Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pin-a-week & GAME ON! Update

Hi friends!

I'll bet you thought I disappeared on you? Well, I DID disappear to the northwoods-to our new cabin near Biwabik, MN (close to Giant's Ridge Ski area if you're familiar). It's been busy getting settled and keeping track of our "get into everything" 10 month old, but the snow up here is FABULOUS and fluffy, and it's so cozy here I'm sad to think of going back to the hustle and bustle of home!

So this past week has been week #1 of "Game ON!: MN Style" and it's been a bit of a transition! For the most part I've been able to keep to my daily quote of Weight Watcher's points, and drink all 3 LITERS OF WATER A DAY (yikes!) as well as the other requirements-but BOY does eating out and changing your "routine" (esp. with a baby!) throw a wrench into things!! I anticipated it would be difficult to eat out and maintain my diet plan-but WOW it's tougher than I thought! Thankfully we get a "day off" and a "meal off" during the week- that I have utilized well!

The water thing has been a big transition-the first day or two I HATED the taste of water (funny huh?) and could barely make myself keep drinking it, but strangely enough as we've progressed (and I've learned to add limes or cucumbers to it for flavor!) I actually find myself THIRSTY for water... on my meal off I even TURNED DOWN POP (this is revolutionary here people, as I am a 100% recovering pop addict!) in lew of water to quench my thirst! So maybe there is something to this whole "get healthy" thing! At this point, I've lost 2 of the 15lbs. I hope to shed-which is promising, and if Jillian Michael's is right "I'll be shredded in no time!" I've been doing her "30 day Shred" video faithfully every day (even on my day off) and I can FEEL my body getting stronger! When I bent down, holding my son, to pick up his pacifier, it was MUCH easier than even a week ago, and my legs didn't even shake!  Lest you think I'm a Pollyanna-this new diet has bit the big one in a number of ways- I crave chocolate CONSTANTLY it seems- but I've found a new helper in that catagory...Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters.... ummm can we say YUM.. esp. in Dark Chocolate!!!!!!

Anyway, 3 more weeks to go! You can anticipate a weekly update from me about the progress (and I'll try not to whine too much!), but I do have to warn you-I'm competing against some pretty insane competition! Some of these folks are on "primal" diets, and others have almost perfect scores for week one! (don't I feel dumb with my stupid snacking penalty!) so things could get interesting! Wait and see!

Lastly,  while up north I've been brainstorming new crafty projects for Jenn and I to tackle as well as how to decorate this "chalet style" cabin and make it feel unique and homey! My hubby and I have decided to go with a sort of "vintage ski/paddle/bigfoot (yes, I know, I said Bigfoot!) theme so I've begun hunting through Etsy and online ( has cool stuff!) for some neat original pieces for the place!! Right now, some possible crafty projects I might add to the pile include:
  1. Vintage picture Coasters and framed vintage postcards collages 
  2. DIY Canvas Photo Enlargements
  3. Creating a "book nook" for kiddos in the upstairs kids room
And more to come!! But now, as if this post isn't long enough, I just have to share a few pics of my little guy and our time up north in God's country! Have a great week all! I'll be back next week to finish up our "Ode to Modge Podge" and start a new "pin of the week" project!
 Our pups Chauncey (on the right) and Koopa were detained in the hallway until their snow covered paws melted after many fun filled hours outside!
 Our little guy, Cooper (10 months), on his first sledding outing!! I think he likes it!
 My "bubba" and I
 My hubby making "Bigfoot Angels" as he calls them! The snow was PERFECT!
Hurry up Mommy, let's GO!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

GAME ON is officially... ON!!!

