Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Taking off the weight - What really works

Little Minnow (AKA Trek) now at 10 wks
With a masters degree in natural health and a love for all things healthy it is easy to give nutrition advice.  This time, however, after the birth of our fifth kiddo I find myself  14 pounds over my normal weight and needing to shed the weight myself.  So I am not only giving advice I am sharing what I am currently doing to help loose that weight myself.

I had our 5th child January 6th Trek Anderson Neeley.  I LOVE HIM TO PIECES!  He is so precious.  The one thing I do not love is the extra weight he left me with!  Now that he is a few months old I am working to take it all off.  I had 17 pounds to go when he was around 6-7 wks old.  I now have 14 lbs and am so glad it is not more!  One thing I noticed when searching the web for post natal weight loss ideas was that a lot of the tips were only helpful if you weren't already making healthy choices. Suggestions to give up soda and fast food although good ideas aren't that helpful if you already subscribe to a healthy lifestyle.  So if you haven't already start by eliminating the obvious junk like soda, candy, and processed foods.  Now if you are already past that I discovered there were not a lot of  new ideas really, just the same tried and true stuff that applies to all of healthy living.  So here is where I am at in the process and what I am doing to shed this weight as fast as possible!.

Make time for you!

The first thing I did to start that process was to get my sweet little minnow on a 2 1/2 to 3 hr feeding schedule so that I have the freedom to leave "little minnow" with daddy while I work out.  A bit of set aside time makes a big difference.  If you plan exercise ahead of time it will happen.  If you expect it to just happen it won't.

Drink to your health

I try to drink a lot of water and herbal tea and throw in some lemon to keep bloating at bay and detox the system.  I know you have all heard this a million times!  However keeping track of how much you drink a day and using a sports bottle with a straw really helps me.


I joined a gym... That was a biggy for me as we don't have extra cash lying around with 5 kids, but it allows me to focus on working out and keeps me from having to stop every few minutes to help kiddos.  I try to go early before my husband leaves for work.  He is great about filling in for me that hour and gets the kids fed and going on their morning routine.  One thing that helps in that department is to have the kids know what is expected of them.  Every day is the same in that they all know to get dressed, make beds, and clean rooms up before breakfast.  Then they eat and do their chores (bathroom and dishes) before we start homeschool at 8 to 8:30.  So whether it is me or dad they can keep the morning moving along.

Find alternates to the gym that you can do if you can't get help with the kids. Here are a few I like..

Fight the Fat and Win!
SHAPE magazines Top 10 Moves to Tone Your Trouble Zones
Need to get rid of saddlebags, arm flab, or a muffin top? Use these moves to fight flab at home—and win!"
Workout at home with these workouts posted on my blog that don't require a gym or expensive equipment.

Work out with a video series like Turbo Jam, Insanity or P90X
Work out with free online workout videos from netflix, hulu, youtube, etc,,

Visit six sisters stuff a great blog for a complete list of 25 workouts you can just click on!  Thanks girls!
Grab your dumbells and throw a few reps in between commercials while you are watching TV at night.  Take the kids for a hike, push that huge stroller all over town, dance with the kids to pandora, or just set the timer for 30 minutes and do whatever exercises come to mind till it goes off.

Take advantage of FREE APPS that help you with free workouts, diet and exercise logs, motivate you or track your progress.  I like the free Nike Training Club app from itunes so far the best, but there is A LOT out there!
Photo from Total Beauty
Follow this link from Total Beauty for "12 apps that will make you skinny".  Great resource!

Exercise is a HUGE component to weight loss, and body shaping, but so is diet.  By diet I do not mean to go on one! Just adjust the quality of what you eat.  I follow these rules to keep me on track..

Try to skip as much as possible packaged pre-made foods. 

 When you do by packaged foods read labels.  All natural is a good start but even sugar can claim that so look a little deeper. Keep in mind if it is not organic and it is from a large company like kraft or gm the grains may be genetically modified since they are not required to label it as such.  So try to stick to organic.  I can't afford to do everything organic so I usually make a homemade version wherever possible

 Focus on what to eat not just what not to eat.

I add extra veggies and beans to soups, casseroles, eggs, and most any dinner dish to up the nutrition, fiber and taste factor.  This is easier to do if you have a fridge stocked with veggies.  Right now I have cucumbers, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, celery, kale, spinach, mixed field greens, zucchini, mushrooms, and Tons of fruit in my fridge. That gives me and the kids a ton of snack options... I have lots of recipes here on this blog just check out this link to see the recipes from healthy egg rolls on the grill, homemade tortillas, to granola and other staples.  There are lots to be inspired by and they are all simple if I made them!

Go quality and eat those super foods!

I love adding quinoa, chia seeds, barley, nuts etc.. into snacks, muffins, smoothies, and meals to bump up the nutrition level.  I have a whole list of "newer" super foods on a previous post here "10 new super foods!"

