Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Best Trampoline is the Safest Trampoline

If you’ve been following the papers and news outlets, you’ve likely heard that trampoline injuries are on the rise. In fact, in the last 10 years, trampoline-related hospital visits have nearly doubled in the US. The even more frightening fact is that over 90% of those injuries were dealt to children younger than 16. 

Aside from broken bones, the most common injuries range from cuts and sprains to traumatic brain injuries, and most injuries also occur when there is more than one person using the trampoline. Unfortunately, there are very few regulations in the trampoline industry, and 99% of companies are happy to slap together a rigid frame, some flimsy pads, and some springs — all without a care in the world for safety.

Many parents are torn over protecting their children while also allowing them to play on a popular backyard staple for exercise and fun, but one Australian father decided that trampolines and safety standards didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. He set out to revolutionize a new, safety-first design that put quality manufacturing first. Dr. Keith Alexander, a father and mechanical engineer, decided to redesign the trampoline from the ground up to ensure that his daughter could enjoy the thrills of outdoor bouncing without the spills.

He set out to eliminate 90% of the preventable injuries caused annually by trampolines, and accomplished this goal with some major modifications. The first major change was to remove springs completely — thereby eliminating the chance for children to pinch or tear their skin or hair. Traditional metal springs are often just inches from the jumpers' area which jeopardizes their safety, but Dr. Alexander’s new design replaced these dangerous coils with flexible carbon rods that are ingeniously placed below the jumping surface, totally hidden away from bouncers. 

The frame has also been moved below the bouncing mat so that no child can come into contact with it, further reducing the chance of injury. The SoftEdge mat is just that — it has no hard frame or edge. Instead, the mat ends where the patented FlexiNet begins, creating 360 degrees of safe bouncing. 

Traditional rigid steel poles have been replaced by flexible composite rods that cushion and absorb the weight of bouncers to gently nudge them back into bounds. These SoftEdgemats are also over 30 times more shock absorbent than traditional trampoline pads and they come in all shapes from the jumbo square to the larger circular shapes, allowing you to customize the size of your trampoline jumping surface.

Springfree Trampoline and its founder have set the new standard in safety and their designs have been recognized by numerous awards. They have won many safety-related honors, including the Parent Tested Parent Approved Award, the International Design Award and the USA Family Choice Award. Their equipment is rigorously tested in-facility to ensure the highest standards in manufacturing quality, and square trampoline at Springfree Trampoline is guaranteed to withstand the harsh American elements — in fact, you can leave yours out all year round, without any equipment depreciation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Struggles Keep on Coming

I've come to the realization that I have a long way to go before I ever develop healthy habits involving food. There are so many ups and downs along this journey. I have never given up and I don't intend to, but I'd also like to make progress.

I can do really well for a short period of time and then everything comes undone. It makes me think about what my therapist has told me about having an all or nothing mentality. It's either perfect or it's not and I leave no option for just being "ok". Perfectionism and Binge Eating Disorder are actually linked.

But when I think about it, I don't feel like I'm a perfectionist. I don't ever feel like anything is good enough, there's always something that could be better and I'm often not motivated enough to make it better (or I procrastinate) so instead I worry and feel guilty about it. Maybe that is perfectionism...

I was listening to a Chalene Johnson podcast yesterday when she said, "You deserve the best, so why wouldn't you eat the best?". That really hit home for me.

Do I believe that I deserve the best?

If I do, then why don't I eat the best?

I find myself indulging too often. I'm all about indulging occasionally, but when it becomes a habit then it's no longer healthy in any way whatsoever.

It becomes like an obsession. I can't stop thinking about it, I will literally eat something in secret so that my hubby doesn't remind me that I shouldn't, and then that's followed by guilt.

Sometimes I feel like my out of control eating has been worse than ever lately. It goes in spurts though. I'll do wonderfully, followed by a short period of eating horribly and indulgently.

I keep telling myself that it's just an indulgence, and that's just life-- sometimes there will be indulgences. But like I said before, there are too many of them.

