SOCIAL MEDIA

Friday, July 31, 2015

Weigh in Day

Close up of scale on white background

I was so looking forward to weigh in day today because I expected a loss after sticking to my points for the week. But, as usual, I gained 2 lbs. after a good week on track. Are you starting to see what I mean when I say my body is weird?

The only thing that I can think of is that last night I went to therapy and we ate out after that. I ordered a salad topped with chicken but you never really know how much sodium is in something when you eat out. I also had a few tortilla chips, which is more added salt. So I’ll just hang in there and see how I do next week.

Stats:

 
This Week
Last Week
Weekly Points Used:
49
-
Activity Points Earned:
25
18
Activity Points Used:
22
-
Total Steps:
51,438
44,216
Weight Change:

+ 2

- 2.5

As you can see, I increased my steps this week so that shows an increase in activity overall. However, I need to do better about my workouts because I only got in a couple.

This week was a good test week to see how I want to schedule my days. I realized that I don’t really want to require myself to work out early in the morning because one benefit of being a SAHM with only one child is that I can finally sleep later than 5 a.m….especially now that she’s older and doesn’t wake up in the nights as often. I might as well enjoy the sleep while I can and it also seems like I need it because I am always so tired. I like to have low key mornings.

Let’s be honest, I’d probably do better waking up early to focus on writing than I would to exercise. ha.

I’m thinking this week I will try to schedule my workout during baby girl’s first nap…that is if I don’t go for a walk/jog with her in the stroller, which would really be the best option. I will figure out how to get it all together eventually.

Overall, I feel like I was really productive this week. I conquered a huge project by converting my office into a fitness room. I also kept the house organized except for a hectic day when we got home late and didn’t feel like straightening up. So that’s a win. I am seeing how I can keep that up!

I only completed 1/4 of my goals for the week though. Eek. I need to work on more focus…I tend to hop from project to project instead of finishing the one I’m on!

Did you meet your goals this week? How did your weigh in go? Do you hop from project to project or do you have laser focus?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Things I Love Thursday: Summer Food Edition

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission which helps keep A Journey to Thin running. All opinions are my own.

Things I Love Thursday

Iowa Sweet Corn

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It’s that time of year again when the fridge is filled with juicy Iowa sweet corn from my father-in-law’s garden. The corn is especially flavorful this year and so it makes a frequent appearance on our dinner table!

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Rounds

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A friend (Hi Traci!) introduced me to this recipe via Pinterest and let me tell you, this recipe is AMAZING and so simple. The zucchini turns out creamy, cheesy, and delicious. This is the perfect way to use up all of that zucchini!

Colby’s Kettle Corn – Salty Sweet Addiction

KettleCorn

I received a bag of this kettle corn from a new partner, GourmetGifter.com. Kettle corn is a favorite food of mine, so this was perfect. I love the combination of sweet and salty—yum! This is the perfect snack at only 3 PointsPlus per serving, which is a generous 1.5 cups. I love that the only ingredients are popcorn, corn oil, sugar, and salt.

Fresh Garden Tomatoes

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One of my favorite things about summer…fresh & juicy garden tomatoes! My favorite way to eat them is sandwiched between two pieces of light Miracle Whip slathered toast. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.

Tyson Grilled & Ready Diced Chicken Breast

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I bought a bag of the oven roasted diced chicken breast a couple of weeks ago. It is perfect for the times that I have not planned appropriately and it’s lunchtime and the Little One is ready to eat. I can just pop these in the microwave and we’re ready to go with a healthy meal. I especially like to add them to a salad.

What are you loving this Thursday?

7 Habits for a Life of Good Health and Happiness

7 habits article

Everyone wants to be happy and enjoy good health, but when it comes to putting in the work required to achieve these goals, many people fall short because they don’t have a plan in place. It can be difficult to envision long term success while dealing with the short term stresses in life that can often sidetrack us from our goals.