Avoid white flour and white sugar

Choose whole grains and healthier sweeteners like stevia, xylitol, sucanat, and honey or date puree.  I have a whole article on all natural healthier sweeteners HERE at "The Sweet Stuff Line up" and it gives you the low down on chemical sweeteners as well. Stevia, xylitol, sucanat, and honey are all big hits at our house.  

Make it! don't buy it!

Lots of unwanted ingredients can easily be avoided by simply skipping the packaged version and making it yourself.  I make tortillas, ranch dressing mix , biscuit mix , pancake mix, tomato sauce, yogurt, granola bars, granola, humus, berry pancake syrup, smoothie packs for the freezer, Popsicles, frozen burritos, coconut milk ice cream, cough syrup, pizza sauce and crust, pumpkin spice lattes, you name it we make it!  You can find all these recipes HERE or search DIY kitchen at the side of the blog.  It saves a ton of money too!

Eat often and don't skip meals.

If you eat less you will weigh less right?  Well not exactly... You need to eat to fuel your nursing if you are a new mom, or to fuel your life and exercise.  Eat 6 small meals a day rather than 3 large ones with lots of snacks.  This keeps you full, helps you make better choices and keeps your blood sugar in check. 

Learn to cook!  It makes healthy eating so much yummier and creative!  

Eat fat and love it!

That is right... I said fat and like it!  The right fat that is.  You still want to skip that hydrogenated fat, but go for it with organic unrefined coconut oil.  Coconut oil is a delicious alternative to margarine and butter that you can bake and cook with.  We butter our toast with it and use it on everything.  It is so good for you I throw some in my smoothies!  Here is a longer explanation of all the health benefits of coconut oil and how to use it Here at an earlier post "One of nature's best healers! 20 NEW reasons to love coconut oil!  

Keep a food and exercise journal.

By keeping track of what you eat and when you get a real picture of your overall nutrition and can easily spot your weaknesses.  You can also spot when you tend to lapse in judgment and prep yourself for the next time.  I gotta say you think twice about that bite of chocolate cake if you are going to have to write it down.  Get a free printable fitness journal  from my blog  here fitness freebie -free printable fitness journal.

Rule out food intolerances.

Many people find gluten, wheat, dairy or other food intolerances to really hinder weightloss and their well being.  My digestion hasn't been good since baby arrived so I am avoiding lactose, and wheat for a while to see if I feel better and to get rid of the bloating.  These irritants often hamper weight loss as well.  Many people on gluten free diets have shown remarkable weight loss progress and great gains in their overall health.

Quit stressing about it!

I have to admit I struggle with this one.  Stress will slow your metabolism, increase the hormone cortisol which tells your body to retain weight around your belly, cause you to crave sweets, and  sabotage your efforts to make healthier choices.  So find an activity that helps you relax, take your B vitamins that stress depletes as well as your regular supplements, take a few deep breaths and find a few moments to thank the Lord for all the good in your life.  Gratitude melts stress, negativity and draws you closer to your creator.  

Loosing weight is a valid goal but try to relax and make choices that help you become healthier overall rather than choosing actions that lead to short term weight loss at the expense of your overall health.  

Enjoy who you are at any weight and remember you are so much more than the number on your scale!


Monday, March 25, 2013

EASTER - free dress patterns,printables and fun ideas!

Easter is coming up REALLY fast!  So to help you out I have compiled a huge list of fun things to do and cute dresses to make so that you will be ready for Easter! The patterns are after down below the printables and Easter ideas so just keep scrolling if that is what you are looking for!
Homeschool and preschool Easter freebies and ideas for the week before Easter!

What's In The Bible
Veggie Tales creator's blog "What is in the Bible" series for Easter week "What is Holy Week".
A great explanation of all the church history that goes with this week.  A great way to focus on Christ this Easter season and learn Biblical history.

Make an Easter lent garden with your kiddos as a visual parable.  You complete different parts on the corresponding days of Holy Week.  It has clear detailed directions.  This one is from an EXCELLENT blog called A Holy Experience written by a homeschool mama who wrote the book called One Thousand Gifts an amazing book on gratitude.

You can find a ton of Easter and Spring printables for tots here at 1plus1plus1equals1. It is GREAT homeschool blog with tons of printables, great ideas, and inspiration.

Here are some great learning activities and ideas from  the blog We are That Family to make sure Easter is celebrated for what it is...a celebration of Christ's Resurrection. Teaching our kids the reason we celebrate is a great way to spend your day.

Great printable worksheets for Easter from Mama's Learning Corner that work for pre K to 2nd grade.

This is an Easter learning roundup that includes crafts, worksheets, games, etc... from My Delicious Ambiguity.  She has a lot of fun things on her blog so you will have to check it out.