Maybe I'm not mindful enough. The journey seems so long and the goal so far away that I lose sight of the impact the choice that I'm making in the moment will have on the outcome. That's tough. I'm being too short sighted.

Anyways, thanks for reading my ramblings. Any thoughts?

Monday, June 27, 2016

6 Proven Things Every Beginner Needs When Training for a 5K #RaceDayRelief #ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RaceDayRelief #CollectiveBias

I have completed more 5Ks than I can count. My fitness level varied at each race-- sometimes I set personal records & ran the entire race, and other times I was happy to have walked over the finish line in last place.

If you're a beginner, coming in last is probably one of your biggest race day fears. This may sound cliche, but even if you come in huffing and puffing into last place (been there) you're still lapping the person sitting on the couch (I have also been there). You will have a sense of self-pride simply for having completed the race.

I quickly learned that there are essentials when it comes to being a newbie runner. These are the top 6 things that are my personal must-haves.

{Proper Gear}

Having a good pair of running shoes is a must. I have used Saucony, Asics, New Balance, and Adidas-- my favorites have always been the Asics. It's worth spending a little extra money for a pair of shoes that will prevent pain in your feet, legs, and hips. 

You'll be a lot more comfortable if you have workout clothes that are made of wicking material. If you're plus-sized like me, it can be difficult to find good workout clothes so if you find some that you like--buy a few! 

Investing in socks that won't slip down into your shoes will help prevent blisters. If you're a woman, wear a supportive sports bra. I always wear sunglasses when running outside. You can buy sunglasses that don't steam up, but I've never bought them.  Wearing a non-slip headband helps keep your hair out of your face.

{Find a Training Program; Make it Yours}

You can find 5K training programs by doing a Google search for "5K training programs for beginners". My personal favorite is the Couch to 5K training program. Each training session lasts approximately 20-30 minutes. You have a choice between completing the workout for time or distance. As a beginner, if I completed the workout for distance it would often take me longer than 30 minutes--and that's ok.

There is no one-size-fits-all training program out there. You have to find a program and make it your own. As a beginner, I struggled to complete even running 60-90 seconds at a time. So I gave myself grace and I stayed on a certain week of the training program for as long as it took me until I felt comfortable or ready to move on to the next week. I would complete the same week over and over again, sometimes for months. 

{A Good Sports Drink}

Hydration is important when you're exerting yourself while running. I drank water at first, but then decided to try a low calorie sports drink and I was amazed at the difference that I felt. I had more energy and increased my endurance. I personally use a drink that's only 35 calories, is sweetened with stevia, and doesn't contain anything artificial. 

{Fast Acting Advil Film-Coated}

There's no doubt about it, training for a 5K can be painful. You're putting a lot of pressure on your joints and pushing your body to do more than it's used to-- you will more than likely be a little (or a lot) sore.

While training for any kind of race, whether it's a 5K or a stock car race-- comfort is key when it comes to the big Race Day. Participants spend a lot of time preparing for Race Day and not having to be distracted by discomfort is a plus for any rookie, even Ty Dillon knows how important it is to be comfortable for the big race after placing in the top 6 at his first race at a new venue.

While it's good to have a rest day or two prior to the official race day to make sure you're comfortable, one could also take Advil Film-Coated for fast acting relief from the aches and pains associated with running. Use fast acting Advil Film-Coated for headaches, muscles aches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, back pain, and aches and pains associated with the common cold. Because of the rapid release formula, it begins working within minutes and you'll be ready for Race Day without the aches to slow you down.

I found Advil Film-Coated at Walmart in an 80 count package which also contained 20 free tablets for a total of 100. It was near the pharmacy section in the Pain & Fever aisle.

Click here for a $3 off coupon for the 80 count+ Advil Film-Coated.


Your muscles will need a good stretching after enduring a run. Yoga is a good practice for your cross training days. It feels absolutely amazing and is a great way to take care of yourself. It's good for the mind and body. You can find free yoga workouts on YouTube.


