Workout Apps – Do They Work?

Since having knee surgery in October, I have been going to physical therapy two to three times a week. Getting back to the gym and working out normally is something I would love to be able to do. However, I would love nothing more than to be at the gym again. With a second knee surgery in April, it will be a little while until I can get back to working out the way I used to. I’m not letting that discourage me though! Workout apps to the rescue! I may not be able to do 30 or 40 minutes of cardio right now, but I can work on my core!

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workout apps

Do You Work Out?

Prior to October, I was working out three to four days a week. I loved how I was feeling and felt like I was getting into pretty decent shape. That all stopped on October 10th when I had knee surgery. From that point to the present, I have been in physical therapy, working hard to get as strong as possible for knee surgery part two that is scheduled in April. So, as you can imagine, I am really looking forward to getting back to my normal workout regime.

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Workout Apps

Like I said before, I am dying to get back to the gym and do my cardio routine. Since that’s not possible right now, I started looking through the App Store to see what workout apps were available. More specifically, apps that were available to work your core. Guess what! There are TONS of workout apps. Someone told me about the Sworkit app. The  main app has a membership cost to it, however, they have an ab & core workouts app. That is the one that I have on my phone and have been doing for two weeks now.

workout apps

So How Does it Work?

When starting the app, you choose one of the three workout types to focus one; your abs, your back or your complete core. Next you choose how long you want to work out for. Since I have very little time and, embarrassingly, my abs and core are very weak, I have been focusing on just 5 minutes a day. Let me tell you, my abs and back are feeling it! Best of all, I feel like I am doing something again!

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The main things I like about this app is the fact that a voice tells you what each exercise is (along with a visual of how to do the exercise), and then you have a countdown for each exercise. So, when you are just about to give up, you can see that you only have 8 more seconds! The exercises change, so you aren’t always doing the same thing over and over again, day in and day out!

So…while I would love to get back to the gym and do what I normally do, I am very happy that there are workout apps available to use when the gym can’t be a reality at the moment! A word of advice, and you may already do this, but when you are looking at the various workout apps in the App Store, gravitate towards those that have a lot of reviews. I’ve found, with these apps especially, that the more reviews, the better!


Valentines Crafts for Kids

Valentine’s Day is such a fun time for kids. The love making Valentines for their friends and family. If you are looking for alternatives to store bought Valentines, then you came to the right place! Just the other day I had some great Valentines alternatives for you, and today I have some more Valentines crafts that are perfect for kids to use as their class Valentines. Best part is, they are super easy to make and put together! For this non-crafty mom, that is right up my alley!

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valentines crafts

Aren’t these Valentines crafts super cute?!? There is truly something for everyone. With some paper, a printer and very minimal other supplies, you can have your kids class Valentines done in no time!

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Valentines Crafts for Kids

Is your child into Minecraft? What about American Girl? Are they too old for the kiddish stuff, but love emoji’s? There is truly something for everyones taste here! You can print these out, tape them to a treat or pencil and BAM! You are done!

Star Wars Non Candy Valentine

Printable LEGO Valentines

Printable Minecraft Valentines

American Girl Valentines

Disney Villains Wicked Cute Valentines

Valentine’s Day Treat Toppers

Yoda Valentines Printable

Star Wars Valentines Printable

LEGO Valentines

Emoji Valentines

Printable Bear Valentines

Valentines Tips

Let your kids pick out what they want to do. Trust me. If you try to steer them towards something, they won’t want to have anything to do with it and I am a huge stickler that they need to write their own name on the Valentines. They are from them, after all! Who cares if they can’t write their name very well. No one cares! Plus, it’s super cute AND they will be very proud of themselves and what they are taking to their friends at school!

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Looking for More Valentines?

Still looking for different Valentines crafts for your kids to do for their classmates? Don’t worry! I have you covered! Check out these super cute Valentines!

Valentine’s Day Crafts

5 Non Candy Valentine’s Day Ideas

Alternatives to Store Bought Valentines

More Alternatives to Store Bought Valentines

Happy Valentine’s Day!


The Best Homemade Valentines

I cannot believe it’s already February. As usual, the year is already flying by. For kids, Valentine’s day is super fun! From the moment they set foot in school, they get to make Valentines for their classmates. If you’re like me, by the time you get all the way through elementary school with the second child, you get a bit bored with the store bought Valentines. These homemade Valentines are super cute and easy to make! Your kids will love giving them to their classmates!

