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Life In Texas

Life In Texas: February 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

21 Day Weight Loss Challenge is Over!

     Well, my 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge has come to an end. It is a great program and I really enjoy the workouts.

     Better than just enjoying it, I have seen results. I have lost 3 pounds. I know that isn't a lot, but if I lose weight slowly, it's easier for me to maintain. I also have more energy. I'm not ready to go to bed at 6pm anymore. And last, but certainly not least, I don't HAVE to have a Dr. Pepper every day. I am still enjoying an occasional soda, but I don't need it to function like a normal person.

     I have not decided if I will participate in the next Challenge (a new Challenge starts each month), but I am going to continue the workouts.

     I great big thank you to Dustin Maher for this wonderful opportunity. Also, to my friend and mentor, Sadie, for inviting me to join her in this Challenge.

     Stop and see what my friends thought of the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge; Heather & Jacqui and Elizabeth.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

If at first you don't succeed...

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried! - Steven Wright

     That is generally the philosophy that I have when it comes to crafts. I am a pretty crafty person, so if something doesn't work the first time, I tend to just ditch it and move on.

     Recently, there has been one craft that I couldn't get right that has just been bugging me. If you remember my Melted Crayon Art post, I said that I couldn't get mine to look like my inspirations. At the time, I found a way to make it work (using a hair dryer), but I didn't give up on the glue gun.

     So, I found another picture that I liked. This one is Thing 2 playing with her umbrella.

     To make it a little different, I painted the entire canvas black. I then traced Thing 2's picture onto the canvas with pencil. I used a white paint marker to fill it in. I had to let it dry completely and go over it a second time to cover all of the black. 

     I made an umbrella out of card stock and taped it around the umbrella on the canvas so that the crayon would run off of it like rain. I also covered all of the white paint with painter's tape.

     I then used my hot glue gun to melt the crayons onto the canvas. Since I kind of knew how my glue gun was going to act, it made it easier to get the look that I wanted.

     I also discovered that, in this case, less is not more. I think that one of my original problems was that I wasn't putting enough crayon on the canvas. I don't think that there is such a thing as "too much" for this craft.

     Here's the final product. What do you think?

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Texas State Aquarium

     Earlier this week, I took my family on a day trip to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. It is an amazing place. It is educational opportunity after educational opportunity (great for a homeschoolers field trip!).

     They have 8 different shows a day, but we only saw 2 while we were there. We saw the Wild Flight Show and the Dolphin Show. The kids also got to pet stingrays and a turtle that they had walking around. When they got too hot (because this is South Texas, after all), we stopped at the food court and had an ice cream.

     Both of the girls loved the dolphin underwater viewing area. I have to admit, that's also my favorite. The dolphins love to show off so they'll swim right up to where you are watching and spin around.

     If you're in Corpus Christi and you have an entire day free, be sure to check out the aquarium.

     Below is a sample of the hundreds of pictures that I took.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 looking at fish

Watching the shark swim

Dolphin underwater viewing area

Thing 1 watching the dolphin

Thing 2 watching the dolphin

Petting the turtle, Dani

Dolphin Show

Dolphin Show, again

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Display Children's Artwork

     My kids love to draw and paint. But, my fridge is only so big. Also, my kitchen is "my place" so guests don't often go in there to admire the artwork hanging on my fridge. The last reason I wanted something different is my kids always want to hang their schoolwork in our school area. Unfortunately, there is no place in that area to hang extra papers.

     I first came across the following idea on CafeMom. The mom that posted it did not link back to the original, so I have no idea where the idea originated. After searching the internet, I have found several people that posted this idea as an original thought. Two of them are Home Furniture Catalogs and Clean & Scentsible.

     I ordered the clipboards from K-Mart for $1.16 each. Then, I had Scout nail them to the wall in the school area. Instead of nailing the entire clipboard to the wall (as others have done), we just put one nail  for each clipboard and hooked the clipboards on them. I also covered some wooden letters with school-themed scrapbook paper and hung them above the clipboards using double sided tape. 

     It was a huge hit with my kids. I take down the clipboard and they can put their art on it before I hang it back on the wall. In the future, I may have to add more clipboards, but for now, nine is the perfect number.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 15: 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge

     It's been another hectic week. But, on the positive side, my workouts have been getting easier. So, I've been doing each set multiple times. I don't know if I'm losing weight or inches (will measure again when the Challenge is over), but I do know that I have more energy. I used to be tired in the early evening. Now, I have energy all day. I'm liking it. In the end, I would love to lose weight and inches, but I am loving having more energy.

     My personal challenge for the week: Do a light workout on my off days

     Dustin's challenge for this week: Tell someone you appreciate them

     I am excited to finish up this challenge. I am proud of myself for doing so well. I know that I will continue this workout even after the Challenge ends.

Be sure to keep up with my friends Jacqui & Heather, Sadie and Elizabeth as they also complete the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

I am participating in the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 8: 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge

     Week 1 was intense. I'm not going to lie. There were days I didn't want to get out of bed, let alone work out. However, I can honestly say that I survived week 1. Yay me!

     Day 2 was the hardest. I was so sore. It hurt to walk, bend and mostly, it hurt to laugh. Dustin doesn't really encourage stretching before a workout. But, I did find that stretching on the off days and doing a light warm-up made me less sore throughout the day. I'm not saying that this would work for everyone, but it's definitely working for me.

