Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – I am in a funk and I need some help!

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Maybe it’s because summer is almost over, and I am not happy about that.  Or maybe, I let myself get too lazy when on holidays, but I just can’t seem to get my butt back in gear.  Or maybe I am just not seeing the results I was hoping for,  but I seem to be in a total funk.  My motivation to go to the gym is pretty much zero and I’d much rather have a donut than a salad.   I am still tracking everything I eat and getting my 10,000 steps in every day but I just don’t seem to have the “want” anymore.

I have been here before and this is where everything goes terribly wrong and I completely fall off the wagon.   At least it is good that I am acknowledging it and not just ignoring it.

In a Funk

With winter coming,  I am getting a bit nervous as I tend to fall into hibernation mode and pack on the pounds over the long Canadian winter.  Let’s get real, aside from a bit of skiing and tobogganing, who really wants to go out in this????

Snow winter

The answer is NOT me!!

So as my title says, I need some help.  Maybe some new workout gear would help or trying something new at the gym would give me more motivation but not sure.  I have been trying to find a challenge or group that will help keep me accountable and get me out of this funk.  Anyone have any suggestions???  Your help would definitely be appreciated.

Until them, I am going to try and keep pushing through this funk!  Wish me luck!

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Together Tales – Let’s make reading fun

Disclosure:  Although these items were provided to me, all comments and photos (unless otherwise indicated) are strictly mine.  This post does contain affiliate links.

Books

If your child is anything like mine, they would much rather have a tablet in their hands than an actual book.  He just hasn’t found that real love of reading yet.  But I am working on it.  I have always loved to read but admittedly picking up a book to read in the past few years has been low on my priority list.  I am hoping that my son will find that love of reading and I can push my reading higher up on my list of things to do as an activity that we can do together.   That is why I was thrilled with I was asked by the people at Together Tales asked me if I would take a look at their interactive reading adventure kit.

The kit that we received was called Capes in the Family.  The premise of the kit is that after each chapter is read the child gets to use an app on a tablet/smartphone to play additional games incorporated with the theme of the book.  At the beginning the child receives a telegram to get them started using the app.

Photo provided by Together Tales
Photo provided by Together Tales

My son loved the idea that he could use the app in between chapters and made him actually want to read.  This was a huge plus for me.  Aside from the standard app style games, there is also a scavenger hunt where the child looks for puzzle pieces around your home or wherever you chose based on clues that you input into the app as to where you hid the puzzle pieces.  This was a lot of fun for both my son and myself.  It was something we both got to be involved in.   There was also another activity that was very similar to Pokemon GO.  I had to set 3 local coordinates and then my son had to use the tablet to find said coordinates.  The tablet would indicate if we was getting warmer when he was getting close or colder if he was moving away from the set coordinate.  There are some other great parts included but I don’t want to spoil it for your own adventure.

At the end of the adventure my son gave it the 2 thumbs up and want to try out more of these adventures.  Capes In the Family is currently the only adventure that Together Tales has available but others currently in the works.  I can’t wait to see what kinds of adventures they are.

Jack reading

This is definitely something that I would recommend to anyone who has a reader between the ages of 8-12, especially a reluctant reader.  Incorporating the app is definitely a plus in my mind to help get your child engaged.  If you would like to order your own copy for to Together Tales and enter the discount code ABAHM to get a 15% discount.

You can learn more about Together Tales on their website, Facebook , Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Enjoy!

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – Working towards a goal

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My goal for last week was enjoy my time off with my son and focus on spending our last few vacation days off the summer. Having fun and just enjoying our time together were top priority.  I wasn’t concerning myself with getting to the gym or counting calories.  I was taking a vacation and would deal with the scale when I returned.  And how could I not enjoy myself with views like this?

Fisherman

But sometimes that first day back after a nice week of vacation, I feel like I am being punished for ever taking said vacation. This past Monday was definitely one of those days.  Although, I got my eating back on track my body was still in relaxation mode and Monday evening I didn’t get want to get off the couch.  I got my 10K steps in and called it a day.   However, now,  I need to focus on having a goal in mind and getting back on track to reaching that goal.

