Monday, January 30, 2012

Warning: Crafting can be Hazardous

I am obsessed with crafting! I have self diagnosed myself with crafting ADD as not only do I love all types of crafts (ex. sewing, crocheting,quilting, DIY anything, paper crafts,etc.) I never finish anything because I get too excited to try something new. It's no surprise that my favorite room in the house is my craft room! While it is still a work in progress, I decided to take pics of it now, because this is literally the only time it was clean.

There is nothing that makes me happier then having some time to craft! So I was thrilled when Saturday, I had an opportunity to work on a burlap banner I wanted to make for Valentines Day. The kids were all playing and I had no major school projects so into my craft room I went. Unfortunately, I didn't get very far into the project, not because of my ADD, but because of my rotary blade! Lets just say that blade can cut through a lot more than fabric! After feeling a bit of pain I looked down to see that I had cut my finger... what I didn't know until I went to rinse it, was that I actually cut the corner tip of my pointer finger off! Strangely enough there was no pain but since it would not stop bleeding I decided to go to the urgent care. I sent Anna and her friend on a mission to bring back a babysitter (I was watching my niece and nephew at the time) and I calmly sat down and waited until they came back. When I arrived at the urgent care and showed them my finger I was a little disappointed to find out that they couldn't sew the tip back on! They cauterized the finger to stop the bleeding, wrapped it up and sent me on my way. Needless to say any chances I had of becoming a hand model are now over! I have yet to finish the burlap banner....but I moved on to another project anyway!

Happy Birthday to You!

On January 17th, Trent celebrated his 35th birthday! Crazy...not sure how that happened, especially since we have been together since he was 19! Wow, time flies! 

When you get to be Trent's age, birthdays are pretty mellow!It was a pretty uneventful day but he's not really the type that expects a big to do! Because I had school on his birthday we went to dinner the night before and then celebrated with a cake (that my mom and Anna made...thanks again) after I came home from school. Trent's big gift was an Iphone and he was very excited! He has been a little annoyed that I am constantly on my phone and now he is constantly on his! My mom's gift to him was an industrial case for the phone but we had to order it online and it hadn't come in time for him to open on his birthday! Michel then had a bright idea that we should crochet him a case and pretend that she genuinely wanted him to use it! It took everything I had to keep a straight face as Trent opened his fancy Iphone case! He didn't know what to think! It was hysterical watching him trying to be gratious and polite as he was clearly disappointed that he didn't get the case he wanted and there was also a little fear that he was actually going to have to use it! When we finally told him it was a joke he looked a little mad but he was a good sport about it! His new case finally came and it is much more his style! Happy Birthday, Trenton!   
I still think this is pretty cool...I'm not sure why he won't use it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's all Good...will

So I am a little embarrassed to admit that I just discovered the benefits of shopping from the Goodwill as I know this is not news to most. While I have been to thrift stores before I usually get very overwhelmed (and for some reason slightly nauseous) and I don't end up finding what I need so I am in and out in two minutes. I keep seeing great ideas for projects on blogs and Pinterest using items purchased from thrift store so I decided to give it another go. In a hunt for funky frames I stopped by the  local Goodwill and thinking I wouldn't be staying long I didn't even bother to get a cart. I was pleasantly surprised by the friendly greeting I received from the young man working the register. Trying to appear as if I'm a seasoned thrift store shopper and not at all too proud to buy used goods I proceeded past the cashier and straight for what appeared to be the home decor. I was extremely disappointed by the selection of frames (not even hot pink spray paint would make these sad frames look cool) and in my typical fashion started to head out of the store not understanding why anyone would shop there. Then like a beacon of light came down from the ceiling, I spotted the bookshelves with rows and rows of books! I am obsessed with children's books and use them in therapy all the time, so I was excited to see the vast selection. I was even more surprised when I actually found some books I have been looking for! I guess I have always been under the impression that people only give away junk to the Goodwill as I would never dare give away precious books! And here they were and for only 99 cents! Armed with a stack of 10+ books, I decided to just venture over to the toys and children's clothing. Aiden and Anna have to wear pants to school everyday and Aiden grows out of them so quickly that I feel like I have spent a small fortune on something he wears for such a short time. I hate looking through racks, which is why I stay away from places like Ross, so I didn't plan on searching just browsing. I couldn't believe it when right  on the corner of the rack was a pair of jeans in Aiden's size that still had the original store tags on them and only cost $4.99! Now I really felt like I was on a treasure hunt. It was like that stupid commercial where the lady walks in to the Goodwill looking for one thing and then ends up buying a cart full of stuff...I ended up having to get a cart after all! The ultimate find was the board games! We play a lot of games in therapy and most board games cost $20.  I ended up finding 4 games I have been wanting for $1.99 a piece! You do have to look through them to make sure they have all their pieces or that they have not been tagged up by their previous owner (I almost bought Jenga until I realized it was used as a drinking game and someone had written "take a drink", and some other obscenities directly unto the pieces)! I ended up having so much fun and finding so many great bargains that I actually ended up going to 2 other Goodwills after the first one! Not only did I find things I could actually use, I fulfilled my shopping addiction for much less money! I might just become one of those thrifty shoppers after all!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh I love you!