Well, it's official. Today begins my 4 week adventure/competition/challenge/"oh my Lordy what did I get myself into?!?" activity- the "Game ON!" diet. My teammates, Stacy Nathan and Hilary Wear (all Concordia Cobbers class of '99-whoot whoot!) began our regime today of daily drinking 3 liters of H2O, getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night, 20 minutes sweat-inducing exercise, maintaining a Weight Watchers points-based diet, implementing a new HEALTHY habit while abstaining from an UNhealthy habit and communicating with our teammates and opponents each day... Whew.. that was one HECK of a run-on sentence!! (my apologies to all you English majors out there!;)

As promised (and quickly as I need to get my 7 hours of sleep!) Here is my "before" picture, as well as a recap of my goals/habits. Consider this my attempt at accountability as well as a cry for support (I'm pathetic I know-but this is harder than you think! One day in and I'm practically floating away from all the water!!!). So here we go...
Here I am-almost 11 months after giving birth at 160 lbs., looking to lose the remaining 15 lbs. of leftover baby weight to get back to my previous "happy weight" of 145 lbs.
 I look SO bizarre in these photos, but I was trying NOT to "suck it in" so the picture would be true, and frankly, I just felt stupid standing there taking a "chubby picture."
So mostly it's the gut, but I could stand for the chin and a few other places to shrink a bit too:) As I tell my friends often, I'd like the "penthouse suite" that was Cooper's home for 9 months to go back to being an efficiency apartment-or at least a one bedroom!! :)

So it day down (and I got all my points today, I might add! As did my teammates!) and a...LOT more to go... but it'll be worth it right?? Here's to you, Hilary and Stace-let's go Kick some GAME ON BUTT while SHRINKING OUR OWN!!!

For more info on the "Game On" diet, check out!

Operation Baby Weight is underway!!!

Mod Podge Madness Part #2

We're back!!!

So Jenn and I decided that Mod Podge is AMAZING and there are just too, too many things we can do with it!! So we are continuing our "Mod Podge Madness" trend here with a few new projects!

I'm still obsessed with making coasters.. I realized I keep making them FOR OTHER PEOPLE, so I needed a few sets for myself-and at $0.16 a tile, it's a pretty inexpensive and quick to complete project!! Here is the latest set in progress-for our new vacation property in Biwabik, MN! I've taken scrapbook paper and plan to simply M.Podge it on, not sure if I'll get more creative or just keep it simple! Suggestions requested!!
I'm also working on another small project, something I found (but of course!) on Pinterest!! Using wooden letters from JoAnn Etc. I found on sale, some ribbon and scrapbook paper (with MP of course!) But it seems a little bit boring, and I need to figure out how to hang it on his door.. hmmmm... we'll see what comes of this!
Jenn is working on an AWESOME project, and I might just have to copy her it's coming out so fabulously!! Check it out!!!
 Using a paper mache large letter from JoAnn's, she painted it black with craft paint, and then took all kinds of leftover pictures and MP'ed them on to it!! This isn't completed yet, but isn't it cool??

Auuh Mod Podge... you're almost as vital as chocolate to a crafty girl like me-and I have a feeling we have many more years of craftiness to come together!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pin-a-week #1: Mod Podge Madness!

Hi all!

Well, Jenn Hubal and I got together this past Friday with our kiddos (big shout out to Hannah and the Coops!) to do our first "pin/craft a week" project! As you can guess, getting crafty with babies around is a little sticky (pun intended! haha) but we got a pretty good start. We discovered that expecting that we'll COMPLETE a project each week might be too high a goal-instead we'll get started on something-even if it takes us a week to finish!! are some photos of our Mod Podge Madness! We were working on making photo coasters using tiles from Home Depot ($0.16 each!), mod podge, and left over photos (or Xmas cards in Jenn's case!) as well as a clear acrylic spray to give them some sheen and some cut up chair-foot pads (what ARE those things called?)for stability. Here's a peek!
 The Lovely Jenn hard at work!
After allowing the Mod Podge to dry (remember you can paint the MP over the TOP of the pics and it dries clear!) we cut up the chair pads (you know the things you buy to put under chair feet so they don't scratch the floor?)into 4 pieces for each corner and stuck them on. I had some lying around here at the house, but you can get them at Home Depot or target too).
 Overall, this is a pretty easy craft to do, and it came out quite well. This is the third set I've made and given as gifts- and they seemed to be well received. Just learn from my mistakes-make sure the Mod Podge has PLENTY of time to FULLY dry before spraying the acrylic top coat-just trust me on this:)

I still need to take a pic of the final product, but here's proof that we DID actually do a pin this week!!! We'd like to play with Mod Podge some more-so plan to see a few more weeks of MP madness!!

