Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge 2015

I’m noticing a bunch of traffic to my 2013 Challenge, which means it’s that time again!

Yes, it’s the Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge, 2015 Edition!

Beginning November 30th, I’m giving you weekly challenges to conquer the holiday temptations and to maintain your health and weight through the season. Final weigh-in is on JANUARY 11, 2016.

Melting Snowmen Cookies

You might feel like this after a hectic holiday season. Melting Snowmen Cookies via http://www.jeannebenedict.com/

BACKGROUND:
Every year, I gained weight during the holidays. Some years, it was ridiculous (yes, 14 pounds in 12 days. I did that.) I became so sick of it because DAMNIT, I worked so hard all year long, then totally blew it in the span of a few weeks. My friend and I started a challenge about 7 years ago: to maintain our weight throughout the holiday season. I think trying to LOSE weight over the holidays is unrealistic, so this challenge is designed to force you to embrace ONE healthy habit every week despite being surrounded by indulgences. Every year I’ve done it, I’ve actually lost weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. It’s pretty simple, but not necessarily easy. Now that I have 2 kids, I’ve put myself on the back burner. Until now. Though we use weight as a measurement tool, this challenge is about HEALTH. Focus on one HEALTHY HABIT just for YOU each week. Yes, you’ll have major obligations, family demands, cookie swaps, and late-night gift wrapping sessions. So it will be easy to say, “I’ll get to myself in the New Year.” Please don’t wait, mamas. Keep your energy, your vitality, and your spirits up by doing this for yourself this year!

You can do this alone, or with friends, family, and coworkers. We’re getting a later start this year, but I’m carrying the challenge through the week after New Year’s to give you a chance to keep those good habits you’ve established beyond the holidays! Continue reading

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Makeover Monday: DIY Greeting Cards a Toddler Can Make

I’ve been meaning to post these a while back, but I figure since Mother’s Day is coming up (hint…hint), I figured this would be a timely post!

I figured out an easy way for your young’n to help make a legible greeting card for any occasion, and it’s quick! You don’t need any artistic skill whatsoever, just a little patience to let the paint dry. The pictures are from a farewell gift for one of my daughter’s teachers. She was wonderful, and was leaving daycare to pursue her advanced degree.

Tutorial: DIY Greeting Cards

Even very young children can make a legible card!

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Oh Baby! It’s Tough Staying Organized with a Newborn

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had several friends give birth to their second babe. In addition to making me nostalgic and teary-eyed, it reminded me how tough those early days can be. Back when kiddo was a newbie, I couldn’t remember anything. My brain was lumpy oatmeal. The feed-every-3-hours regime for the first few weeks was brutal, and that level of sleeplessness exceeded anything I’d ever experienced, even in during final exams in college! So once my head cleared, I realized things could be better if I got my sh*t together.

When we needed to leave the house for the inevitable doctor’s appointment, or grocery shopping, or eventually, just to to go out for a walk and get fresh air, I found myself writing the same list of supplies over and over again. And in my insomniacal haze, I often screwed up! And it was time-consuming to keep figuring it out! One time we were out with EIGHT onesies and NO diapers. I suppose we could have fashioned a 5-onesie-diaper in the case of a blowout, but that was not ideal.

The bag packing confusion was further compounded by my husband trying to “help” pack the bag, so we’d both end up shoving the same things in there, and neglecting the same things. Honestly, imperfect packing wasn’t the end of the world. Nobody died, nobody got hurt. Maybe someone would get a peep show if I forgot the nursing cover, or we’d have to rush home with a poop-covered onesie if there wasn’t a fresh one, but the perfectionists in us were ashamed when we didn’t have exactly what we needed when we left the house.

Diaper bag pack list

Eight onesies. No diapers. Big problem.

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Halloween, Already?

Halloween in our family is a REALLY. BIG. DEAL.

Actually, we take any excuse to dress up in costume. My husband loves the decorating. I love the candy. The kiddo will hopefully love all of the above.

