Aaahhh, cupcakes

What am I doing with my Friday? Drowning in a sea of cupcakes! This weekend I’m catering my nephews graduation party, so I’m busy making lots of delicious food! Hopefully I’ll get the chance to share some of it here!



6 Down to Earth tips on dieting, weight loss, and fitness

I’ve spent a lot of time learning about weight loss. It’s been a long journey, but I’m almost to my goal. I’d love to share some tips with my readers, because a lot of it is really awesome information that I’ve picked up along the way. Let me share a little bit about my history.

I’ve never been “thin”. In fact, for a long time I thought that I was fat. But looking back on the body I had in high school made me realize, I was NEVER fat! The highest my weight ever got in high school was the 160’s, and even then, I was only a little chubby.

When I graduated, I was 130lbs. Over the next couples years I put on a few pounds here and there, and ended up being 155 when I got married at the age of 20. Most of it had to do with being on my own and eating WAY too much fast food. After having my daughter, I was 170 lbs. My weight never budged, but I really never tried to lose it. About a year after having Emma, I got pregnant with Charlie. After giving birth to Charlie, I was a terrifying 185 lbs (212 the day I gave birth, ouch!). At this point, I was very unhappy. When he was about 3 months old, I started dieting. Through a series of diets and light at-home exercising, I got down to 150 lbs. Yes, a YEAR. It was a long road, but I made it. I hit my goal weight of 150, and I am now sitting here, 148 lbs, typing this. For some people, 148 lbs. might be fantastic. But as a teenager, I was 130, and I would LOVE to see the 130’s again. But right now, it’s not about the weight. In fact, this month, I am not going to weigh myself. Yup. My husband just signed the two of us up with gym memberships, and I worked out this morning. Not a wimpy at-home work out, but a REAL push myself to my limits gym work out. I did all the machines, and did about a mile of cardio. It felt great. I want to share this with my readers, because I know that if I put the pressure on, I WILL not quit! Although, coming as far as I have, I just can’t see myself quitting at this point. I am finally at a healthy weight for my height and age, and I am here to get FIT! I realize that even if I manage to lose another 10 lbs by dieting alone, my arms will still be sad and limp, my thighs will still be fat, and that muffin top is going nowhere. This month, I am going to tone up. I know it will take longer than a month, but I’m prepared to work on it until I have the body I want. I realize that my weight may not budge, but I KNOW I will see results. I wish I had some before pictures so I can do a before and after sequence, but I don’t. I will still do my best to post an after picture with weight stats once I’ve completed my month of fitness. At that point, I’ll set some new goals for the following month.

So here is my compiled knowledge and advice for anyone looking to lose weight.

Also, check out my Motivation and Fitness board on Pinterest for some inspiration quotes (some of which I worked into my pep talk below).

1: Eat right! Getting fit is 80% nutrition and 20% working out. There’s a LOT that you need to learn about nutrition. Don’t jump towards the lean cuisine and the “fat free” foods. Drop the pre-packaged foods, and pick up some veggies. The less processed it is, the better it is for you. Eat as many fruits and veggies as you can, and supplement with low fat dairy products, lean meats, and very few processed items.

2: Cut the calories. This is the part that no one likes to hear. There are so many damn diet pills out there, and “diets” that claim that you can eat what you want and not go hungry. Forget it. If you want to lose weight, you’re going to be hungry. That’s all there is to it. At first it will be HARD. But once your body has gotten used to eating less food, you will too. If you gained the weight, your body needs to get a little deprived in order to start digging into those fat stores. Yes, you could eat the way you always have, and work out, but your results will be slow, and there’s a good chance you’re not going to get to your goal until you change the way you eat. Make every calorie count. Eat as many nutritious foods as possible. Don’t drink your calories, and don’t waste them on starchy or sugary foods. Find yourself a calorie calculator to see how many calories your body needs to lose weight. Play around with it.