Good health and happiness require a balance in life that doesn’t tip towards over zealous behavior but also doesn’t tip towards lack of action. The following seven habits are easy ways to create a life of good health and happiness.

1. Meditate Daily

Pretty woman doing yoga exercises on nature landscape

What do you envision when you think of meditation? Do you envision a guru sitting cross-legged on a mountain top and hear a monotone humming sound? That’s how many people view meditation, but the truth is that is just one type of meditation.

Merriam-Webster defines meditate in two ways: “1) to engage in contemplation or reflection, and 2) to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one's breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”. While the latter is typically how meditation is viewed, the first definition provides many opportunities for meditation.

Contemplation and reflection are key. Many find that belief in a higher power and meditation on these things is a centering force in life. For Christians, contemplating scripture and prayer are fulfilling means of meditation. Meditation keeps the soul focused on a greater purpose.

2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Young happy couple sleeping in bed

The benefits of adequate sleep are innumerable. In our go-go-go culture, it’s easy to try to add more work into a day by subtracting from our sleep time. This is a recipe for disaster for both health and happiness. We simply need rest to function well.

We can set ourselves up for success by forming a nightly routine that helps us wind down. Read a book, drink a cup of tea, take a warm bath, or even spend time meditating. The truth is, we can function better mentally and physically after a good night’s sleep.

3. Eat a Balanced Diet

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Your diet is up to you and while some may choose to eliminate certain food groups, it’s generally a good method to make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, protein, and drink lots of water. Find what works for you. Adding in a variety of super foods will also help to maintain good health and can be helpful while trying to lose weight.

However, as we have already discussed, good health and happiness come down to balance. Sometimes a little indulgence is what the soul needs. Occasionally enjoy a decadent dessert, a favorite treat, or enjoy a piece of cake at a birthday party while celebrating with friends and family. A healthy life can also include occasional indulgences.

4. Keep an Organized Home

home cleaning

A messy house can result in a scattered brain and an organized home can result in a focused mind. The environment we live in affects us. When the house is a mess we often feel out of control, but the ability to keep the home clutter free can lead to a feeling of control over our environment and in turn we will feel more in control of our lives.

5. Foster Relationships

family photo

There’s no doubt about it, maintaining happy and healthy relationships takes work. But it’s well worth the time and effort when we reap the reward of having a dedicated spouse, loving friends, and adoring children.

Success and monetary rewards are all good, but will never be as satisfying as the important things in life, such as faith and family. Foster your relationships with others and with a higher power for true happiness.

6. Spend Time Outdoors

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Spending time in nature is healing for the mind and important for emotional health. Looking at a bright blue sky and feeling the warmth of the sun can make us happy almost immediately. Make sure to wear sunscreen!

Turn off the electronics and disconnect from the fast pace of life and enjoy relaxing amongst the quietness of nature. It will transform the mind into a place of peace. Even better, spend time outdoors with friends and family for an added benefit. Take a moment to slow down and smell the roses, literally.

7. Be Active

Female Runner Shoes closeup on the road, town setting. Shallow depth of Field, focus on rear shoe.

Simply move more. Find an enjoyable sport or activity and do it. Find a wearable fitness device that inspires activity, such as a Fitbit. The important thing is consistency and that’s also one of the hardest parts.

Even just going to the zoo with your family and spending the day walking around is great for health and happiness. Park farther away from the store requiring you walk farther. Train for a 5K. Walk, run, spin, or jump. Carry in your heavy groceries for added strength training. Do what you can when you can. Just keep moving.

 

Tell me what you think is the most important habit for health and happiness. I look forward to your responses!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Repurposing my Old Home Office into a Fitness Room

Yesterday I embarked on a mission to organize my old home office. While doing so, I decided I should really repurpose the room and make it into a fitness room since I no longer need the home office as a SAHM.

I finished it all before hubby got home and when he saw it he loved it! And so do I. All I accomplished was a very basic reorganization of the room and moving furniture and equipment around.

I will have a section of the room for the treadmill and recumbent bike.