Is it possible for a website to make you a better person....yes, yes it can and it has! Although, I am embarrassed by the amount of time I spend on Pinterest it is all for a very good cause. Pinterest makes me a better mother, a better eater, a better speech therapist and a better crafter of course! The brilliant and creative ideas that are posted to this site are ENDLESS! Here are just a few examples of how Pinterest has made ME a better person...

I do not play...never have, never will. So about the only time that I feel like I am being a hands on mom is when I take my children somewhere.  But with Pinterest in my life I have found so many amazing things that I am actually willing to do with my kids! There are tons of crafts and experiments plus ideas for questionnaires and pictures that will help me to freeze these moments in time....Pinterest=better mom. Here are just a few of my pins on my For The Kids board....
Misc. ideas to keep bored kids busy

Marble races using a swim noodle
Marshmallow shooters
Glow sticks in balloons

Time Capsule Questions

Pinterest also makes me a better therapist. There are lots of great teaching blogs out there but speech therapy blogs are really limited. I love to keep things fun and interesting and so I am constantly trying to find fun ways to keep my students engaged.  I work with such a diverse range of needs that I'm constantly Googling to find resources....oh Pinterest, how you have simplified my search! Here are just a few of the blogs and pins I have found that are making me a better speech therapist....

Simply Speech Blog

Sublime Speech

Speech blog   

This blogger has so many great speech and language ideas pinned on Pinterest I just link you directly to them!
And now for how Pinterest is helping me with my diet....There are tons of great recipes and websites devoted to healthy eating (and plenty more with incredible unhealthy options too). I have found some of the best food blogs on Pinterest that I may not have found otherwise...
healthy food ideas

healthy s'mores...stop it!
Now of course if you go to my Pinterest boards you will see 2000 other great pins I have discovered! I warn you it is addicting but it's one of the only addictions that's actually good for you!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Take 1,540

Forget Freshman 15, I am the victim of the Grad school 40! As long and effort-full as losing 40 pounds is, it's amazing how easily you can put it on! It's a surreal feeling to think back to one year ago when I was on a pretty good health kick and a steady decline to present day as I am starting all over from the beginning. So here we go again...

In reviewing the most successful weight loss moments in my life I realize they are always due to a highly motivating event or significant time period, ex. high school, wedding, illness...I am a very goal oriented person and while New Years resolutions don't typically hold my attention, attaining a specific goal does! With graduation just four months away (that's right!) I refuse to take another picture wearing a cap and gown looking like I swallowed myself! When I graduated with my bachelors in 2005 I was at my ultimate heaviest (I like to blame having a baby, but Anna was 8 months old then)! Although, I love this picture because I'm with my brothers, I have a very hard time looking at that version of me.  So in order to avoid a repeat of this photo, I have started diet # 1, 540! The next time I put on that cap and gown I will take a photo that will have dual purpose...celebrating my graduation and losing weight!

Last year I was convinced eating clean was the only way to make significant changes and reach ultimate health but I was a different person then as I had the support and example of my friend, Lisa, and all the time in the world to completely change my lifestyle. With how chaotic my life is right now, I need more flexibility which is why I have started Weight Watchers....again. It works when done correctly, and for where I am in my life right now, I think it's the way to go. I am currently in week 2 and I have lost 6lbs. . .so far so good!

