I’m so excited to share this fun and creative project with you guys today!
Lately, we have been experiencing A LOT of rain. No complaints really — I genuinely love the rain, rainy days with a book and a cup of hot tea are my FAVORITE. Rainy days with a toddler, however, can get tiring — especially when that particular toddler LOVES being outside, and whines about not being able to go play. 😉 So, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do…. get creative.
Do you remember your first car? No, not your 2 door Honda Civic — or in my case, a 1974 Datsun Nissan stationwagon that I cleverly named “Shaggy” with its shag-rug steering wheel cover. Ah, memories.
But no, I’m talking further back.. you know what I mean: cardboard box, invisible steering wheel, wheels made with construction paper. Your FIRST car. A car that could take you ANYWHERE — the kitchen, the “store,” the moon. A car that was big enough for you to fit in, but also fit all of your imaginary friends and several stuffed animals. A car where you didn’t need roads… you made your own.
Oh yes, we made a car. A car that provided at least an hour of distraction, tons of giggles, an arm workout for Momma, and a beautiful memory that deserves to be written out.
Here’s what you need:
Cardboard box — we used an empty diaper box
Kraft paper/Wrapping Paper — in the color of your choice
Glue and Tape
Rope — optional, but you will probably want this
First, you will need to cut off the flaps of the box — you will be using these for the wheels and windshield. Next, wrap the box with your kraft or wrapping paper — as if you were wrapping a present, but leaving the inside part of the box open (as this is where your little one will be sitting). After that, you can use the flap pieces to cut out 4 circular shapes for the wheels of the car. Make sure to keep one of the longer flaps, as you will use this for a windshield.
Once all of the pieces are cut, trace the shape of the wheels on black construction paper. Cut the circles out, and carefully glue onto the cardboard wheels. When all four wheels are covered, you can then glue each one near the base of the box, but not touching the floor. Glue two on each side, to resemble the wheels of a car. Helpers are always appreciated, especially when they think they are Mickey Mouse.
Next, take the long flap piece, and wrap it with white construction paper. Once wrapped, you can glue or tape this piece on the inside of the car on the “front side” of the car. This should be placed at an angle — as to mimic a windshield. If glue or tape doesn’t hold this in place, feel free to use a stapler. Then, HAVE FUN! Cut up pieces of construction paper to decorate your car as you wish. We make headlight, brake lights, a grill, and a license plate.
The last step is optional, but recommended. We added a rope to our car by cutting a smaller hole in the front of the car — we fed it through the hole and knotted it several times to hold. This will be so you can pull your child around your house. Ella LOVED this — she kept saying “beep beep” and laughing as I pulled her around. 🙂
I hope you try this out — and if you do, leave me a comment below! We love hearing from you! 🙂
Happy Tuesday — and another end to amazing week of Body Back! Can you believe we are already starting our halfway point in this 8 week program! Time flies when you are having FUN! 🙂 Did you miss my recap posts of week one and two? No prob! Check them out here: ONE // TWO.
Week three was AWESOME. Seriously. I feel like I was a total BEAST with my workouts this week.
Monday morning started off a little crazy, as I almost MISSED class due to my alarm not going off. ….Ok, that was a lie — It did go off, but my sleepyhead must have pressed snooze without even realizing it, because as I opened my eyes and saw 5:30AM on my phone, I freaked out. Class starts at 5:45AM, but it’s about a 20-30 minute drive for me, so you can imagine my panic. The weird thing was, I was dreaming about missing class, and sure enough, I almost did. Our brains are so amazing.. 🙂
But, alas, I did NOT miss class.. just missed a few minutes of the first round — which just so happened to be burpees, which makes my heart sad. I definitely made up for it, by going super hard with the remaining time I had. Trust me, there was A LOT of sweaty mess at the end of that workout. Definitely a butt kick!
Oh– and I weighed in at 150.0 lbs — down 2 lbs from week two! Awesome news!