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There’s a section for weights/etc. (ignore the paper hole punch paper circles on the carpet…my vacuum cleaner broke when I tried to vacuum this!) I want to buy a stand for the weights. Any ideas on yoga mat/equipment storage?

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It has a good size empty space in the center for doing yoga or an exercise DVD, and then on the other side of the room I have a stand with my old large PC monitor that I think I can hook up to my laptop to complete workout DVDs or YouTube workouts, etc. This would also be a good place for the Little One to watch a kid’s show on Netflix (when she’s old enough) while I workout on the bike or treadmill.

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You can see I placed workout DVDs and various equipment pieces on the shelf.

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It’s going to work out great! I have a lot of work to do yet though. The floor is wooden with carpet placed beneath the equipment. I’d like to buy foam interlocking mats for the middle section, or probably the entire room but I need to look into how those are maintained. I also want to paint the walls, get new curtains, and decorate accordingly.

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It’s a very small room, but it’s the perfect size for a fitness room and there are big windows so it lets a lot of natural light in. I LOVED working in this little space when I had a 40-hr. per week job.

It’s hidden behind the stile of the door, but I have a dry erase calendar on the wall next to the pin board. I think I’ll keep the calendar there and use it to mark off days I workout. I’ll probably take the pin board down.

I never really did much with this room except buy curtains, fancy curtain rods, and a painting (which isn’t in any of these pictures, I see). We also replaced the old windows because this room got very, very cold in the winter with the old single pane wooden windows. I’ve never painted in this room and now it needs a fresh coat of paint but I’m not sure about what color! I’m also tired of the red and want something different. What color scheme do you think is best for a fitness room?

I moved my desk into another room and I look forward to creating an organized place to keep blogging, photography, and writing projects as well as organizing the mail, a place to put keys, etc. This will definitely help keep the house organized!

Any d├ęcor ideas that you have for this room? I will be searching Pinterest to start planning!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Price of Peace

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I woke up with the massive headache I’d had for over 24 hours. My one year old daughter, Sienna, had woken and was standing in her crib yelling for “Dada” (daddy) as loud as should could. I chuckled at her lack of patience as I climbed out of bed.

Opening her door, I greeted her with an enthusiastic “good morning” and was given a glare and a little smile.

“Dada?”

“Daddy’s at work, sweetheart. He’ll be home later.” She thought for a moment and then reached her arms up for me to pick her up. She fussed as I changed her diaper.

Downstairs, she walked over to the front window and indicated that she wanted me to open the shades. When I did, I noticed that an animal had gotten into our garbage and shreds of trash were strewn across our lawn, into the street, and in the neighbor’s yard.

Groan.

It always annoyed me that my husband put the garbage out by the road in trash bags instead of placing the trash bags in our garbage can. I texted him to tell him what had happened, partly out of annoyance.

“Make sure to pick it up right away so we don’t get in trouble,” he responded.

How can I manage picking up garbage right next to the street with a one year old along? And then the solution popped into my head—I would put her in her red Radio Flyer wagon and pull her along with me while I pushed the garbage can with my other hand, this way she couldn’t run into the street.

My hair was messy, having just woken up, and the little one was still in her purple elephant pattern pajamas. We trekked out to the street and I knelt down to begin picking up the remains of food, paper towels, and who knows what else, which was already being consumed by bugs.

This is so disgusting. Yuck! It had just rained and everything was soggy, smelly, and full of flies and ants.

The neighbor’s white garage door began to rumble open as Sienna chattered happily in the wagon.

Each morning our elderly neighbors left their home in town to go to their farmhouse. But this was two hours earlier than normal.

Oh no…

Mr. Neighbor had just recently either decided to be friendly with us again (after being mad at us for a few years over the fact that our walnut tree “got walnut juice” on his siding) or he had forgotten due to old age, probably the latter.

Clutching his brown cane, wearing brand new overalls, a white undershirt, worn brown work boots, and a tired green seed corn hat, he limped down his driveway with purpose.