I highly suggest calorie counting. For me, it has worked amazingly. It gives me very strict boundaries that I won’t let myself cross. If I just “try to eat healthy”, I’m going to eat healthiER, but not healthy enough to lose weight. Eating the right kinds of foods are important, but when it comes to losing fat, eating LESS calories is very important. After just a few days of calorie counting, I really figured it out. If I eat foods with less calories (such as veggies), then I can eat more, which makes me feel like I’m not starving. If I slip up and decide to eat 5 cookies, weeeelllll, I’m already over my calories and I don’t get to eat the rest of the day! Calorie counting is a great way to monitor what’s going into your body. Every time I start a new diet, I remember just how many damn calories are in food! Just keep in mind, you don’t want to cut your calories too much. Find a good balance. If your body feels too deprived, it will go into starvation mode and try to hold onto any fat it can. Instead, earn yourself more calories by putting in a good work out. On days I work out, I get 200-300 more calories than on days I don’t.

3: Watch some educational videos. Read articles online. Get informed on how your body works! I find the most encouraging thing I can do when I feel like quitting is to watch a food documentary. I’m not talking about “Supersize me”. Don’t bother yourself with scare tactics. Quite honestly, a burger and fries tasted just as nice after watching Supersize me as it did before. I’m talking Forks Over Knives or Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. These were two very inspiration and educational documentaries! They had tons of information on what happens to your body when you eat fatty and processed foods, and how fruits and veggies can repair the damage. Both documentaries gave awesome information on nutrition and an improved food pyramid to follow. Not only did it inspire me to change my diet, but it gave me some awesome information and motivation to keep eating healthy. I didn’t switch my diet to a plant based diet, but I did cut out a LOT of bad things.

4: It’s not all about the cardio. A lot of women have it in their mind that they need to burn calories to get skinny, and to do that they need cardio. Ladies, let go of what you know! Cardio is great, really, it is. But it’s not all you need. It’s better than nothing, that’s for sure, but you will PLATAUE! Running longer or more often will not necessarily get you to your goal faster. You need to build muscle! Muscle weighs more than fat, yes, but it also takes up less area on your body than fat does, which equal less bulk on your body. Don’t think of it so much as gaining muscle, but more as replacing fat with muscles. Not only that, but once you have some muscle on your body, you will burn MORE calories! Yes, even on the days you’re not working out. Muscle eats calories, way more calories than fat does. Muscular people can naturally eat more calories on a daily basis to maintain all that muscle on their bodies! Think of it as a metabolism boost. More muscle=more calories being burned=more calories you can eat without getting FAT again! So ladies, don’t get scared of bulking up or looking fatter, because working out and weight lifting will only tone the muscle under all that fat, and help shrink down the fat a little faster.

5: Step away from the scale. Yes, this is scary. It’s very scary. But do it! If you’re going to dedicate yourself to working out and eating right, take a few weeks off from the scale. Stop watching the numbers yoyo every day. Just leave it be. There is the possibility that when you start working out, you will gain a couple pounds. And there’s a good possibility that it will take a few weeks for it to start going back down. The number on the scale does NOT mean anything! Look at your body. Take before and after pictures. Measure your arms and legs and waist. Don’t set a weight loss number, but celebrate non-scale victories. Buy yourself a damn pair of jeans that are a size smaller than you are now, and congratulate yourself when you can fit into them.

