Burlap contest

I just recently entered my Burlap Rosette Wreath project into the Canvas Corp Burlap Contest!
If you have a burlap project you want to enter, click here!Here’s a picture of the most recent one that I made:

Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Article: 5 Biggest Fitness Mistakes

I found this article through the Yahoo featured stories this morning. Every bit of it is SO TRUE.
This article comes from Bill Phillips of Men’s Health magazine. (Original article found here.) Just because it’s from Men’s Health does NOT mean it doesn’t apply to women! I think mistake #2 is especially important for us women to consider!

Read on…

Mistake #1: Not Lifting Weights
You’ve no doubt been told that aerobic exercise is the key to losing your gut, but weight training is actually more valuable. Three reasons:

1. Lifting protects your muscle.When people diet without lifting weights, research shows that 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat and 25 percent is muscle. That 25 percent may reduce your scale weight, but it doesn’t do a lot for your reflection in the mirror. However, if you weight train as you diet, your weight loss is more likely to be 100 percent fat. Think of it in terms of liposuction: The whole point is to simply remove unattractive flab, right? That’s exactly what you should demand from your workout.

2. Lifting boosts your metabolism. Your muscles need energy to repair and upgrade your muscle fibers after each resistance-training workout. For instance, a University of Wisconsin study found that when people performed a total-body workout comprised of just three big-muscle exercises, their metabolisms were elevated for 39 hours afterward. What’s more, they also burned a greater percentage of their calories from fat during this time, compared with those who weren’t hitting the weights.

3. Lifting torches calories. It’s considered common knowledge that jogging burns more calories than weight training. Turns out, when scientists at the University of Southern Maine used an advanced method to estimate energy expenditure during exercise, they found that weight training burns as many as 71 percent more calories than originally thought. The researchers calculated that performing just one circuit of eight exercises—which takes about 8 minutes—can expend 159 to 231 calories. That’s about the same as running at a 6-minute mile pace for the same duration.

Mistake #2: Not Lifting Enough Weight
Ladies, we’re especially talking to you on this one. Your goal is to challenge your muscles, not just go through the motions. For instance, if you can lift a weight 15 times, it’s not going to do your muscles much good to lift it for only 8 repetitions. A good way to gauge if a weight is appropriate: Note the point at which you start to struggle. Let’s say you’re doing 10 repetitions. If all 10 seem easy, then the weight you’re using is too light. However, if you start to struggle on your tenth repetition, you’ve chosen the correct poundage.

Mistake #3: Not Working the Lower Body Enough
To cut inches from your waist, make sure you’re working the muscles below your belt. In a Syracuse University study, people burned more calories the day after they did lower-body resistance training than the day after they worked their upper body. “Leg muscles—like your quads and glutes—generally have more muscle mass than those of your chest and arms,” says study author Kyle Hackney, Ph.D. (c), C.S.C.S. “Work more muscle during your exercise session, and your body has to expend more energy to repair and upgrade them later.” So the best approach, of course, is to hit every muscle each workout.

Mistake #4: Not Eating Right
You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. After all, you can eat 1,000-calorie fast food burger in just 5 minutes, but it’ll take you more than an hour to burn that many calories with physical activity. So make sure you’re not using exercise as an excuse to eat whatever you want. You may even find that regular workouts help you better follow a smart eating plan. Case in point: University of Pittsburgh researchers studied 169 overweight adults for 2 years and found that the participants who didn’t follow a 3-hour-a-week training plan ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories a day. The reverse was also true—sneaking snacks sabotaged their workouts. The study authors say it’s likely that both actions are a reminder to stay on track, reinforcing your weight-loss goal and drive.