Monday and Wednesday’s BB workouts were killer, lots of cardio and strength exercises — and I decided that after each BB morning, I’d go for a quick 1-2 mile run. This was a great addition to my morning routine, and so refreshing. I’ve become accustomed to running when Ella naps, which is usually in the dead hot heat around 1PM. So, running before the sun comes up is like a treat for me! New goal is to do this around the same time every morning (not just BB mornings), because I know as summer inches closer, running at 1PM is going to be impossible — or a death wish. Heat Stroke. Oh, Florida.
The rest of the week, I kicked major butt with my at-home workouts. I managed to workout at least twice a day for everyday this week, with many days being 3-4 workouts. Between taking Ella for walks to doing 21DF workouts at home — I’ve been feeling amazing!
On Friday, one of my BB friends came over for a special “Dirty 30” workout I created for her 30th birthday. This consisted of 4 rounds of exercises — each round had between 5-8 exercises, with an average of 15-20 reps of each exercise. We then took roughly a minute or two break between each set. Exercises were a mixture of burpees, push-ups, high knees, squats, wall sits, planks, lunge jumps. We were BEAT when it was done!
Nutrition this week was also on point. I am noticing that I’m a bit of a cracker snacker, though — I’m going to be more mindful of this going into week 4 and beyond. No. More. Ritz. Ritz = More Burpees. Also, I tried a new recipe: Balsamic and Basil Quinoa Salad — which was basically strawberries, granny smith apples, cucumbers, onion, quinoa, and balsamic/basil dressing. It’s my new favorite meal — and super healthy! Thanks to K for enlightening me!
Week three was awesome — but really, each week seems to be getting better and better. Not only did I score a workout buddy on our “off” days, but I feel like I’m starting to see a difference. The scale may not be moving as much as we’d like, but it’s like I’ve said before — the scale is just a number, it doesn’t show how much ass has been kicked!
I can NOT wait to see what kind of results we all get after 8 weeks. We are getting STRONGER every. damn. day.
Hope everyone has a great Tuesday! Check in tomorrow for DIY-Wednesday — it’s gonna be a good one!
PS. Are you following this blog on Facebook and Instagram? If not, what are you waiting for? 🙂 I post daily with workouts, motivation, and — of course — cute pictures of Ella. Check it out! 🙂
Yesterday was a beautiful day for our little household, as we held a playdate for Ella with her new friend Quinn. This was very exciting for us (all three of us: Me, Raux, and Ella), as we haven’t really had too many “playdates” since Ella was born. We don’t have many friends that have children yet, and since she isn’t in daycare, the only real interaction she gets with other kids her age is at our Stroller Strides class or the park.
So, when one of the Mommas from SS texted me asking if we wanted to get together to let the girls play, I was stoked and said YES right away. Little did I know, this playdate would teach me more about MYSELF than I’d realize, and that’s an added bonus for my year of GROWTH. 🙂
6 Grown-Up Lessons from a Toddler Playdate
Like I mentioned before, Ella hasn’t had a lot of interaction with other little ones. So, when Quinn and her Mommy came to our place for our playdate, I was a little nervous how Ella would act. Once Quinn walked in the door, Ella took right to her. It was like they were old friends — they started playing right away without hesitation. Here was my beautiful little girl being all social, and I realized.. the nervous one wasn’t Ella, it was me. I was nervous not how Ella would act — she’s a kid — I was nervous about how I would act. How would I be judged? What if I was awkward or too quiet or too loud or too weird? I was already judging myself before anyone came over. But, in the end, it doesn’t matter. I am who I am, and I really need to lighten up. Be more open to new experiences. Meet new people. Play right away, without hesitation.
This one seems like a given, but is often forgotten. Watching the girls play, there were many times when Ella would give up her toy to Quinn, and vice versa. They only needed to be reminded a small number of times (which, c’mon.. they are two!). But honestly, I think there are some adults that need to be reminded of this from time to time — myself included! While there are some key points in your life where you can (and should be) selfish, there are just as many (if not more) opportunities to share — physically, mentally, emotionally. Sharing teaches compromise — if you give a little to others, you can get some of what you want as well. Sharing teaches us to “take turns,” negotiate, and how to deal with the emotions of not getting what you want at the exact time you want it. As adults, sometimes we need to be reminded, too.
Paint With Your Fingers.
