Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Take on Exercise

I’ve returned home from traveling, but John has not. I’ve canceled my gym membership to save money. I know! I said I wouldn’t do that again, but John has signed up for online courses, the kids are about to start school, and it was the obvious cut, since I can run outside for free. Anyway, as I do not have a double jogging stroller, I’ve been going a little stir crazy not being able to go running.

This tip is for all the mommies out there who use their kids as an excuse not to exercise. Are you sitting around your house, wishing your husband wasn’t out of town? Wishing you were a member of a nice gym with a nursery? Wishing you had enough space in your living room to do a workout video? Trust me, I have used each an every one of those excuses before. All you really need to do is just get off your hiney and do something!

What did I do? Today, we went outside and washed the car. (I guess I just ruined that surprise. Sorry, honey. Surprise!) It really needed to be washed bad after a week and a half underneath the birds’ favorite maple tree in all of Franklin, I think. Once I finished, I noticed that my heart rate was up. Why wouldn’t it be? I’d spent an hour scrubbing a car, alternated with chasing my daughter halfway around the block. Out of curiosity, I did a little research about how many calories I’d burned. According to, a 145-pound person burns 296 calories an hour washing the car. Wow! Not too shabby. And with this one, there is also the added bonus of totally wearing the kids out. They have been super mellow this evening.

Some other ideas? Vacuum. A 145-pound person burns 165 calories and hour vacuuming. That’s some incentive to keep a clean house. Go outside and pull weeds. I actually did this one on Saturday, thanks to a fun notice from Pinnacle to pull them or else. Anyway, weeding the garden also burns 296 calories an hour.

Last but not least – you’re not going to believe this one – sewing! I looked to see if it was there since, you know, I happen to sew a lot. It burns 99 calories an hour. What? That’s pretty cool.

Suffice it to say, if you hop up and do something a little out of the ordinary, you’re going to burn some extra calories. It might as well be something that makes you feel productive at the same time!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tennessee Wreath

I got this one in under the wire, with our first football game in just six days. Woo hoo! We love some college football around here. Once upon a time, when we lived in a house with a flag holder attached, we kept our big orange flag out year round...until it faded to yellow and we had to get a new flag to keep out year round and turn yellow. Our current house does not have a flag holder, so I got a little more creative. Instead of the traditional fall wreath with lots of leaves and berries and what not, I decided to go with the Tennessee theme.

I raided the homecoming aisle at Michael's for my supplies. I bought about a mile of inexpensive, plastic-y orange ribbon, a little bit of white ribbon, some ribbon with footballs on it, and a bunch of silk peonies. Oh, yes, and I bought a foam wreath form. Just grab the hot glue, and you're ready to go!
I started with the orange ribbon, gluing the end to the back of the wreath form, and began wrapping. I glued the ribbon to the back every three or four wraps, just to make sure it stays in place.

In the same way, I added white ribbon on top of the orange. It's looking Volunteer-y already.

Next up? The flowers. It makes life a lot easier if you get these with the flat piece on the back. 

After arranging my flowers, I added a few streamers...okay, a bunch. My wreath hangs a little crooked, because it's so heavy on one side. Oh, well. I love it. Go Vols!

What Aidan Learned at Church

**DISCLAIMER** I do not actually believe this is what Aidan was taught in class today, not completely anyway.

In the car as we drive home from church, we almost always ask Aidan what Bible story he learned about in class that day. Sometimes he remembers; sometimes he doesn't, which is unfathomable since I know it's been less than an hour and he could probably tell you what he ate for breakfast last Tuesday. But I digress.

Today, he brought home a picture of a snake that he made, so he at least had something to remind him. When I asked what he learned about, he began to tell me the story of Adam, Eve, and the sneaky snake. Once he finished telling the story, this was the conclusion he came to:

"God is a giant, because he lives all the way up in the sky. So he's a giant."

