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Month: January 2016

Build Your Own Workout

Build Your Own Workout

build your own workoutFor almost three years I have been pinning all sorts of the “Only 5 Moves You Need to Know” pins in hopes of learning the perfect workout. What have I learned? There is no perfect workout. What works for that super ultra fit woman you follow on Instagram might not work for you. What works for your best friend might not work for you. What worked for me last month might not work for me again this month. It’s important to keep workouts new and exciting.

Now, this doesn’t mean we can’t follow any fitness routine or workout schedule. I did Diary of a Fit Mommy’s Fitmas in December and loved it. I have used dvd’s…the same workout everyday for a week and loved it. But, none of them stayed long term with me. Sure, I can go back to them and do them again sometime, but lately I have really been enjoying putting together my own workouts.

Here is how I build my own workout:

Start with a warm up. Stretch for 2 minutes before the warm up. Then choose two light cardio exercises that you will alternate to warm up. It’s important that these exercises get your heart rate up.

Rounds 1-3. For each round you should choose 2 exercises, 3 if you’d rather. How you choose the exercises is up to you. Sometimes I will do round 1 as core, round 2 as cardio, and round 3 as arms. Sometimes I will choose one from each (core, cardio, and arms) for a round. Write down which exercises you will do for each round and write 1:00 next to it. You will do each round for 6 minutes. So, if you are doing three exercises do each round 2x. If you are doing two exercises in a round do each round 3x. If you don’t feel up to each exercise for 1 minute, just cut it to 20 or 30 seconds and go from there.

Rests. It’s important to rest for 60 seconds between rounds. I usually spend my 60 seconds walking around the house (straightening up) or stretching.

Cool down. Don’t forget about the cool down. It’s so important. After you are all done rounds 1-3 take 5 minutes to stretch. It feels amazing and is so good for your body.

Now, my criteria for an awesome workout may not be the same as yours, so don’t feel the need to follow my outline directly. Just grab from it what you like and get some inspiration as you build your own workout.

Example workout:

Stretch 2 minutes.

Warm Up: Running in place 1:00, side shuffle 1:00 (repeat 3x)

Round 1: Squats 1:00, mountain climbers 1:00, plank 1:00 (repeat 2x)

Round 2: Surfer squats 1:00, high knees 1:00, quick jacks 1:00 (repeat 2x)

Round 3: Bicep curls 1:00, military press 1:00, reverse fly aways 1:00 (repeat 2x) *if you don’t have weights it’s no big deal. Just make this round like rounds 1-2 with cardio and core.

Cool Down: 5 minutes stretching.

If you need some ideas for which exercises to do, I listed some of my favorites here.

Beginning Baby Sign Language

Beginning Baby Sign Language

Okay, in the past weeks we have covered Common Myths about Baby Sign Language and the Benefits of Baby Sign Language. I am so excited to finally share with you how we started teaching baby sign language and what is an appropriate age to begin.

We always started teaching our kids sign when they began eating solids. Many people start much earlier than that, but that is what we chose. This would typically be between 6-9 months. I start with “more.”

To sign “more” you put your fingers together and move your hands toward eachother.

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In between each bite I will sign “more” and say “more” out loud then immediately give my baby another bite. This helps baby understand that when they see that sign, they will get more.

The next sign we teach is “all done”. You don’t have to wait until baby has learned one sign to introduce a new sign. I usually teach 2-3 at a time. To sign “all done” you just hold your hands up, shoulder height, and wiggle your hands back and forth. It looks like you are waving “hello” with both hands. Use this sign when they are all done anything: eating, bathing, playing, reading, etc.

The next two signs we teach are “please” and “thank you.” We introduce these signs as soon as we notice baby starting to point or “ask” for things.

To sign “please” you hold your open hand on your chest and move it in a circular motion. Often you will see babies doing this sign but on their bellies instead. That’s okay, it takes time to get the signs just right.

To sign “thank you” you place your open hand on your chin and move it outward/downward at the same time.

For please and thank you, just use the sign every time they want something or you give them something. Remember, say the word our loud every time you sign it. This will really help them to connect the meaning. They see it signed, hear it said, and see it happening.

Here is an example of Pepper, who is 15 months old, doing baby sign language:

 

You will notice she doesn’t do each sign perfectly. She does what she is capable of dong and I can understand her version of each sign. What do you think of baby sign language? Which words do you start with?