We chose to do an Easter painting activity with the girls, where they used cookie cutters and plastic eggs to “stamp” on paper. After about 3 minutes, the girls were done using the cutters, and resorted to using their fingers and paintbrushes. This reminded me that it is absolutely okay to choose a different way to do something. Even though the point of this activity was to “stamp” and create a cute Easter themed print, they still created a masterpiece by going their own way and choosing their own painting utensils. Sometimes it turns out better by going against the “rules” or “guidelines” set upon you. And, of course.. sometimes it’s best when you get messy.
Keep an empty shelf (or cabinet).
After painting, the girls played in Ella’s room for a bit, then returned to kitchen to play in Ella’s “clubhouse” — aka an empty cabinet area in our kitchen. When we lived in Jacksonville, our kitchen was TINY — we barely had room to cook in it, much less have items or appliances that needed to be stored away. When we were looking for our current house in Orlando, I had one requirement: it has to have a bigger kitchen. We were super lucky to find our home equipped with a HUGE kitchen — complete opposite of what we were used to — and we honestly, just didn’t have enough “stuff” to fill all of the cabinets we now have. So, one cabinet area has been left empty (minus some rolls of paper towels) for Ella to play in. Plus, having an empty shelf or cabinet is exhilarating for me — it shows that there is always a possibility of expansion, that I’m not crowded in by too much stuff.
Ella has a lot of dress up clothes and costumes that she loves to bring out and wear. When the girls were in Ella’s room, Quinn found Ella’s stash of costumes, and wanted to be Elsa. So, of course, Ella was Anna. They were ADORABLE — and it reminded me, it’s so much fun to dress up — and to use your imagination. I think as we get older and become more “adult,” many people forget how to use their imagination. We get too logical, too reasonable, too … accustomed to running like a “machine.” Albert Einstein once said,”Logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere.” To that point as well, Carl Sagan said, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere.” Somedays, you should just pretend you are Anna or Elsa — and see where it takes you.
It’s okay to miss your friends.
As our day ended, both girls were very tired — but didn’t want to stop playing. Quinn kept trying to reason with her Mommy that she should take a nap at Ella’s house instead of going home. Ultimately, it was time to say “bye bye” for the day, and both girls cried as Quinn had to leave. Ella stood by the window connected to our front door and watched as they drove away. My heart was so sad about this, but it made me smile. It made me think of my own friends — near and far — and how it’s okay to miss them. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it’s necessary. We are all living our own lives, doing our own things — but yet, when we get together, it’s like no time has passed since we last saw one another. Sure, there are days when you wish they were here with you to play, or talk to, or to cry with — and you may get sad, and miss their company. And that’s okay, completely normal — and just goes to show you, the friends that tug on your heartstrings are the ones you want to keep.
All in all, we had an amazing day with our new friend. We painted, played hide and seek, rode a bike down a hill, ran around outside, dressed up, ate lunch, colored easter eggs, and cried as we had to say goodbye. And, the last lesson learned: Plan to do it again. 🙂
Today’s DIY Wednesday post is a super cute and super EASY Easter treat that is sure to “wow” your friends: Carrot Krispies! This seriously took me about an hour TOTAL to put together for our Stroller Strides Easter-themed class, and everyone enjoyed it as a special post-workout treat in honor of the upcoming holiday.
First, gather all of the ingredients needed to make regular Rice Krispie treats: butter, marshmallows, Rice Cereal, and vanilla extract. To make the orange color, I used Wilton Orange gel food color, and mixed it in with the marshmallows, as they were melting with the butter. Make sure to add enough coloring to make the marshmallows orange — otherwise your carrots will be a pastel type color and not as vibrant. Also, because it is Easter, I found edible Easter grass that I thought would be perfect for the leaf part of the carrot.
Once the marshmallows are melted, add in your cereal. Mix until fully coated, and the spread the krispies out on a COOKIE SHEET that is lined with parchment paper. This will ensure they are thin enough to cut and that they don’t stick to the pan. Once cooled, take a sharp knife and start cutting the krispies into triangle shapes — roughly 6 inches long.
Once all the carrots are cut, tear off pieces of the edible Easter grass and press them gently onto the top of the carrots. They will stick to the marshmallow 🙂 Then, you can bag them in a medium sized favor bag, and affix you favorite Easter-themed tag! I found these cute tags on Pinterest, via this super cute site here.