Mistake #5: Skipping Workouts
We’re all busy, but that’s usually just a lame excuse. After all, plenty of people find time to exercise. And when was the last time you heard someone say they regretted their workout? Probably never, and here’s why: U.K. researchers found that workers were 15 percent more productive on the days they made time to exercise compared to days they skipped their workout. They were also 15 percent more tolerant of their coworkers. Now, consider for a moment what these numbers mean to you: On days you exercise, you can—theoretically at least—accomplish in an eight-hour day what normally would take you nine hours and 12 minutes. Or you’d still work nine hours, but get more done, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier with your job, another perk that the workers reported on the days they exercised.

Thanks for reading!

Grocery bill update

I posted earlier about my efforts to lower our grocery bill. My first attempt yielded a savings of $14.36. It’s definitely a learning process, but I’m glad to say I’m making progress!
Last week, we only bought a grand total of $16 worth of groceries. We simply just didn’t have the money to buy any extra until our paychecks came in. We ate from the pantry, and also had several dinners with my parents this past week. Needless to say, I was SO EXCITED to go grocery shopping this week!! I saved up 2 weeks worth of coupon inserts, just waiting for a chance to get to the store!I saw some HUGE savings this week! Woo hoo!!

Here’s the entire haul this week:

I’m not going to list everything I got. Here are some close up shots:

The following items were on sale:
Crystal Light (x2)
Oscar Meyer smoked ham
Oscar Meyer turkey bacon
Market Pantry graham crackers
Del Monte canned pineapple
Gold Medal whole wheat flour
Market Pantry marshmallows
Driscoll’s strawberries
Eggo whole grain low fat waffles
Dr. Pepper 2-liter bottles (x4) – my husband is from Texas 🙂
Market Pantry eggs
Simply Orange juice
Coffee Mate creamer
Market Pantry butter
Contadina pizza sauce

Before coupons & discounts, this week’s total came to $125.80.

Then add these coupons:
$1.50/2 Breyers ice creams = $4.48 for 2
$2/1 manufacturer coupon + $2/1 Target coupon Purina One Beyond cat food = $3.49
$1/2 Crystal Light = $4.18 for 2
$1.50/2 NYC nail polish = $0.44 for 2
$0.50/1 Driscoll’s strawberries = $1.49
$1/2 Market Pantry block cheddar cheese = $4.48 for 2
$1/1 manufacturer coupon (x2) + $1/1 Target coupon Degree women’s deoderant = $0.79

Coupon items:

Then to top it off, add:
$10 off a purchase of $75 or more
$7 off a grocery purchase of $75 or more
$0.05 for each reusable grocery bag (x8)
AND my 5% off with my Target debit card……….

That brings the total to $80.53, which translates to…….

a total savings of $45.27!!!

Thanks for reading!

I’m linking up with:

MoneySavingMom.com

Piano Bench Upholstery

This weekend, I tackled a project that has been sitting around for a while. I upholstered my piano bench! I had all of the materials that I needed, I just never got around to finishing it. Honestly, I don’t know why I waited so long to do this. I guess it seemed like it would be a more difficult and daunting task. In reality, it was the easiest project and only took me about 45 minutes to finish.
Here’s my piano bench with no upholstery. See the price sticker was still on it? I knew it was going to get covered up, so I didn’t bother with trying to wrestle it off.

My husband removed the seat from the bench, and I laid out my foam on top of it on the floor. I then cut the foam down to size. I bought 2″ thick foam – the cheapest stuff I could find. I wanted it to be thick and cushy, but it didn’t need to be the expensive stuff because I knew it would be covered up.

Then I flipped the foam and seat upside down and took some organic cotton quilter’s batting to cover it up. This stuff was So. Soft.
Seriously. I could rub it on my face all day. Anyway, then I used my mom’s staple gun to staple one side to the underside of the seat.

I kept stapling on all sides, being careful to avoid the parts where the hinges would need to be screwed back on. It is important to keep the fabric taught during this process. If you don’t, you’ll end up with lumps and bumps. Then I trimmed off the extra. Here’s what it looked like after this step.

Then I repeated the process with the fabric, pulling it taught during the whole process. My husband reattached the seat for me, and here’s the finished product!