...and we're still getting our Bible stories mixed up with our fairy tales. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Water Babies

This is the first time all summer I've been able to get any photos of the kids in the pool. Usually, I'm holding one and chasing the other. It was nice to have lots of extra hands around, and to be somewhere that fun floats are allowed. It definitely helped my peace of mind to be able to put wings on Neely. She is way too fearless when it comes to the water. That picture of her on the diving board? That's the only time she hesitated on it at all...probably because Uncle Roggie was at the bottom making scary faces. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out of the Spin Cycle

Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother LoadI recently bought a new devotional book. It's called "Out of the Spin Cycle, Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load" by Jen Hatmaker After reading the Prologue, I knew I'd be learning a lot from this one. It's a little silly in places, but it addresses an issue that I think most mothers wrestle with. The first two devotions in the book remind me that I'm not - and I can never be - the perfect mother. It's a bit freeing to contemplate that and to realize that I should quit trying to be perfect, just be there for my kids, and do my best. And when Suzy Q. criticizes my parenting skills? Oh, well. She's not perfect, either. For your enjoyment, the prologue of "Out of the Spin Cycle."

A (Fairly Lame) Ode to Mothers

An ode to the marvelous woman called "Mother"
Though not one of us is exactly like another.
From the second we're born to the minute we die
Our preferences are as limitless as stars in the sky.

We might have been perfectly gracious before
But childbirth entered us into the Mommy War.
Rather than letting everyone else be
We criticize parenting that isn't exactly

So once and for all let me put this to rest
None of us owns the title of "best."
Natural childbirth does not make you a hippy
Epidurals are not just for women who want to feel trippy.
In a bathtub with a doula or in a hospital bed
We all got a baby with limbs and a head.

Nursing is great if nothing goes wrong
But some nipples turn inward and refuse to play along.
This is a choice for each mom -- it's her route
So it's just A + B and everyone else can C their way out.

Schedules and timers do not make you cruel
Feeding on demand does not make you a fool.
In the nursery with a monitor or in the family bed
Every chick gets to pick where her baby lays his head.

If I see one more mom roll her eyes at "organic..."
"Partially hydrogenated" throws some of us into panic.
But neither judge Sonic burgers and fries
Some of us just want to enjoy food before we die.

Preschool, home school, public, or Montessori
Listen, my friends, and I'll tell you a story:
Two moms differed on favorite school trends
Their kids turned out pretty much the same. The end.

If a girl gets the title of "mom" accidentally
The worst thing we can do is treat her judgmentally.
How about some love, some help, some advice?
She needs our love and we shouldn't think twice.

Discipline through various methods will prevail
Look, we're all just trying to keep our kids out of jail.
These things are just preferences, not right or wrong
What matters more is teaching our kids to get along--
To love and to share, to speak gently and kind,
To obey so that mom won't go out of her mind.

Showing them Jesus is our common ground
Teaching them how he can always be found.
He's present in public school and Waldorf (so trendy)
He's over at Whole Foods but also at Wendy's.
Jesus never cared about these sorts of things
It's our hearts that he wants and the worship we bring.

It's time for us moms to declare a truce
Regardless if we buy Capri Sun or 100 percent juice.
My way is not your way, and your way isn't mine
But both of our kids will turn out just fine.

Rather than judging and looking down our noses
Let's enjoy the common ground motherhood poses.
As believers, we all love the same good Lord
We all have children who tell us "I'm bored."

We all need more sleep than these five tiny hours
Most of us struggle to find time for a shower.
We haven't been to the bathroom alone in an age
Our mothers have all told us, "Relax, this is just a stage."

We all love our babies so much we could die
We'd take a bullet for each one without batting an eye.
Though we are different, we're in the same tribe
Motherhood requires a similar vibe --
Love and affection, sacrifice and grace
Laughter, which keeps the whole mechanism in place.

