Monday, September 29, 2014

Balance Your Life 5: Don’t Fear The Dumbbells [arms & shoulders]

Adam and I are celebrating our fifth anniversary, so today’s post is a throwback from July!

I love lifting weights.  Until last year I always shied away from weights in fear of getting bulky, but the truth is girls don’t need to be scared!  Weight lifting burns fat, contributes to bone strength, and improves balance/coordination.  This is a great beginning arms/shoulders workout because it quick, effective, and you don’t need fancy gym equipment.  Here are four easy dumbbells exercises for your arms and shoulders…

Dumbbell Curls
Skull Crushers
Dumbbell Shrugs
Shoulder Press

What are you favorite arm/shoulder exercises?
What resources do you use to find new exercises?

Disclaimer:  While I always strive to share correct information regarding health and fitness, I am not a medical or health professional.  All views and opinions of Fit Pink Mom are based on my own personal experiences.  By reading Fit Pink Mom you agree not to use this blog as health advice in place of consulting your physician.  Additionally, you fully assume risk of injury and Fit Pink Mom is not liable.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Simple DIY Baby Blanket

Last spring I had the opportunity to help make blankets for a ministry at church.  The program provides handmade blankets for incarcerated pregnant women.  The new moms only have 24 hours with their child before they are placed with a caregiver, and each new mom gets to choose one blanket to send home with their baby.  The fabric was pre-cut and we put the pieces together to create warm, snuggly blankets for sweet newborns!

This summer one of my friends gave birth to a baby boy.  This was her second child so she had most of her necessities; however, I still wanted to give her and her new baby something special.  I decided to attempt the same fleece blankets we made at church– all on my own this time!

I chose a football pattern for the front and gray fabric for the back.  I used a yard of each.

I trimmed the fabric to straighten the edges and cut about a 2×2 inch square out of each corner.

I laid the fabrics on top of each other and cut slits to create the little fringes.  It’s important to keep the fabrics lined up so the fringes line up.

Finally, I tied the fabrics together, piece by piece, with double knots.  It’s important to make sure the knots don’t get too tight so the blanket keeps its shape.  I checked about every 4-5 knots to make sure they weren’t pulling too much.

Here’s the finished blanket!

Are you talented in the DIY department?
What’s the last DIY you tried?
What’s your go-to for a new baby gift?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Balance Your Life 4: A Creative Space [swap week]

Happy Monday!  Today The Balance Team and I are switching things up for Balance Your Life.  Instead of talking about ways to work your body, today I’ll be talking about how to work your mind!  Everyone else will have a different part this week too– Kristina & Millie [2 Crochet Hooks] will be covering Spirit, Shari [Pure Grace Farms] will be tackling Body, and Heather [My Sweet Mission] will be talking about Heart.  Make sure you visit everyone to see what they’re up to for our very first swap week!

Last week I shared some thoughts on Blog Inc.  One thing it suggests is having a creative space to blog– a place for inspiration.  I don’t have a home office, but I did give a corner in our bedroom a makeover to create a space just for me.  It’s not much, but it works.

 My creative space!  I have a bulletin board (soon to be mood board), some maternity photos, and a DIY jewelry organizer that I love on the wall.  I bought the desk off Craig’s List last year; my mom helped me paint it to give a distressed look.  I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

On my desk I have a calendar of daily scriptures, mason jar of pens, and my Scentsy (I love Scentsy products!).  I also have my “I Feel Prettiest…” sign.  A good friend had this made for my 30th birthday.  It’s one of my most favorite things and I love that it’s one of the first things I see each morning! 

My top right drawer contains what I’m currently up to.  I have my Blog Inc book and some magazines.  I also keep my blogging calendar in here as well as flash drives.

The top left drawer contains “office things” I use regularly.  I’m a list-maker, so I keep plenty of note pads, pens, and sticky notes in here.  I also keep thank you cards so I can send them before I forget about them!

