DIY · Uncategorized

A Very Penguin Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, it was time to start thinking about decorating our home.  I asked my son if he wanted a particular theme this year and his instant response was “penguins”.  I shouldn’t be surprised since his favorite stuffed animal that he always uses is a penguin.  So a penguin theme it is!

peckie-the-penguin

I decided I wanted to put my new Cricut Explore Air to good use and make some ornaments like  I have seen so many other crafters makings.  They looked so cute, and wanted to incorporate our penguin theme into them.  My first type of ornament I decided to make is often referred to as a “floating” ornament.  I was able to pick up these plastic clear balls up at my local DollarTree store.  Plastic is the only way to go in my home with an 8 year old and a very active cat.

empty-ball

First I needed to make the clear insert to go into the ball.  The ball was about 2.5 inches in diameter so I just used a preset circle shape and made it 2.49 inches in diameter.  I then added a 1/2 inch square at the top and welded the 2 pieces together before cutting.

creating-the-insert

 

I have seen other crafters’ use acetate or overhead film to use for the cut out.  I used the plastic from the inserts in a photo album that I had laying around and it worked perfectly.

the-insert

I was having trouble finding the perfect penguin design that I wanted to use.  I finally came across a design on Etsy, that was exactly what I wanted.  After uploading my file into Design Space, I resized it so it would fit on to my circular cut out.

ds-penguin

Using Circut vinyl, I cut out each of the different colors and applied it to my insert.

penguin-on-film

Once the insert was completed, I rolled it slightly in order to fit it into the ball.

rolling-in

Now it was time to add some snow.  I used snow that I also picked up at my local DollarTree.  I taped the tab at the top of my insert to the bulb so that it didn’t end up slipping into the ball and getting stuck.  I used a spare piece of paper to make a small funnel to pour the snow into.  I must say, if you aren’t careful this snow goes EVERYWHERE.  I swear a week later, I am still finding little pieces of it around my craft table.

fake-snow

I ended up pouring snow on to both sides of the insert for a more realistic look to it.  I put the top back on and we were almost done.

almost-done

To give the ornament a little more festive look, I used my hot glue gun to add some ribbon and a bow.

adding-the-bow

And within just few moments, I had my first penguin ball ready to go.  My son loves it!  Now to make enough for the entire tree.

its-done

We also decided to make additional penguin ornaments just using card stock paper.  I used the same template but made it about 5 inches tall.  I used spray adhesive and attached all the pieces together to assemble our penguins.  put-together

From there I gave my son free range to decorate and bling them as he wished.  So far, these are what he has come up with.

blinged-up

I can’t wait to make more and get our tree set up and put our Penguin holiday theme into place.  My son is itching to put the tree up now, but I always wait just a little closer to Christmas as our lovely cat often dismantles the tree once or twice after it has been put up.  And I am sure I will come up with a few more penguin inspired additions as well.

Now it’s time to check out the other great Christmas Cricut Ornaments from my Canadian blogging friends!

13-christmas-ornaments

From top left, they are:

Christmas Garland from The Learner Observer

3D Christmas Tree from Woman in Real Life

Star Ornament from The Inspired Home

Penguin Ornament from A Boy and His Mom

Handlettered Ornaments from Teacups and Things

Paper House Christmas Ornament from Fresh Crush

Easy Christmas Ornaments from Sparkle Shiny Love

3D Snowflake Ornament from Brooklyn Berry Designs

Mini Deer Pallet Ornament from Love Create Celebrate

3D Gingham Trees from Rambling Renovators

Glitter Monogram Snow Globe Ornaments from Bawlers and Crawlers

Paper Geometric Christmas Ornaments from Life is a Party

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – The body is talking to me

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I will be honest, I don’t have much to talk about today as my body has been telling me to take it easy this past week.   Between being a Mom, working, blogging and trying to have a social life, I have over programmed myself these past few weeks.  Things were starting to catch up with me and the body was complaining.

This past week, I still made it to the gym twice and was eating mostly healthy so it wasn’t a complete loss.  However, it was pretty evident that I needed to slow things down by Wednesday.  I woke up with an ear infection and upset stomach.  When my body needs a break, there is no subtle hints, it tells me loud and clear.

Making sure I stay on track and getting my exercise in, drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, making wise food choices and getting quality sleep are key.  Sure this all sounds good in theory but I need to make sure I actually do it.

I know with the holidays quickly approaching, I need to listen to my body and get the rest that I need now so that I am not sick then.  It doesn’t mean that I am going to live like a hermit and not do anything, I am just going to make sure that I am being much more cognizant of what my body needs and wants.  It’s always so hard to stay on track during this time of year and I know that I won’t even be remotely perfect, but I am going to really make an effort this year.

The New Year is always a fresh start for a lot of people.  And this year it will be for me as well.  There are a few changes I already know that are coming my way and I am looking forward to them!

the-body-talks

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

FItness Friday – two steps forward

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Well I can definitely say that I am feeling much better about my fitness journey this week than I did last week.  I wasn’t even remotely perfect this week but it was at least a step forward in the right direction.  Did I get my 10k steps in every day – NO, did I eat well everyday – NO, but did I do better – YES!!!