6: Hit the gym. At home work outs and dvds work great for some people. But when it comes down to it, the gym is a GREAT place to be. Being a mom of 2 kids, I can reeeaaalllly testify to that. Have you ever tried working out with 2 kids climbing on you? Or tried to get into the Insanity dvd while listening to screeching and an odd “thump” every once in a while coming from the next room. I have to tell you, it’s hard to work up a sweat when you’re pausing the dvd to go check on your little hooligans locked in the room next door. I’ve done everything that I can at home. I’ve dieted. It got me 30 lbs. down. That’s great and all, but it took me an entire year of off and on dieting to get there. I’ve tried working out at home, but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I don’t have free weights, I don’t have equipment. All I have is push ups, lunges, and crunches. Do you know how easy it is to plateau that way? Once your body gets used to 80 lunges, you have to up it to 100. 100 crunches? No problem, up it to 120. But at some point, you start to realize that the 20 minutes it took you to work out when you started has turned into 30, and now you’re not really sure if your kids are even still alive in the next room. Did the older one strangle the younger one? Or maybe the younger one pooped and took off his diaper, and now they’re playing in it. Or is it just me that this happens to??? I recently got a membership to the gym, and I am PSYCHED! I finally have a place where I can work out, KID FREE, for an hour or two. It sucks that I need to set my alarm for 6 am so I can sneak out before the little devils are awake, but I find it MUCH easier to work out in the morning before I’ve had the chance to talk myself out of it, rather than dread it all day long. I also find it easier to work out on an empty stomach, than to make the mistake of eating fried chicken for dinner and have to sneak out afterward and work it off. I understand the strife of not having a gym to go to, in fact, this one JUST opened up this week. I would have started going a lot sooner, had I had a gym available. So for the last year, at home work outs were all I really had available. But if you do have a gym on hand, GO! Some have day care, some don’t. The gym we started at is the Snap Fitness. It is awwweeessoooommme. The equipment is amazing, the set up is great. It’s 24/7, and you get a little badge to swipe by the door to unlock it. It’s like being in an elite club where only YOU have the key. I don’t know if other Snap Fitness centers are as nice as this one, but I much prefer it over the YMCA. Yeah, it’s missing the day care, but it’s almost worth it to have such a grown up setting. The YMCA back where we used to live was always full of kids and teenagers who weren’t very serious about fitness. Here you come, you work out, listen to your ipod and headphones, and then you leave. And if you go late at night or early in the morning, no one is there (not even at the desk)! You let yourself in, work out in peace, and no one is there to laugh at your muffin top.

There is no magic cure for being fat. Unless you’re going to get liposuction and a tummy tuck, that is. It’s a lot of hard work and will power. Stop making excuses, and start making some changes. Don’t worry so much about loosing weight, but worry more about eating healthy and working out.

4th of July ideas!

With Independence Day right around the corner, I wanted to recap the 2 flag cakes I’ve made.

This is my 7 layer flag cake that I made. It’s a little bit of work, but seriously, look at the end result!

This is the more traditional flag cake that I’ve made. I’ve seen this one around a lot. It’s a little less work, and still has a wow factor.

To get more information on these cakes, click the links provided above.

Rainbow party!

You might remember last year when I made the Rainbow Cake for Emma’s birthday. This year I went all out and threw a rainbow party. She had a blast! I got another shot at the rainbow cake, and this time I made a 7 layer 6 inch cake. It turned out awesome! I can definitely see the rainbow cake becoming a birthday tradition for her. For detailed instructions on how to make the epic rainbow cake, check out my Ruffle Top Rainbow Cake.

My beautiful girl getting ready to dig into her cake!

With the help of my handy dandy Silhouette Cameo, I made this cute rainbow banner.

For the kids, we made this water pad to jump on.

You can find instructions HERE. Be warned, even with LOTS of tape, there’s a good chance it will spring a leak! We double taped ours and the water still managed to get under the tape and cause a leak. We also had some pointy little toes poke a few holes through the plastic which caused a smaller leak. All in all it lasted us a little less than an hour, and we had lots of kids, little and big, jumping on it. It was money well spent! **note: we used 3.5 mil plastic sheets (a 10×25 foot sheet folded in half, the kind you buy for laying down before painting), and we used super heavy duty duct tape. We taped it around the edges once, and then turned it inside out and taped it again. It takes a long time to fill, so we pulled up a corner and duct taped it to a chair with the hose hanging in it, that way the water didn’t leak out while it filled.