Most of all, be kind to yourself and show yourself love. You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to be the fastest. You don't have to run the entire 5K-- it's ok to walk if you need to. Focus on the positives rather than anything you feel you're not doing well enough. Practice makes practice because nobody is perfect. Do your best and that's all that matters. The only one you need to compete with is yourself.

How do you make yourself comfortable for race day? Do you use Advil Film-Coated?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Once I'm recovered, I will be "thin" (which means...)

I read an excellent article about eating disorder lies over at recoverymama (go check it out!). It really hit home for me in so many ways.

One of the biggest takeaways I got was the lie "if I just find the right food plan, then I won't have these uncomfortable feelings or needs anymore".  Does that sound like me or what? It was affirming to me in many ways because it shows that there is no one food plan that is going to make the eating disorder go away. Maybe my food plan will change from day to day, and that's ok. It's not about the plan itself, it's about what's going on in my mind (or not) which prompts such behaviors.

Another takeaway is that you can call anyone "too sensitive". Sensitivity is something to be appreciated. It means one is in tune with their feelings and also the feelings of others. The important thing is how to cope with those feelings. Empathetic people can be a blessing in so many ways. Sensitivity is not a "weakness" but coping mechanisms are important.

It was the last lie that really got to me: "Once I'm recovered, I will be 'thin' (which means...)". What does being thin mean? Is it really the thinness of body that I'm looking for? You could say so, but I don't think that's the 100% truth. And here my blog is titled A Journey to Thin and I'm not even sure what it is that I'm aiming for!

So I thought I would put a clear definition on what my "thin" is. Chances are, "thin" is not something that I need to wait to achieve but is more than likely my own behaviors and thought patterns that need to be modified.

Once I'm recovered, I will be...

  • Happy
  • Confident
  • Comfortable in my own skin
  • A good role model to my daughter
  • Sexy for my husband
  • Outgoing
  • Social
  • In tune with my own feelings
  • Athletic
  • Successful
  • Respected
  • Admired
  • Loved more
  • I will love myself more

This is just a quick list of things that came to my mind. Wouldn't you know, they are all things that I can achieve right now, even before I lose all of my weight. Of course, I don't think I can achieve them because I am stuck in the belief that recovery will be this big event that once I get there everything will be perfect. I'm learning that it's not going to work that way. 

Recovery is a process that will take time. There will be ups and downs, triumphs and failures, and one change after another. For every low in the journey, there's a high and I don't think that will just end one day and all will be well and I will be thin.

I'm going to keep working on myself until I beat this! I will be the person I want to be and I can begin right now. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Learning the Wilton Method

When I had to spend a fortune on cupcakes for Little Miss Sunshine's second birthday, I decided I really should learn to decorate cakes on my own considering there will be quite a few birthdays in the future! 

Not long after, a Wilton Methods course opened up near me and I signed up right away. I've taken three classes now, which are just sampler classes but I will be signing up for the complete courses later on. 

It has been a lot of fun! I didn't realize how easy it is to decorate a cake when you have the right tools. 

The first week, we learned some of the basics and decorated cupcakes. Towards the end, I was just using up frosting, so that's why some of them look a little messy!

The second week, we decorated cookies. It was an animal print theme.

The third class was my favorite so far. We made Picnic Pals cupcakes. I think they turned out so cute!

I decided to use Father's Day as an excuse to practice a little bit. I made hubby Hawkeye cupcakes.

He loved them! 

I also made a few pink cupcakes.

So much fun! Now I just need another occasion to bake cake for! Since I am trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, it's not like I can just make any excuse to bake! 

It has been so much fun going out of my comfort zone, learning new things, and meeting people. 

Have you ever taken a cake decorating class?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What a difference!

I was just looking at a couple of pictures from when I was suffering with depression, anxiety, and just feeling overwhelmed in general. I had absolutely no energy to get even the simplest of things done. Even when I felt like I was recovered, I still felt like I was surviving... but not truly living.