I am not focusing this journey on reaching a certain weight.  I feel like a goal like that can set me up for failure and disappointment.  Perhaps my body is just not meant to be 120lbs and I am fine with that.  I just want to be fit and feel comfortable in my own skin regardless of what the numbers on the scale say.  But that being said, I still will use the scale as a guide and some motivation but I won’t get it be the be all and end all.

Scale

Instead, I am setting small attainable goals that can hopefully be achieved in small time frames.  If I can reach the first goal, it will give me the motivation to try for the next bigger goal.  My first goal is to hopefully run the 10K Terry Fox run coming up in September.  I am planning to do this run for 2 reasons.  First and foremost, the Canadian Cancer Society is a charity near and dear to my heart.  I have had not only my Mom affected by cancer but other family and friends as well.  And secondly, I take a bit of gulp when I even say 10K.  It seems like a tough goal to meet but unless I actually commit myself to doing something such as this, I will never push myself to get there.

So Tuesday, I decided to forge ahead full steam and start really training.  I knew I could handle a 5k, but now I need to focus on doing more.  I hit the gym running….literally.  And after being pretty much off the wagon for over a week, I am not going to lie, it was tough.  I actually enjoy running, it is like an escape for me but after a week of chips and cookies and all kind of goodness, I definitely felt it.  By 3km in, I was a sweaty gross mess.

Sweaty

I knew that there was NO way I would get close to 10km in, but at least it was a start.  I will keep pushing forward towards my goal (only a few weeks left) and hopefully come run day, I will be able to complete my goal and move on to the next one.

Wish me luck!

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Our social media free cottage weekend and what I learned in the process.

When we booked our summer cottage weekend many months ago, it seemed like it would be forever until it would arrive.  But this past weekend, it finally arrived.  It was a bit bittersweet though.  We couldn’t wait for it to arrive but we knew once it did arrive, summer would soon be over.  This summer we’ve been in practically drought like conditions and what was the forecast for this weekend????  Rain and lots of it.  We weren’t going to let Mother Nature ruin our much anticipated weekend away.

One thing that I decided I would do as part of weekend was turn the data off of my phone for the weekend.  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could survive without me for a few days.  I was still able to receive phone calls and text message in case of an emergency.  I am just too paranoid to completely unplug for a weekend but I am sure you get what I mean.  Enjoying my weekend and our beautiful surroundings were the only thing on our agenda!

Cottage

On Friday morning, we packed up the car and hit the road.  It was a sweltering hot day and so far the forecast seemed to be wrong as the sun was shining so my son was itching to get there so he could swim in the lake.  Luckily when we arrived the sun was still shining and we hit the lake the minute we got our suits on.

Beach

My son has improved his swimming skills significantly in the past year so he was thrilled at the thought of being able to swim in the lake without his life jacket.  At first I was a little skeptical, but he proved me wrong when he swam out to the floating dock without hesitation.  All weekend he kept saying that I should never underestimate him!!  LOL

woods

We had friends staying in the adjacent cottage so that evening we got together for a rousing game of Monopoly.  I swear my son is either going to be a high finance banker or a real estate mogul when he grows up.  He was a total shark!

And as the weather man predicted, Saturday morning we awoke to rain and lots of it.  I was not going to let that get me down.  My son and I had brought our fishing rods and I  had gotten a fishing license for that day and we were going fishing.  I grew up fishing in the creek on our country property with a stick, fishing line and a hook.  If we were really lucky, we’d get a bobber.  My son actually had to show me how to cast.   It was sooooooo much fun.  My inner tomboy came out and I was putting worms on the hooks and pulling fish off the hooks without hesitation.  In the end I only caught 1 little sunfish.  My son caught 5!   Fishing is something I plan to do a lot more of now that I know how much we both enjoy it.  I am a nature girl at heart!

Jack fishing

My itty bitty fish

We took advantage of getting outdoors when there was a break in the rain, taking a hike and swimming again and more fishing as much as we could.  The rest of that day we colored, did some reading and even enjoyed a lovely afternoon nap.  I don’t think we’ve done that in years!  That evening it was storming quite a bit so we did cuddle into bed early and watched a movie on our tablet (ok, so not completely unplugged but given the circumstances of the storm, I don’t really think it counts.)

