#2 of The 12 Post of Christmas

 

Well hello there!

 

I hope you all enjoyed the first installment of The Veronica Blog and FromJtoZ Christmas colab.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, here ya go!

It has been a little while since my last post.  I had been so busy with Thanksgiving preparations.  And then my little baby boy turned THREE on Black Friday so we had his birthday party on Saturday.  So I was busy with that.  I’m not really sure what’s happened to the last week and a half, but it just hit me that there are only 2 1/2 weeks until The Big Day!  And I haven’t even begun planning!  If you’ve read any of my previous Christmas posts (or this one, or even this one), you’ll know that I get myself quite busy around Christmas.

I start planning in the Summer, even though it usually all changes by the time to start getting busy.

I’ve decided to take a step back from 95% homemade gifts for every one.  I did that 2 years ago and it was nice, but I waited way too late to start making them (didn’t account for time to make, time to mess up, time for it not to work out like I had planned, time to do something different, and time for life).  Ayden was just one then and I wasn’t working at all out side the home.  Last year, I made a little less, but still made the majority of the gifts.  Ayden was 2 years old then…a little easier to work with, and I had just started back at Publix part-time and wasn’t working very many hours.  This year, I’ve decided to keep the hand making to a minimum.  It’s kind of sad, but I’m still doing personalized gifts (just using Snapfish more).  Oh thank goodness for Snapfish!!!!!  If you haven’t checked them out, do yourself a favor and go NOW!  They have amazing coupon codes during the season and they try their hardest to get your stuff by Christmas Eve (if you follow their dates).  They have always been good to me.  Anyhoo, I started to panic yesterday when I realized that I don’t even have my lists made!

Are any of you surprised?  If you’re new to my blog, I function on lists.  My brain is too scattered to try and accomplish everything (anything, really) without a list.  So, I woke up today ready to organize my thoughts so I could calm my nerves.  After getting hubby off to work, feeding the dogs, and the boy child, I got my coffee ready, turned on all my Christmas decorations and went to work.

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First thing’s first…my work space needed a little tidying.  After doing that, I got a little distracted by my Christmas tree!

After I reigned my attention back to the task at hand, I sat down with my calendar (Blue Sky Monthly/Weekly, I’m kind of picky about my calendars, and I’ve been using this design for years), and my trusty notebook paper.  I made a master cleaning list. Thumbnail PreHolidayCleaningListWord

This really should have been posted before Thanksgiving.  When I created it, I had it in mind to do before Thanksgiving (if you were hosting).  BUT I wasn’t hosting, so I didn’t do the cleaning for it.  I AM hosting Christmas Eve celebrations so I do need to get the cleaning done.  However, being realistic, I won’t get all of this done.  But at least I have something on paper for next year (and yes, you’ll probably see me here next year, not having done the list).  I do feel it is helpful though, because there could be something on the list, that should get done but might not have gotten thought about.  I know the image is only the first page (it ended up being 4 pages long).  I did it in a fun font, to hopefully be more fun to accomplish.  Feel free to download the document (link), print it, edit it, highlight the most important ones and do those.  I do recommend determining which ones you can do ASAP (tops of things, cupboards, cabinets, fans, frames, etc.) and get those done soon.  After that, determine what can’t be done until the last second and save only those few (shouldn’t be a long list) for last.  Try to fit in the others in the meantime.

I know, BORING!  Who wants to clean.  But for me, it’s important to not be very embarrassed of the food crusted cracks between my stove and countertop.  I don’t need an immaculate house, but I don’t like extended family members thinking I’m a dirty person.  If it doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done.  I’m ok with that, but I like to try.  It is last on the list after ensuring gifts are taken care of, hubby/baby/dogs are fed and happy and the food prep…of course the food.  But still something to help, in case it’s important to you too.

 

After this, I started my To Do lists:  One for the things I need to get done and another one for gift specifics I’m doing.  I don’t think you people understand the scatter-brainedness of my situation.  But I know I’m not alone, so hopefully this not-so-fun post finds those few that need direction.  (is it sad, that I was excited about this post?)  (I’ll keep it quick)  After I made my lists, I got my calendar (monthly view – after schedules and appointments entered), I started planning when I am going to do what).  If I have it down early, and I happen to not get to it, I still have plenty of time to do it another day.  This planning = LESS STRESS for me!  And less stress around the holidays is always better!

