Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

My apology to all the single Moms that came before me.

my-apology

I am a single Mom, and I have been for 8 years now.  It probably took me longer than it should have, but I need to apologize to all the single Moms that have come before me.

Growing up and to this day, I always had my parents together.  My circle of friends did not fit into that statistic of “50% of all marriages end in divorce”.   Single Moms were somewhat of a foreign concept to me until I become one myself.  And truth be told, what I did know or perceived to know about them was not in a kind light.

And when I became I single parent myself, I struggled and still do sometimes struggle with the stigma that is attached to single Moms.  But I have learned so much these past years about what it really takes to be a single Mom and I am in awe of the other Moms out there.  I only have 1 little one to look after and I am astounded sometimes how some Moms manage with 2 or 3 or more.

We don’t let our kids run around with dirty face and clothes, all kids do.  It’s the nature of their beast.  And those kids having complete meltdown in the middle of the grocery store…..they belong to ANY Mom.  Your marital status has NOTHING to do with it.  We love our kids just as much as any other mother and would do anything to protect them.

And truth be told, some of the single Moms that I know are the most organized, hardworking women…..and pardon my language but these ladies have their shit together.

So I need to profusely apologize to all those times I made the assumptions, I agreed with all those stereotypes and down and outright judged you.  Being a single Mom doesn’t make you any less worthy than those Moms that have the house with the white picket fence life.

We have just an amazing life; we just do it a little differently.

DIY · Uncategorized

DIY Motivational Wall Hangings

Taking a short break from my “Fitness Friday” posts until I have some worthwhile content.  I don’t want to bore everyone with the same old thing every week.  But in the lines of my fitness theme, I thought I would share a DIY project I completed recently.  A little motivation on the walls never hurt anyone.

I recently became the proud owner of the new Cricut Explore One!  It was something I always wanted but was never in the budget.  I attended BlogPodium 2016 and walked away with one as a door prize.  Big thanks to everyone involved!!!  Needless to say, I wanted to start using it right away.

cricut
Don’t cringe at the bubbles in vinyl, I am still learning. 🙂

I knew that I wanted to make some sort of motivational art to hang in my bathroom.  First stop, my local dollar store to pick up frames and this project was off and running!

frames

Krlyon had been kind enough to include some samples of their product in our loot bags that we brought home from the conference, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that into my project as well. One of my  paints was this amazing Sea Glass Cornflower color that worked perfectly with the colors in my bathroom.  I took the glass out of the frames and gave each one a coat of the paint.  Note to self:  next time put paper under what I am painting so it doesn’t stain my front porch.  Ooops!

spraying

krylon-pic

This paint dries in 10 minutes so there isn’t a huge wait to move forward on the project.  In that time, I got the Cricut working and cut out the letters for each of my frames and got them ready to place on the now dried glass.  One thing I didn’t have readily available for my project was the Transfer Paper that Cricut recommends to move the cut out letters to their spot nice and neat and straight, so I had to realign everything a few times to get it right.  I will definitely know for next time.  Once everything was aligned, I popped them back into the frames.

putting-it-together

As part of my fitness journey, there are 2 phrases that I often use; “You can do this” and “Never give up”.  I thought in my bathroom where I pretty much start and end each day was the perfect place to place these and remind myself of these things.

motivational-diy

For my first DIY project with my Cricut, I am really pleased with the outcome.  It was a lot easier than I had thought it would be and have given me the motivation to do a lot more creative projects.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – Finally some progress!

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I don’t know about you, but I have been dreading the thought of summer being over.  We’ve had such a nice, mostly sunny summer and I just don’t want it to end.  In addition to the lovely, warm weather, in the summer you can wear those nice flowy dresses.  They keep you cool through those hot, steamy days.  But even better, they are so forgiving if you are up a few pounds from over indulging at the plethora of bbq’s and patio parties that go along with a great summer.  Come fall and winter, I tend to skip the dresses and revert to the warmth that pants and jeans can provide.  But they are not so forgiving.  One day, they can fit perfectly and a burger and fries later and I can feel like I am a stuffed sausage.  And that is just not a comfortable feeling.

