Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 4 - Fuel

30 Days of Thankfulness - In Picture Form

November 4, 2012
(pic compliments of my bff Veronica J.)

We are still trying to get back to normal from the chaos that Hurricane Sandy dished out to us, and because of that, today I'm thankful for gas.  I never thought I'd say that, but after spending 4 hours in line to fill up my tank, I will never take fuel for granted again.  Never, ever, ever. 


Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 3 - Deep Friendship

30 Days of Thankfulness - In Picture Form
November 3, 2012
I'm thankful for a special friend, a close friend, who makes each day just a little bit brighter. "Love is a friendship set to music". -- E. Joseph Cossmann (author, entrepreneur)

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 2 - My Peace

30 Days of Thankfulness - In Picture Form
November 2, 2012

My little one is my peace.  He always knows how to make me smile - even in the worst situations. This was the hurricane fort he created for mommy. 

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 1 - Light

30 Days of Thankfulness - In Picture Form
November 1, 2012

After Hurricane Sandy swept through the east, leaving no power, no heat, little clean water, and much devastation, I am thankful for having power again after 3 days without it.. and praying for those who are dealing with much worse.   

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pain Incites Growth

I have always been afraid of pain. Whether it be from headache - or heartache, avoidance has always been my panacea. After all, pain is just too uncomfortable. It's ugly. It's messy. It stirs up too much emotion. For most, pain leads to fear. We're all accustomed to that little connection. But it can also lead to anger, hopelessness, and even self-doubt. All those icky feelings that we want to run away from. So what do we do? We do what we do best. Avoid it. Put a cap on it. Close the door on it. Deny it. But when all is said and done, what are we really doing? We're denying the reality of life. The pain.. the problem.. inevitably comes back. And it comes back with a vengeance.

I recently started jogging, which has been amazing. The feeling of freedom and contentment that transpires during and after a run is pure bliss. For me, it has actually become sort of spiritual. There's a connection that's made. To God. To nature. To self. It's absolutely wonderful. But I have to admit, the first two weeks felt less like a spiritual encounter and more like a horror flick. Each time I'd try to run, my shins would scream out in pain. Every step felt like a jolt of electricity was being shot up my legs. It felt like torture. And afterwards, my shins were so sore that they were actually tender to the touch. There was a point in time, while laying on the couch with frozen peas on my legs, that I thought to myself This isn't for me. Who am I fooling? I'm not strong enough. I should just stop and maybe try again next summer. And I almost quit. Almost.

But this time, instead of quitting, (which remember I had grown accustomed to doing) I decided to push through it for another day. Just one more time. And after that day came and went, I convinced myself to try another.. and another... And one evening, as I was jogging through my neighorhood, smelling the sweet scents of Fall in the air, and home cooked meals floating out of kitchen windows, I realized that I was pain free. Where were those jolts? Where was the fear? Where was the doubt? They were all gone, and all that was left was peace.

That experience reminded me of the "Fight or Flight Response", which was a theory created by a physiologist named Walter Cannon. He found that when animals feel threatened, a part of their nervous system is activated which provides a burst of energy to either incite them to fight the threat, or flee for safety. The theory was later adapted to include emotional responses as well.  In the animal kingdom, both responses effectively can lead to safety, but that isn't always the case with us humans and our modern day dangers. 

In the case of my jogging experience, I chose to fight. I chose to give it my best shot, and I'm so glad that I did because it paid off. But it's not that easy when it comes to emotions. To matters of the heart. And so here we are. Here I sit, at 5:17am, going through an emotional moment, a painful time, and I want to flee. Fleeing right now would feel super. If I could just escape into a carton of chunky monkey ice-cream and hibernate from the world for a few weeks days, all would be well, right? RIGHT?! I don't think so. Something is telling me that I need to forge ahead. Something is telling me that if I want to grow as a woman - as a human being - I can't hide from emotional pain. I should embrace it, and learn from it. I should pull from it all of the creativity and wisdom that I can, in order to grow stronger.

So that's exactly what I will do.  And all that will be left is peace. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Night Ramblings

In an effort to beef up my blogging stats, I decided to commit to 3 days of the week in which I MUST blog.  Tonight is the first!  *grin*  So welcome, to my very first installment of ::::drum roll:::: "Sunday Night Ramblings". These are just a few thoughts that I've been ruminating on for the past hour or so. 

  • I'm so glad I started jogging.  I mean, I can't jog very far.. in fact I probably jog for about a minute straight, then have to walk for a bit, then jog again.  I'm also pretty sore most days, but I'm still happy I'm making an effort to get more fit. I downloaded an iphone app called 5K Runner that's helping me improve my running capabilities.  I'm really excited because I've struggled so long with weight issues, and the pounds are finally melting off.  Hmm, who woulda thunk.. weight loss is a lot easier when you add exercise to a healthy diet. *blink* Ya I know, not rocket science.  In any event, it's a great way to get into a shape, and release stress.  Love, love, love it.  And who knows, maybe a 5K run will be in my future.  ;)
  • I love Words w/ Friends, and Scramble w/ Friends.  You know, those word games that are played on smart phones and tablets.  I can play for hours, and I swear I'm getting smarter.  Some of the words I get points for, I've never even heard of.  But then out of curiosity I look it up and BINGO.. I strengthened a brain cell.  And by the way, I am not a supporter of those Words w/ Friends cheat... er.. I mean help sites.  Shame shame shame for those who use them.  It's like steroid use in baseball.  It ruins the integrity of the game!  *shakes finger at laptop screen* 

  • Marriage is hard...  Oh wait, were you expecting an elaboration?  Let's just leave it at that.