Fast forward about 6 months and all of that has changed. I owe a huge part of that to the nutritional system I've found. I have mental clarity, am able to handle stress better, have more energy, and even my skin is brighter.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

I have lost and kept off weight since then, and I work every day to keep my mind in the game. There is no magic pill, but this is definitely a vehicle to get me to my "after".

If you are suffering with stress, lack of energy, or your weight-- please reach out to me and I would love to help you learn about what I'm doing. I know there are people (like myself) out there searching for the answer-- and those are the people this message is for. It's not for everyone, and that's perfectly ok. But for some of us it's such a gift.

I'm forever thankful!

My email is or you can reach out via social media.

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's My Life

Another thing that my therapist told me has stuck with me and is influencing my thoughts in a good way. I hadn't realized it prior to our conversation, but I very much rely on the approval of others. In other words, I'm a people pleaser.

That doesn't mean that I always do what other people want me to, but I will very likely worry about what the other people think of me--to the point where I question myself and my decisions. It becomes a little obsessive as I ruminate over whether or not I'm doing the right thing. 

Sometimes I want someone else to make the choices for me so that I don't have to. Or I'll ask someone's opinion but then get upset when they don't agree with me, because what I was really looking for was validation that my opinion was correct. I don't like the idea of not having approval--for whatever reason!

"You're in charge of your own life."

That sentence opened my eyes to my behavior. I'm in charge of my own life. I can do what I want, make the decisions that I want, and even if others disagree with me--it ultimately doesn't matter. It's my life. (of course I mean that with all respect to my husband because in some areas it's our life)

It has changed the way I think. I recently had a conversation in which I could tell that the other person didn't agree with something I was doing. In the past, that would have really bothered me and I would have had a pity party knowing that I wasn't getting their approval. But you know what? It didn't bother me one bit this time... because it's my life.

The only approval I need is God's. 

Why has it taken me 30 years to realize my behaviors? I have no idea. But I'm glad that I did.

Yep, this song came to mind!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Inspiration Sunday

Friday, June 10, 2016

Let's have some fun!

Just for fun, let's see where you're all from! As you probably know, I'm from Iowa! Comment below!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cozy Coupe Makeover Tutorial #FreeToBe #ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias

You've probably seen that quote going around that gives the definition of a boy, "noise with dirt on it". Whomever created that quote has obviously not met my little girl!

I cannot keep this girl out of the dirt! We have a perfectly nice grass-covered backyard for her to play in and yet she always finds the little spots of dirt and plays there. We recently did some work in the yard and added a fence, so we have some areas that are dirt covered at the moment--and she goes right for these areas!

There have been days where I've had to give her three baths.

If she plays in the sprinkler or her water table, her next stop is the dirt. You can about imagine what her clothes look like after that!

Whether she's playing in the sprinkler, getting covered in dirt, or driving her little Cozy Coupe car--this girl likes to play hard!

Thank goodness for all® free clear detergent! It the #1 detergent recommended by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for Sensitive Skin--which is perfect for her delicate skin and even better for my allergies. It actually removes 99% of everyday and seasonal allergies, including cat and dog dander, dust mite matter, ragweed, grass, and tree pollen. Of course, all® free clear detergent is not intended to treat or prevent allergies.

I've used all® free clear liquid detergent for a long time now because I found that it really helps with my allergies. The strong scents of some detergents out there are just overwhelming to the senses! I don't know how people can walk around all day in such strong smelling clothes. Seasonal allergies are bad enough, I don't want to have reactions to the scents left from my laundry detergent.

I recently purchased the all® free clear Mighty Pacs® and I also use the all® free clear dryer sheets. For all products, make sure to follow the directions for use on the packaging exactly. Make sure to keep out of reach of children!

I buy all® free clear detergent at Menards. It's found near the cleaning supplies, usually at the front of the store.

Speaking of the Cozy Coupe, this was a project I worked on for Little Miss Sunshine's birthday present! I had so much fun working on it and she absolutely loves it. Look how excited she was to receive it on her birthday.