So this week, when the temperatures were a bit cooler I knew it was time to dig out the pants.  I was dreading it, to say the least.  But man oh man, was I surprised.  The pair of pants that used to fit me on a good day, but definitely weren’t buffet eating pants, were actually big on me.  It felt amazing.

finally-progress

For weeks now I have been really struggling.  I haven’t seen much movement on the scale and I definitely had not been as committed to working out and eating right as I had been earlier this summer.  It was such a great feeling to know that I was making progress.  It has definitely given me motivation to keep going and work even harder.  I really pushed myself when I was able to get to the gym this week and I continue to ensure I get my 10K steps in every single day.

new outlook

Life over the past few weeks has been crazy busy and I haven’t been able to devote as much time to my posts as I would like.  Luckily, the madness is pretty much over and I can get back on track in all the different facets of my life.  Can’t wait to see all the progress that comes along with it!

 

Getting Fit

Fitness Friday – Who wants to join me?

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Another crazy busy work week but I really tried not to let it get the best of me.  Got the boy back to school so check 1 thing off on the list of getting back into our normal routine.  Now I just need to get work under control.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel and things should hopefully be a little more normal next week.  If there really is such a thing as normal in my life.  🙂

I have been really thinking about my fitness journey and thinking the one thing I am lacking is constant accountability.  Sure, I write these posts each week and a few Instagram pics but that is about it.  So it got me to thinking that perhaps I would start a Facebook group where people on similar fitness journeys could be accountable to each other and share our ups, downs, tips and tricks.  It wouldn’t matter what diet or exercise plan you are on, it would just be about like minded individuals getting together and counting on each other for support and a place to celebrate our achievements.  Anybody interested?    If you would like to be a part of this, message me and I will add you to the group once I get it set up.

sweaty-mess

Going to keep this week’s post short and sweet and promise for a much better update next week.  With the hopes of a calmer week, I will be able to devote more time to my post and to my journey so I have something to report on.  Thanks everyone for your continued support and kind words.

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!

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!!!

 

 

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – Fitting in Fitness

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This past week I have been visiting my family out of town. I am sure you can all relate when I say that vacations and fitness often do not go hand in hand. Finding the time and motivation to stay on track when you are not on your normal routine can often be difficult. For me, on a regular week there are times it is hard to stay on track, so when away it can be even harder.

This week, I tried to focus on fitting in fitness in smaller units. Instead of an hour workout, I tried several 10 minute increments. Whether it was running up and down the stairs or walking places instead of driving or a few squats here and there, I was consciously trying to get exercise in when I could. Even when I took my son to the local pool, I made sure I was doing a few laps or running on the spot in the water while he played. A little bit adds up when you consciously think about it.  Luckily, I was also able to fit in an Aquafit class there as well.  I also have to thank Pokemon Go this week as we did quite a bit of walking around town trying to  “catch them all.”

Food, however, wasn’t the easiest to keep on track.  I was on vacation, so of course I was tempted on a daily basis to indulge.  Thank goodness for the MyFitnessPal app for keeping me pretty much on track.  Recording everything I was consuming made it much easier to realize when it was time to pull back to reigns and snack on some veggies sticks instead.

While away, I probably spent 90% of my time in my bathing suit and for the first time since I can remember, I didn’t feel like I needed to cover up.  I was perfectly fine walking around without throwing something over my suit.  I am finally starting to feel comfortable in my own skin.  Sure I still have a bunch of weight to lose and my legs have way more cellulite than I would like but such is life.  It was even to the point that I was comfortable enough to ask my Mom to actually take a photo of me in my bathing suit.  And, I wasn’t even horrified with the result.  I was actually quite ok with it.

swimsuit

Getting back into my normal routine after vacation is never easy but this time I am more determined than ever to stick with this health/fitness kick.  Back to healthier eating and back to the gym for me.  Wish me luck.

Weekly Accountability

Exercise:  2 x gym visits, 1 x 45 minute walk, 1x Aquafit class
Food Management:  Stayed on track 5 of the 7 days (Not always the best choices but will do better this week)

This is also the final week the Team #fabFITbloggers are a part of the Kindness in Demand July fitness challenge.  I am excited to see how we stacked up!!!

 

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Why we just can’t get enough of the beach.

toes in the sand

Toes in the sand, warm all over, the sound of the waves, what isn’t there to love about the beach?  Correct me if I am wrong, but you don’t often hear people wanting to take cold, arctic vacations do you?