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homemade valentines

The Best Homemade Valentines

Your kids will love taking one of these homemade Valentines to school. Especially if it’s the bubble gum Valentine. They would be the hero of the classroom with that Valentine! The teachers may not be as appreciative, but oh well! It’s all about the kids, right?!? So take a look at the list of Valentines below. Show them to your kids (or just pick one you wouldn’t mind putting together) and have a fun, crafty day! And if you’re a little uneasy about the crafty part, take it from me, as someone that is NOT crafty at all, I could easily put any of these Valentines together!

Which Valentine Do You Like Best?

The list below is such a fun list! Everything to put the homemade Valentines together can be purchased in bulk at the store or Amazon. Because I love the idea of someone else doing the shopping for me (and not leaving the house), I will find you the best Amazon deals I can so you can have your supplies delivered right to your doorstep!

I’m Stuck on You Valentine Printable

You Make My Heart Pop Valentines

Easy Valentine’s Day Printables

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I Chews You Valentine Printable

We Were “Mint” to be Friends

I Think You’re Sharp Valentine

Tic-Tac-Toe Valentine Printable

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Easy Valentine’s Day Bubble Favors

You Make My Heart Bounce Valentine

Hugs and Kisses Valentine Printable

Totes Adorbs Fortune Cookie Valentine

Very Little Crafting Required!

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Choosing the Right Homemade Valentine

Aren’t these cute?!? All of these can be put together pretty quickly and even small children can help! Young children can help put the Hershey Kisses in little bags. While older children are quite capable of doing most of the crafting involved with these Valentines! One recommendation, for the bouncy ball Valentine or the gum ball Valentine, tie the bags tightly. Your child’s teacher will thank you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

homemade valentines

Going Back to College

20 years ago, I set foot into my first college classroom. I absolutely loved it. With a high school campus that now has three high schools and an athletic building that the students travel between them all, the size of college was nothing to me. When I graduated with my Bachelors degree, the plan was to go immediately back and get my masters. However, being pregnant with my second child (and sick EVERY single day, all day long), chasing a two year around, and having a husband that traveled for work, life just got in the way. Finally, 20 years later, I am going back to college to get that masters. Only it will be for a totally different degree than what I planned back then!

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I graduated in 2004 from Eastern Michigan University with my Bachelors of Science degree and a teaching certificate for the state of Michigan. Unfortunately, at that time, there was a surplus of teachers. When applying for jobs, my application ended up being one of 3000 for ONE position. It was nuts. If I was willing to relocate, I could get a job in another state that recognized my Michigan teaching certificate. However, relocating was not an option. I did some long term sub jobs and then decided to go back to college to get my Masters.

back to college

Image via Pexels by Pixabay

The Decision to Go Back to College

For the last 15 years, I have been a stay at home mom. It was important to my husband and I that I be home with the kids. Both of us grew up with our mother home…it’s what we knew, so we sacrificed and made it work. Now, fast forward 15 years. I have a son just starting high school and a daughter just starting middle school. In three and a half years, my son will be in college and three years after that, my daughter will be in college…and then what? What do I do?

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Call it a mid-life crisis or whatever you want, but I have been really freaking out about the thought of my kids going back to college and me not having held a job in YEARS. How is that resume going to look? What jobs would I even be qualified for? I can’t tell you how many times I texted my husband, in freak out mode, about not being able to get a job in the future. Then one day I mentioned something about going back to college and the rest they say, is history!

What Should I Get my Masters for?

When I was going to get my Masters after I finished my Bachelors degree, I was going to get a Masters in early childhood education. Having my teaching certificate, it just made sense to do that. Now, at this point in my life, I don’t plan on teaching in a classroom. So I started thinking about the things I was interested in and would love to do. Only ONE thing stood out. Librarian. Library’s are my happy place. To be honest, working in a library has always been a dream of mine. So Masters in Library Science it is!

So Now What?

I have figured out what I want to do, but how do I go about it? Currently, I am researching various online programs and requesting information. I’m not quite sure which online program I am going to go with just yet, but one thing I do know is that a lot of the programs require GRE test scores. So I picked up a few books, school supplies (love school supplies!!) and I will start studying and getting my brain trained to do math again. That should be fun!

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After doing a Google search, and talking with friends, the above two books were recommended the most as THE books to get to prepare for the GRE test.