  • My son is at the precious age (2 1/2) where he now is communicating more than ever, and can share sentiments all on his own.  I love when out of the blue he says "Love  you, mama!" or "Miss you, mama!" It melts my heart each time.

  • I've always wanted to go on a missions trip.  I totally should have gone before getting married and having a baby.  I'm thinking that it's still a possibility once the little one gets a bit older.  I'd actually like to bring him along when he's a pre-teen in efforts to help him grow into a selfless human being - which happens to be extremely hard out on Long Island with everything you want at your finger tips. 

  • As much as I loathed riding subway trains when I was at my previous job, I do miss one thing: reading books.  I used to read two new books a month because of my long commute.  I learned so much in those two years.   

  • I hate student loans.  The whole reason I took out loans and went to school, was to improve my chances of getting a good job, becoming financially stable, and achieving the American dream of owning my own home.  Now, how ironic (or sadistic) is it that the very thing that I signed up for to help me attain my goals, is now hindering me from reaching them?! A pox on you Sally Mae!  Arghhh!! 
What are some of your Sunday Night Ramblings?    

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"He Sees Me" - a Poem

Ok ya'll, don't be too hard on me.  It's the first poem I've written since 2010. Hopefully it's not too bad.  Enjoy!

He Sees Me

He sees me,
so clearly.
A perfect image
of what I am,
and what I am to be.
And it's scary
to know that
he speaks my truth so vividly.

He sees me,
even when others
think there's nothing to see.
He sees the me
that I love to be.
He inspires me.

He sees me.
Incites my creativity.
And like
an open book,
He reads me. 
Provoking the person
I'm ready to be.
He sees the real me. 
He sees me.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our Toddler's Sleep Problems Solved!

Remember when my little one was 6 months old and we were going through some MAJOR Sleep Regression? Well here we are, two years later, and he started doing it all over again!  This time, it wasn't so much regression, as it was defiance when it came to going to sleep alone and at a reasonable time. 

The straw that broke the camel's back was when, two months ago, the hubster and I found ourselves sitting on the floor by our son's toddler bed - because he wanted (no, needed) one or both of us to watch him until he fell asleep.  Here we were, two grown adults, sitting kriss kross apple sauce, staring at a 2 year old as he played with his stuffed animals.  If we dared leave the room, he'd scream, cry, run into the living room, fall to the ground, kick his feet.. ya it was that ugly.  And this was becoming a daily routine!

It was a 2 hour ritual that left all three of us exhausted.  That's when we decided to do some research on improving our toddler's sleep habits.  After a few days of reading up on Dr. Sears, watching Nanny YouTube clips, and pondering on our own son's habits, I created a 3 week plan to help our toddler sleep peacefully. 

So we tried it.  We tried this plan on our "spirited" little guy and guess what?  ... It worked!  We were so shocked!  Our son went from screaming at the top of his lungs, kicking, running away, hiding, whining, and even spitting (yes he's quite spirited I tell ya), to now being able to go into his room, lay in his bed, and entertain himself quietly until he falls asleep.  ::blink::blink:: YES.

Bedtime is now probably a 20 minute routine by the time we give him some warm milk, read him a book, and pray. We then leave the room, and can get back to our adult lives, have fulfilling conversation, and watch TV that isn't Fresh Beat Band or Bubble Guppies.  It's been amazing. 

Yes friends, for the past six weeks it's been wonderful and I've been thinking, "Hey, maybe my plan can work for other families too!"  So I'm contemplating writing an e-book about improving toddler sleep, which will include my 3 week plan ::shriek!:: I'm pretty siked about this little project o' mine, and I'm looking for some mamas who would like to test out my plan {for FREE}.  In return, I ask that you write a review for me so I can a) get some constructive feedback, and b) add the positive testimonials to my book! 

So, ::drum-roll:: calling all exhausted and desperate mamas out there!  Send me your e-mail address and I'll send you my 3 week plan to review!  I'm confident that it'll have everyone in the house breathing a sigh of relief.  Here's to a future filled with peaceful, sleepy, nights!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

DIY Saturday - Homemade Dishwashing Powder and Rinse Agent

Recently I've been really frustrated with the amount of money we're putting into dishwashing powder and liquid.  It seems like we go through a box every week.  We do a lot of dish washing.  Between pots, pans, dishes, glasses, and sippy cups, our dishwasher is always in use.

In an effort to reduce cost, I started to do some research on how we could save money in this area.  My initial finding was that instead of using Jet Dry as a rinse agent to make our glasses sparkly (by the way jet dry didn't seem to work all that well for us anyhow), we could use... wait for it... DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR.  Yes.  It actually gets not only glasses and plates squeaky clean, but it cuts through pot grease, and reduces that white film that you can sometimes get if your area has hard water.  It also is great for cleaning your dishwasher.  (I know that seems weird - why clean the dishwasher when it's always getting "cleaned"?  In actuality, it too needs to be cleaned out every so often to really work at its peak performance.)

Directions: Fill 1 cup with Distilled White Vinegar and place the cup on the top rack.  Fill up the dishwasher as normal. I personally feel that adding an additional amount of vinegar in the little compartment where you normally would put the jet dry, works even better.  That way, it'll be time released.  (If you just want to clean your dishwasher, put the 1 cup of vinegar on the top rack, then run it through a rinse cycle while empty) 

After a little more GOOGLEing, this is what I found: you can either use the regular dishwashing powder, which still helps with the cost since you're not paying an additional amount of over $4 per jet dry bottle, OR you can go completely all natural and make your own dishwashing powder too!  All you need is Super Washing Soda, and Borax.  Both are all natural minerals made of sodium that have anti-fungal properties and are used in many cleaning agents.  Some people create their own laundry detergent with this stuff too!  (I'll save that for another DIY Saturday *wink*)

Directions: Mix equal parts of Super Washing Soda, and Borax.  Place the completely mixed powder into a large jar.  If you get a large size of both products, you will have enough for 96 washes, which is about a year if you use your dishwasher twice a week.  Not bad huh!    So you're not only saving the planet, but you're saving some doe as well... cha ching!!  $$$  <--- now that's MY kinda "green"! 

