vegas to celebrate my 30th birthday!

We were in Vegas for 4 days and boy were they glorious! We stayed at the Bellagio, which was grand! The photo above was taken from my mom and aunts room. We would just sit in front of the window and watch the fountains dancing to the music.

 Now this was MY room! That's right, MY room! I was very spoiled. I got that king size bed all to myself! And I slept like a ROCK! My bathroom had a shower and a soaking tub. One night I took a nice, hot bath and read a magazine. THEN I took a great, hot shower! THEN read magazines in bed! Are you jealous yet? ALL moms need a vacation like this!

 Of course, I gambled some. Which I really don't like doing, I'm cheap. I spent about $70 bucks on the slots. The most I won at one time was $50, but quickly lost that. My mom and aunt did very well. I spent the rest of my money on shopping for clothes. It was so nice to be able to walk around and try things on without 3 kids distracting me.

 We saw The Beatles Love and Blue Man Group. Very entertaining shows that I highly recommend! Everything was so relaxing. It was so nice to just take care of me. I got to go swimming and lay out by the pool. I basically did almost everything that a mom dreams of doing on a vacation. I didn't have to think of what to cook for dinner, nor did I have to clean up! I got to just focus on me. I hadn't done that in such a long time. I feel like I got so much clarity just relaxing. I did miss my family dearly. In that, I appreciated them all the more. If you can, get away! Even if it is just for one night.

 Oh, but the fun didn't stop in Vegas! I flew into Seattle to meet up with my husband and son. The girls stayed back with my mother in law. We visited family and friends. Got to stop in IKEA fro 20 minutes and bought dishes that we carried on the plane so we didn't have to pay for shipping. LOVE IKEA!! Oh, can I just say that going from taking care of 3 kids to 1 is so easy!!! Especially when that kid is 4 years old!

 Sorry this photo isn't all that clear, but it's the only one I got of me dressed up. Our friends hold a Murder Mystery every year for Halloween because that is one of their birthdays. We have been doing it for 6 years now!
 Here are our great hosts! She was a trapeze artist and... well you know what he was going for. The theme was "Murder Under The Big Top." My husband was the ring master and I was the person who is in charge of all the animals. We thought it would be funny if I wore lots of fur and animal skin. Hence the snake skin hat and fur collar.
 We had a muscle man, knife thrower, FBI agent, and more trapeze artists. It was a lot of fun, always is! Have you ever done a murder mystery? What did you dress up as? The clown ended up being the murderer and no one guessed it! I should of known, clowns are evil! Like the fru-its of the dev-il. (Name the movie!)

 I've also been busy working out, wahoo!!! I'm working hard with Chandra, owner of Stroller Strides. She is introducing a new program, BodyBack. Ill tell you more about it tomorrow so stay tuned!