Hope everyone is having a fantastic Easter week! Check back tomorrow for really sweet pictures of Ella’s playdate with Quinn — where we painted, played dress-up, and colored Easter eggs!
I swear it seems the weeks are going by SO fast .. Feels like it was just yesterday when I published my post about my first week of Body Back — a new fitness program I’m trying for 8 weeks — and now we are in week three?! Jeez! Did you miss the first post? No worries — check it out here. 🙂
So, WEEK TWO! Whoop whoop!
Week two started off kinda rocky. Our “weeks” start on Sunday, but our first BB workout and weigh-in are first thing Monday morning. For some reason, this week I really struggled with choosing the right fuel for my body — my workouts were on point, but food.. bleh.
Sunday was NOT a good nutrition day for me. We woke up early and decided to take Ella to the Farmers Market downtown — a great idea and a wonderful morning adventure, but I fell victim to savory beef jerky (not a horrible choice) and pretty much ate my weight in KETTLE CORN (definitely not the BEST choice). I love kettle corn. There are few things in life that give me such pleasure as it’s sweet and salty goodness, especially when it is fresh. To make matters worse, we chose fast food for lunch. I generally do not enjoy anything fast food — unless it’s Chipotle 😉 But.. we didn’t go to Chipotle, but rather a cute 50s style joint called Freddy’s. It was … okay, but the taste of guilt trumped any good taste that may have been in the steak burger I consumed. I felt so gross that I ended up skipping dinner that night to let my tummy rest. Although Momma felt like crap, Ella seemed to enjoy herself 😉
Due to Sunday’s eating choices, can you guess how Monday morning went? 152.0 lbs. I gained in my first week of doing this. Honestly, though.. it was to be expected. I didn’t let that number cause me to slack on my workout or let it “ruin” my day — but instead used it as motivation to bust-ass on my workouts all week.
Motivation IT WAS. Holy cow — I put in some serious work every single day. From BodyBack workouts to 21DF workouts to daily walks with Ella — I managed to keep up the momentum and do something active everyday last week, sometimes two to three times a day.
Then, Friday, I did something I’ve never done before — yard work! Due to an intense fear of snakes, I’ve never really been a gardening/yardworking kinda girl. But, it is the year of GROWTH, so I spent a solid 4 hours working in the blazing FL heat, weeding, planting, and mulching our front flowerbed area. Best part of it all, I managed to burn over 3000 calories that day! Next step, getting our grass to grow! 😉 (Note: the before picture was BEFORE we moved in.)
All in all, week two was amazing. Although I had some eating hiccups, I managed to increase my activity levels and overall sharpen my own saw. Feeling better, feeling stronger, and starting to feel like myself again. <3
The best part of it all? I’m helping myself become better so I can in turn be an amazing role model for my little girl. I want her to know that she can do it — she can be strong, she can keep active. No matter what, no matter who says you can’t, no matter how hard it is or can be.
So, this week’s DIY Wednesday has been pushed to Thursday, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day!! Woohoo! Prepare yourself — this is a photo-heavy post, full of cuteness courtesy of Miss Ella Grey. 😉
We started our celebration a little early, by creating a cute little toddler activity to work on our colors. Super simple — I took a piece of construction paper to cut out the black pot, used gold glitter and glue to create the “gold” on top of the pot, and used markers to draw the rainbow lines.
Next, I used Froot Loops cereal to help Ella pick out all of the different colors of the rainbow, and wrote the names of the colors on the lines, for recognition.
Ella LOVED this — it took her a minute to catch on to the lining up all the same colors next to each other on the corresponding line, but once she did, she kept pulling on the colored Froot Loop and saying the name of the color out loud. Exactly what I was wanting. Then, we used the remaining cereal pieces to create cereal necklaces — which didn’t last long, as you can see in the pics below. 😉
Next, we made “leprechaun bread” for all of our friends at Stroller Strides and for Dada’s work. “Leprechaun bread” is essentially just pound cake baked in loaf pans, with a special “peek-a-boo” surprise inside. I knew I wanted to do the “peek-a-boo” in the shape of a shamrock — however, a shamrock cutter was extremely difficult to find (strange, I know!). So, instead of hand cutting, we used a make-shift flower shaped cutter. Also, it’s almost against my religion, but we used box mix instead of making the cake from scratch — because, well.. that’s just what I wanted to do. Shame on me, I know — sarcasm intended. 🙂
So, want to make this at home? You totally should! It’s super easy!