The middle left drawer is more of a miscellaneous drawer.  I keep things I use in here, but maybe not as often as the top drawers.  I keep my paper cutter, nook, flip cam, and various chargers in here.  I also keep more markers in here (I love markers!).  This is where I also keep things I’m not quite sure what to do with yet– like cards or invitations I know I want to keep.

My last drawer contains a bunch of miscellaneous craft supplies.  Stuff I use, but not on a regular basis.  I keep paint brushes, paints, glue, and other random crafty stuff.

So what does this have to do with Balancing Your Life and helping your mind?  Having a specific place for blogging (or work, or any other activity) helps train your brain.  Eventually, when I start sitting down in my desk my mind will automatically know it’s time to get busy.  Another benefit of having a creative space is organization.  With a toddler in the house, cars and trains can be found almost anywhere, but this desk, this one little corner, is MY space.  It’s where I can keep my things organized and the boys know not to intrude.  It helps provide me with inspiration without clutter.

Where do you blog/work?
Do you have a place to call your own (office, desk, corner, etc)?
Where do you find inspiration?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blog Inc + Blogger Meetup!

I recently finished reading Blog Inc with some lovely local bloggers.  Madison [Wetherills Say I Do] organized the link-up and scheduled two meet-ups to discuss the book in person… and for some much needed girl time 🙂  I loved meeting these amazing bloggers who live no more than a few hours away!

Ginny [Buttergirl Diaries] 
Katie [Twin Stripe] 

Some thoughts on Blog Inc:
Why do I blog?  This is such a simple question, but such an important one!  I started blogging for a few reasons… I wanted an outlet– something to help combat mommy-brain.  I wanted to help other moms feel not so alone.  I wanted to connect with others.  It’s easy to get caught up in products and businesses, but I need to stay focused on why I started.
What makes my blog unique?  Another question that got me thinking.  There are countless mommy and health/fitness blogs.  There are tons of running/mommy blogs!  What makes mine special?  Last year I did a 3 post series on meal planning and talked about how I prep my meals.  I had a such a positive response I decided to share more make ahead meals.  Additionally, I tend to touch on issues in which I feel strongly, like body image, more than the average health/fitness blogger.
Where do I blog?  Uh… all over the place.  Wherever I can sit down!  Blog Inc talks about the importance of a creative workspace.  I’m working on this!

The second half of Blog Inc really focuses on turning your blog into a business.  I’m not quite there.  Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be there.  I do know that if/when I get to that point, Blog Inc has tons of info!  In addition to a creative workspace, I need to get together a real media kit.  I’ve played with media kits before, but I’ve never had one I felt really worked.  According to Blog Inc, here’s what you need in a media kit:
  • General information about your blog, including history, growth, topics, and how often you post
  • Information about your past work experience (if relevant)
  • Statistics from your blog, including daily/monthly page views, followers, Google ranking, etc
  • Demographic information about your readers

Ginny [Buttergirl Diaries] & I

All in all, I truly enjoyed Blog Inc.  I only regret not reading it before I launched!  I recommend to any blogger, especially if you’re just starting out or ready to turn your blog into a business.

Have you read Blog Inc?
Why do you blog?
Are you reading anything fun right now?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Balance Your Life 3: Fuel Your Body

Happy Monday!  I hope your week is off to an awesome start!  If you’re new to Balance Your Life posts, read more here.  For everyone else, let’s get started!

The last two weeks I’ve focused on exercises, but today I’m switching it up a bit.  Today I’m talking about what to eat and drink before you workout.  Fueling your body before you exercise is extremely important.  A healthy pre-workout snack gives you energy and prevents low blood sugar.  It also keeps you from getting those mid-workout stomach growls.

During my half marathon training, I spent a lot of time figuring out what works and doesn’t work as a pre-run snack.  Here are some things you need to keep in mind before choosing a pre-workout snack:

I can not stress the importance of properly hydrating before a workout!  I learned this the hard way.  Last spring I had a phantom baby bump due to dehydration (read about it here!).  Aim for 12-16 ounces of water about a half hour before you workout.  Another must when it comes to a pre-workout snack:  carbohydrates.  They provide energy and prevents sugar lows.  Last, you should try to include some protein.  Lean protein is important because it helps you stay full (protein is also extremely important post-workout to repair muscle).