Though different, by the grace of God, I suspect:
ALL our children will rise up and call us...collect."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Heading Out

We're about to take this show on the road! I made a last-minute decision to take the kids' to visit Nana & Pop before school starts this September, but with my first craft fair only two months away, I knew I'd have to take work with me. For most, this would mean packing a laptop. For me, this means spending the week cutting pieces for skirts and dresses and ruffle pants and loading them up in a giant Rubbermaid. The serger gets to come too. I'm sure my embroidery machine will be glad to get a little rest. Enjoy it, girl. I'll be running you ragged when I return. Here's hoping that I actually get some of this finished while we're away!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My New Book

I heard an interview with Christine Avanti on K-LOVE last week as part of their A New You in 52 series, and I knew I had to have this book. Okay, fine. I really wanted this book. After a botched attempt at finding it in my local Books a Million store, I ordered it from Amazon, which is what I should have done to begin with. I was super excited when it arrived today. 

Christine Avanti is a nutritionist who believes in feeding your body rather than starving it. In this book, she explains the science of the body, when you need certain foods, and why you need them. She also provides an eating plan and loads of recipes. I've made it through the introduction and the first chapter, and I'm eager to hear more of her perspective.

I'll give a more comprehensive review of the book once I've finished it and maybe share a couple of my favorite dishes. Sparked your interest? Click on over to Amazon and get your own!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Go team!

This many rival colors don't usually hang out in one place, and especially not at my house! I've been making team skirt samples, and of course, the only fabric I haven't been able to find is my own team. I'll be placing an order for that soon. Neely will just have to wear her cheerleader outfit until then. Go Vols!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

I know you're all probably tired of hearing me talk about making things yourself and knowing exactly what you're eating, but I'm going to do it again today. If you're over it, by all means, click on out. I'll see you next time. If not, continue reading, and find out how I've made over my morning oatmeal.

While instant oatmeal doesn't have the worst/longest/craziest ingredient list out there, I still feel that eliminating those mystery items is healthier for me. I recently bought my first can of steel cut oats. The last few grocery trips I've made, I've considered buying them. I've held them in my hand and ultimately put them back on the shelf, because who has time to wait 30 minutes for oatmeal to cook? Regardless, I finally bought some.

On Saturday morning, when I had plenty of time, I cooked the steel cut oats. I made a few extra servings, and I portioned them out into individual bowls for the rest of the week.

Here's where it gets instant. All I have to do in the morning is grab one of those bowls and microwave it for 1:40 (in my microwave). It's also really simple to duplicate some of the flavors from those instant packets. Maple brown sugar? Add a little pure maple syrup and brown sugar, just not too much! Apples and cinnamon? Mix in some applesauce and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bananas and cream? Mash a banana and mix it into the oatmeal - my personal favorite, and I don't even miss the "and cream" part. Blueberry? Add blueberries. You get the idea. Plus, for most of these, you're adding fresh fruit to your diet first thing, which is definitely better than whatever dehydrated mess is in those little packets.

If the fruit isn't sweetening the oatmeal enough for your taste, add a small amount of sugar, or Splenda, or Stevia, or whatever floats your boat.

And that, my friends, is what I've been eating for breakfast this week, and it has me feeling much better about my oatmeal. Now, what am I going to do with all my leftover instant packets?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Bed

Well, this is it. The crib is gone, and in its place is now a big girl bed. Isn't it lovely? I think so. I wish Neely thought so. And before any of you character-haters notice and give me a hard time - yes, those are Tinkerbell sheets. I have never seen anybody get so excited about sheets as Neely did when we were selecting them at Target. We thought it might help her get excited about the new bed. It didn't. She hates the bed. She starts crying before we can even lay her down in it, be it at bedtime or nap time.

This is a new experience. Aidan never cared where he slept. For a long time, he'd climb out of his bed and fall asleep on the floor. He finally figured out that the bed was more comfortable, but changing from crib to toddler bed, toddler bed to twin was no sweat. I should have known Neely would be a diva. Oh, well. We can sleep when we're dead, I suppose. ;)

The room is now a work-in-progress again. We need to rearrange the furniture some more and start figuring out where to hang things. It feels like there's more blank space now. I'll share as I figure out how to fix it.

One more thing, please don't criticize the photo. Nobody would be still or look at me. These children are constant motion, and the blurred photo is only evidence of thus.