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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Halloween Candy: What We’re Doing

I’ve been in nesting hyperdrive lately, completing projects around the house that have been patiently waiting. Oh, and trying to finish up work projects, and you know, living life. But something on my mind lately is Halloween and handling candy with my sweets-loving 3 1/2 year old.

What to do with Halloween candy

Keep it? Toss it? How long to keep it? Donate it?

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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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Makeover Monday: An “Under the Sea” 3rd Birthday Party

It’s been birthdaymania at our house this month. My husband and I celebrate birthdays 3 days apart, then 2 weeks later, we have the kiddo’s big day. In my life, birthdays have always been a Very. Big. Deal. My mom would bring us McDonald’s at school to have a special lunch with us on the day, and she always planned fun parties for us, regardless of our age. In fact, I just found the tape (yes, cassette) of MY 4th birthday party, where our favorite kidertainer, Audrey, brought her guitar and sang to us. Unfortunately, I need to hunt down a cassette player to hear it, but how cool is that?

On top of wanting to make it a special day, we weren’t able to have a 2nd birthday because kiddo came down with some mysterious contagious rash/virus thing that caused a 1 1/2-week quarantine. We still baked cupcakes together and opened presents, but there’s something about having friends over, singing over candles, and just making the birthday girl feel special. So this year, I wanted to incorporate some of her favorite things into the party: the ocean, the color purple, and chocolate cake.

I did a lot of digging around and couldn’t actually find much information on activities for a 3rd birthday party. There’s a ton of inspiration out there (ahem, Pinterest) on setting a pretty snack table, but little kids don’t eat a lot, so putting that much effort into overdone treats didn’t seem worth it. So I’ll share our experience and hope it helps you plan your party for your little one(s).

First step: Design the invitation

3rd birthday party invitation

Teal, purple, and ocean for a little girl’s 3rd birthday!

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St. Patrick’s Day with a Toddler

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Mommy loves theme days. A lot. It means cute clothes, fun food ideas, and possibly crafts.

This is what I’d envisioned for our St. Patrick’s Day:

St. Patrick's Day crafts, food, and fashion

Thanks a lot, Pinterest, for filling my head with THESE gorgeous ideas. via: Stretching a Buck Blog, LushHome, whatdoiwear, momtastic, and Etsy

Roll eyes, snort, guffaw…that didn’t happen.

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Free DIY Advent Calendar for Kids

Now that the holidays are over and we’re deep into January gloom, I can reflect on our first Advent-ure with an advent calendar. (See how I did that?) I wish I could tell you that I had a deep understanding of the advent tradition. In my family, it was just a countdown to Christmas. Some years my great aunt would send us a calendar with a little chocolate behind each day, and most years, we’d move a small teddy bear around an advent quilt. Since I didn’t want to get the kiddo all sugared up every night before bedtime, and I don’t have the skills to make an advent quilt, I decided to go with what I know: Post-Its and doodles.

DIY Advent Calendar

All you need is some poster board, Post-It notes, and markers (maybe stickers too, if you’re feeling crafty)

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