Since we’ll be traveling this year and missing out on the good ol’ American fun, I thought I’d walk down memory lane and share a few of our costume ideas. I’m sad to not do what we had planned, but hey, I’ll take a trip to Spain over a good costume any day!

The Magician, His Rabbit, and the Assistant

Magician costume for baby

A magical family costume idea for babies or toddlers.

I don’t know where the idea came from–I was trying to find something cute for my then-8 month-old that would work in a carrier and that we could integrate as a family. I found the bunny costume at a consignment shop, and the rest was history!

We won 8 pounds of Vermont cheddar for our efforts. I’m not kidding. We ate it all. Also not kidding.

I wish I’d taken pictures of the making of this, but I’ll try to describe it in simple detail.

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5 Reasons I’d Love to be a Kid Again

5 reasons to be a kid again

Being young is AMAZING.

1. Whenever I’m tired, all I want to do is run. Run like a crazy person.

2. I can eat a bowl full of junk food and feel like a total rock star afterward.

3. Chores are super fun!

4. I don’t need coffee. I’m fueled by 12 hours of sleep and boundless energy.

5. Nothing hurts! I can land face-down on hardwood and be ready to try it again in 10 seconds.

BONUS: When I don’t feel like walking, PEOPLE CARRY ME. It’s awesome.

 

Tell me, why would you LOVE to be a kid again?

Ice Fishing, Bath-Style

The last week has been a torrent of tears at bathtime. My husband’s mostly…just kidding…kind of.

But seriously, for some reason, the kiddo just keeps FREAKING OUT when it’s time to splash around. And we need to do it–with the hotter Seattle days, sweat and sunscreen and general toddler messiness require daily hair washing. Or at least rinsing. Anyway, we took a nice long walk this weekend and stopped in an adorable gift shop to browse. I saw these fish ice cube trays and it hit me: I could make colored ice fish for the bath! Thunder struck, the heavens opened, and I was overjoyed at the prospect of a peaceful bath that night.

Silicone ice molds

Water, food coloring, and silicone molds are my gateway to bathtime happiness.

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One thumb up, plus a middle finger

Thanks for the helpful unsolicited advice, Stranger.

Here’s to you, lady in the pharmacy. Love, Committed.

I was at the pharmacy the other day, toddler sucking her thumb quietly in stroller, when the woman ahead of me in line turned around and exclaimed, “That’s gonna RUIN her teeth! RUIN them!” as she gestured her thumb toward her mouth. Was she telling me to make my 2-year-old stop sucking her thumb right now?

“Oh, yeah,” I said, trying to brush it off. “I’m not too worried about it.”

But she insisted, “No, they’ll be ruined! It’ll save you a LOT of money in braces if she stops.”

“Thanks, but she’ll probably have braces anyway. I’m not too worried about it” (and please leave me alone and deal with your own problems…don’t you have a urinary tract infection to take care of?).

She made one more urgent gesture and walked away.

I wanted to make a gesture of my own.

Listen, I know every parenting decision is basically controversial. This “baby sleep expert” tumblr underscores how confusing it can be to do the right thing when it comes to your kids. I also know that this woman meant well and that she probably dealt with the heartache of bad teeth in her childhood and only meant to spare my daughter a lifetime of dental misery.

HOWEVER. I never asked for any advice. And in giving unsolicited advice, she is assuming that I don’t know any better, which can come off as insulting. Moreover, she didn’t ask if I was concerned about the thumb sucking, which would have opened a dialogue about how her dentist actually said it wouldn’t be an issue for another few years, that her doctor said that braces are cheaper than therapy (self-soothing is a valuable tool), that my husband and I were both thumb suckers, and had braces for unrelated reasons…she was basically telling me how to be a parent without knowing that hey, I’ve already looked into this and I’m okay with it.

So a word to all you wise, unsolicited-parenting-advice-givers: if I want your help or advice, I will ask for it. And if you give it, I will appreciate it. Otherwise, please mind your beeswax.