Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I bought a Fitbit!

See? I told you I was serious about this fitness stuff! I bought a Fitbit & I am loving it :)  

Some friends had mentioned trackers in a Facebook conversation the other day & it really got me thinking. I knew about them of course, but I didn't know much about all the different ones out there. Spent the next couple of days reading online reviews & blogs ... & decided the Fitbit One was the best one for me. I wore it for the first time yesterday & made it to 6,300 steps. The optimal is 10,000 so I have a ways to go. It's hard because I have a desk job. But I do get up often .... to the copier .... to see my boss ... to the kitchen to load up on coffee & water .... then to bathroom to unload all that coffee & water. 

It's 7:30 PM right now & I'm up to 6,721 steps .... 24 flights of stairs .... 2.98 miles .... & I've burned 1,644 calories. We also decided we are going to give the gym a try, I can't wait to watch my numbers go up! 

If you want to be Fitbit friends (yes, there is such a thing LOL) email me! I welcome any extra motivation! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Certain songs can amp up your workout?

So I mentioned in my last post that this is the year I will start working out on a regular basis. I'm not talking a walk around the neighborhood here & there .... which has basically been my routine till now. I'm talking either joining a gym .... or buying a treadmill or elliptical. I've been doing lots of research about different types of exercise .... weight training (because I have old lady arms) .... running vs walking .... cute workout clothes (ya gotta look good to feel good!) .... & I came across this interesting article. It basically says that while listening to music can intensify a workout, there is scientific evidence these 5 songs are the best to listen to while working out, to maximize the benefits: 

"Eye of the Tiger" (Survivor) 109 BPM

"Don't Stop Me Now" (Queen) 154 BPM

"Beat It" (Michael Jackson) ... one of my all time favorite songs ....needless to say it's already on my playlist! 139 BPM

"I Like to Move It" (Reel 2 Real) ... if I'm going to listen to this I'll also have to watch Madagascar in my head. 123 BPM

"Push It" (Salt N Pepa) ... one of my favorite club songs back in the day. 130 BPM

Not only that, but they included a link to this website, which will calculate the BPM of any song! 

I checked a couple in my play list ..... 

"You're the One That I Want" (Grease) 106 BPM

"Enter Sandman" (Metallica) 139 BPM

"Back in Black" (AC/DC) many version listed, with BPM ranging from 96 up to 193

"So What" (Pink) 79 BPM

I know, my play list is very eclectic! 

Anyway, I found this all very interesting & I can go to bed tonight knowing I learned something new today :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hello 2015!

Huh, I must be feeling ambitious .... 2 posts in one week! Well I OF COURSE had to talk about the coming year, & what I hope to accomplish.

My resolution for 2015 is to catch up on my resolutions from 2012, 2013 & 2014!


Seriously, I do have some things I hope to follow through with this year:

1: Get back to some kind of crafting, any kind. I realized I'm a much happier person when I have something to call my own. Maybe it would be easier if there were another girl in this house. I'm surrounded by boys, who all think crafting is stupid & a waste of time. To them I say ....

So, whether I start stamping again (with what's left of my stuff) ..... or making jewelry .... or fine tuning my photography .... I will do something that makes me happy :)

2: I know this is cliche, but I really do hope to get into shape this year. Last summer my son & I were walking about 3 miles, 3 to 4 times a week. Then I got sick, & didn't do it for about 3 weeks. Then school started & things got busy & we just didn't do it anymore. He has a weight training class at school that he loves, & he keeps asking if we can join the Y. For a family, it's $83 a month. The other 2 peeps in this family could stand to get some exercise as well, it's just a matter of WOULD we all go? Would we have the motivation? Is that monthly fee motivation enough to go? (I am pretty frugal, after all!) When it's zero degrees outside, am I going to want to leave my warm house to go to a gym & workout?? I just don't know. I know I have to do it. It's either that or *gasp* start eating healthy, & if you know me at all you know that's just not happening. And heart disease runs in my family big time. I'm 47 years old. My grandpa died from a heart attack when he was 47. My uncle died from heart issues when he was 43. And my dad had quad bypass when he was 53. All the same side of the family, the side I take after. So .... that right there should be my motivation! 