Let me know how it turns out!  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

DIY Saturday - Let the {Crafty} Games Begin!

Okay.  I admit it.  Every now and then, I get totally craft crazy. It happens every few months.  Maybe it has something to do with the season changes, but it's like I get bitten by the crafty bug and can't control the ideas! This time around, it started when I got an idea from a fellow mama blogger about making Homemade Organic Deodorant.  Not only was it fun and pretty easy to make, I felt awesome knowing that I wasn't going to have any funky deodorant chemicals seeping into my skin every morning.  So after doing that little DIY project, I started doing research on other projects I could try.  Then I stumbled upon an amazing blog called One Good Thing by Jillee.  This crafty mama blogs daily about fun and unique crafts to try that make everyday life a little easier, or at the very least - much more beautiful.  She completely inspired me to add a little more craftyness to my little corner of the blogosphere. Yay!  So with that being said...

*drum roll please*,  DIY Saturdays is now born! Every Saturday morning, over a cup of hazelnut flavored coffee (yum-o), I will share the newest homemade project I'm working on.  I figure, once a week is just enough space not to interfere with my wife/mom/work responsibilities AND still get a good weekly dose of crafty fun to keep me going! *wink*

Today's DIY is a Homemade Face Cleanser, with a Homemade Face Moisturizer to go along with it.  I don't know about you, but I still get acne every once in awhile.  Okay, it's more than just every once in awhile.  It happens to coincide perfectly with a certain AUNT named FLOW that rears her ugly head at the most inopportune times.  So this week, right before my monstrous guest made her unwanted appearance, my forehead looked like a slice of pepperoni pizza.  What the, what?!  Last time I checked, I'm not the brace-faced, corny teenager I was 15 years ago. Well maybe still a little corny.. *grin*  In any event, for the DIY Face Cleanser, all you'll need are two things:

  Baking Soda

Lemon Juice

Directions: Combine 2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda, with enough lemon juice to make a paste.  For me that was about 1 Tablespoon.  Gently massage the paste into your skin in a circular motion for about two minutes.  The baking soda acts as an exfoliater, scrubbing away all of the oil and dirt, and reduces swelling.  The lemon juice dries up the acne, tightens your pores, lightens up any old acne scars, and brightens your skin.

For the DIY Face Moisturizer, you'll also need two things:

Coconut Oil


Directions: Put 1 ounce of Beeswax in a microwaveable container, add 4 ounces of Coconut Oil, then microwave for two minutes.  (every microwave is different, so you basically just want to make sure that both ingredients are completely melted).  Take the container out of the microwave, and stir.  Once it's completed mixed, pour into a mini glass container. (you can get the containers at your local Dollar Tree.)  Coconut oil is a good source of vitamin E, prevents acne, and keeps the skin looking young and soft.  The Beeswax is just a natural way of thickening the coconut oil to a consistency that is more pleasing to slather on your face regularly.  This DIY should probably be done a few hours prior to actually putting it on so that it has time to settle and harden to it's correct consistency.

NOTE: This moisturizer can also double as a lip balm! You can even make a separate, smaller batch, add 1/2 a tsp of red koolaid, or any other tasty juice powder, and voila! Moist and YUM. 

So there you have it!  I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences if you give it a try.  Happy DIY Saturday, friends!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Are you a Carb or Sugar Addict?

Many of you know how long I've been on this weight loss journey. I've been on a dieting rollercoaster ride for years - losing 3 lbs, only to gain 5 lbs back.  I've done Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Fit for Life, Paleo Diet, The 15 Day Diet, the list goes on... I recently decided to get back on Weight Watchers, while doing the Walk Away the Pounds exercise program 5 days a week, 3 miles per day.  I've done this for 4 weeks.  And what has been my total weight loss?  Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I initially lost 3 lbs the first week, and got very excited, but then the weight loss stalled, and back it came.  Probably was just water weight. Save the talks of muscle weighing more than fat, I totally understand the concept behind that (Though a pound is a pound, whether fat or muscle.  Muscle is just more dense than fat, but I digress).  The problem is, I worked my butt off this past month, which I can't say I really have in the past.  This led me to really get concerned about my health.  I started to research the idea of gaining or stalled weight despite vigorous work-outs, and Eureka!  I fell into the world of Insulin Resistance.

Insulin Resistance is a condition in which your body makes too much Insulin.  It's not quite at a Diabetic level yet, but headed in that direction.  The order goes - Insulin Resistant, Pre-Diabetic, Diabetic.  I'll try to condense the definition to avoid sounding like a Mayo Clinic nerd-bomber. So here goes:

Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas makes.  It basically controls how your body stores and uses carbs.  When we eat, our digestive system breaks down the food into nutrients and glucose.  Normally, once your glucose level increases (right after, say, you eat something like an amazing cheeseburger and a side of fries), insulin is produced to help your body take in the glucose that has just been ingested to help various body parts with regular daily activity. It then stores extra glucose away for future use.  Sometimes this process can get all screwed up (many times due to years of crash dieting, gasp!). What ends up happening is that your body becomes resistent to insulin.  This makes the pancrease all, "What up yo! I need to make more insulin since you ain't actin' right!" thus more insulin is created.  The body is not able to handle too much insulin, which leads to fatigue, weight gain, and metabolism issues. 