Any bakers out there?  Do you make cut out cookies?  Do you feel overwhelmed when you make them?  No? Just me?  Ok well, just in case there is someone who is like me, try this.

I am going to make my doughs (making three: sugar, gingerbread, and a mint cookie) on Friday the 12th.  I will mix them, wrap them in parchment and put them in the fridge.  On Saturday the 13th (during Ayden’s nap), I will roll and cut the cookies.  I will place them on a cookie sheet between layers of parchment, wrap and freeze them.  On Sunday the 14th, I will transfer the now frozen/cut cookies to zip top bags and there they will stay until I bake them on the 23rd.  Sounds like extra work with the freezing part.  But I’d rather do that, than have to do it all in one day on the 23rd.  And if I bake them too early, they won’t be fresh (and probably won’t exist) by Christmas Eve.

To make this easier, just follow me on Instagram @theveronicablog and on Facebook.

I am a recovering procrastinator…if I leave it up to my brain alone…it won’t get done.

 

What helps get you through the holidays?

 

Make sure to stay tuned to FromJtoZ to see what’s next on our #12PostsofChristmas.  Here’s a link to “like” her Facebook page as well!

 

And just for fun…I took Ayden’s 3 year pictures last week…so you’re welcome!

 

8 Week Journey…what’s the plan?

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Ok, so yesterday, I told you all that I am on an 8 week journey to getting as fit as I can get for our trip to The Keys at the end of July.

I am 2 weeks in and that’s the longest I have been able to stay on a fitness plan….like, ever!

Some have been asking what workouts I am doing, and honestly, I have found them all on Pinterest.

Here is how I planned out my days.  I knew I wanted to tone up and I wanted to be semi-aggressive (pretty aggressive for me, though).  First of all, I need to be training for my first 5k race coming this October.  I really can’t tell you how many times I have started the C25k app on my iPhone and not made it past week 4.  I have started it over again (June 1st) and have kept up with it!  But I’m not to week 4 yet…so, the true test is yet to come.

Next, I knew I wanted to focus on toning 3 main areas of my body: my arms, my abs, and my legs.

And I knew I wanted a rest day.

SO, it only made sense to me that I needed to map out my running days (the C25k app suggests running every other day).  In addition to that, I planned to do some sort of cardio each of the 6 days to help burn some fat.  I went through Pinterest, and found three workouts for each of my 3 focus areas.  I get bored easily and need variety.  I also found this a good way to see which workouts I like and are effective and which ones are not.  Then I mapped out what days I would do each focus area workouts.  Since I wanted to maximize my workouts, I also added a 30-day arm challenge and a 30-day ab challenge (more on THAT later).  So here’s how it worked out for me.

Beginning Sunday, June 1st, I wrote down “run” every other day.  And I wrote down Cardio on every day, except for Saturday.  Second, I rotated my focus areas.  Sunday = Arms, Monday = Abs, Tuesday = Legs, Wednesday = Arms, Thursday = Abs, Friday = Legs (you get the idea).  Then I rotated each of the workouts and wrote down the initials by each focus area.  I had three workouts for each area.  Basically it would take me a week and a half to do the whole set of nine workouts without doing the same one twice.  Next, I wrote down “arm ch” and “ab ch” …(need I not remind you, I am a list maker, I must see what I have to do, in order to make a better attempt at actually doing it).  I also wrote a “V” and “Cal” on each day to remind me to take my vitamins (or see which days I didn’t take them) and write down how many calories I was over/under that day.  This way I had it all at one glance, and also I took notes (why I went over calories, why I didn’t do a workout, etc).  And the end of each day, I would mark off what I did, make notes about why I didn’t do something, then give myself a score of a smiley face, a so-so face, or a frown face.  So far, I haven’t given myself any frown faces. (I know it sounds silly, but I must stay on top of this so I don’t quit).

Ok so for Arms, I chose: (all links are below in the pictures)

Arm Workout, 20 Minute Arm Workout, and Sexy Arms Workout.

Abs:

Lose Your Love Handles, 300 Abs, and 5-to-50 Ab Workout

Legs:

Thigh Thinning Circuit, Your Best Butt Ever, and Sexy Legs Workout.

If this kind of regimen sounds interesting to you, I’ll do an overview at the end of this post.

What I have noticed about Pinterest is that almost everything looks appealing to me.  As for some of these workouts, after I did them, I just wasn’t quite feeling it.  So I decided to not continue doing them when they came around again.  Here is a quick review of these said workouts.