The keys to my success thus far....finding healthy versions of food I love (i.e. healthy pad thai), taking healthy, pre-counted, snacks to work and school, eating an apple after a meal instead of dessert (I always need something sweet after I eat), planning ahead of time (i.e. eating extra healthy, low point foods all day so that I can enjoy a slice of b-day cake with Trent) and trying to get in my exercise. The Dr. Oz "Just lose 10 challenge" has lots of good ideas, and healthy recipes. Pinterest is also full of awesome healthy recipes and ideas. 

Overall I am feeling very good and highly motivated. While there have been moments where I want to say "oh forget it, I am who I am" I only have to look at that lovely picture of myself at my graduation in 2005 to remember that is not who I am and NO MORE EXCUSES (thanks Biggest Loser for that advice).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pinetop Here We Come...

For the 3rd year in a row we headed up to Pinetop to enjoy our Christmas break and celebrate the New Year with our friends, the Stevens. There is no better place to completely relax, and as always I planned to enjoy my time off by doing absolutely nothing! I did compromise a little as I left the cabin a couple of times for some great family outings!

On our first day there we met Grandpa Dan in St. John's (he manages the SRP plant located there) and went exploring! Thanks to a friend of his, Carl, who has lived in St. John's for several years, we had a personal tour of the Indian ruins in the area! It was very elite as we went to places that only privileged individuals like Carl have keys too! The first stop was a mini petrified forest! I have never seen petrified wood in nature before, so it was pretty amazing to see a huge fallen tree turned to rock! Grandpa Dan turned the adventure into a competition and sent the kids off to find the most amazing and the largest piece of petrified wood they could carry home! After everyone was satisfied with their selection we were back on the dirt road and off to the next stop which was in an area that was literally covered with ancient Indian pottery. It was a surreal expeirence to find pieces of pottery that were created thousands of years ago. I tried very hard to find an entire pot but no luck! While that didn't happen I did find awesome pieces with great black and white designs. After our hunt for pottery we headed off to view what Carl referred to as moonscape. It was the back side of the Painted Desert and it was truly a stunning sight!  We were in the middle of nowhere and most likely not a place many people get to see which was pretty cool! It was a great day and really made me realize how much of Arizona I still need to see!

looks like wood but feels like a rock...very strange

what did you find Brendan...oh your cell phone

Sherry & Jax
hunting for pottery
the closest thing I found to a whole pot...5 pieces

Anna in between two Maddy's!

Our other outing for the week included a trip to Sunrise to take the kids skiing! Since the kids had never been skiing before we decided it would be best to sign them up for ski school. The whole thing was really quite an ordeal and just a heads up for anyone wanting to do the ski school package (especially over a school holiday)...get there early! It is very hectic and you have to go to one building to sign them up for school then another building to fit them for equipment then back to another area to wait for the lessons, which is also a big cluster. Because the ski rental is included in the package with the lesson it really is worth the headache but next time I will be renting somewhere else and taking the equipment with me because the chaos and crowds at Sunrise may have brought out the worst in me. After the nearly 2 hour ordeal of getting the kids situated it was finally time!  I was a little nervous that the kids weren't going to enjoy it or worse that they wouldn't be able to do it, but they did great! They aren't going to be doing competitions anytime soon but they did their best and hey that's all I ever ask for!

After the practice was over we convinced the kids to go back up to the top of the bunny hill and keep trying. I could tell they were exhausted and not yet comfortable with the sport but they went back up several more times anyway! Jaxson was so dedicated that after flying down the mountain and crashing to a stop he popped off his skis and walked back up the mountain since taking the lift took too long! He must have gone up and down 20 times! It was such a fun expeirence and I was so proud of everyone! They worked so hard and by the time we left they were really starting to get the hang of it. They can't wait to do it again and I can't either!

I could have taken pictures of this little ski bunny all day...this is a good look for her!

Trent made it down just in time to catch the first part of the lesson!

Having never skied before I can't judge but that just looks awkward!

Aiden had Santa Claus for a ski instructor!

Sherry catching some sun on a very hot day!

Exhausted but still smiling

Now this is how you get up the mountain...

Aiden's first time on the lift...he was soooo nervous but he ended up loving it!

That's one way to stop Jaxson!

He's Up!!!!!

He's down!!!

Good Maddie...keep those knees together just like they taught you!

Just taking a little break

who needs a ski lift???

You guys are supposed to sit back on the lift not fall onto the lift

still tangled up

now they got it! cute

Practice makes the end of the day Anna made it down on her feet!