First, mix all of your ingredients together to make your “peek-a-boo” loaf. Like I said, I used a box mix for Pound Cake, so I followed the directions on the box, but added in green food coloring to my first batch. I took a pretty good amount of green to get the green to show up this dark, so keep that in mind when you are mixing in your color. After the green loaf is mixed, pour the into a loaf pan (make sure it is coated with non-stick spray!) and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes. Once it comes out, let it cool enough for you to slice it, and then cut the shape you want out of the slices. Be precise and careful on this part!
Next, mix your ingredients for your non-colored loaf the same way as before, but do not add color into the mix this time. Once mixed, pour a little bit in your loaf pan to cover the bottom — then carefully add in your cut-out pieces to form a line. Then, CAREFULLY pour the remaining mix in the pan, covering your cut-out line, bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Let it cool completely before slicing!
I found these cute tags on Pinterest for our bags, to make them a bit more festive! Feel free to create your own — or visit this site to download the same ones we used for free!
The “Leprechaun Bread” was a huge hit at Dada’s work, and the little ones enjoyed it at Stroller Strides, too! Our class this morning was a LOT of fun — much thanks to our fit family for a great workout! The little ones made a St. Patrick’s Day craft, by each one placing their colored handprint on a sheet of paper to create a rainbow of hands (or friends, as we called it). We wrote in each little one’s name, so we can remember the fun we had!
We have had quite a festive holiday, so far! We plan to spend the rest of the afternoon going on evening walk and enjoying the sunshine, then wrapping it up with a movie and –maybe, just maybe — a piece of leprechaun bread before bed. 🙂
We hope all of our family and friends have an amazing night and stay SAFE! We are so lucky to get the opportunity to share our little moments with you, and have you as readers.
So, last post I talked about how joining my local Stroller Strides group has totally saved my sanity (read: here). 100% true, and I’m so thankful for this group! Another really cool aspect that I didn’t cover in that post is the fact that Fit4Mom has several other amazing classes you can choose from to stay active. One of those classes is called Body Back, an 8 week program that helps moms get their “body back” — whether their baby is a newborn or 20+ years old!
I was extremely interested in this class, and was lucky enough to have a free preview class before registering. Holy intense workout! I knew after that preview class that this was exactly what I wanted to try for the next 8 weeks — 2 HIIT workouts a week, social media connectivity with other members of the group, and meal planning/journalling accountability. As an additional source of accountability, I thought I’d blog once a week about the week prior, for those that are interested in reading about my journey. No hold-backs — I will be incredibly honest about myself, my eating, and my workouts in these recap posts each week. In order for my success, this is super important! 🙂
Week one! Hooray!
Classes are held every Monday and Wednesday morning at 5:45AM (earrrrlllyyyy… but worth it!). I managed to catch a terrible stomach bug on the first Monday class (see post here), so my first ACTUAL class was on Wednesday of last week. The first class is an “Assessment Class” — meaning, it’s the class where we set the foundation. Where do you begin.. where can we set goals from, so ideally, in 8 weeks, you can CRUSH them!
We started the assessment off with a few fitness “tests.” Like, how many push-ups can you do in 1 minute? Squats? Bicep Curls? Sit-ups? How long can you hold a plank? Side-Bridge? Wall-sit?
I felt pretty confident about my push-ups and squats — these are a daily exercise for me. Plank should be okay too, I knew I could at least hold for a minute and a half. The others had me a bit nervous.
So, in all transparency, here’s where I stand:
How many in 1 Minute?
Bicep Curls: 42
Push-ups: 28 (full push-ups, not assisted or on knees)
Sit-ups: 17 (full sit-ups, not assisted)
Squats: 39 (booty to the ground)
How long can you hold?
