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

I Flubber You: Valentine for Kids (& a Printable!)

***Originally posted February 12, 2014***

It’s a last-minute post, but I *just* figured out how to package this up. You’ve probably seen “Flubber recipes” all over Pinterest. The basic idea is to mix Elmer’s glue, warm water, and food coloring in one bowl, and water and Borax in another bowl. When you combine the two, you get Flubber! We made some over the summer, and the kiddo LOVED it. We had it in a tupperware container, and it lasted for months.

As you’ve seen before, I’m a fan of simple gifts that aren’t necessarily food when giving gifts to classmates. I’m just wary of dietary issues, and creating the expectation that all celebrations have to involve sugary treats! (What a party pooper!) But really, I want to give things that kiddo can help make, and that are an alternative to the inevitable influx of candy. (Trust me, I LOVE the candy…) So I thought giving out homemade flubber would be a great gift for 2-3 (or 4 or 5 or 6) year-olds.

Kids love flubber

Who doesn’t love playing with goop?

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Cravings: From a Gluten-Free Preggo Lady

Generally speaking, it’s not that hard for me to satisfy cravings. I’ve accepted the gluten-free requirement, and have found some lovely replacements and tricks for things that I really really really want. Except. Cookie dough. I miss gooey, yummy chocolate chip cookies, and now that I can’t eat the raw eggs safely, I REALLY MISS chocolate chip cookie dough.

So as I was browsing Instagram today, I saw a tasty-looking photo from MindOverMunch, and decided to check out the recipe. And OMG, it’s egg-free, and gluten-free, and requires no special ingredients or equipment! So I tried it, and damn. It’s tasty. So I’ll share with you!

Preggo-friendly cookie dough treat #recipe

No gluten, and no raw eggs, but tastes delicious!

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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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Toddling Around Spain

We just got back from a two-week trip traveling through Spain with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. I know, poor me. But in the true spirit of being Committed, it did get a little crazy.

Toddling around Spain.

Balloons make everything better.

FIRST. 
I loved the trip. The architecture was amazing, the culture is admirable (drinking and eating all the time! Siestas!) The wine was cheap and delicious. Oh, the food…

BUT.
The kiddo was a handful. She may read this years down the line, so I don’t want her to feel like I’m putting her down. It wasn’t her fault–the 9 hour time difference was rough on all of us. And she’s 2 1/2, which means discovering strong preferences, a desire for instant perfection (well, we never outgrow that, do we?), and just general upsettedness at basically everything. We thought her familiarity with travel might make things easier, which it probably did (but didn’t feel like it at the time).

Toddler dinner in Spain.

Sometimes kiddo had a low sitting threshold.

SO.
For this post, I’m going to focus on how we handled the tears and tantrums. (HINT: Wine. Lots of wine.)

We learned a few things on this trip, lessons that weren’t too unexpected:

  • Lower your expectations for how much you’ll get to see or do each day
  • Respect the schedule, but sometimes stretching it to experience something amazing is worth the crankiness
  • Staying in one place is MUCH easier than hopping cities (duh, but it was worth a shot)
  • Twos CAN be terrible, but they can also be amusing
  • Rely on your partner and take the burden if you’re up to it
  • Talk through your plans first (ie, how are you going to get off the train? Who is carrying the car seat? Carrier on the front or back?)
  • The carseat & baby carrier were helpful. We were glad to leave the stroller at home.
  • Don’t forget that you’re ON VACATION and laugh and enjoy the little things as much as possible.

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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?

How Google Docs Cleaned my Dining Room Table

To-Do lists

To Do: Get rid of all the lists.

As you know, I’m a crazy list-maker. This is not limited to To-Do Lists. There is also the “Thank You for the Christmas Gifts” list (ah-hem, it’s MARCH), “Talk to General Contractors About This” list, “Potty Training for Dummy Parents” list…it goes on. My other problem is that these lists are written on dozens of scraps of paper and scattered around my dining room table. “Hey, Smarty, why don’t you keep it in a notebook like a normal human being?” Yeah, well, nobody’s perfect.

Well, it JUST occurred to me that I can transcribe these into Google docs. I won’t lose them. They won’t turn into soggy coasters. I will be able to eat at the table again. (Goodbye coffee table picnics!)

So thanks, Google Docs. You cleaned my dining room table. When is Google Sewing coming out? I could use a digital sewing machine.