Sunday came so quickly and unfortunately we had to pack up and head back home.  We will surely be looking forward to returning for another great weekend next summer!  A big thank you to Mary and Tim at Woodland Park for such a great weekend!

Us on the dock

I learned a lot from my little social media break.  I learned that I have way too many email subscriptions that I don’t actually read.  When I turned my data back on my email box got flooded with tons of emails that I literally deleted without a need to read.  Time to do some Unsubscribing.

But most importantly I learned how much time I was taking away from my son.  I learned that I don’t need to be checking my social media constantly during the day.  When I have my son, I can turn the data off and devote my time strictly to him.  We will enjoy what little time we get to spend together totally focused on each other.  I can scroll thru Facebook when he goes to bed and catch up on everyone else’s lives then.  I can make memories with him in the moment and share these moment on Instagram when he’s gone to school or back to his Dad’s.  I need to live in the now and not in everyone else’s now.  It was a huge eye opener and making changes going forward  My son is so much more important to me!

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – It’s ok to enjoy vacation time

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I have been enjoying another week off from work this week.  Since it is my last full week of vacation time this summer, I am doing my best to enjoy every minute of it.  And if that means not giving my fitness goals and diet 100% of my attention, I am ok with that.  It doesn’t mean that I am not cognizant of what I am eating and doing, but I am not letting it get in the way of enjoying what little time I have off.  I have committed to get right back on track come Monday morning, but until them I am in total vacation mode.

I had actually even thought about skipping my Fitness Friday posting this week as well, but I thought I better keep myself somewhat accountable and not go too crazy.  LOL

One thing I am doing as part of my vacation is doing some new “fitnessy” kind of things.  This past weekend, I ventured into the city to visit my BFF.  We hopped on bikes and made our way down to the waterfront beach area.  I never thought I would have the courage to ride a bike in the heart of the city but thankfully there were beautiful bike paths away from the crazy city traffic.

Bike

My bff had rented stand up paddle boards for us to use that afternoon.  She had taken a lesson before and told me she would just show me how it was done.  Truth be told, I was a little worried about not taking a formal lesson but trusted her instinct.  I was so glad I did.  I was up on the board first try.   It was so much fun and I didn’t end up in the lake once.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone and want to do it again soon.

Paddle Board

Mary and I

The next day we decided to continue the outdoorsy theme and headed to a local conservation area/ski hill to do some hiking.  The scenery was gorgeous.  It was quite hot so we didn’t venture too far up the hills but still got a good long hike in.  Afterwards we splashed in the lake for a bit to cool off.

Ski hill2We’ve been under a bit of a heat wave the rest of the week so I was more than happy to sit on the deck along side a friend’s pool and just enjoy the remaining days of my vacation.    We’re heading up to cottage country this weekend and of course after an almost drought like summer, it is supposed to pour rain ALL weekend.  It’s ok, my son and I can fish off the dock in the rain and as long as it doesn’t thunder and lightning, I am sure my son will be wanting to swim in the lake anyways.

I am not going to feel guilty about not going to the gym this week at all, I am not even going to post my accountability like I normally do.  Only thing I will account for is I have continued to ensure I get a minimum of my 10K steps in each day.  I don’t believe that one should feel forced into going to the gym or watching their diet every single second and enjoying a cheat day every one in a while.  It’s only going to make someone hate it and not get back on track as soon as they have a bad day.  I treat it like a lifestyle instead of a diet and every lifestyle gets a vacation everyone in a while.

Enjoy your week and Monday……back on track!!!

 

 

Travel

Our visit to Clovermead Adventure Farm & contest

Disclosure:  Although tickets for myself and my family were graciously provided to us by Clovermead, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

Clovermead Bee Farm

Earlier this summer, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Clovermead Adventure Farm located in Alymer, just south west of London, Ontario.  We are always looking for local family friendly places to visit and this definitely fits the bill!

You start your adventure in The Honey Shop, where they have a wonderful selection of honey related products.

Inside Clovermead

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If you head to the back of the shop, you will find they have a tasting bar with samples of different kinds of honey from their own bees and other Ontario bee producers.  I love that you can try before you buy.  There is one called the Sweet Heat that contains chili powder and has become my favorite.  If I hadn’t been able to try it first, I would have probably passed it by.