“I saw the dog that did that,” he said as if he had been anticipating this conversation for a lifetime.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yep,” he said pointing to another neighbor’s house, “They never keep that dog tied up.”

“Oh I see,” I said with a smile, thinking of the other neighbor’s brand new puppy.

“You should really call the police about this,” he said angrily.

I glanced up at him from where I was picking up trash to see if he was serious. His piercing blue eyes told me he was dead serious.

“Well, we should really put our trash into a can so that animals can’t get to it. It’s really our fault,” I said, trying to smooth it over as I continued picking up a rotten onion.

“I can’t believe you’re going to stand for this. It’s a law to keep your dog tied up and they’re breaking the law. I just can’t believe you’re not going to call the police,” he growled.

I was taken aback and frantically tried to think of how to respond. A million thoughts ran through my head.

It’s not worth creating conflict with the other neighbors over their puppy getting into our trash one time.

I can’t believe he’s serious about this.

How can I make him go away?

How can I calm him down and help him to understand that this isn’t a big deal?

“It’s ok,” I said with a smile, we’ll make sure to put our trash in a can from now on.

Anger rushed across his face as he turned to walk back to his house but then turned back around.

“This is going to happen again, you know. Do you want the dog to keep getting into your trash? You need to call the police and do something about this,” he tried to persuade me.

Sienna was silent, just staring and watching this all unfold.

I’m trying my best. Can’t he see that?

Just breathe. My anxiety was rising because conflict bothers me to the very core.

I continued to pull the wagon with me as I picked up the trash and stuffed it into a new sack. He pointed out everywhere that the trash had been scattered by the wind.

“There’s trash over there, and there, and way over there too,” he growled.

“Yeah, I’ll pick it all up,” I assured him.

He limped across the street to where an empty Mountain Dew bottle rested against the curb. He kicked the bottle across the street to me as if it were a soccer ball.

“Thanks,” I said as I placed all of the trash into the can.

He began walking back to his house with no word.

“Have a good day,” I said, trying to cheer him up.

“Well, how can I have a good day after this? You’re just going to let them get away with this. This is ridiculous!”

“Try not to let it ruin your day. I’ll tell my husband about it,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Ok,” he said with relief.

I pulled the wagon into the garage and stood for a moment with my hand over my eyes and took a deep breath.

It’s ok. It’s ok.

How can someone be so unhappy like that?

How is something like this worth the cost of his peace?

I looked down at Sienna and realized she had seen and heard it all. She may not have understood what was happening, but her silence indicated that she definitely knew there was conflict.

“I love you,” I said wearily as I gave her a kiss on the forehead.

Monday, July 27, 2015

First Day with my Passion Planner

Today was my first day using the Passion Planner and I am happy with my productivity. I hope I can keep this up!

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My plan was to wake up at 6 a.m. but when my alarm went off I just couldn’t do it. There are some days that I am naturally awake at 6 a.m. but I was especially tired today. So I slept and I felt much better when I woke up at 7:30. I was bummed that I didn’t follow my plan, but it all worked out wonderfully because I was still able to fit in everything, except writing, into my morning before baby woke up.

That means I biked for 20 minutes, took a shower, meditated, did some laundry, checked my email/blog things, and prepared breakfast. I felt so productive and that was a good feeling. I was actually just lucky that baby girl slept later than usual this morning.

There’s something about getting my shower in first thing that just changes the entire day for me. I definitely want to try to do that.

Once baby was awake, we ate breakfast and then headed off to get groceries. She was such a good girl this time and it made it significantly less stressful for me! Yay!

I got to sip on Starbucks while grocery shopping and picked up some cheap sushi to bring home for lunch.

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My afternoon didn’t quite go as planned, but that’s ok. I had a conference call for a new partnership, and shortly after that baby woke up early from her nap screaming. Poor girl. She acted like she didn’t feel well. So I rocked her for quite a while…which is something that I never get to do anymore because she doesn’t usually sit still!