Overtime, if Insulin Resistance is not rectified, you can become Diabetic, which is when your pancreas either gets tired of the supersonic insulin production and just shuts down, or your body just stops responding to your natural insulin production completely.  Whoa. 

I started to read up on specific symptoms of this condition, and BING!  I had almost all of them.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  These are the common symptoms:
  • Low energy
  • Overweight (especially around the abdomen)
  • Carb cravings
  • Sugar cravings
  • Dry skin
  • Difficulty losing weight despite exercising
  • Sleepiness right after a meal (I always thought this was just the -itis, hehe)
  • High Tryglicerides
  • Brain fogginess
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease
I have 8 out of the 10 symptoms.  I plan on going to the doctor in a few weeks to see if I can get an official diagnosis, although often a diagnosis is made just by counting the amount of symptoms and risk factors you possess. Some doctor's do a blood sugar test, so hopefully I can get one done.

Now before you guys start sending Get Well Soon e-cards and virtual hugs, the good news is that Insulin Resistance is totally reversable!  The main treatment is a low-carb diet, and exercise.  Also, there is a supplement called GlucoBalance that has a combination of specific vitamins and minerals that help to stabilize blood sugar naturally, as well as curb carb/sugar cravings.  I'm currently reading a book called The Insulin Resistance Factor by Antony J. Haynes, and the diet that I'm starting isn't as strict as the other low-carb diets I've been on in the past.  The focus is more about health instead of just weighing less.  You're allowed to have whole wheat carbs (i.e. bread/pasta/rice), but just in limited quantity, such as 1/2 a cup at each meal.  So it's not as restrictive, but I believe it will be more effective.  It's five meals a day, 3 main meals plus 2 snacks.

I'm actually relieved to be going in a certain direction when it comes to my health. It always seemed odd to me how difficult it has been for me to lose weight, despite my many attempts.  I'm hoping that this will be the key to finally feeling and looking healthy again.  How about you?  Have you battled with the bulge for a long time?  Do these symptoms sound familiar?  If so, you're not alone.  The best thing to do is see a doctor to be a certain, then find a great online forum that can give you the support you need. And hey, you got me too!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Gift to You - My Favorite Mother's Day Poems

You Know You're a Mom When...
author unknown

    1. You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal.

    2. You find yourself cutting your husbands' sandwiches into cute shapes.

    3. You can't bear to give away baby clothes - it's so final.

    4. You hear your mother's voice coming out of your mouth when you say, "NOT in your good clothes!"

    5. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

    6. You hire a sitter because you have't been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night checking on the kids.

    7. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job", but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything
What is a Mother?
author unknown
A Mother has so many things to do,
From washing, ironing, cleaning to tying a shoe.

She scrubs, she mends, she cooks and sews,
She bathes the children and washes their clothes.

When they forget to wash their faces clean,
And their clothes are the muddiest you've ever seen,
Who repairs the clothes and scrubs them like new?
Of course, that is what a Mother will do.
    Who becomes the doctor or the nurse when they are ill,
    Applying a bandage or giving them a pill?
    Who becomes a teacher when a child has homework?
    She must never her duty shirk.

    Who becomes a detective to find a toy or a book?
    For missing things she must look and look?

    Who becomes a listener to every heartache,
    To every accompolishment that a child makes?

    Who scolds their children when they are naughty,
    Or remind them of God when they are to haughty?
    Who tends her family with love and patience, too?
    Of course that is what a Mother will do.



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fit Mama Club - Week 3 reboot

Love Life and Baby


Last Week's Weight Loss: 1

Total Weight Loss: 3

Last Week's High: I started the exercise program "Walk Away The Pounds"!

Plan For This Week: Track my Weight Watchers points, drink 4 glasses of water per day, and do the walking DVD 5 times for the week. I'm actually walking 2 miles each time, which is awesome! 

Would you like to join this Fit Mama Club for fitness support? Just copy and paste the HTML button code on the right, and paste it on top of each Fit Mama Club post! Oh, and when you're talking about your diet/exercise on twitter, use the hashtag #FitMamaClub so we can all connect!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

That's it! No More Deodorant for Me!

Yes everyone.  I've officially given up wearing deodorant.  Before you turn away from your computer with your fingers pinching your nose, I'm not going completely bare! I read a wonderful post from a fellow mommy blogger, mommyboots, who shared the benefits of making her own natural deodorant. 

What ARE the benefits of making your own deo?

Well, for one thing you know exactly what the ingredients are.  Regular deodorant has aluminum in it, and studies show that there is a link between excessive aluminum exposure and cancer.  Interestingly enough, I read that cancer patients are instructed to avoid regular deodorant, and told to use more organic products AFTER they've been diagnosed..  What the, what?! That's like a doctor only telling you to watch your diet AFTER you have a massive heart attack.  Um, no.  I don't know about you, but I'd rather practice prevention.  Not only that, but most deodorants have antiperspirant in them, which means they stop you from sweating.  God created sweating for a purpose people - not only to cool us down, but to excrete toxins.  Where do you think all those toxins go if they can't come out? .. ew...

So how do you make it?

That's the fun part!  All you need is four basic ingredients, and most are found in your cupboard: Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Coconut Oil, and Beeswax.  Some people make the homemade deodorant with just the first three ingredients listed, but I found that adding the fourth ingredient (beeswax) solidifies the product better, so it closer resembles the consistency of the deodorant that we're used to.  Here is the complete recipe:

Homemade Natural Deodorant

1/2 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1 TBS Cornstarch
4 TBS Beeswax pellets
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
Empty Deodorant Stick
4 drops Essential Oils (optional)

Melt the Coconut Oil and Beeswax together in the Microwave for about a minute.  Then slowly mix in the powdered ingredients.  (please note that the extra TBS of cornstarch is to provide additional thickening)  If you want to add a fragrance, you can purchase essential oils from THIS online store.  (I used a Mixed Berry Oil.)  Add 4 drops, then continue mixing.  (You can also purchase the beeswax from that store as well.)