Today I’m sharing 5 of my favorite snacks to eat before a workout (these snacks are for 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise– I’ll address what to eat before longer workout sessions another time!).

Do you eat before you exercise?
What’s your favorite pre-workout snack?
And just for fun, what’s the last thing you ate?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Salami & Kale Pizza [Recipe]

We’re a pizza loving family… & anytime I can sneak something green into C’s dinner, I feel like Super Mom!  That’s why this Salami and Kale Pizza is one of my favorite recipes!  It’s delicious, kid friendly, and packed with protein and fiber.  I found this recipe in Parent Magazine and it was quickly added to the regular rotation.

Here’s what you need:
1/2 bunch kale (ribs removed)
1/3 C packed basil leaves
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 lb refrigerated pizza dough
2 Roma tomatoes (thinly sliced)
1 1/2 oz thinly sliced salami
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.  In a food processor, combine kale, basil, Parmesan, olive oil, and garlic.
2.  Roll or press dough into a rectangle on baking sheet.  Spread the kale mixture over the dough.  Top with tomato slices and salami.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.

Where do you get your recipe ideas?
What’s your favorite recipe from the past month?
What do you like on your pizza?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Balance Your Life 2: Love Your Heart!

It’s Monday!  That means The Balance Team and I are sharing ways to help Balance Your Life!  Each Monday I’ll be working with 4 awesome bloggers for a collaborative post to help improve your Spirit, Mind, Body, and Heart.  Once again, each part is on a separate blog, so hop around to see them all!

Today I’m talking about something that is extremely important to me… Your heart!  The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least 5 days each week.  Today I’m sharing five of my favorite, easy exercises that will get your heart pumping!  These exercises require no equipment and can be done in your kitchen.

You’ll want to do 2-3 sets of each exercise.  Ideally you want to do your sets in one session to help get your heart rate up and stay up for a good 30 minutes.  However, that’s not always doable, so breaking your sets up throughout your day will work too.  Regardless of how you decide to do your sets, you’re raising your heart rate and improving your cardiac health.

Go as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable with these exercises.  When you’re jumping rope, you don’t actually need a jump rope; I usually just jump in place!  Also, don’t forget to get some stretching in before and after these exercises.  If you don’t, you will feel it in a not-so-pleasant way!

Jumping Jacks
Jumping Rope– Do a basic two-footed jump.  Stay on the balls of your feet and don’t worry about jumping high off the ground.
Squat and Punch
High Knees

Disclaimer:  While I always strive to share correct information regarding health and fitness, I am not a medical or health professional.  All views and opinions of Fit Pink Mom are based on my own personal experiences.  By reading Fit Pink Mom you agree not to use this blog as health advice in place of consulting your physician.  Additionally, you fully assume risk of injury and Fit Pink Mom is not liable.

Now that your heart is in good shape, don’t forget to work your Spirit with Heather [My Sweet Mission] Mind with Kristina & Millie [2 Crochet Hooks], and Heart with Shari [Pure Grace Farms].

What are your favorite cardio exercises?
What makes you feel more balanced?  Comment below or connect on Twitter/Instagram by using #BalanceYourLife.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back 2 School [tips for beginners]

C starts preschool today!  I can’t believe it!  The world of preschool is a brand new one to me.  I taught for 5 years so I understand the registration forms, t shirt orders, and all that jazz… but preschool has a different vibe than the elementary level.  Plus, being on the parent side is way different than the teacher side!

C is almost two, so I don’t really know how much C actually understands about this whole school thing (given how things tend to go he probably understands more than I realize, but who knows!).  Here are my tips for getting your toddler [& yourself!] ready for preschool!