I had planned to take her to the pool for a little while but it was raining and with her not acting herself I didn’t want to risk it. Like I said, the afternoon was just all off, but I managed to do more laundry and prepare a good supper while also keeping baby happy as best as I could. We went outside when it wasn’t raining.

Sitting in grass

When hubby got home, we ate supper and then headed over to his parent’s to pick up sweet corn and the first garden tomatoes! So excited to try those tomorrow! Yum! One of the best parts of summer.

I made sure to straighten up the house again tonight so that things don’t just pile up and become overwhelming. I definitely want to keep that up because it’s much easier to do it regularly than after it piles up!

So that was a short summary of my day and while I’m happy with it, I feel like I’m just learning how I will be able to structure my day so that I feel productive. I know it’s not really possible to do it ALL, but I’m going to try to do the best I can.

I have four goals that I am working on, which the Passion Planner has helped me with.

  1. Get rid of “stuff”/organize and keep the house clean
  2. Take time to meditate consistently both morning and night
  3. Workout 5 days per week
  4. Writing & Blog goals

These are all small goals which lead to greater things eventually. I’m excited about this because I think I need some structure. Whenever I do anything, I always like to have a plan—so why not apply it to personal goals?

I’ve already decided that I will make a general plan for each day but fill in the details of the next day the night before. It’s kind of hard to plan everything too far in advance. I’ve found myself having to white out quite a bit!

Also, my planner looks super messy! But overall, I’m really loving this so far!

Do you use a planner?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Inspiration Sunday

 

Once you replace negative thoughts with

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sale Saturday: Every Day with Rachel Ray Magazine

 



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Use coupon code RR499 during checkout


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Friday, July 24, 2015

Weigh in Day: My Body is Weird

Close up of scale on white background

 

After a couple of weeks without exercise or tracking my points you can about imagine what I would see on the scale. But guess what?

I lost 2.5 lbs.!

I am just as shocked. If you remember, three weeks ago I had a fantastic week and gained 1.7 lbs. I’ve jokingly mentioned before that I seem to lose when I eat more and exercise less. Once again this has proved true. My body is weird.

Obviously that philosophy is flawed, but it does give me some insight into the way that my body works. Starving myself won’t be beneficial, nor will bingeing uncontrollably. It’s that ground right in between of just normal eating of pretty much everything in moderation. And of course a focus on the healthy things. That’s how I lost the weight before and that’s how I can lose it again. How could I forget this?

Stats:

 
This Week
Last Week
Weekly Points Used:
-
-
Activity Points Earned:
18
17
Activity Points Used:
-
-
Total Steps:
44,216
43,518
Weight Loss this Week:

2.5 lbs.

-

I’m glad that I had a loss because it puts me at 11 lbs. lost, which is just .3 lbs. above my lowest weight. I’m ready to get serious about this again and this time I will have the help of hubby. He is wanting to lose some weight again and I think we can do this together.

Next week will be the first week that I begin to use my Passion Planner to schedule my days. I’ve planned a 6 a.m. wake up to workout. I will have to see how this goes and if it’s something I think I could keep doing and enjoy it.

The other option is to workout in the evenings with hubby, but it’s too easy to decide I’m too tired at the end of the day and not want to do anything. I used to enjoy getting my workout out of the way first thing but I’m not going to hold myself to any specific schedule for the following week because this is all about determining when I enjoy working out the most so that I can be consistent with it. I’ll start with this plan next week and go from there.

I’ve also realized that I haven’t been cooking like I used to. In the past, I would try new recipes and find healthy ways to make delicious dishes. This week I’ve made some different meals and they have been very satisfying to the palate. I look forward to trying more recipes next week and also creating a meal plan, at least for suppers.

This is the perfect time of the year to eat healthy. We’ve started to get a lot of produce from hubby’s parents since they have a huge garden: Green beans, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, onions, kale, cabbage, just to name a few. I’m definitely gong to be searching for more zucchini recipes this year. If you have any, please share!

Have a great weekend!