Take the empty deodorant stick (make sure that all remnants of old deodorant are gone by wiping, scraping, and even boiling the stick if needed).  Roll the deodorant stick to the lowest point, and slowly pour the mixture into the stick.  Put on the cap, and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to set. You can also store it in a small glass jar, and apply it with your fingers.  Be sure to keep the deodorant in a cool dry place, or in the fridge if you live in a hot environment. 

To stink or not to stink?

Don't worry. Natural deo works just as well as the chemical brands.  You may go through a 1-2 day detox period where you don't smell as fresh as you'd like, but don't give up.  That's just your body getting rid of the crap that's been plugged up for so long.  I had a 1 day detox, then the very next day, I smelled great.  I even had my hubby do a sniff test. (Thank God for husbands!)  Hey, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't in some kind of funky denial.  I am happy to report that he said he did not smell any funk at all!  And that was after a 10 hour work day in humid NYC weather.  Need I say more? 

So what do you think?  Is this something you'd try?  With recent news of young women (i.e. Guiliana Rancic) now getting breast cancer, I just feel like if there is anything I can do to minimize my chances, I'm in.  Let me know how it turns out! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When is the right time for baby #2?

When is the right time to plan for a second child? That's a question that has been roaming around the corridors of my mind lately. Perhaps it's the influx of new babies that I see every Sunday at our church. Or the fact that I'm turning 30 in two months. Or maybe it's because my son is now 2 years old, going on 25. Whatever the reason, it's definitely a question that I've been contemplating for the past few months. The thing is, my husband and I are trying to get out of debt, and eventually buy a house. We're currently doing Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom:

■Baby Step 1 – $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
■Baby Step 2 – Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
■Baby Step 3 – 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
■Baby Step 4 – Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
■Baby Step 5 - College funding for children
■Baby Step 6 – Pay off home early
■Baby Step 7 – Build wealth and give!

Right now we're on Baby Step #2, and we'll be at this step probably for the next 10 years - if you figure in student loans along with credit card debt, and the car note. So at what point would we shift gears from hardcore payment of debt, to financially planning for a baby? I went onto the Babycenter site and found a Baby Cost Calculator. After a few calculations, it looks like we'd need to save about $3000 for baby's first year. On top of that, we still haven't purchased a home yet, and my husband is still a college student. It's tough because in a perfect world, we'd pay off debt first, then buy a house, then have a 2nd child. But life doesn't work out that way most times. And let's face it, as women we all feel the clock tick tick ticking away at our youth and child-bearing capabilities.

I remember, when I was younger, and wished for 4 children. No. Not just wished for them, but was completely adamant that there would be no other option, because I wanted a big family. My husband felt the same way. I have two brothers and no sisters, and he has two sisters with no brothers. So we both shared a common yearning for that type of same-sex sibling connection. With 4 kids, it would be perfect. Two boys and two girls. Each would have siblings of each gender. Perfect perfect pefect. Of course when we met, I was 21 and he was 23. Both of us, kids. Knowing nothing about love, life, or babies. We were sweet... but naive.

Now is the time that reality sets in. Babies cost money. Houses cost money. Goodness me, the amount of money we pay in daycare alone would make a grown man cry. ::SIGH:: Let's take a moment to reminisce about the good ol' days. The days when people could get married right out of high school, and buy a new house immediately, or very shortly after. The days when dads could go out and work, moms could stay at home, and no one felt like they were hitting the poverty level by making this decision. Ahh, those were the days alright. Of course, I've only heard about them through word of mouth.  As if it were some old time fable of a time long lost.   

Which brings me back to my original question: how do we {responsibly} plan for our next little one? Only God knows when or if it'll happen. Maybe I'm over thinking things, and need to "let go and let God". Wait, how does that work again? Is there a chart for that? Ya.. didn't think so. Whatever happens, at least we're moving in the right direction with our finances and career goals. Eventually we'll get where we want to be. And hopefully we'll also have a few more sets of little feet to enjoy it with.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: I'm a Walker!


I've found a new fitness regime. And though I'm excited about it, I find myself reluctant to tell people about it because it would be like the 12th exercise program that I've started since I had little M (2 years ago). I have the best intentions when I begin, honest, but somehow I get discouraged, distracted, disinterested... ugh. But ok, I'll share, yet again:

Today I started "Walk Away the Pounds". It's the in home walking program by Leslie Sansone, where you can walk 1-5 miles depending on which dvd you do. And it lets you know as you're side-stepping, kicking, and marching, how far you've been "walking". I've heard great things about it. Many women who have done this fitness program, along w/ a healthy diet, have lost upwards of 50 lbs! I did a mile this morning and it was really good. I felt great that I "walked" a mile, and I loved the simplicity. The steps are simple but you still feel like you're getting a workout.

I really hope that I stick with this. At the end of the day, I want to feel healthy, have energy, and feel good about myself. My goal is to do a mile 6 days a week for 2 weeks, then move up to the 2 mile walk after that. Wish me luck! And if you have any experience with the program, let me know!

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
■Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
■Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
■Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
■Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
■Link up your post below.
■Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fit Mama Club - Week 1 reboot

Love Life and Baby

Last Week's Weight Loss: 0

Total Weight Loss: 2

Last Week's High: I decided to start Weight Watchers again!