I’m excited about the future and what it may bring. Of course I am nervous. I will be doing this degree online. We have one University near me that offers the program. I’m not quite sure if I will be going with that program, or another recommended program. However, I have plenty of time to decide that.

Wish me luck!


New Year, New Me – Back on Keto

It’s so hard to believe that 2018 is done. So much as gone on in 2018. I started the year with gallbladder surgery. It was a much needed surgery. Almost immediately after surgery, I felt relief for the first time in months. Fast forward a few months…I dislocated my knee and that escalated into me needing knee surgery. Right before that surgery, I decided to switch to Weight Watchers. I figured that would be an easier diet to follow while recovering. After a short three month vacation on Weight Watchers, I decided to get back on Keto.

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back on keto

Image via Pexels by Lukas

Back on Keto

While I enjoyed the extra carbs on the Weight Watcher diet, it became abundantly clear that my body did not like the extra carbs. Sure I lost a little weight, but my hands felt swollen, my stomach felt bloated and that brain fog feeling I said goodbye to when I first started the Keto diet, was back. After eating WAY too many cookies at Thanksgiving, I started thinking about going back to the Keto diet. Everyone told me to wait until January 1st. Figured it would be easier for me to get through the holidays, but I couldn’t wait that long. About one week before Christmas, I was back on Keto.

The first time around on Keto, I lost 90 lbs! My husband lost 125 lbs! Throughout the course of 2018 and my multiple surgeries, I did gain about 12 lbs back. Besides the weight loss and total body transformation, my blood work is now perfect and I am no longer on any daily medications. Best of all, in 2018, I got to update my drivers license picture!

How to Get Started

First things first, you need to understand what the Keto diet actually is. In a nutshell, with the Keto diet, you focus on your macros (fat, protein and carbs). You eat a higher fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. Instead of your body relying on carbs to fuel it, you switch to burning fat. Figuring out your appropriate macros for you is super easy. I really like the “Keto calculator” from Ruled.Me. If you are unsure what your body fat percentage is and you do not have a caliper, then Ruled.Me has a link to comparison pictures for you to quickly figure out your body fat percentage.

 

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Once you have your macros figured out, you need to use an app to track everything. The first time around, I used My Fitness Pal. However, I was finding that things were not scanning in correctly or the things people entered into the app were not always accurate. Now I use an app called Carb Manager. It is available both on Android and iOS. I like the look and functionality of the Carb Manager app. The night thing is, unlike My Fitness Pal, you really don’t need the premium version of the app to be successful with it! Though, I will say, the premium version of Carb Manager has a lot of delicious recipes that I find very worth it!

Favorite Keto Recipes

I have to say, being back on Keto is making me remember how much I loved this lifestyle. Not only do I feel amazing (no bloating, no brain fog, etc), but the food is just delicious! Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Cheesy Jalapeno Stuffed Chicken Breast

Spicy Sausage Egg Muffins

The Best Pot Roast Recipe EVER!

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Creamed Spinach

Chorizo Chicken Soup

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Fat Bombs

Easy Homemade Gummy Bears

My goal, now that I am back on Keto (besides losing the last remaining weight and being able to say I lost over 100 lbs) is to post a new Keto recipe a few times a month. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to get instant updates when I post a new recipe!

Keto Diet Tips

In the beginning, as you get into Ketosis (burning fat for energy instead of glucose), you may experience “Keto Flu”. Ride it out. Trust me. You will feel like crap and you may even want to gravitate to the “carb comfort foods”. Don’t do it! Drink lots of water, keep your electrolytes up, and know that this period will be over in a few days. Some things I do to help with Keto flu are:

  • Drink Powerade Zero (isn’t 100% Keto, but it’s Keto enough for me)
  • Drink chicken broth (the added sodium is necessary to help with those electrolyte imbalance)
  • Add in a Magnesium Supplement

Once you’ve been on the Keto diet for a couple weeks, you will notice something amazing. You no longer crave foods. It takes a bit longer for the psychological part to pass. You know, that part where you think you need something, but you really don’t. It could be something as simple as you are watching a show and you always have XYZ while you watch that show. It’s not that you need that item or that you even want it, but your habit is that you do. Good news is, if you stick to the Keto diet, you will start to form new habits. Or…better yet…you will realize that food becomes a means to fuel your body and that hold that food has on you will no longer be there. It’s such an amazing feeling!

As always, if you have any questions, or you just want a little support, message me! I am happy to help, if I can!