How was your week? Did you meet your goals?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Things I Love Thursday

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to some products.

I’m starting to look forward to posting the things I love on Thursdays and I hope you enjoy reading just as much.

Things I Love Thursday

Grandkids Picture

For the first time in four years, my entire family got together. We’re all spread out across the U.S. and it’s hard to get everyone in one place at the same time. We took family pictures and also a picture of grandma and papa with all of the grandkids. I’m loving this picture!

grandkids

 

Oreo Thins

I might be telling on myself here, but I love these Oreo thins better than regular Oreos. I don’t typically buy Oreos, but when I saw these advertised I wanted to try them. Four Cookies are 140 calories. They are a satisfying sweet treat. You could buy a pack of 12 on Amazon for approximately $3.16 per package, or just go to Target or Wal-Mart where they cost approximately $2.98.

OREO Thins. Mint. Golden. Classed. Crisp. Thin. Delicate.

(photo source)

 

Birds Eye Steamfresh Pure & Simple Veggies

I used to always buy fresh veggies but recently came across the Birds Eye Steamfresh Pure & Simple Veggies and fell in love with the convenience. They’re simply the frozen veggies without anything added. I can just pop the bag in the microwave and the veggies are cooked in minutes with no prep.

(photo source)

 

Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression by Brooke Shields

Thanks to Tom Cruise, we’re probably all at least aware that this book exists. I just finished this up and I really enjoyed reading this while I am still recovering from PPD. I was able to relate in many ways. I plan on writing a full review of this book in the future. You can find it on Amazon.

My New Fake Wedding Ring

My real wedding ring doesn’t currently fit, thanks to the weight I gained during pregnancy, etc. I miss wearing it. This is my second fake ring since pregnancy; the first one started to tarnish so I didn’t want to look tacky. Thanks for the bling, Wal-Mart! ha.

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What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Visiting Jane

When baby girl and I visited my parents last week we had quite a bit of fun. When my brothers, sister & families arrived, my parents treated us to a visit to the Burpee Museum of Natural History. We have become such a big family that we got the group discount!

It’s hard to believe that I grew up in Rockford, IL but never went to this museum, not even on a field trip! Burpee Museum is most known for its Jane display. Jane is “the world’s most complete and best preserved juvenile T. rex”.

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It’s pretty incredible that these creatures once roamed the earth!

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I would have loved to have spent more time reading the information, but hubby and I kept pretty busy chasing around the one year old. She had so much fun exploring a new place and wasn’t afraid of the giant creatures or dinosaur noises.

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We saw the Savage Ancient Sea: Dinosaurs of the Sea exhibit, which is a traveling exhibit.

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Here is my SIL, myself, sister, and mom.

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The kids had a fun time “digging for dinosaur bones”. The one year old played in the area too but she is always moving and hard to get a picture of.

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I told the kids to pose like they were about to get eaten by this monster, but only one obliged. lol

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This little guy seemed to enjoy the experience and having grandpa answer questions.20150717_190339522_iOS[1]

I think what I found most fascinating was the GeoScience display. I’ve always been intrigued by rocks, ever since I was a child. I had never seen fluorescents before—pretty cool! And of course I loved looking at the gems.

There was this neat display that showed what a mine looks like underground. It made me anxious just to look at it. I can’t imagine how miners go down that far into the earth! Eek!

Sadly, I didn’t get pictures of either.

Eventually we had to put the little one in the stroller to keep her under control. She was tired by that time so she was content. Here we are by the mammoth.

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We would love to visit again when the little one is older. It was a great escape from the torturous heat outside!

I recommend visiting if you’re ever in the area!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Before I became a Stay at Home Mom

Last week, I asked you to submit any questions you had for me on a Get to Know Me post. I will be answering those questions in posts, starting with this one from Finding Lori.

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It is hard to believe that I have been a stay at home mom for over a year now. It seems like just yesterday that I worked a 40 hour traditional job. Being a mom has been more challenging than any job I have ever had, but it also has more benefits.