3: Another cliche - organization. Just today I took 9 bags of crap gently used items to Goodwill. My plan is to tackle one tiny area of this house a week. And by tiny area, I mean - not a whole dresser, just a drawer. If I'm feeling it, then I'll tackle another drawer. I know if I set my goals higher, I will just throw my hands up & say "forget it, too much work". 

So those are the 3 things I'm really going to work hard at. Do any of these look similar to your resolutions?? Any words of encouragement?? 

Happy New Year to all, & if you're going out tonight ~~BE SAFE ~~

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy holidays to all ...

Well, I missed "Merry Christmas" (late, which has been the theme of my entire year) so instead I will say .......

Hope your 2015 is everything you want it to be! 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

A new hobby??

****** CLICK HERE if you'd like a chance at winning a High Hopes stamp ******

I haven't even come close to getting rid of all my paper craft supplies, & I'm already thinking of possibly starting a new hobby. Even though I know I don't have the time, I just feel like something is missing if I don't have a little something to do that's just for me. 

Soooooo my mom & grandma had started beading after one of my grandma's stints at a rehab/nursing home. It was something they did a lot with the residents & after my grandma was home, she realized she really missed crafting & decided to continue.

My mom is someone who always said "if I can buy something already made, why would I take the time & effort to make it myself?". Needless to say, she didn't quite understand my love of card making. 

But, after watching my grandma bead, she decided to try it. And lo & behold, she enjoyed it! 

And so like any good mother would, she tried to get me into it. I told her I didn't have time for my own hobby, why would I start another? And besides, I now have roughly 92 handmade bracelets that she has made for me, so I don't really have a need to bead. 

However, I also have a co-worker who is very into beading & has been doing it for a long time. She makes necklaces & earrings as well as some very unique bracelets. She sent me a few links to some of her beading friends on Pinterest, which make me go to You Tube & watch a few tutorials and .....

I haven't bought any beads YET. But I'm close to breaking. My mom only makes bracelets. She doesn't have pierced ears so she has no interest in making earrings. And the bracelets she does make are simple - no clasps. She only has partial use of her left hand so it's hard enough for her to just string beads on a piece of wire & tie a couple of knots. She can't do anything fancy.

But I could.

Both pictures are bracelets my mom has made. If SHE ...... she who shunned crafts of any kind for the first 60 years of her life .... can make these, then I can too. The question is, do I want to start another hobby?? Can I start ano
ther hobby? Do I have time for another hobby? Ok, I already know the answer to that last one. 

Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This, that & a giveway!

I have no excuses. 

The rest of the summer simply .... got away from me. 

Life got busy. 

My friend posted this on Facebook the other day:

"I'm eliminating the word "busy" from my vocabulary. It's a lazy, default answer to the questions "How's life? How've you been?"

There's no virtue in being busy and pretending to have more going on than others. We're all busy. We all have work to do, families to spend time with, friends to hang out with and support. 

Next time you ask me how life is, I'll have a better answer."

I love this. I am soooo guilty of saying life gets busy, I need more hours in the day, there's too much to do. Nobody has more than 24 hours in their day. I'm going to try to be better. I love my blog, my readers, my blogging friends, & I miss everyone. 

So what have I been up to since we last chatted?

* My son got his temps. He's been driving with me quite a few times & he's had his first behind-the-wheel lesson (on a dark, rainy, windy night, no less). I'm so happy for him I could cry. Ahem. 

* I've been seeing my brother about once a month. In September he & I hung out all day together, just the two of us. We went to the Farmer's Market, the lake, & he took me to lunch for my birthday. This month, I took the boys there & we attended a Science Festival, went to lunch at the University Union, & went for frozen custard. My SIL & niece went too & it was just a fun day hanging out with them. 

* Working LOTS. New account for our company = lots of extra hours for Michelle!

* Getting ready to get some much needed improvements/ repairs done on our house. Some major, some minor, all necessary. Will take photos as we go! 

* As "busy" as I am, I am finding more time for my friends. I find myself meeting friends for coffee, drinks, & dinner a lot more often than I used to. My boys are older now, so I don't have to try to work around my husband's schedule if I want to make plans. I just do. If the boys are home alone, so be it. They spent all summer alone together (LOL "alone together"? I'm pretty sure that's an oxymoron. Or something like that.) They have become responsible, trustworthy young men & I am so proud & grateful for both of them. 