 

 

Benefits of Baby Sign Language

Benefits of Baby Sign Language

We have been teaching our daughter sign language since she was about 6 months old. She really loves it and has caught on so well. Many people can be skeptical when it comes to teaching a baby sign language. Some have to see it to believe it. Some have never even heard of teaching a baby to sign. If you are any of the above, I suggest you read the Common Myths about Baby Sign Language before you begin.

benefits

I mentioned last week that our family has been noticing Pepper doing sign language. Although that is fun, that is not one of the benefits of baby sign language I will talk about. Again, the following list is based completely on our own experiences with teaching our own kids sign language.

Benefit #1

Frustrations at the dinner table are cut in half. This is the first benefit you will start to notice. When your child can sign to you “all done” when they are done instead of crying and hoping you get the picture that they are full, it is wonderful. There are many times that Pep is fussing at the table and we will ask her if she is all done. She will say no and when we ask her what she needs she will sign “milk”. We don’t have to guess what she needs because she can tell us. This makes meal times so much nicer.

Benefit #2

Polite Manners are taught long before the child can speak. Imagine not having to say please for two years then all of the sudden someone expects you to say please when you want something? When we teach our kids to sign “please” and “thank you” as soon as they begin pointing for things we are doing them a huge favor. This habit will already be in them by the time they begin speaking with their voices.

Benefit #3

It establishes a line of communication. When we teach our baby sign language we teach them to communicate to us how they feel. They feel thirsty so they sign drink. They feel hungry so they sign eat. They feel love so they sign love. We often tell our 14 month old, “Don’t just yell, tell me what you need.” And she calms down and communicates to us what the problem is. She may not use sign language to communicate the problem but we have already established to her that she can communicate to us so she does her best to tell us what the problem is. 9 times out of 10 we can figure it out.

I am sure others can think of many more benefits to sign language. Maybe you have taught your child sign language. What are some benefits you’ve noticed?

When Fear Hinders Your Faith

When Fear Hinders Your Faith

In Genesis 14 we learn that a man named Lot is taken captive when he was living in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram, Lot’s uncle, heard of this and went to save Lot. Not only did he recover Lot, he also defeated the enemy army and brought back all the goods and people that were also taken. The king, who is not only impressed but also grateful, tells Abram to take whatever he would like as a thankyou.

But what does Abram do? He denies any reward. He wants to make sure everyone knows it is the Lord who takes care of him and not the riches of men.

Then God says, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

What? Why would God need to tell Abram to fear not? Without a second thought he went out and defeated the enemy! Without a second thought he turned down the king’s riches. This is a man full of faith. Why would God have to tell him to fear not? Abram must have been fearful. But he did not allow his fear to hinder his faith.  He declined riches in order to see God provide.

Then God so lovingly assures Abram that he made the right choice. God says not only will I be your Shield- your Protector- I will also be your EXCEEDING Great Reward. Moses turned down a reward for an exceeding Great Reward. I’d say he made the right choice.

Now the choice is ours. Each and everyday we choose to either be fearful of what we are currently going through- financial trouble, physical trouble, emotional trouble, etc. or to have faith that God knows and will provide for our every need.

Fear tells me to only rely on what I can see and touch. Fear tells me to do what I need to do to get what I feel I need to get. Fear tells me to stay within my comfort zone. Fear tells me to be afraid of what others might think of me.

Faith tells me to let God work. Faith tells me to follow God even if I don’t know where He is leading. Faith tells me to trust in the promises God has given me in His Word regardless even when they seem impossible to me.

Let God be your shield and Exceeding Great Reward. Don’t let fear hinder your faith.

fear hinders faith

 

Common Myths about Baby Sign Language

Common Myths about Baby Sign Language

We have been teaching our kids sign language since William was one year old. William did very well with it. Jenna hated it and hardly did any. Pepper Michelle loves it and is signing more than the other two ever did. This past Christmas, with all the family suppers, people started to really notice Pep’s signing. She uses it very often and people were really amazed!

Maybe you are thinking about teaching your child sign language but aren’t sure if it’s all it’s hyped up to be. Maybe you have some concerns about how it will affect your child in the long run. I think we should start by talking about some popular myths about Baby Sign Language. I am not talking scientifically or psychological or anything like that. I am giving my opinions based on my experience.

Myth # 1 

“Sign language will delay speech.” I have heard this soooo many times. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that it will delay my child’s speech. If you have ever met my son you know this is certainly not true. He was talking full sentences before he was 18 months old…and he really hasn’t stopped yet. Sign language helps a child learn how to communicate with “words” instead of just yelling or pointing.

Myth #2

“Baby sign language is just a fad.” I admit it is becoming much more popular in the past 10 years but it has always been around. How many of you have met a 9 month old who could wave hello or goodbye? Sign language. Have you ever seen a child blow a kiss to someone they love? Sign language.