In January of 2007, I escaped the horrible life of working in retail and began working at a call center. I was working on completing my last “two years” of a B.A. in English Language and Literature and this new job turned out to be the perfect job as a student because I was often able to study at work.

I worked on various accounts and with each one I learned more. I learned about taxes and engines and eventually ended up with a door and window company in August of 2007. Let me tell you, call center agents are not paid nearly enough for the abuse received from some customers. It is an emotionally draining job.

I learned the most at this last account and I know way too much about windows and doors. I have installed the products, taken them apart and reassembled them, ordered parts, toured multiple factories, diagnosed service problems, ordered countless parts, and talked thousands of customers through the steps of fixing their products. It was not a job for the weary, I will tell you that. The turnover rate was pretty high and it took considerable time for people to “catch on”. It was a constant learning experience.

In 2011, I finally graduated from college. It took me four years to finish the last “two years” because I was also working full time. At this point, I was ready to find a new job. I actually hated working at a call center by this time (not as much as I hated retail though). There were unrealistic expectations at times (most of which have been changed), crazy drama, and office politics. I was so happy when I was able to begin working from home, but I still dreaded my work days.

Around this time I began working part time as a newspaper reporter in addition to my full time job. Eventually, I worked part time hours at both. Being a reporter was a good experience for me because I got to know a lot of people in my small town and learned how much I love to hear & write about others, but after about a year I realized that this wasn’t the job for me.

During this time, I was also offered a new position at my other job and I finally started to love my job—at least the work part of it, but not being highly underpaid. I was back to working full time hours at this place again.

This was a new program for which I was the first writer. I wrote content for both customers and phone agents. The type of work that I did at first would be considered technical writing.

After a while, the program expanded and the corporate office hired someone at their location with the same degree I had. I don’t think the client actually knew I had a degree—either way, I was doing the work which I was qualified for while still earning the same paycheck as I did as a call center agent. I was super bummed--but so it goes when you work for a call center because you don’t actually work for the client. It was really frustrating to realize that there was no way I could move up any further as a writer with this type of client relationship at a call center.

And so I decided to look at the job as simply a way to get experience. And it was great experience. As the program became a little more organized, they gave us official role names. For a while I was an editor until they decided to only have editors at the corporate location again—another bummer. And then I was a content author.

Long story short, I wrote articles and instructions for both agents and customers. This was written for the web, so it was much like blogging where I also included pictures, etc. I created an entire glossary for the company and even drew many of the pictures myself—I was pretty proud of it and so was the company. I wrote countless articles about varied topics.

Eventually, I was the only person at my office working on this program again. I was responsible for training the entire team, of about 40 people, as we learned more and more about the program—until they delegated that task to the “trainer” of the account and so I assisted her when she needed. It was a constant shift in organization as they figured out how it should be organized using their current structure of people.

I was pretty happy that maternity leave was nearing. I worked on creating a training guide and trained the person who would fill in for me when I was gone. I tried to have everything in order and a lot of organization to the way everything worked so it would always go smoothly.

After a long day at work and after having just taken on another project, I went into labor later on that evening and baby girl was born the next day. I eventually made the final decision that I would be a SAHM and went into the office one more time to talk to my boss and give my resignation. He told me that the call center and the client were really going to miss me and if I ever wanted to come back he would hire me immediately. I’m glad that I left on such good terms.

This job showed me how much I disliked working in the “business” world. I used to have to go on business trips and sit in meetings and get through dinners out with the clients. The people were super nice & the fancy restaurants were amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t feel like it was where I belonged. I hated the competition and the way people acted to try to move their way up. That just isn’t me—I am a genuine person and don’t fake who I am.

But I did love the challenge of my job. I loved having to research and work on technical questions. I enjoyed working through a problem with a product and then figuring out how to put it all into words so that a 5th grader could understand the process. The mental challenge was awesome and kept me from getting bored and feeling unchallenged. I loved being able to work alone but also collaborate as a team.