On a whim, we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and head to our local sand and surf.  We’re almost (sadly) halfway through the summer and we haven’t had nearly as many visits I would have liked.  There is just something about enjoying the day at the beach that never gets old with me.

Our essentials:

  • Sunscreen (our beach trip won’t even start without a SPF 60)
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suits
  • Towels
  • Hats
  • Blanket
  • Foldable chair
  • Water bottles
  • Buckets, shovels and other sandcastle/water toys
  • Snacks

We learned the hard way that if you want to purchase any snacks, be sure to have cash on you.  None of the on site vendors had debit (and I never seem to carry cash).  And if there has been significant rain recently, be sure to check to see that there aren’t any water quality issues.  Nothing worse than going to the beach and not being able to swim.

Within moments of unpacking and getting somewhat settled, my son was heading to the water.  No matter how cold that water was, he was going in.  Sounds good, but if it’s just the two of us, if he goes in I am going in too.  This time luckily the water was quite enjoyable.  We waded out to the sandbar where the water was a bit warmer too.  I think he could have spent hours out there if I’d let him.

When I decided to head out of the water, he was more than happy to start creating his sandcastle masterpiece.  Within a few moments, he had made acquaintances with a little boy from nearby and they had a blast with their creation.

Sandcastle

And I could sit back and relax and just enjoy my surroundings.  Aside from the photos I took, my phone was on silent and put away.  Purely unplugged and enjoying the time together.   My favorite part of the day was when I told my son it was time to reapply the sunscreen, he ran into the water to get himself wet and then rolled in the sand.  That was his version of sunscreen.

Sandy boy

The long, miserable Canadian winters have us taking every advantage of the few summer days we get to enjoy.  At the end of the day, it was hard for either of us to drag ourselves away.  It was only the promise that we would return the next possible day that made it better.

Beach life

If you need to reach me this summer, you might just find me at the beach.

 

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – Don’t trust the scale

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Anyone who has ever been on a fitness journey will probably agree the scale is not always your friend.  In my case, a lot of times, it is not my friend at all.  I will work so hard and at the end of the week, barely any movement.  It definitely can be discouraging.

Only in the past year or so I have begun to only use the scale as a reference point and not something to base my motivation on.   I try to base my success on how my clothes feel and comments from other people.  In the past week alone, I have had several people comment on me losing weight.  However, I step on the scale and it has barely moved.

Scale

I know there is the age old statement of “muscle weighs more than fat”.  By no means am I any sort of fitness expert, but a 1lb of fat weighs the same as a 1lb of muscle.  They both weigh 1lb.  From what I understand is that muscle is leaner than fat, so a 1lb of muscle takes up less space than a 1lb of fat.    Therefore, if you lose  1lb of fat but gain 1lb of muscle, the scale will not show a loss of any sort but your body will have changed.

It’s all just a numbers game.  Not one I am happy to play.

Nothing feels better than putting on something that use to be tight fitting only to find it lose on you.  To me, that is more motivating and rewarding than anything else.  Being able to wear a size smaller feels so much better than saying you lost 5lbs.  It is something real, something tangible.

Fit

I have been faithfully tracking my food and exercise but now I think I really should be tracking my measurements.  Maybe I am totally missing it, but I can’t seem to find somewhere to track it on the Fitbit or MyFitnessPal apps.  However, I have just found I can track it on my PC via the MyFitnessPal website.  (If anyone knows how to on either app, please let me know.)  I look forward to seeing these results.

Tape measure

This next week I am taking a much needed vacation from work.  Pretty much a stay-cation but being out of my normal 9-5 routine, I am sure staying on track will have it’s challenges.  I am pledging to try and make good choices with my food.  As for exercise, we downloaded PokemonGO when it finally became available in Canada, so I am sure we will be taking a lot of long walks to catch some Pokemon.

Weekly Accountability

Exercise:  4x gym visits, 2 x 20 minute walk
Food Management:  Stayed on track 5 of the 7 days (Sunday was definitely a cheat day and the calories in 3 slices of pizza sure add up)

Don’t forget to keep cheering on Team #fabFITbloggers!!!