Myth #3

“I don’t have the time.” I really hope you haven’t said this to yourself at all while reading this post. It is one of my most hated phrases. If you have time to talk to your child, you have time to teach him sign language. If you have time to feed your child, you have time to teach him sign language. You have the time.

Myth #4

“It’s expecting too much of a baby.” Babies are seriously smart. I don’t really have to elaborate on that because I know everyone must agree. Or at least, I hope you agree. If it is taught consistently, sign language is very easy for a child to pick up. I think that this is used as a cop-out for parents who think it’s too much for them, not their child.

Myth #5

“Every child should be taught sign language.” Although we did teach all our kids sign language, Jennifer didn’t like it and never learned more than the 4 basic words. That’s okay. By then she was speaking anyway and no longer needed signs. Pepper, on the other hand, loves it and can sign over 10 signs (14 months old). I am in no way at all trying to say that you need to teach your kids sign language to be a good parent. It’s not for everyone and that’s okay.

BUT if you are interested and want to try, think about these myths. Which ones do you struggle with? Are you wondering what the benefits are? Good! The Benefits of Baby Sign Language is the next post in the line up!

What are some of your thoughts on baby sign language? Have you tried it? Do you believe some of the myths here? Do you have reservations about it? Share below!signlanguage

New Kitchen in 15 minutes!

New Kitchen in 15 minutes!

beforeaftercollage.jpgOkay, maybe not exactly new. But your kitchen can feel brand new in 15 minutes! I do this every morning. Let me show you how you can, too!

What you need!

  • Music. I usually go with Piano Guys. What’s your go-to music for chores?
  • Stopwatch. We will set our timers for 15 minutes. Don’t go over!

 

What you do!

  • Play your music. Sing along.
  • Start the timer and just start cleaning! Try to beat the clock!
  • Don’t get sidetracked with tidying up more in depth areas. Stick to the quick decluttering. You can scrub the toilet or go through unused toys later. For now, just try to get things where they belong.

 

Timer’s up!

  • Look around at how much you’ve accomplished in just 15 minutes!
  • Make a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Read some books, crochet…who am I kidding. More like go clean up the mess that the toddler has made in the bathroom while you made the kitchen look amazing. Might as well set a timer there, too!

Happy Cleaning!

Easy Pasta Dish

Easy Pasta Dish

Some days you just need a fast supper. Whether you just have a ton of things to do, the children are extra needy that day or maybe you have somewhere you need to be right around dinner time. Either way, I have become the queen of fast suppers. (If only I could conquer the crockpot!)

This morning I willDSCF7254 share a simple FAST supper that is still healthy. Maybe you are like me and need to stop having grilled cheese on the dinner menu. Here’s an idea for you. Maybe it will spark some inspiration.

 

Start with some boneless, skinless chicken breast and a little bit of olive oil. Get the chicken fully cooked but not browning yet. Add some sliced fresh mushrooms. I suppose you could use canned if you’d rather.

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Let the new buddies get to know each other in the pan (any Office fans?)

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Once they are looking perfectly delish, add in some onion flakes and diced tomatoes. Now would also be a good time to add in some flavors
such as garlic (whichever form you prefer, I used from the jar), salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

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Stir it all up and let it simmer for a bit.

Get your noodles going. We used fusilli but I am sure whatever you have on hand will be fine.

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Once your noodles are fully cooked, put it in a bowl with your chicken mixture and top with some shredded Parmesan cheese.

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Yum.

 

 

 

Printables Collection {To Do Lists}

Printables Collection {To Do Lists}

I really love lists. I make lists of everything. I am pretty sure I have told you all that before. It just feels awesome to be crossing things off my list each day! Maybe you remember my post a couple months ago about Making a Great To Do List. I still follow my guidelines listed there.

I have been making my own To Do Lists over the holidays. For some reason when I make them to match my mood it helps me be more excited to work on my list. I am sure I am no different than the rest of you: we all have a million things that need to get done. We probably can’t make a to do list big enough for everything. But breaking down our lists can really help keep it organized and less intimidating.

I am really loving this new list I made for morning and evening chores. You can download it here >>>MorningEvening.

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Here’s a list for if you are like me and have more things on your want to do list than your need to do list. I say for each need to do crossed off I should get to do one of my want to do’s! You can download the Bumblebee list here >>>>BumbleBeeToDoPrintable.

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Here’s the list I used most often over the holidays. It’s plain but motivating! You can download this printable here >>GettingThingsDone

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And just a simple To Do List for when you don’t want to get distracted by your To Do List (it happens). You can download the Bird To Do List here>>>>BirdToDoPrintable

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Feel free to use any of these printables. If you like them share them! Let me know which ones you like best or if there is a specific kind you’d like me to try to make!