Plan For This Week: Track my Weight Watchers points, drink 4 glasses of water per day, and do 30 Day Shred 5 days this week! Would you like to join this Fit Mama Club for fitness support? Just copy and paste the HTML button code on the right, and paste it on top of each FMC post! Oh, and when you're talking about your diet/exercise on twitter, use the hashtag #FitMamaClub so we can all connect!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Positive Words Challenge - 24 hours

I always thought that I was a positive person. I love making people laugh, giving people compliments, and having a good time. But recently, I decided to just pay more attention to my words. I didn't change anything, just took note of my speech. What did I notice? That I'm not that positive at all. I mean it's kinda sad how many times I complain about a situation, or my short-comings, or my hubby, or even at times my little one (gasp!). Yes, most times my comments are said sarcastically or in jest, but words have power. The bible says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Proverbs 18:21, also "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29

So I decided to try a 24 hour Positive Words Challenge. For 24 hours, I will speak nothing but positivity. If I have something negative or snarky to say, I'm just going to keep it to myself. I may have to go into an empty room and use some deep breathing techniques. Ya it's that kinda party. The idea is to be more thoughtful about the words we use, rather than spew out nonsense and regret it afterwards. There is a saying, that words are like toothpaste in a tube. Just like words, toothpaste is easy to squeeze out, but nearly impossible to put back in. And all you're left with is a huge mess. #realtalk

There is actually a movie out that is about this premise. Have you heard about the movie "1000 Words"? Eddie Murphy plays this fast talking literary agent, Jack McCall, who tries to scam a New Age guru. But the guru catches on to what Jack is trying to do, so he puts this magical spell on him. Jack soon realizes that there is a huge tree in his backyard, and everytime he says something, a leaf falls off of this tree. He learns that omce all of the leaves fall off of this tree, he and the tree, will die. Interesting huh?

I haven't seen the movie, but I can imagine how it ends. Jack will realize that words have power, and that he should choose words wisely, and be honest with what he says and does. Of course with a lot of mayhem and hijinx in between.

So how do you use your words? Do you think a challenge like this may be helpful? Give it a try and comment about your experience. I'm sure we'll all learn a lot from this exercise. I'll keep you updated on my results!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fit Mama Club - The Resurrection

It's that time of year again. The time when you realize that winter is just about over (though it was a pretty mild winter in New York to begin with), and Spring is around the corner. Spring is a time of rebirth. There's the beautiful weather, the outdoor activities, the less clothing layered on ...oh ya, and more opportunities to come out of denial and realize you have a weight problem. Just sayin.

To be honest, I feel like I'm always on a diet, but never really successful (or as successful as I would like). And here I am, on the eve of my son's 2nd birthday and as overjoyed as I am to celebrate his birth, it also reminds me of the two years that I've kept all this weight on. At this time, I weigh about the same as I did when I was 7 months pregnant. I never thought it would be this hard to lose my pregnancy weight. So rather, than be discouraged about it, I want to begin (again) what I tried to start last year, which is the movement we like to call THE FIT MAMA CLUB.

So how does it work? Well If you'd like to join me, all you have to do is leave me a blog comment, or find me on twitter: joonluv630.

Each week we'll post our triumphs and challenges. We'll make changes together as a team. We'll finally reach our goals! WE SHALL WEAR THE TWO PIECE BATHING SUITS!! Uhh.. ok. I got carried away. But still. You get the point. ;)

I'll set up a way for you to link up back here on my blog so we can all read each others posts, and give each other support. We'll also tweet about it, and whenever we talk about our weight loss journey, we'll tweet with the hashtag #fitmamaclub. I'm thinking of starting on Monday (March 5th) so that gives us all time to prepare. This is what our posts will look like.

You can start your post any way you'd like, but just make sure to place the Fit Mama Club badge in the beginning, and add at the end:

Last Week's Weight Loss
Total Weight Loss
Last Week's High
Plan For This Week

I'll even come up with a few Fit Mama Club challenges to spice things up a bit! So whaddya say?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Disney's "Cars" 2nd Birthday Party Thoughts

It's that time of year again! My little peanut is about to turn 2, and we're planning his party again! We decided that this year, the theme will be the Disney movie "Cars". That's because M loves the McQueen Car character. Oddly enough, he's never actually seen the movie, but he loves when he happens to see a commercial for the movie, and we have gotten him some toys and clothing with the Cars characters on them which he adores. He'll point at them and scream "CARS! CARS!" So it was pretty much a no-brainer this year.

Last year, his Moose and Zee party was a big hit. It was a bit difficult to find Moose and Zee party favors for some reason, which ticked me off initially, but we just ended up being creative - bought balloons, printed out decorations, and hung them up everywhere. This year, it'll be soo much simpler. I did a quick search on Disney's "Cars" party supplies, and there were TONS of affordable stuff on! So I'm going to order ("Cars" inspired):

Happy Birthday banner
Plastic Cups
Plastic Table Covers
Party Bags
Party Favors
Cake Toppers

I also plan on buying yellow and red helium balloons. We also have a family friend who is planning on being the entertainment by singing kiddie songs and playing the guitar. The only thing I'm working on is what party games will be appropriate for the span of ages there. We'll have a 4 month old, 2 year old, 3 year olds, 4 year olds, and a 7 year old. Any suggestions? How have you (or how would you) plan a 2 year old's party?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My 7 Day Detox Creation

I. Need. To. Detox.

Recently, I've noticed that I've been experiencing sore joints, acid reflux, lack of energy, headaches, and a boat load of other symptoms that lead me to believe that my body is flooded with toxins. I asked my friend Tricia about her detox adventures, and she suggested Whole Health Designs. As wonderful as that site is, I just can't afford the package/ebook right now. ::sigh:: So I decided to go online and just piece together my very own 7 Day Detox Creation! Most detoxes are at least 10 days, however, this is my first time so I want to start small! Here goes:

1) 8-10 glasses of water/day (must drink 8 oz water as soon as I wake up, and 8 oz water right before bed)

2) Herbal Tea

3) No sugar, no bad carbs

4) To counteract sugar withdrawal, I can have up to 4 teaspoons of honey per day. (Each time I feel crummy or get a craving, take a teaspoon)

5) Unlimited Fruits - fresh, frozen, dried or canned in natural fruit juice. This includes apples, bananas, pears, oranges, grapefruit, satsumas, sultanas, raisins, pineapple, mango, kiwi fruit, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, nectarines, peaches, melons, star fruit etc

6) Unlimited Vegetables - fresh, frozen or canned in water (without salt added). This includes carrots, onions, turnip, swede, sprouts, cabbage, peppers, mushrooms, sweetcorn, peppers, leeks, courgettes, broccoli, cauliflower, salad, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions etc

7) Oats

8) Yogurt

9) Unsalted nuts/seeds

10) Multivitamin

Is there anything else that I should be adding to my list? What are some of your detox experiences?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

10 Day Blog Challenge - 7 Wants (in photo)

In an effort to spice up my 10 Day Chellenge, I decided to share my 7 Wants via pictures! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 Day Blog Challenge - 8 Fears

Eeeeek!! Here we go:

1) Loss. More times than I'd like, I think of how I'd handle losing loved ones. Most times I can get over it, but sometimes it really bugs me. And now having a little boy, I'm constantly praying for his safety. Sometimes I even question whether I want another child because then it would be another little person that steals my heart and causes me to worry. But I think the joy they bring outweighs the worry, so scratch that - more babies please!!!! :)

2) Regrets. Sometimes I get frustrated with the feeling of not really experiencing much in my life on my own. I lived with my mom until I was 25, then got married and moved in with my husband. I've never lived on my own, never traveled on my own, never made decisions without having to explain to someone why I'm doing it. (I think maybe that's why I got a nose ring this year - my very own personal rebellion) And sometimes I regret not doing more by myself, but then feel guilty because of course I love my family. I go back and forth!

3) Insects. The End.

4) Not having career happiness. I went to school for 8 years, been working in the Mental Health field forever, and have busted my patoot to keep moving forward in this field, but it's a lot harder than I expected. And sometimes I worry that I'm losing track of why I really wanted to be in the field in the first place due to the stress, long hours, low pay, etc. ::sigh::

5) No weight loss. I'm nervous that I'll never lose the 40 lbs that I need to lose, and instead get pregnant again, then gain more, then continue to balloon into a massive beast. I've never lost a huge amount of weight at once, and it feels overwhelming, and sometimes I worry that I don't have what it takes to do it. But I'll keep trying.

6) Being broke. I've never had this fear until I got married, and was now in charge of our family's finances. Prior to marriage, I paid my mom $200 to help out monthly, and paid 2 bills - car payment and cell phone bill. My mom paid for everything else. So now that my mom doesn't pay for everything, it dawned on my that we don't have a money tree in the backyard. GASP! So now, I sometimes get very tight-fisted with our money.

7) Cancer. My hubby and I both say often. "I hate Cancer." Duh, we all hate cancer, but we just say that every so often because of how many lives Cancer has touched (and taken) in both of our families. Now it's almost a given that if you live long enough, you'll get Cancer. Cancer you SUCK!!

8) Car accidents. This is a recent fear. My mom told me that last week one of her co-workers died in a car accident on her way to work. It was the same road that my mom drives every morning around the same time. This particular accident wasn't even that poor lady's fault. This fed-ex driver had a seizure while driving and hit her head on. I'm petrified that something like that will happen to me or someone I love. It doesn't matter how careful you are on the road, someone else's mistake can take your life and it's such a shame.

Monday, January 9, 2012

10 Day Blog Challenge - 9 Loves

So it's Day 2 of the 10 Day Blog Challenge, and today is about 9 loves. So here goes:

1) I love spas. Yesssss. I love being pampered - massages, facials, pedicures, the works. I actually am working on having my very own "spa day" at my house where I make a bunch of homemade spa treatments and pamper myself. Calgon take me away...

2) I love hugs and kisses from my little boy. He's at an age (22 months) where he voluntarily will hug and kiss me when he desires. Nevermind the fact that sometimes he chooses to kiss me after doing something naughty. And then smiles sweetly. Cunning lil chap.

3) I love sleep. I've always been this way. I can sleep 10 straight hours without giving it a second thought. So you can imagine the shell shock that I experienced when I realized that most babies don't sleep through the night.. oh and some toddlers still have trouble with it (Mikey raise ur hand).

4) I love my husband's foot rubs, and scalp massages. Why, you ask? See Love #1.

5) I love cruises. I've been to a few, and they are amazing. I love the all inclusive eating and activities. I love the excursions, and the ability to see a few different countries at once. Love love love!

6) I love my iphone. I honestly don't see myself with any other phone for the rest of my life. I plan on just buying upgraded versions right into my 80's.. touching the screen and playing apps with my gnarled, veiny, fingers.

7) I love eating out at restaurants. Maybe a little too much, considering I'm always on a diet. Oops. But it's not just about the yummy food, it's the ambiance. It's the company. It's the conversation. It's wonderful!

8) I love snuggling with my cats. One of them, Sophie, is a big mush. She used to terrorize me as a kitten and I HATED her. But now that she's 4, she loves to hop into our bed , crawl under the covers and lean her round furry body up against me. Cozy!