Two Teaching Mommies has a great lesson plan with a ton of free printables to go with it.  There is a printable memory verse with picture, worksheets, number maze, clip cards for math, etc... Hope you have some fun with it!

Two Teaching Mommies has created a 12 days of Easter lesson plan as well that coincides with  resurrection eggs for a 12 day lesson on Easter for your kiddos.  What a fun way to go through the meaning of Easter with your little ones and have them really get it.  They recommend combining Days 5-9 have been combined for those that are younger and will find the topic of Christs suffering too much to spread out over those days.  So you still have time to get this lesson done before Easter!

I hope this has helped you get a few new ideas for the week before Easter, so you and your kids can enjoy the deeper meaning of Easter and learn at the same time.

Now for you seamstress' here are some beautiful fun free Easter or Spring dress patterns! 

These are the "party dresses" I made for my girls last year.  See post HERE for more photos and tutorial link.

Best FREE patterns with tutorials for Easter or spring dress'!

If you get started right away you still have some time to make an Easter dress or two (or 3?) for your little girls.  I looked through tons of free online patterns and tutorials to come up with a list of what I think are the best ones out there so you only have to go to one place to find the perfect dress' for Easter.  Most of these are fairly simple and all have a pattern or instructions to create the pattern so there is nothing to buy except the fabric and notions!   Last year we chose the "Party Dress" by The Cottage Home and I let the girls pick out their fabric. Hope you find something special for your special little girls!

The Party Dress tutorial by The Cottage Home

Twirl Dress tutorial by From an Igloo
Charlotte dress tutorial from IveyC95
A Line Ruffle Front Dress tutorial by IveyC95
Reversible Ribbon Dress by Couturier Mommy
A very clear tutorial but asks for an A-line pattern.  Just use a simple dress in the size you want to make the pattern by folding it in half and tracing it with a seam allowance. Then put that pattern on folded material to cut out the A line dress.

Poppy Sundress tutorial by A Lemon Squeezy Home
Lucky Layers Sundress tutorial by Moda Bake Shop

Project Run and Play Dress tutorial by Simple Simon & Co.
Let's Fly A Kite Sundress tutorial by Craftiness Is Not Optional

Sunny Little Miss Dress tutorial by Made it on Monday
Retro Ruffle Dress tutorial by Simply Modern Mom
petal dress tutorial
Petal Dress tutorial by Ucreate
Hope you were inspired! If you have time add this cute little caplet to top it off.

 Do you have a free one I should have included?  If so just put a link in the comments!



Friday, March 22, 2013

FREEBIE Friday!!! Tutorial for 3 Shirts from one FREE pattern

10 weeks after having "little minnow" my old wardrobe still doesn't fit the way I want it to.  So I have been looking for shirt patterns I can make.  I saw this really cute one and thought I would share it!  Thank you SewTLC!

Great the free pattern and tutorial HERE from "Sewing - The Little Heart Collection"

Hoping to getting to this sometime soon!  Let me know if you try it, and how it comes out. Have any other great free shirt patterns to share? If so drop a line in the comments for all to see. Happy weekend! I have lots of free patterns in my pinterest board "sewing" , so stop over and see what I have pinned.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fun kids color wheel art and science project! Guest post by Everyday Art

Today I have a fun guest post for you from Everyday Art, a great crafty, yummy, DIY blog!  Enjoy, and make sure to go check out their blog for more creative ideas!

Every year about this time I start to really, REALLY crave color. Like clockwork, every January I start scheming about decorating with yellow or orange or something bright just to liven things up a bit. It's been a little better this year because my kitchen is south-facing and everything is white and light blue, so it feels nice and light and airy. 

That being said, I still think more color this time of year is great. So, the kids and I made this fun food-dye color wheel the other day. It was a great little science and art project. (What could be more fun that mixing art and science?!!?)

It was such fun, and I couldn't believe how patient the kids were (ages 3 and 5), just staring at the colored water move slowly up the paper towels and mixing together. We learned about color-combining  and the color wheel. We also learned a bit about osmosis, diffusion, and siphons.

Here's what you need to make this fun color wheel:
6 clear cups
6 paper towels
red food dye
blue food dye 
yellow food dye

Here's what you do to make the color wheel: 
1) Fill 3 cups with water and mix in red food dye into one, blue food dye into the second and yellow food dye into the third. 
2) place the cups in a circle as shown above with an empty cup in between each of the 3 you already made with the primary colors in them. 
3) fold the paper towels into about 1-inch strips and place each end into adjacent cups. (I snipped off a bit of each paper towel to make them shorter.)
4) Watch as the dyed water seeps up the paper towels and combines into the empty cups to make the secondary colors of orange, green and purple.

After all the colors had mixed, we took them out of the circle shape and made rainbows and such with them. Fun little science project with the girls. Certainly added more color to our day!

Let me know how it goes if you guys try it! Happy weekend!