I just LOVE how it turned out! And I love love love the fabric!

Here’s the finished product next to the piano:

This is seriously such an easy project. I’d love to see what you’ve been upholstering lately! Send me a link in a comment!

Thanks for reading!

I’m linking up with:

Anything Relatedtopsy turvy tuesdays

Scrumptious Saturday {No. 4} – Fried Rice

This is a really easy recipe that’s perfect for Sundays after church. I used to ask my mom to make it every Sunday for about 6 months. I love it!
I’ve altered it a little since learning how to create this simple dish.Ingredients:
1 packet of 10-minute brown rice
1 chicken breast, defrosted & cut into small pieces
Any other meat you want to add – I add 5 slices of chopped turkey bacon
4-5 green onions, sliced
garlic powder
ginger powder
canola oil
sesame oil
4 eggs
low sodium soy sauce

Directions:
Cook rice according to package directions. Chop chicken & other meat of your choice. I was out of turkey bacon, so I used turkey lunch meat. The only types of meat that I’ve tried that does NOT work are hot dogs (my mom tried this once – don’t do it).
In an electric skillet, add some canola oil & a few teaspoons of sesame oil. Add chicken to the pan & brown. Season with garlic & ginger. Add other meat & scallions. (I didn’t have any this time, so I added a little onion powder.)

Pour rice over the mixture & mix.

Create one big “pocket” in the rice or 4 little pockets and add eggs, scramble until cooked. Try not to mix with the rice to make sure all of the eggs cook thoroughly.

Mix together and add soy sauce one cap-full at a time until you reach the desired flavor. Enjoy!

Makes 2 servings.

Thanks for reading!

Weekly Weigh In (Day 12)

Well, this week I gained. Boo. The scale went back up to 2.1 lbs. *sigh*
I blame this on a lack of healthy options around the home. We didn’t really have any extra money to get groceries this week, so we were eating up what we had. I had hash browns 3 or 4 times this week. But we were able to have dinner with my parents a few days too! hahaha. I got paid yesterday, so we should be able to get a few more healthy options around here to hold us over until the hubby gets paid on Wednesday! Praise God!I think I got sidetracked there for a little bit…..Anyway, so I know that I’m getting stronger and still headed in the right direction, even if the scale doesn’t show it. It’s been about a month since I took my measurements, so I thought I’d do that because I KNOW my clothes are fitting better.

I was very pleased.

Bust: -1″
Waist: -1.5″
Hips: -1.5″
R Thigh: no change
L Thigh: no change
R Arm: no change
L Arm: +0.25″
Butt & Thighs (widest part): -0.5″

I’ve lost a total of 4.25 inches in the last month! I’ll take that, thank you very much!

In other news………….Guess what I got!!!
I got it for FREE on craigslist!
EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I’m so excited!

Thanks for reading!

Update on Win, Lose, or Blog competition

I mentioned in this post that I applied to be a contestant for Win, Lose, or Blog. Well, I obviously didn’t get selected. (I would have announced it on here if I had!)Since their Biggest Loser competition started, I’ve lost 6.4 lbs. That’s 0.6 lbs away from my 4-month plateau/gain. It’s also a 3.3% weight loss.

WLB posted the current standings for their Biggest Loser competition. I just figured out that if I had been selected, I would currently be standing in 5th place (out of 8 contestants). Not bad. Not bad at all!

I’m pretty stoked to almost be back to my pre-plateau weight again. Woo hoo!

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I am LOVING the P90X lean program! Love love love!!! I can see my body shrinking. I can feel my clothes fitting better. I can also feel myself getting stronger. It’s awesome!For a refresher, this is what my phase 1 weekly schedule looks like:
Tuesday – Core Synergistics
Wednesday – Cardio X
Thursday – Ab Ripper X, Shoulders & Arms
Friday – Yoga X
Saturday – Ab Ripper X, Legs & Back
Sunday – Kenpo X
Monday – Rest or X Stretch

I’m currently on Day 9. I’m 1/10th of the way through the program, and still going strong!