Basic simple arm workout! Most guys like to have a day dedicated to having nice, defined arms!

This workout seemed to beat me up a little (maybe it was ’cause it was the first day, maybe it was the burpees)

I didn’t really feel anything from it the next day (I go by sore muscles) so I decided to scratch it and have found a new one for it’s place.  It’s this oneThe "Awesome Arm Workout".  And I like it a lot better.

Saifou images | SaiFou

This one I LOVED.  Maybe not at the time I did it, but I did feel some nice sore muscles the next day.

arm workout #exercise

LOVED LOVED LOVED this one.  I did it after a midday C25k run and it kept my heart rate at maximum of my “zone” the whole time!  I didn’t do the Finale, because I didn’t know what Curl Presses were and frankly…I was done!

Lose Your Love Handles....yes please

This isn’t a bad one, but again, I didn’t really feel my abs burning the whole thing or anything the next day.  I’d rather do other various ab exercises (especially planks).  So I think I will scratch this one.  I gave it 2 tries.

Girl's Home Ab Workout for Sexy Stomach

This one was a keeper.  I could still feel the affects of this one 2 days later.

5 to 50 Ab Workout

I liked this one too.  It has a variety of moves and really pushed me.  I couldn’t finish all of them, but I tried.  I had to keep reminding myself that I am at the beginning of my journey and I won’t be able to do everything yet.  But I am working toward it.

PWR-ThighThinning

To be honest, I didn’t try this one.  I kept a note (glad I did, cuz I couldn’t remember why I didn’t do this workout).  My legs were way too sore from the “cardio” workout I had tried to do on the previous day.  Since the day before wasn’t a running day, I tried to just do a cardio workout (from a workout app on my phone).  But I got bored after 10 minutes and ended up going for a walk.  But maybe I should consider that “cardio” workout for my phone for a leg workout.  So I have yet to try this one.  It was supposed to be done yesterday, but I did something different.

Glute workout

Ok, so technically this one was for the butt and not the legs, but I figured it could help the legs in the process.  I did like this one and had sore buns the next day.

Sexy Leg Workout That Only Takes 15 Mins!!!

Oh yes!  This one had me yelling at the exercises.  I hate wall sits.  But like planks, I hate them but I love them.

As I mentioned, I did something that wasn’t in the plan for yesterday and it was this one.

The Lean Legs Workout   I know these work.. So im interested to see If this workout plan works!!!!

I won’t be keeping this one around because my knees HATE lunges.  Which works out for me cuz I hate them too.  I might keep the curtsy lunges around if I need to bump something up.

This is my arm challenge and ab challenge.  I was not able to keep up with the ab challenge and I have decided that starting tomorrow I will be switching it to a plank challenge.  Planks are so much more effective.  I had to skip a couple of days of the arm challenge due to sore muscles or feeling like I was going to be sick at the end of a couple workouts.  So I’m just picking up where I left off.

Ok so here’s how the calendar actually looked in list form.

Day 1 – Run (C25k week1day1), Cardio (usually an extra 15 minutes of brisk walk), Arms (Arm Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge.

Day 2 – Cardio, Abs (Lose Your Love Handles), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 3 – Run (C25k week1day2), Cardio, Legs/Butt (Thigh Thinning Circuit), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 4 – Cardio, Arms (20 Minute Arm Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 5 – Run (C25k week1day3), Cardio, Abs (300 Abs), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 6 – Cardio, Legs/Butt (Best Butt Ever), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 7 – Run (C25k week2day1), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge (REST focus area)

Day 8 – Cardio, Arms (Sexy Arms Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 9 – Run (C25k week2day2), Cardio, Abs (5-to-50 Ab Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challengs

Day 10 – Cardio, Legs/Butt (Sexy Legs Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge.

 Then it just repeats from there.  So far, it seems to be working for me.  I took my measurements today after the first 2 weeks and I am down 1.3 pounds.  Down 0.5″ in my right arm (left arm stayed the same), smallest part of my waist is down 0.5′, my biggest part of my waist (right under my belly button = my problem area) was up 0.25″ :(, my hips were down 0.5′ and my butt was down 1″.  My thighs remained the same.  Altogether that’s a decrease of 2.25″.  So yeah, I’d say something’s working so I’m going to keep going (making changes where I need to based on my notes) and see where I am in two more weeks.  And maybe (just maybe) if my progress pictures are good enough to show, maybe I’ll post those too.