Finished pic to come soon!! Oh, but in the meantime, some fun pics of our babies!
 For all the toys he got for Christmas-bless my sweet sons heart, he'd pick crawling up in his momma's lap (while she's playing with glue no less!) over any of them!
 Little Miss Hannah-Jenn's girlie checking out the toys (and singing for us!)
 Two new buddies!
 Look mom! I have a tongue!!
Ok we're biased, but aren't they ADORABLE?? Do I see future crafters?I think yes!!! :)

Finished pic of our Mod Podge Coasters! (one of the sets anyway!)

Note for next time: the clear acrylic spray adds a GREAT final touch! Totally worth it! Give it "sheen" and makes it look more finished!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quick Update

Hi all,

Well, thanks to Jury Duty and a sick baby we've had to postpone this week's "crafty day" until tomorrow, so expect an update on "Mod Podge et al" sometime before the weekend is done, you have my word!

But in other news- we have had so much new interest in "Game On: MN style" that we are delaying the start date to Jan. 22nd to give folks a time to get all their ducks in a row before we get going!! Very excited about it! After discovering (thank you Jenny and Jill!) Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred" video (it's only 20 minutes, so much more doable for the ADD child in me!) I'm feeling more confident about getting my daily 20 minutes of exercise in, I'm still concerned about meeting my Weight Watchers daily points and the 3 liters of daily water (ack! I might float away!) but I'm up to the challenge!! More updates on this to come! But I have decided on the following:
  1. My unhealthy habit to RID myself of will be: biting my nails
  2. My HEALTHY habit to implement will be completing a pin/craft each week and blogging about it (so you all get to be part of my accountability!)
I will post (gulp) my starting weight and a picture for comparison (the dire fear of doing this will motivate me right??) before we start to help show progress along the way!

As a final note-today is my birthday...sigh. Ok, I'm being melodramatic about it-but seriously it's tough to be down about becoming 35 years old.. I have a FABULOUS hubby, son and pups... amazing friends a plenty and loving family, a wonderful home, church family, neighborhood and thriving business.... so frankly if I'm complaining I'm either totally IGNORANT or utterly selfish... therefore.. THANK YOU GOD ABOVE for the latter, and for the hope of the future! And for the excitement of my birthday present.. another bucket list item: A trip to Montreal with my hubby!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bleach Pen T-shirts: Let's try this again folks! (with a COTTON T-shirt!)

Ok, so Bleach pen T-shirts are REALLY fun and easy to make, but I've learned there are a few things to be mindful of-so if you'd like to learn from my mistakes-take note!

  1. On a brand new, 100% cotton shirt (which is what I used this time) the bleach takes REALLY fast, so before I knew it I was racing to the bathroom to wash it off so that all the words wouldn't blend together. I think I did ok, (see picture) but next time I'll be more careful!  I also noticed that I didn't need to go over the words and thicken them as much as I thought, that almost made them smooshing together worse-oh well, lesson for next time! Hopefully my texting obsessed niece enjoys it anyway!
 2. Another thing I noticed working with a few different T-shirts is that you just never know what color it will bleach into. I had a black shirt that when bleached turned orange, and these purple shirts turned bright pink (which I liked, but just sayin!). It might be worthwhile to dig on the internet to find out how that is determined before buying a shirt, or if you're lazy like me-just be open to the surprise!

 3. Ok, so here are the tragic remains of my last attempt /sigh/. So the shirt had Polyester in it (which I should have checked, but well.... the laziness thing!) So after penning my design on with the bleach pen, it sat for 3 hours and the bleach didn't seem to sink in below the LETTERS I wrote only, but around it-weird but true. I may try to salvage this shirt by bleaching the WHOLE SHIRT to the orange color, just because it cost me money for the shirt and I can't return it, but then again I'm not sure how much I care! (that's the beauty of crafting! you get to choose to care or not!:)

So you see friends, I promised to show you my experiments every week, FAILED OR NOT, and here they are!! I'd like to think I'm craft for the "experience" of it, not the perfected result-so as long as it's fun-I'm good, but it's even MORE FUN when it turns out! (which happens occasionally too!)