1.  Talk about it.
This may be obvious, but it is still very important!  We watched the Sesame Street episode where Abby Cadabby starts school and talked about Abby’s classroom.  We also read books about school.  The more he is exposed to the concepts of school, the more comfortable he will feel when I drop him off this morning.

2.  Get familiar with the school.
Lucky for us, we go to church where C is attending preschool.  We’re there most Sundays and he’s familiar with the nursery staff, but preschool will be a little different.  He will have different teachers and will be in a different room.  The last few Sundays we’ve dropped by his classroom to show him where he will go for preschool.  If this isn’t the case for you, most preschools offer tours.  Also, when you’re running errands with your tot and you pass his soon-to-be-preschool, make sure you point out the building– Oh look!  That’s where you will go next week to meet new friends!

3.  Let your child make choices.
I can’t pass the school supplies section in target without feeling a little claustrophobic these days.  Everyone is on the hunt for the perfect notebooks, markers, etc.  For preschool, all C really needs is a backpack and lunchbox.  We picked out a few options and let him choose.  Even though it drives me a little nuts his backpack and lunchbox don’t match, it’s important that he’s involved in some decisions.  If your toddler is excited about his backpack, it will help him get excited about school!

4.  Get familiar with the teachers.
This is important for both of you!  Most preschools will host an open house so the children can get acquainted with the teachers and classroom.  We’ve also had several kick-off events for the families to get together and get the kids excited.  See if your preschool offers family events.  It’s important for you to feel comfortable with your child’s teachers also.  Ask how they prefer to be contacted for questions/concerns.  Most schools have PTAs; ask how you can get involved.  Open home-school communication is important for every student.

5.  Give yourself a break.
Feel sad?  That’s okay.  Feel ecstatic?  That’s okay, too.  It’s a big day for your child, but it’s also a big day for you!  Feel what you need to feel, and you’ll both adjust in no time!

What is your favorite/least favorite part of back to school shopping?
How do you prepare your child(ren) for school?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Balance Your Life 1: Stretch Yourself!

Hello everyone!  I told you I had some exciting things coming up in September, so here we go!

Every Monday I’ll team up with four awesome bloggers for a four-part collaborative post called Balance Your Life.  Each week we will share tips on how to balance your life by focusing on the Spirit, Mind, Body, and Heart.  Each part is on a separate blog, so hop around to see them all!  Meet The Balance Team…

I don’t know about you, but things have been a little crazy around here lately.  C is starting preschool so we’ve been doing all those back to school things– picking out a backpack and lunch box, going through snack schedules and t-shirt order forms, new shoes, clothes, and a haircut… It’s been busy!  Plus I can’t believe my baby is starting school!  Yes, it’s technically preschool and yes, it will be more “structured play” than actual academics, but it’s still school!

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, emotions, and stress of it all– whether you’re dealing with the back to school craziness or something else entirely.  However, it’s vital for your sanity to find a way to center yourself, a way to balance your life 🙂

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite stretching exercises.  You don’t need any fancy equipment and can do them in your home.  I like to do these first thing in the morning to help focus for the day and right before bed to help clear my mind.  So whether you find yourself drowning in school supplies or up to your eyeballs in some other kind of chaos, these stretches will help you feel ready to take on the world in just five minutes!

Child’s Pose
Happy Baby
Standing Forward Bend
Heart Opener
Shoulder Stretch

Disclaimer:  While I always strive to share correct information regarding health and fitness, I am not a medical or health professional.  All views and opinions of Fit Pink Mom are based on my own personal experiences.  By reading Fit Pink Mom you agree not to use this blog as health advice in place of consulting your physician.  Additionally, you fully assume risk of injury and Fit Pink Mom is not liable.

Now that your body is in good shape, don’t forget to work your Spirit with Heather [My Sweet Mission], Mind with Kristina & Millie [2 Crochet Hooks], and Heart with Shari [Pure Grace Farms].  You’ll feel more balanced in no time!

How do you beat the Back to School craziness?
What are your favorite stretches?
What makes you feel more balanced?  Comment below or connect on Twitter/Instagram by using #BalanceYourLife.
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