It is surprisingly simple to do a Cozy Coupe makeover and is inexpensive to do. Just watch garage sales or for sale groups-- you're sure to find a Cozy Coupe. I had rebates on the paint too.

I'll walk you through how I completed this Cozy Coupe makeover. It's the perfect pink car for a girl!

Supplies Needed:
  • Used Cozy Coupe
  • Scrub brush
  • Soap or cleaning supplies
  • Plastic sack
  • Spray paint formulated for painting on plastic
  • Tarp, or something to protect the surface where you're painting
  • Replacement Cozy Coupe stickers

Find a Used Cozy Coupe

Just watch garage sales or for sale groups-- you're sure to find a Cozy Coupe. My only suggestion is to make sure all of the parts are in good condition. For example, the one I bought had a broken gas cap and those are a little pricey to replace. Unfortunately, I didn't find that out until after I had purchased it--so our Cozy Coupe is missing a gas cap for now.

Here is the Cozy Coupe, as we purchased it. It was really dirty, the stickers were missing or ripped, etc. To be honest, Little Miss Sunshine didn't care one bit!


It's surprisingly simple to disassemble a Cozy Coupe. Look for the screws and unscrew them. They will be different depending on the vintage that you buy.  I left the steering wheel attached and covered it during painting. If you so choose, you can keep the tires on and just cover the with plastic bags so they don't get paint on them. There's not really an easy way to remove them without breaking something.

Whatever you do, make sure to keep all of the parts in a safe place. I put them in a baggy to keep them all together.

I told you-- she really, really loves her Cozy Coupe!

Clean the Cozy Coupe

Next, you'll need to get to cleaning. You'll want to scrub each piece with a brush to remove all the dirt. This will ensure that the paint adheres.

Rinse the car well to remove the soap.

Allow to dry

Lay all of the car pieces out on a tarp and allow them to dry. It helps to have it outside in the sun.


Next comes the fun part-- painting! I used a paint formulated for plastic-- it was a paint & primer in one.

I used two colors for this project, Magenta and Canyon Black. I needed two cans of the Magenta since I used a lot more of that than the Canyon Black.

Lay the pieces out on a tarp to paint. Cover the steering wheel with a plastic bag to protect it from the paint.

It took a couple of coats for each piece, allowing time in between to dry.

Final Touches

Once the paint has fully dried, you are ready to reassemble the Cozy Coupe. Once that's completed, you can add any finishing touches that you want.

I purchased replacement Cozy Coupe stickers on eBay. They have some really cute stickers listed! Just make sure to buy the right stickers for the vintage Cozy Coupe you are working with.

I also decorated this car with stickers that I found on clearance for just a few cents. Tip: make sure the stickers have good adhesive.

And that's how easy it is!

There are so many possibilities for Cozy Coupe Makeovers. If you need ideas, just search for them on Pinterest!

Since these pictures were taken, the little one has dumped dirt on this car multiple times. I just can't keep her out of that dirt!

You can continue the conversation in the all® free clear community and connect with parents just like you! Give it a try and buy all® free clear detergent. Does your little one like to play hard and get dirty? Share a story in the comments!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A New Hobby: Painting

I was invited for a "crafternoon" where we painted canvases. The hostess had various sizes of canvases and numerous colors. 

I literally haven't painted since elementary school and my art teacher did not think I was particularly artistic so it's not something I've ever really pursued or tried since then! But the more that I dabble in creative endeavors, the more I realize that I do have a creative side and I really, really love it! I've always loved looking at art. 

So anyways, I really enjoyed this! 

I wanted to create something that inspired peace, calm, and tranquility. I've always loved the hombre look, so I used that as inspiration. I think this turned out looking like you're looking out over the ocean with the sky above. Whatever it looks like, I find it peaceful to look at. Mission complete!

I was going to add a quote to it, but I decided that I like it just the way it is.

Now I want to go to Hobby Lobby and buy some paint and canvases to have some fun! I don't know that I would be good at intricate paintings, but I think I could pull off the abstract! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Gratitude for My Body

I have been hosting a personal development book club where we are reading The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. The basic concept of the book is that gratitude can change every area of your life. It's the secret to success.