One of the keys to my success is getting up early to do my workout first thing in the morning. The only way I’ve been able to keep that up is through lots (and LOTS) of prayer, as well as getting to bed early. It’s 9:31 pm as I write this, and as soon as I hit “publish” I’m off to bed!

Another key to success this time is that I turn off the music from the DVDs and play my own motivating music.

Here are a few songs on my workout playlist:
“Stronger” – Mandisa (always my warm up)
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – Whitney Houston
“The More” – downhere
“Burnin’ Up” – Jonas Brothers
“Conga” – Gloria Estefan
“Let’s Get Loud” – Jennifer Lopez
“Supermassive Black Hole” – Muse
“Any Way You Want It” – Journey
“I’m Reading a Book” – Julian Smith (the end is my favorite)
And a large hodgepodge of Anberlin and *NSYNC

I like to keep it interesting. 🙂

Medicine organization

A few weeks ago, I was inspired by this post on IHeart Organizing. Did you know that medicine cabinets are not for medicines?? Keeping medicines in the bathroom actually causes the medicines to expire sooner (due to high temperatures). So this week, I moved the medicines to the kitchen (into a cupboard not above the oven).First, I took the messy basket from the bathroom.

Then, I organized everything. I threw out expired medications.
(Yes, I have Twilight band-aids. They came in my Christmas stocking. Be jealous.)

Finally, I put the items in some tupperware & stashed them in the cupboard! I organized it by soonest-expiring medication.

This was a simple project that literally took me 5 minutes.
We do have other medicine-cabinet like things in another basket, but these are the ones we need to have readily available. I only went searching for the Icy Hot after restarting P90X! You can read about my experience with that on my other blog – the fit wife!

Thanks for reading!

I’m linking up with:
Organize and Decorate Everything

Plateau No More

Remember how I said I was slightly addicted to ice cream? I didn’t buy it this week. For one, it’s not in our budget right now. But secondly, I don’t need to eat ice cream every day. So I had a small bowl at my parents house, and then we went out to ice cream last night (I forgot we had planned it).
This past week, I took the time to plan my meals. I did my best to stick with my plan, and I was “good” with my eating most of the week. I did bake cookies for my biology class on Thursday, and I had pizza and ice cream with my family last night. The key is to treat yourself in moderation.I haven’t missed a day yet this week since I took on the P90X challenge with my friend.
(Yes, I even did Yoga!!!) I’ve successfully gotten up at 5am each day to workout. Today is a little different due to the fact that we got in at 2am from picking my sister up from the airport. But I am going to continue with my workouts even though it’s the weekend.

Yoga pose – Royal Dancer
(photo credit)

I forgot how addicting exercise can be! When I got home from school early this week, I tried to figure out how I would spend my extra hour of time, and all I could think of was wanting to work out some more! I am definitely headed in the right direction.

I love having the accountability of this challenge! I feel pushed and motivated to eat right and complete my workouts every day now! I think it’s safe to say that I’m on my way out of my plateau! I’ve been at a standstill with my weight loss since last November. I bounced around the same 5-7 lbs for 4 months before I finally gave up.

This week, I lost 3.4 lbs!!!!!!

What??? That’s awesome! Even with pizza and double ice cream last night? Yup.
It’s amazing to see what consistency and hard work can do!

I know this won’t be the same every week, but it was so encouraging to say goodbye to the 190’s this morning when I stepped on the scale!

I’ve only got 0.7 lbs until I’m back at my pre-plateau weight.
I’ve lost a total of 62.9 lbs since my weight loss journey began!

Here are some upcoming milestones, to put it into perspective:
2.1 lbs until I hit 65 lbs
7.1 lbs until I hit 70 lbs
12.1 lbs until I hit 75 lbs

Wow!! Yay!! I’m so excited to continue on!

Thanks for reading!