The balloon banner was pretty simple to make. I blew up an equal number of each balloon, using all the colors of the rainbow (I think I used 6 of each color, they were smaller balloons but it would work great with large balloons!). Once you’ve got all your balloons blown up, take a large needle (I used an embroidery needle) and some yarn and heavy duty thread, and thread through the ends of each balloon. It went pretty quickly, and took about 25 minutes to make. I think next time I want to use larger balloons and more balloons and make a giant arch around a doorway.

Another activity we did was a kiddie pool full of bubble solution and various contraptions for blowing bubbles. This unfortunately backfired, and we ended up with kids trying to climb in to go swimming, and suds EVERYWHERE! I think if the kids were a little older, it may have worked out better. But at least they had lots of fun with the suds!

Such a nice big sister, making sure Charlie had plenty of bubbles on his head.

My little country boy. 🙂

Matching rainbow toesies (don’t mind the permanent flip flop tan lines)

All pooped out at the end of the day.

If you like this rainbow cake, you should check out the mini rainbow cake I made for Charlie’s first birthday HERE. Who would have thought you could use old bean cans as a cake pan?

I’m baaaaccckkk

So you may have noticed a gigantic gap from my last post to this one. There’s a number of reasons for that! At first I just wanted to start up a new blog. I was noticing that a lot of my posts were related to food, and this blog just screams crafts. So I switched over to WordPress for my new blog Never Trust a Skinny Baker. After a while though, I lost interest in it. A huge reason for that was my decision to lose weight last summer (35 lbs and counting!) and a big change in the way I eat. I could have continued to write about recipes and healthy eating, but quite honestly, the less I think about food, the better!

That’s about the time I started up my third blog. I wanted to incorporate a lot of new things into it, but I had forgotten how much effort it takes to start up a blog! The blogging part is easy, but directing traffic is the hard part. I didn’t get far into my new blog before I decided to switch back to this one. I checked back at my Crafty Mama blog and was shocked to see I was still pulling in around 10,000 hits per month even though I hadn’t posted in MONTHS! It took a while to get things figured out, but eventually I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress, and figured out how to redirect any traffic from my old url to this one.

In the meantime, I’ve been raising two hellions. I’m not sure if everyone’s children are as wild as mine, but they are into everything! Emma just turned 3 (rainbow party pics to follow!) and Charlie is 16 months. I swear they gang up on me and try to drive me out of the house! I’m dealing with the next Bonnie and Clyde here.

Charlie has caused some technical difficulties lately.

It seems like every time I turned my back, he’s trying to get at my laptop! (Notice the broken shade in the background) After prying numerous keys off my laptop, I finally decided to get a new one. My old Acer was on it’s way out the door. Not only was it increasingly difficult to type on a keyboard with few keys, my wireless was broken, and it was getting slower by the day. I made the switch from a PC to a Mac and I couldn’t be happier! I’m growing ever fonder of these Apple products! The switch was much easier than I expected (thanks to my techie husband!) and I’m all warmed up to it. It may take a couple more weeks before I get the kinks all figured out, but I expect to get back into the whole blogging business again.

Some things you can expect to see soon:

  • SILHOUETTE PROJECTS! I got my new Silhouette Cameo a few months ago and I am in LOOOOVVVEEEE. It’s everything I dreamed it could be. The software is easy to use once you take the time to learn it, and you can make ANYTHING with it! I’ve done decals for my laptop (need a new one now!), our car, my Kindle, and numerous other things. I’m excited to share all the awesome projects I’ve done with it! Does anyone have advice on how to share an Silhouette file? I’d love to share my files with my readers, but I have no idea how to do that. I guess I’ll have to figure that out soon!
  • Rainbow party! Emma turned 3 this past week and we threw an awesome rainbow party for her! I made a 7 layer rainbow cake, and it turned out more gorgeous than I ever could have expected! The kids had a blast.

Any readers who have managed to stick with me through my absence, thank you! I hope to get out some awesome projects soon and keep you coming back for more!