Anyway, on to the first official "pin-a-week" craft day-starting tomorrow with my friend Jenn Hubal! We'll be playing with Mod Podge galore!! Stay tuned!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Game On/MN Style... The Countdown begins!!!

Hi all!!

Well, as our group prepares to begin our "Game On/Weight Watchers" diet game on January 16th, I'm working on "practicing" some of the daily activities I'll need to do to make sure I win my points each day. If you'd like to know more about how the Game On diet works, my good friend Jenny did a great summary of it on her blog! Here are a few of the things I'm trying to "practice" as we prepare:
  1. 20 minutes of exercise each day: So while I'd like to say I will run every day, it's just not feasible with the little guy. But my friend Jill turned me on to Jillian Michael's (of Biggest Loser fame) "30 Day Shred" video which has 3 workouts consisting of a 20 minute circuit workout. You do each workout for one week each, and they get increasingly more difficult. So I'm not a huge DVD workout fan, I usually get bored or tired and end up eating ice cream and watching the video instead. But this one is pretty good. It's short enough that I can stand it, and she changes activities every 30 seconds-1 minute so it keeps from getting boring. 2 days in and I can feel it in my legs, arms and abs-so far so good!! As an added bonus-Jill (realizing my need for socialization when doing something I don't like) offered to talk with me on speakerphone as we did the video together-it hasn't QUITE worked out yet-but I love the option!! It might actually work for me!
  2. No pop, bring on the veggies: Working on doing a salad with every dinner and obeying my daily WW "points." This is TOUGH... I was getting rather comfortable on a 3,000 calorie diet (I was breastfeeding after all-or that was my excuse!) so squeezing down to a 1500 daily count is a YIKES.... but my stomach will shrink... also working on chopping up veges and putting them in things (Thank you Stacy Martin for the idea!!) such as salads or soups for the nutrients with out the texture issues!) As for the pop?? Well, I'll need to be drinking 3 liters of H2O a DAY (I may float away...) so I'm working on drinking water instead, as well as these Sparkling Strawberry/Kiwi Green Tea drinks with zero calories that I love. They have caffeine, so I have to be careful..but they are helping me to "ween" off the Cherry Coke!
  3. Healthy snacking: Another "project" I've been working on is finding healthy snacking alternatives.  I found an idea on to make smoothie kits.  Essentially you fill ice cube trays with yogurt and then put fresh/frozen fruit in individual zip locks with a couple of cubes for an easy smoothie when you're hungry... here's a pic! I'll let you know how they taste!

I'm looking for suggestions on smarter snacking ideas or any other ideas that may have worked for you-please share!!!

As promised, prior to the start of the game on the 16th, I will post a picture of my current self (likely NOT in a bikini-but something telling) as well as sharing my chosen healthy habit to take on, and my UNhealthy habit to eliminate..consider it my attempt at accountability!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bucket List Update!

 So over New Year's Eve weekend my hubby and I knocked something off my bucket list-dogsledding!!! Here are just a few fun pictures to give you an idea of what it was like (in a word FABULOUSLY_AMAZING_CAN'T_WAIT_TO_DO_IT_AGAIN!!!) You get the idea~! We went to Bayfield, WI and went with and it was GREAT! It cost about $200 for both of us to go for our 3 hour afternoon run (I know it's spendy, but it was WORTH IT!)-FYI. John and Mary Thiel run the business and also do sailing in the summer in Lake Superior near Madeline Island.

 Look at their BEAUTIFUL blue eyes!!! There were 31 dogs total, and my sled had 4 dogs pulling it-to hear them howl out of eagerness to PULL was incredible!! And to feel them pull you felt like you were flying!

 My attempt at becoming a "dog whisperer"... maybe not!
 check out the musher mitts!!
 My "action pose" on the sled! It's all about balance-especially on the turns!
We did everything from harnessing the dogs to feeding them, learning the commands to loving them up afterwards!