     The hardest goal this week was the sodas. Apparently, I get a little crabby when I don't have my caffeine. So, for the first week I cut down to one 12oz soda per day. Today is my first day caffeine free. Wish me luck.

     Dustin's Challenge for this week is: have a 10 minute conversation.

     My personal challenge for the week: Zero sodas!

     Check out what my friends Jacqui & Heather, Sadie, and Elizabeth have to say about the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

I am participating in the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Melted Crayon Art

     I have found a lot of uses for broken crayons. One thing I never imagined doing was running them through my glue gun and making "paintings" with them. However, I had a little inspiration, so I decided to give it a try.

     First let me say this, it isn't as easy as it looks. It seems like it would be pretty straight forward. Push crayon through glue gun, drip on canvas. Viola! Yeah, not quite. At one point, my glue gun decided to turn into a hot, melted crayon volcano. So, after 2 disappointing attempts, I abandoned the glue gun for another technique that I read about, the hair dryer.

    I started by picking the picture that I wanted. You need to select one that is going to make a good silhouette. It doesn't matter if there is stuff in the background, you can edit that out. Here's the picture I started with:

     I don't own a light board, so I printed the picture and cut Thing 1 out. I used that as a stencil to trace her silhouette onto my canvas. I then used a black paint marker to color it in.

     Before doing anything else, you need to protect your work space! I thought that mine was well protected. The orange spot that is now on my carpet would beg to differ.

     Since I wasn't starting at the top of the canvas, I used painters tape to attach paper where I wanted to start my crayons. I then used craft glue to attach the crayon pieces to the paper.

     Next, I stood the canvas on it's side so that the crayon would run down as it melted.

     Finally, I used my hair dryer to melt the crayons. It didn't take very long before they started melting and running down the canvas. I used several reds, orange and yellow. In the end, they all ran and mixed together.  Allow the crayon to dry before moving the canvas.

     Here's the final product:

     It didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, but I love the end result.

     What do you think? Will you use the new melty crayon technique in any of your crafts?

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Don't Clog the Blog - Book Review

     When one starts a blog, they have a lot of questions. In her new ebook, Don't Clog the Blog, Sadie Lankford gives a clear, easy to understand list of dos and don'ts.

     Don't Clog the Blog is well composed and easy to read. It's a must-read for any new bloggers. Some of the things on the list are things that I didn't even think of. Now that I've read the book, I'll definitely be using her advice and making some changes.

     Best thing about this book? It's short, sweet and to the point. And, because it's an ebook, it's easy to read on the go. I put my copy on my Android and read it while my husband was driving.

     You can buy the book now for only $3.99 on Sadie Lankford's blog. Also, be sure to check out Sadie on Facebook and Twitter.

I received the ebook, Don't Clog the Blog by Sadie Lankford, free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 1: 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge

     Before I start talking about the program, Dustin Maher, creator of the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge said that we need to set goals. Realistic, but challenging goals. So, here are mine.

     Goal 1: Lose some weight. I want to lose at least 10 pounds before the year is over. Hopefully, these 21 days will be a great help in achieving that goal.

     Goal 2: Break my Dr. Pepper habit. I have at least one Dr. Pepper every day. With the challenge, I lose points for my Dr. Peppers. So, I am trying to quit soda all together.

     Dustin's Challenge for the Week: Spend 10 minutes reading something you enjoy. I love reading, so this is an easy one for me!

The Workout
     I was in pretty great shape when I was in high school. Let me tell you, that girl was no where around my house as I did Dustin's workout today. I did warm-up, strength training, cardio, core and stretching. I will do all  5 sections every other day. 

     The warm-up was pretty easy. It got me loose but wasn't enough to make me break a sweat. I'm sure that I looked pretty silly doing some of these warm-ups. But, there was no one around to see me. Just one more advantage to working out at home.

     Strength training was intense. There were moments where I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to finish a set. But, I pushed through and I'm glad I did.

     Cardio was what really kicked my butt. He only has you go for 45 seconds and then rest for 45 seconds. But the 45 seconds of work seems like 45 minutes and the rest seems like it's over before it begins. 

     The one that I wasn't prepared for was core training. I know that my core is my problem area. However, I didn't know how much of a problem it was. These exercises made me use my deep core muscles. I finished my workout about an hour ago and I can still feel those muscles.

     Stretching was cool down and flexibility training. Basic yoga to help with the soreness and slowly ease your body out of the workout.

     So far, I am very satisfied with this program. I can't wait until my next workout. However, I'm also glad that I have a day of rest in between.

     As far as the nutritional part of the Challenge, my store doesn't carry a lot of the gluten-free and sugar-free things that the recipes call for. Yay for living in podunk with only one grocery store. So, we're going to pick up a bunch of the ingredients when we're out of town. For now, I am going with the general theme of the Challenge's healthy meals.

I am participating in the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

21 Day Weight Loss Challenge!

      I, as a general rule, attempt to avoid New Year's resolutions. However, I needed to lose some weight and the "I just had a baby" excuse wasn't cutting it anymore. It's Feb 1 and I can honestly say that I haven't done much towards reaching my goal. However, all of that changes today. Today, I signed up for the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge. I took my measurements and pictures today and I'm starting tomorrow morning. The workouts look fun and the recipes look delicious. I can't wait to get started!

     To find out more check out the Mommy Blogger Weight Loss Challenge Website or Facebook page. Also, check back here for regular updates on my progress.

     I am participating in the Challenge at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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