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I could have spent most of my trip just in the Honey Shop checking out all the amazing products but my little guy was itching to keep going.  Upon entering, you have to make a choice; to head to the “Bee” area of the farm where you can learn all about the Clovermead bees and honey making process from a Bee Keeper or head directly into the Fun Farm.

We chose to hit the Fun Farm firsts.  There are so many different things for kids of all ages (even the adult kids) to explore.  From zip lines, to jumping pillows, to pedal cards, to the playground.

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Scattered throughout the farm you will find all kinds of different animals.  Our favorite, hands down, were the mini goats.  They had some up on the roof of a building where you could use a pulley system to send food up to them.  My son absolutely loved this. He wanted to bring one home with us. Be sure to bring some quarters with you to get some feed for them.

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Goats at Clovermead

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There are also wagon rides available where they take you around the farm and show you all that is available for you to see and do.  We did this quite early and it helped us decide what we wanted to see and do.

After quite a long time playing, we headed over to the Bee area and one of the Bee keepers taught about bees and the honey process.  We even got to let one of the bees crawl on our hands.

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It was such a great day and there is so much for everyone of all ages to enjoy.  We are looking to come back this fall for another visit to partake in their Pumpkin Festival which will include picking your own pumpkins, a corn maze, the apple sling shot and a kid favorite – the Pumpkin Cannon.  To learn more about Clovermead you can visit their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

There are so many great things I could say about Clovermead, but you really need to experience it for yourself to see what I mean.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Get the goods (and the deals) on Groupon

Disclosure: Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions and comments are mine.

I don’t know about you, but when I first think about Groupon, I think of getting some pretty great deals for local activities and getaways.  I have taken opportunity of these deals many a time.  But what I having been missing out on is taking advantage of the major deals that you can find on the Groupon Goods area of their website.

Always searching for more bang for my buck, I was thrilled to find that Groupon has amazing deals on all types of goods, from electronics to jewelry to health and beauty items.  I think my favorite find so far was in the “battery” section of the Groupon Goods.

Being the Mom of a young boy who loves to play, I am constantly having to replace the batteries in my video game console remotes and TV remotes and a number of his electronic toys.  It never fails that the batteries die at the most inopportune moments and there are none left in the house.  I found this great deal for a 50 pack of batteries.  Something tells me that these will keep me well stocked for quite a long time.  And let’s be honest, if I don’t have to face the busy stores and am able to have delivered straight to my home, even better.

Batteries

So if you are looking for some great deals, you should head on over to the Groupon website and check all the great goods deal that you can find.  You can also get more Groupon information on their Facebook page and Twitter account.

 

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – Current Favorites

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Since I started my Fitness Friday posts, I’ve had a couple of people ask me about where I got my tights or my favorite shoes, etc so I thought today I would share a few of my favorites in relation to my fitness journey.  This is not a sponsored post nor are their any affiliate links, this is just my 2 cents!

Favorite Workout Gear:

Being a single Mom on a very, very tight budget, I don’t tend to have the means to spend a lot of $$ on my workout gear so when I find something that works for me, I tend to stay pretty faithful to it.  Not that I not open to try new things, I just tend to be a bit of a creature of habit.  Also, nothing worse than spending money on something I never end up using.

Clothing:

My #1 go to for tanks, tights and sports bra has to be Old Navy.  I love the feel of their compression tights.  They keep everything nice and tight and no jiggling.   Their maximum support sports bra is best one that I have found so far.  I am sorry for my crassness but there is nothing worse than trying to work out and the girls bouncing out of control.  If they aren’t under control, my workout is a complete fail.  I end up being more worried about what others are seeing and thinking then concentrating on actually working out.

All me
Shoes:

I have been unfortunately blessed with very flat feet and a bit of sciatic issue so I need decent shoes on my feet or by bedtime I am paying for it.  Summer flip flops (as much I love and live in them) are probably my arch nemesis.   Through the years, I have always seemed to have good luck with Saucony.  They seem to fit my feet nicely and at the end of the day, my feet aren’t aching.  I love the hot pink laces in my latest pair.

Other Gear:

Currently, I have the FitBit Charge HR.   Any one who knows me, knows that I am obsessed with my FitBit.    In my mind if I am not wearing my FitBit when I am exercising, the exercise never happened.  I love to be able to look at my app at the end of the day and see what I was able to accomplish.  Right now I am on a 33 day streak with 10K steps in a day and not looking to break it.