Overall, I think I hated more aspects of my job than I loved but it was a great experience for 7 years. I learned a lot about myself. More than anything, I learned that jobs will always disappoint you in the end so it’s important not to put your entire life and soul into the job. Faith and family are most important to me and no job will ever rob me of either—it’s all about priorities.

And so this all contributed to my decision to be a SAHM and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to do so. It means less money & expensive things, but the trade off is worth it to me. Now I am able to chase after my real dream of being a writer and publish a book. I’m just getting started!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Back in a Routine

I am back in Iowa after spending last week in Illinois with family. I enjoyed my time out there but I am happy to be home and back into our routine again. Baby girl was so excited to be home. When it was bed time she ran down the hallway. It was pretty cute.

I didn’t post a weigh in for last Friday because I forgot to bring along my scale. I’m not so sure that I would have wanted to see the number anyways. I felt like I was in “vacation mode” the entire time I was gone and ate a lot of things that I don’t normally eat. I’m so ready to be back on track today. I will probably wait until Friday to weigh in so that I don’t get discouraged.

Exercise has been non-existent. My fitbit steps were pretty average most days though. I need to get back to that this week. I’m not sure if I should do the Couch to 5K or not…when I was doing it I started getting pain in my knees, which is what I was afraid of. I might need to hold off on that until I’m at a lower weight so I don’t end up ruining my knees from the impact.

Fitbit Flex Activity + Sleep Wristband

I plan on grocery shopping today because we don’t have much food in the house since it has been a couple of weeks since we got groceries. It will be good to stock up on fruits, veggies and healthy foods.

I guess that’s all I have to share at the moment! I have quite a bit of unpacking and laundry to get done today. Thankfully the house was pretty clean when I left so I don’t have too much to do in that area.

I’m feeling more energized again. I’m getting better at listening to my body and knowing my triggers and “signs”. When I start to see my signs, I make sure to rest and just find a quiet and peaceful place to get centered again. I’m not quite 100% over the PPD, but I am learning how to cope better and that’s super important. I just need to get back in to therapy so I can continue my progress—I haven’t been able to go in a long time.

How are your weight loss, fitness, and mental health goals coming along?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

#ThingsILoveThursday

Disclaimer: This post contains a couple of Amazon affiliate links.

Welcome to the second edition of Things I Love Thursday!

Things I Love Thursday

Google Photos

Image result for google photos

I have been paying for iCloud storage thinking that the photos on my iphone were uploading automatically. I am out of space on my phone, so I wanted to make sure all of the photos were on my cloud so that I could delete them from the phone—I guess that’s not the way it works because you can’t store anything on the cloud but it’s simply meant as a way to stream your photos. So anyways, someone recommended Google photos and I have to say that I am impressed. You can store cell phone quality photos for free with unlimited storage. The Google Photo app makes it super easy to upload the photos! I’m so glad my dilemma is finally solved, but I am disappointed in Apple.

Our New Family Picture

001

This is a picture of a picture so it’s not the best quality—but how cute is this? Baby girl’s “pose” isn’t the best, but that’s ok! I love our little family of three. The pose that we bought to hang in our living room is so cute because we’re all laughing. My mouth is actually hanging open, but we just love what it captured so we bought that one anyways. I’ll show that to you another time.

One Year Pictures

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Need I say anything about these? Cuteness!

Paper Mate Flair Felt-tip Pens

Last week, I mentioned how much I wanted a Passion Planner. Well, I decided I needed one and I ordered it. I’ve been searching for the best pens at the right price to use in the planner and I decided on these pens! I ordered them from Amazon Prime and I can’t wait to get them. Aren’t the colors beautiful? I love office supplies.

Renpure Originals Brazilian Keratin Straightening Conditioner

I came across this conditioner by chance when I was shopping at Hy-vee. There was a fuel discount on it and I needed conditioner so I decided to give it a try. This conditioner is amazing. I can’t believe how soft it makes my hair. I definitely want to try some of Renpure Originals other products.

What are you loving this Thursday?

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