9) I love reading. I read fiction, non-fiction, self-help, you name it. And thanks to my hubby, I have my very own Kindle Fire! (Which should have it's own Love # cuz it's completely awesome.) I think I've read 15 books this year. Probably more. I put up a list of some of the best ones on the side of my blog, so check it out! ----> ok, you'll have to scroll up a little, then ----> :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

10 Day Blog Challenge - 10 secrets

I found this great 10 Day Blog Challenge online that helps writers get their creativity juices flowing, and increase their blog posts. Each day you have to write about one of the topics next to the numbers. Wanna join me? Come on! Today is SECRETS. Here are 10 secrets (or more like random facts) that you may not know about me:

1) Tomatoes make me gag.

2) My shoe size is 11.

3) I sometimes check (and re-check) the stove knobs before I leave the house.

4) I'm left-handed.

5) I have a pretty good singing voice but only my husband and son are allowed to hear it.

6) My favorite place to hang out is on my lovely toilet w/ my cell phone or kindle fire, spending sometimes 30 minutes (or more) on my porcelain masterpiece.

7) I work evenings, and HATE it. My current job has me coming home at sometimes 10pm. On the train. From the Bronx. Need I say more?

8) I've already planned out my 2nd career path - when I retire I would like to be a painter/photographer, and have my very own art show one day.

9) I once wanted to try out for America's Next Top Model (5 years ago), but I got married and gained 40 lbs instead. Go me!

10) My favorite movie is "Rain Man", and is actually one of the things that got me interested in working in the Mental Health field.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 1 - Mini Meals (meal plan/exercise)

Today, my total calorie intake ended up being 1625 because I walked a mile that added 124 calories to my allowable amount. I did have some challenges because we ended up going to Friendly's and I couldn't find 300 calorie foods on the menu (big surprise) So I had to eat half of my order, then bring the rest home for another time. Here is my meal plan for the day:

Exercise - 1 mile walk (slow pace) - burned 124 calories

Meal 1 (9am)- Total 310
- Boiled Egg - 80
- 1 Tbsp Mayo - 90
- Whole Wheat Ritz - 70
- Coffee w/ Creamer - 70

Meal 2 (12pm) - Total 410
- 1/2 Friendly's Cape Cod Supermelt - 410
- Diet Coke - 0

Meal 3 (3pm) - 425
- 10 Friendly's Mini Mozzarella Sticks - 340
- 1/4 Friendly's french fries - 85

Meal 4 (6pm) - 310
- 1 cup penne pasta - 210
- 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce - 80
- 2 Tbsp Parmesian Cheese - 20

Meal 5 (9pm) - 170
- Vanilla Pudding - 120
- Small green apple - 50

Not bad for the first day. Tomorrow my goal is to stick to the 300 calories more exactly, since I may not have time to exercise.

My Latest Diet Conquest - Mini Meals

That's right guys. I'm trying yet another diet style. I know many of you can agree that none of us plan on stopping until we reach our goals. For me, it's to lose 40 lbs. I absolutely HAVE to lose 40 lbs by June 28th. Why? Well, for many reasons:

1) I'm dangerously starting to weigh what I weighed while pregnant with little M, and that is RIDICULOUS - seeing as I'm only pregnant with bread, pasta, french fries, and cookies.

2) June 28th is when I turn.... 30! {GASP} And I do not want to enter a new chapter in my life feeling like the same old tired self that I feel right now.

3) My dad offered as incentive to give me $500 for my 30th birthday IF AND ONLY IF I lose the 40 lbs that I'm desperate to lose. (Okay I don't know if he's being helpful or offensive. Either way I took the challenge.)

4) The end of this year/beginning of next, we MAY be trying for #2, and there is no way I can be this heavy going into another pregnancy. Heck no.

5) My hubby wants to throw me a huge 30th birthday bash and my dream is to walk into my extravaganza 40 lbs thinner and wearing a strapless, form fitting, WHITE dress. That's right. WHITE. I've avoided white for years to avoid being mistaken for a beached whale. As a matter of fact, I haven't worn a white dress since my wedding (almost 5 years ago). Sinced then, black has been my bestest friend. But not on my 30th! I want to be in white, and with all eyes on me!

So now you can see why it's IMPERATIVE for me to lose the weight. Of course, there are the additional common reasons of health, looking good for hubby, energy, etc. And how am I going to accomplish this great feat? Glad you asked!


I'm sure you all have heard of it. Basically you eat 5 small meals of 300 calories each per day, as opposed to 3 huge meals. The science behind it says that eating 5 smaller meals stabilizes your blood sugar, and increases your metabolism.

From what I read, each meal you eat, your body breaks down as much as it can, and then the rest gets converted to fat. So the bigger the meal, the more gets converted to fat, even if you only eat twice a day. By eating 5 small meals, the body burns up the small meal very easily, and not as much gets stored as fat - plus you have a better chance of burning the calories you just ate throughout the day.

It's also a calorie counting thing. Eating 5 small meals of 300 calories each equates to 1500 calories per day. So even though it'll feel like you're constantly eating, you're actually consuming LESS calories, than what you usually would by having your average 3 huge meals.

I'm really excited to start! I'm actually setting a timer on my iphone to remind me when to eat. So my schedule will be 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm. You can make your schedule any way you want, as long as you can space out the meals to about every 3 hours. I happen to work evenings, and don't get home until like 8:30pm, so my last meal of the day always ends up being around that time. I will write another blog post later tonight with my whole day's eating plan, as well as my thoughts on how it went. See you then! [NOTE:] The above picture does not accurately represent a 300 calorie meal, before you guys pull out your hair!

p.s., if you'd like to see a BEFORE picture of me - CLICK HERE and visually add 20 lbs to that. Yup. No words.