It’s all about moving forward and not dwelling on past mistakes.  It’s ensuring that each day I try to do a little bit better or at least get up and dust myself off if I’ve had a bad day.  No need to dwell on what I did wrong, it’s focusing on what I can do better moving forward.

What did I do better this week?  I made it to the gym twice and was able to get out and enjoy and nice long walk and enjoy the fresh fall air.  I did my best to follow the meal plan that I had planned out earlier in the week.  And when I got groceries, I only got what I needed and I definitely didn’t need any candy, chips or chocolate.

steps-forward

I decided that if  I didn’t get my steps in that day that I wasn’t going to get all upset about it, I just tried to do better the next day.  Some days it is just impossible to get the steps in due to what life throws at us.  And when I took my son out for a pancake breakfast date this morning before school, I let myself enjoy my meal with him and knew I would have to adjust my eating for the rest of the day.  What I am realizing is that I can’t always be perfect and beating myself up about it isn’t going to help me move forward.  I know I am not perfect and never will be.  Ensuring that I am moving forward is the key.  Always forward and not regressing completely back and ignoring it.

So again, another busy week ahead of me but I will keep pushing forward.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – I am feeling like a fraud

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Not going to lie, I am feeling like a bit of a fraud these days.  Not only to myself, but whomever actually reads these posts.  The past 2 weeks have been so far removed from being “Fit”,  it isn’t even funny.

The gym and I have been complete and utter strangers.  It’s like we have never met or we’ve had a bad break up.  We don’t see each other at all anymore it seems.  And I almost feel like I was the one who got dumped, because I have no idea why we aren’t seeing each other.

Maybe it’s the change in the weather or life has been just a bit more busy than usual, but my motivation to get to the gym is gone.  My motivation to do anything is gone.  I think the fact it get dark so much earlier now makes me just want to hibernate.  With it Daylight Savings time this weekend and the clocks going back isn’t going to help either.

All the things I have been telling myself and you that I would keep doing no matter what, have gone out the window.  I used to be almost obsessed with getting my 10k steps in each day.  Realistically, I don’t think I have gotten the full 10k steps done in the past 2 weeks.  One day I didn’t even bother to even wear my Fitbit.

I stepped on the scale this morning and it hasn’t moved.  No loss, no gain.  So in retrospect, this is a good thing.  I was not expecting good things to come from me stepping on that scale.  Any sort of gain would have probably made things even worse.  My only saving grace these past few weeks is I have been sticking to my #FitMamaPlanner.  The past 2 Sunday nights, I have sat down and planned out my whole week’s worth of meals.  It helped a lot with my grocery shopping.  I didn’t buy things I didn’t need.  Although most importantly, I think most nights when my motivation was at it’s lowest point, it gave me the guidance to cook what I had planned and not hit the drive thru.

So what does this actually mean?  Why I am I even bothering to write this down?  I told myself that if I was going to write a “Fitness Friday” segment, I was going to keep myself accountable to myself and to whomever is reading this.  I am feeling like a fraud and I don’t want to.  I don’t want to write some sort of garbage to make it look like I am this wonderful Mom who is keeping fit ALL the time, keeping on track and not having a bad time.  Let’s get real, I am having a bad time.

BUT, this morning when I stepped on that scale, it gave me a bit of a wake up call.  I hadn’t fallen too far off that wagon.  It was still in sight.  And although I have been feeling sluggish and my body has been reminding me that I am not treating it well, I can recover from this set back.  I can do this.  Never give up!

So to everyone reading this rambling, first off thanks for listening.  I guess it’s ok to fail once in a while.  Recognizing the issues and doing something about it is the key.  So time to rekindle the romance with the gym and feeling better about this journey.

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Recipes

Warm up to a Hearty Harvest Stew

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the first hints of fall arrives I want to get my crockpot out and start making a warm, hearty stew.  With the fall harvest, there are so many great options to use.  My recipe for stew is pretty basic and is more stepping stone, if anything.  I start with the basics of stewing beef, beef broth and an onion soup mix and go from there.  It’s kind of like a kitchen sink version, where I basically add whatever I have available to me at the time.  Aside from the ingredients listed below, I have also used corn, butternut squash, zucchini and even canned tomatoes before.  It really depends on what you like and have available.  I find it’s hard to go wrong with stew.

After a long, cold day, it’s nice to come home to something warm and ready to go for dinner.  All you need to do is serve the stew with a nice, crusty bread and you’ve got a meal that everyone in your family can enjoy. This recipes freezes well and makes for a perfect warm me up lunch for the family on a cold winter day.

 

Hearty Harvest Stew

A hearty, warm, filling stew that can easily tailored to your suit any taste buds

  • 1 lb stewing beef
  • 1 carton beef broth
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • 3 large potatoes, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 whole onions, chopped
  • 3 whole carrots, chopped
  • 2 whole sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons flour, divided
  1. Cut stewing beef, if necessary, into smaller, bite size pieces. Coat in flour and cook in frying pan until brown. Does not need to be fully cooked, just browned.
  2. Chop up all your veggies and put them into your crockpot.
  3. Once beef has browned, add to crockpot with broth and onion soup mix. Add enough water to almost cover the contents.
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you wish the stew to have a thicker, more gravy like consistency, mix 2-3 tablespoons of flour with water to make a paste. Stir in to stew approximately 20 minutes prior to serving to thicken.