Plank: 2 minutes
Side Bridge: Left – 1 minute Right – 45 seconds
Wall sit: 1 min. 34 seconds
Holy crap — I could definitely see what areas need the most work! Then, we had to run a mile. Now, I’m a runner — but my stride hasn’t been the same since having Ella. Since we moved here, I’ve been training on time intervals with my running — trying to get my stride up to running without stopping for a walk break for 45 minutes straight. I recently completed c25k and ran my first 5k since moving to Orlando, and I was pretty happy with breaking a 32 minute 5k time — averaging at a little 10 min mile. But, I haven’t been working on speed, like I used to. So, the mile — I was nervous. But, I managed to run it in 9:41 min/mile. I was happy with that. 🙂
Afterward, we took measurements.
Waist (at the belly button): 33.5″
Hips (widest part of the booty): 40.5″ (Momma’s got back, what can I say?)
Thighs (widest part): Left – 25.5″ Right – 25″
Arms (widest part of bicep): Left – 11.5″ Right – 11.5″
Then, it was time for the weigh-in.
After coming off of a weekend stomach fiasco, I thought my first weigh-in would be okay, considering I hadn’t been eating too much (or rather, keeping too much down). So, with a deep breath, I stepped on the scale.
Lately, I’ve been hovering around 148-152, depending on the day. Now, of course, I’m not happy with the number — but this isn’t a post seeking sympathy or annoyance around what some silly SCALE says. Although it’s hard for me to believe I’m THIS much — but honestly, pre-Ella, I was around 135-140. I’m not THAT far off, and I do believe I am ALOT stronger now. I mean.. c’mon — I had a baby! 😉 Plus, there are many MANY things a scale does not show. The scale doesn’t show that I LOVE burpees, and bust those puppies out like it’s my job. The scale doesn’t show that I can do 28 full man-style push-ups in a minute. The scale doesn’t show that I can run 45 minutes without stopping. 🙂 I’m MomStrong, regardless of what that number reflects.
We end each class with stretching and a little bit of meditation — one of my favorite parts. It just makes me feel so powerful and ready to conquer my day, as beads of sweat fall off my forehead and face! Really though, it’s awesome!
After the first class, I was TIRED — but motivated! With the class, we are required to log our food intake for the 8 weeks, so I crafted a cute little binder for all my papers. Felt like I was in school again!
I continued the first week with working out every day — I plan to continue my 21 Day Fix workouts everyday, on top of going to Body Back and Stroller Strides. One crazyyyy day last week, I convinced my husband to join me in an “extra” workout based on a “Spell Your Name” image, where each letter of your name reflected what workout you had to do. Holy crap — I did my whole name and Ella’s, and by the end, I was dead.
My eating was okay for the first week, but Sunday was tough — as we went to the farmer’s market and I think I ate my entire weight in kettle corn! Oh, and that little plain hamburger I had …. eek!
But the point is, I recognized it. I know where I slipped, and I can only get better and move on up from here. In fact, this week — I’m back to healthy veggies and LOTS of water. Oh, and our famous veggie salad. 🙂
So, on top of the workouts and healthy eating — another part of this experience I’ve enjoyed so far was filling out my goals worksheet. The question was proposed: What are the three most important areas of your life, and are those areas getting the energy and attention they need? The first two — easy. Husband and Ella. And, for the most part — yes, they are getting most of my energy and attention. The last one hung me up for a while… and ultimately, I decided that my own happiness should be part of that list. Whatever that may be.. I’m still working on figuring that out — thus the year of GROWTH. Also, we had to list out three goals for our health in the next 8 weeks, and 3 goals for our health in the next year. Here are mine:
See more overall definition of muscles
Drop my mile time to 9 minutes
Fit comfortably in some of my old pre-Ella clothes
Run another half marathon and begin training for a full
Be able to do a handstand push-up and a pull-up
Be close to my goal weight (125-130lbs)
I feel like my goals are definitely doable — I’ve even written them out and placed them on the mirror in my bathroom and on the fridge for a reminder.
Overall, it was a great first week of this amazing class. I’m looking forward to posting more about it as I journey through the next 8 weeks. Thanks for joining me on this adventure 🙂