I have noticed an improvement in my outlook on life and even in my relationship with my husband. I take the time to think about, and write down, things I'm grateful for every morning. When you stop to think about it, there are so many things to be grateful for.

One of the chapters is about practicing gratitude for health. In that chapter, Byrne writes about how each body part plays a very important role and we should be grateful for each one.

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you would know that I have very poor body image. I've been known to say that I hate my body and feel trapped inside of it. I focus so much on the fat that I forget to be grateful.

Yes, my midsection is large--but I carried a child for 9 months, it houses many vital organs, and works just as well as any skinny person's midsection.

My legs are larger than I would like, and I've always hated my wide calves. But, I can walk, run, and get around so easily. I am so grateful for my legs.

My arms are flabby and I'm embarrassed about stretch marks that I've had since I was a teenager (or sooner!). But my arms allow me to carry my little girl, to embrace my husband, and serve such an important purpose. I am incredibly grateful for my arms.

Maybe self-love is so much more than just accepting my body as it is, but it is actually being grateful for my body as well. Every single moment is a gift.

Why spend those moments worrying about something so insignificant as undesirable fat when I could be grateful for all of the positive aspects of my body and truly enjoy and embrace life.

On another note, being grateful for my body should also mean that I take good care of it. When we truly appreciate something, we do our best to keep it in good shape. Taking care of the body means eating foods that are good for the body, exercising, and so much more.

Gratitude can lead the way!

Friday, June 3, 2016

What Motivates Me?

I found my motivation again at the conference I attended in Chicago. The following week, I did incredibly well with my eating and I worked out every day. I felt so good and I was so inspired to keep going.

By the end of the following week, I was starting to let my good habits slip. I continued to work out, but my eating was not on point and I have been struggling to get back to where I was a little over a week ago.

There are never days where every single choice is the wrong one, but there are days where I make more bad choices than good ones and vice versa. However, the bad choices (no matter how few) always seem to overshadow any of the good choices that I've made throughout the day. 

This negative thinking spirals out of control and instead of focusing on who I want to become I begin to focus on who I don't want to be. 

What we focus on, we become. It's all about our thoughts and mindset.

I asked my therapist how I can break the cycle of doing well for a little while and then going off track again. This has obviously eluded me for a very long time. I truly did not know how to break the cycle or I would have a long time ago.

What she told me made perfect sense.

Think about what motivated you in the first place. Where were you? What were you doing? How did you become inspired and optimistic again?

So that's what I'm going to do today--list out what motivated and inspired me this last time I got back on track.

Inspirational Speakers

I've talked a little bit about listening to Susan Sly and how her words inspired me and gave me hope about my weight loss journey. If something like this motivated me to get back on track, then I should continue listening to inspirational speakers. There are plenty on YouTube and there are also a lot of great Podcasts out there.

Share your favorite inspirational speakers and/or podcasts in the comments.

Like-Minded People

I really enjoyed being around other people with the same interests that I have. I would love to connect with others in the same boat that I am and be able to inspire each other on. The people I was around believe in living life to the fullest with gratitude and positivity. That's inspiring to be around!


I did a lot of reflecting on myself and my habits. I tried to figure out "why" I made choices that I did. When I do this, I begin to identify my patterns and can come up with solutions.

Focus on the Goal

I also thought a lot about the possibilities of who I could become. As I mentioned before, this focus made me think more positively. To imagine the life that I want and being the woman that I know I can be is inspiring. It's depressing to think about where I am right now and where I've always been. I definitely need to focus on the more positive side of things.

Choice Focused rather than Scale Focused

I felt really good during that first week after the conference. I didn't have my scale, but my positive actions made me feel good about myself. My clothes started to fit looser. I could feel my sore muscles from working out and that gave me a sense of accomplishment. And then I got home and stepped on the scale...instantly feeling discouraged and depressed. Sometimes the scale needs to be set aside.

What are you doing when you feel the most motivated? What motivates you?


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