 My next "bucket list" goal is to do a weeklong trip through a company called Wintergreen in Ely where you have a team that you sled with from lodge to lodge across the BWCA and Superior National Forest... it's a wee bit expensive ($2000) but a worthy goal for when Cooper gets into Kindergarten? (that gives me a few years to save up!)

Craft-a-week TRIAL RUN!

Hi all,

Well, given that this week is  supposedly the return to "normalcy" as well as the first week of the new year, as expected NOTHING has been normal this week. But with the Jan. 16th start date for our "Game On/WW: Minnesota style" looming, I'm busy getting ready to make some healthy changes to my life (and kick my friends BUTTS in the process!! :) But I was able to sneak a craft in-a bleach t-shirt for my niece Paula for her birthday. Unfortunately I hit some snags, so I will have to start over this weekend, but here is what I've started thus far! Check it out!

 Ok, so the supplies you'll need for this are an ALL COTTON shirt (this is where my mistake was-I have now learned that polyester does NOT work for this craft! urgh!), and a Bleach pen (perhaps two just in case-they are only a few dollars and you can find them by the bleach at any target, etc.) and I'd recommend some white chalk to draw out your design with first.
So I laid out the shirt (this is the polyester version, but you get the idea) and put something between the layers so the bleach wouldn't bleed through and ruin the back. I then took chalk and drew out my design on the shirt to help gauge the placement of my design.
So this is what it looked like once I was done applying the bleach. Make sure to shake the bottle, and test it before using it to get used to the flow, but it comes out quite easily once you get going.

Alright, so the last step after completing your design would be to let it sit from 10 minutes (a shirt that has been used/washed or is older tends to pick up the bleach faster) to 2 hours (newer or thicker shirts take the longest), checking periodically to see if the color is fading behind the bleach (you'll be able to tell without touching it.) When you feel it's done, I suggest taking it to a sink with a sprayer if you have one, or any water outlet, and washing off the bleach thoroughly. I was initially concerned that the bleach would run, but it didn't on the first shirt I did prior to this, and I don't think it would otherwise if you wash quickly.

Then, you can either wash your shirt or simply set it out to dry and POOF! You're done!!!

I plan to redo the shirt on a COTTON shirt (my polyester shirt seen in these photos didn't absorb the bleach, it was bizarre and it just washed off with a faded tint behind it-grr!) and I will post pics of the results this weekend, but as promised, here is my blog on the craft of this week!! Thoughts?

Oh, one last thought: I did see on pinterest the idea of putting bleach in a spray bottle, and then cutting out a design, taping it to the shirt and spraying the REST of the shirt with bleach-this may have to be tried as another craft-a-week activity! Could be fun!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


OK folks!! Some decisions have been made! Pay attention class! ;)

  1. Thanks to my flexible and creative friends, I will soon begin the "Game On: Weight Watchers Version" plan of attack!! I'm still trying to figure out what my new healthy habit will be, and which of the many nasty habits I'll eliminate, but I have a teammate (whoot whoot Stacy Nathan!) and a few others (whoot whoot Jenny Hallquist!!) ready to play-we're ironing out the details and we'll soon be LIVE and running!
  2. This week I will
    1. Join Weight Watchers officially again
    2. Work out with Stacy at LEAST once
    3. Clear my cupboards of insane yummy temptation!
    4. Get the ball rolling so if I get chosen for Jury duty next week I have NO EXCUSES!!
  3.  Craft/Pin-a-week starts THIS WEEK!! So I will probably choose my nieces gift (a bleach pen shirt) as my project and kill two birds with one stone! Pictures and tutorial to come!
  4. Soon to come also-my GAME ON goals, and accountability work up!! Yikes... but I'm so excited to kick others butts while shrinking my own!! (we still may need players if you're interested, or for more info go to or check out; we are creating the "hybrid" ourselves, but you'll get the idea, and maybe you'll want to do the same with some of your friends!!
Ok, heading to bed before 11pm.... start of a new year, start of a new habit! Now, let's just hope the baby doesn't wake up at 11:05!

Welcome to 2012 everyone~