This is the plank challenge I chose.  I will start it tomorrow.

Christmas Recap – Crafty Edition

Above, you will see a LOT of pictures of all things crafty from this past Christmas.

When Ayden was born (November 2011), I did not go back to work.  Berkley and I were bringing in about the same income so that means we cut our income in half!  By Christmas 2012, I was trying to see if I could decrease our Christmas gift spending without sacrificing gifts.  (Yes, I know that Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, but I think part of what I gained from this experience helped to look at gift giving differently).  So, I decided to make everyone’s gifts.  I had made gifts in the past, but it was as I was inspired.  At this time, Pinterest was a great source of Pinspiration.  So, I got out some trusty notepaper (my BFF) and started my list (one of my strengths).

Off to Hobby Lobby I went, excited that I got to actually buy stuff while I was in there!!!

Boy, was I in for a surprise.  I had NO idea how much work it was going to be to make all these gifts from scratch (and no…I couldn’t just do one gift per person, it was like 2-3 plus a couple gift), while taking care of a house and a one year old.  Also, my parents stay with us when they come for visits.  Not only did I not have all my gifts made by the time they got here, I didn’t even have their gifts made.  So I was making stuff in front of my mom that was for her and had to tell her it was for my MIL.

Anyway, to make a VERY VERY long story just a long story.  I was way in over my head.  I had so much to do at the last minute and I also had baked goods on my gifts list and those can’t be done too far in advance.  Not to mention what I contribute to our family gatherings on Christmas Eve and Day.  If you would like to see more on what I made last year, you can click here.

Alright, fast-forward a little bit to June 2013.  I was so ahead of the game (mind you, I am the world’s BEST list maker and also BEST procrastinator).  I got my notebook, made my list of who I was making gifts for, make a list of the gifts, make another list for all the supplies I will need.  And I started watching the Hobby Lobby and Michael’s ads every Sunday for what anything I needed that was 40 or 50% off so I didn’t have to use up my weekly coupons.  I even highlighted the projects I could do early and get out of the way so that it didn’t all pile up on me with the things I had to wait to do.  I was doing so good.   If there was a few things on sale that I needed, I went, got them, got something with my 40% off coupon and stashed away.  A few months into this wonderful plan and we ran into some major financial hurdles that made me change my tactic.  I now had to wait until the 2nd week in December to purchase the rest of my supplies.  Didn’t have enough of one project to be able to start early..nope!

This is why the phrase “the best laid plans” is the story of my life.  Needless to say, this didn’t all work out according to plan or even close.  I think late November, I ended up changing the whole gift list and going from there.  I worked with what I had and purchased the rest.  On top of this stress, I found out that my parents (who usually come a few days before the holiday) weren’t able to come until very very late the 23rd.  Because of this, I did not want to be rushing around on Christmas Eve (which I always am).  PS, Christmas Eve is when our whole family (grandparents, in-laws, etc) get together for finger foods and gifts.  And this year, it was back at my house.  Not a good year to be behind on gifts again!  On top of finishing gifts, I had to get the house clean, prep food, and still manage to make sure that my son wasn’t eating Nutella out of the jar, sneaking sips of my coffee, or trying to hook the dogs up with extra food!

So what do I do?  I make another list, two actually.  One for every single task for every single gift I had to make.  And the other for every single other thing I had to do that wasn’t gift related.  This might seem like just more work (busy work) to some of you.  But for my undiagnosed attention deficit issues and scatterbrainedness (don’t try to Google it, I know it ain’t a word) it was the only way I could get through all of this.  My brain doesn’t have to think this way.  I just look at the list and do what I can do at that moment.

Believe it or not, I got everything done, and wrapped, early (never has happened for me, usually wrapping in my room while people are arriving).  So, feel free to take a look at the pictures in this post.  If you click on the picture, you can scroll through the gallery and read the captions.

I will always make gifts (maybe not all of them, but at least one per person).  I love the feeling of putting so much thought, creativity, and joy into the gifts and seeing the reaction on the receiver’s face when they open it.  I usually go for a tear, sometimes I get one, sometimes I don’t.  😉

Thanks for taking the time to read through what seems like chaos, still, in my brain.  Stay tuned for the other editions of the Christmas Recap; Gift Photo Blooper Edition and Food Edition.

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