 Favorite Fitness/Weightloss bloggers:

We’re all on our own journey, and everybody goes about it a different way.  Finding others that you can relate to on their own journey can be very motivating.  I have found 2 out there, that although their goals and achievements are very different than mine, they aren’t too proud to share when they have had a bad day, week, month and that they struggle just like I do.  There have been days when the last thing I want to do is eat healthy or go to the gym and then I see something that they have posted and it gives me that extra kick in the butt.  If you are looking for some inspiration, check out these lovely ladies!!

  1.  Get Down with Dani – Weightloss Journey  – Dani has lost over 150lbs and is sharing hows she plans to lose another 50.  She always seems so genuine in her posts and has definitely had her ups and down.   She definitely has inspired me to keep with my journey going.  It may be a slow road but it will be worth it in the end.
  2. Trading Cardio for Cosmos – Alexis has lost over a 100lbs and has such a great personality.  It is her “Never Miss a Monday” mantra that I have adopted with my workouts.

Favorite Food:

This is absolutely where I struggle the most and have the worst time staying on track.  I love a good burger and sweets are definitely my weakness. Slowly but surely, I am finding alternates to curb my hunger when needed.  Right now, I would have to say my top “healthy” foods would have to be:

  1.  Green Smoothies (spinach/kale with a ton of fruit) – great way to start my morning
  2. Greek yogurt with trail mix – another morning favorite
  3. Farm Boy detox salad  (I could eat this every day!)

Salad

Weekly Accountability

Exercise:  2 x gym visits, 1 x 45 minute walk, 2 x 30 minute walk
Food Management:  Stayed on track 6 of the 7 days (Again, a few bad choices but overall, not too bad)

 

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Why I will love him too much!

Each day is seems I turn on the TV and  there is yet another story of innocent lives lost. As I drive by the municipal buildings, the flags are at half mast, again another reminder that people don’t always love one another. And then I turned to Facebook and read an article about a young Mom losing her young son that rocked me to my core.  Even weeks later it still has had a profound affect on me.

Since my son was born and especially my divorce, I have often been criticized for doing to much for my son, buying him too many things, so giving in to his wishes too often….for actually loving him too much.  First of all, any mother that has to share custody of their children will understand my need to want to make up for the lost time when he is at his father’s.  Any mother that has lost a child, I am sure would support me in my need to ensure every short moment we have together is not wasted.

I lost my twin sister when we were just about to turn 8 years old, so just getting my son to that age was very weighing on me.  In my head, I just needed to get him 8, and then I could breathe a sigh of relief, if just for a moment.

I know that Mom’s are supposed to support each other but I know that there is often a lot of criticism if your parenting ways are not the same as others.   But, I am willing to face the criticism to love my son to much.

I will:

Let him sleep with me at night if he wants.  Soon he will be old enough to not want to sleep with him Mom and those cuddles will be a thing of the past.

Let him have treats after dinner (obviously in moderation).  What’s the old saying “Life is too short, eat dessert first.”?

Cupcake

Let him stay up late once and a while watching TV together.  Soon Mom won’t be cool to hang out with, so I will let him enjoy these moments as much as I do.

Let him act overly silly and boisterous when he needs to and letting him be the kid he wants to be.

Take him on little trips and activities as often as I can.  I can’t afford week long vacations to Disney or the islands, so let’s enjoy what I can afford.

beach

Attend every extracurricular, every practice, every school event because soon enough college/university will call and there won’t be any of these events.

Let him have some extra screen time and stay in his pajamas all day when  just wants to have a lazy day.  As adults, we all know that life can move to fast and we all want some downtime every one and a while.

Screen time

Keep all his art work (rivaling a hoarder) so that when he’s older I can look back and enjoy.

Buy him toys and little gifts when it’s not his birthday or Christmas or any holiday.  Just because I want to.

Smother him with hugs and kisses until he tells me to stop.  I don’t see him every day, so this Mom has to make up for lost time.

Hugs

And I will love him too much any way I know how because I am reminded day in and day out how short life can be and I don’t ever want to have that “if I only I showed him I loved him more” moment.