*Last weekend, the boys & I went to the zoo for their Halloween goings-on. Fun all around. I shared these on Facebook but in case we are not friends on FB, or you missed them, here's a quick recap of our day: 

It was another perfect day spent with my boys! 

And .... if you've stuck with me through this whole post & all the pictures .... I have a small giveaway. I've been trying like mad to get rid of all my stamps & supplies. I've sold some on Ebay, some on SCS, some here (see my For Sale page) & some through Craigslist. I'm running out of time (there's that busy thing again) & patience. So .... every once & a while I will be giving something away. Nothing big .... just a stamp here .... maybe a pad of paper there .... 

Today, I choose Juliette's Leap of Faith from High Hopes. You can see the image on their web site HERE. It was drawn by my favorite artist, Crissy Armstrong. I loved being on the High Hopes design team & will always love every stamp of theirs. Some I will never let go of. But it's time for at least a few of them to live somewhere where they may receive a bit more love than I can give them. So ..... leave a comment for me if you are interested .... & I will pick a name .... oh, I don't know ... some time before my next post. Ha!! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fab Friday

Happy Friday to all! I hope your week was great! Here are some of my random happenings this week:

1: Sunday was the last day of our County Fair & I'm happy to report we had beautiful weather all 5 days. That never happens! I'm so proud of my kids and the projects they completed. And we got a surprise when we went back after the judging had been complete - Michael earned a purple Champion ribbon for his Peanut Brittle! 

It's extra funny because the recipe is so ridiculously easy - that's why I picked it, I figured he could handle it. And I'd never tried it, so I kind of took a chance with that one. Guess I'll be sharing that recipe with you all soon! 

2: It was a yummy food-filled day at work today. Popeye's Chicken is one of our accounts, & a few of their peeps were visiting our office today. So .... we had a catered Popeye's lunch! AND one of our vendors sent a HUGE Edible Arrangements fruit basket! AND a co-worker brought in doughnuts for her birthday. AND another brought brownies ... just because. Yep, I think I'll need to go for 4 walks tonight.

3: Speaking of walks, my son & I had been going for walks almost every night since about May. We had gotten up to almost 3 miles. Then I got sick. The walking stopped. I was lucky I could get myself to work. Whatever I had lasted over 2 weeks. Then with baseball & getting ready for the fair .... there was no time & we totally dropped the ball. Happy to report, we went for a walk last night & I almost died. But I didn't!!! We were a bit slower than the last time we walked but we made it!

4: My flowers are doing fabulously!! Usually by mid July we've had a ton of heat & no rain, & I get tired of watering every day so my flowers start to look sad. Not this year!

5: My son is all signed up for Driver's Ed *** sniffle *** Time really does go fast. When he was born, I remember thinking "Gosh I hope they raise the driving age to 18 by the time he's 16". That hasn't happened. And while I'm happy for him that he'll have the independence that comes with driving, I'm not happy for me. I foresee lots of wrinkles & gray hair coming my way! 

How was your week? 

 *** Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth ***


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

LEGOLAND {Chicago}

My family & I were recently invited to Legoland Discovery Center ~ Chicago, which was really funny timing because I hadn't realized there *was* a Legoland in Chicago until a few weeks prior, when a co-worker took his kids there. He kept telling me how awesome it was & that I should take a trip there with my boys. I wasn't totally sold, as it IS about an hour & a half drive AND my boys are quite a bit older, having a been-there-done-that attitude toward Legos. But then fate intervened & I was given free tickets. And BONUS -- when I looked on Google Maps to figure out how the heck to get there, I saw that IKEA was very close to Legoland so we could make a day of it. 

We did get a bit turned around as we entered the city. It's located in Schaumberg - & I'd even been there before - but apparently I am very map-challenged, as I just couldn't figure out where we were & where Legoland was. When we finally did find it, I was super excited because it was located in a strip mall. We knew we didn't want to eat at Legoland & I was happy to see other choices. And .... had I NOT been with 3 males .... I could have done some major damage at the surrounding stores! 

I have to say the entrance is UBER cool - with a big ole giraffe hanging out in the front (can you believe my boys didn't want their picture taken with this??? It would have been adorable!)

Oh, but they were FINE with this picture. 

I honestly didn't know what to expect. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but they did have lots of fun exhibits & things to do. Well, the activities were mostly aimed toward smaller kids. But we knew that going there. We still managed to spend about 2 hours in there. 

MINILAND Chicago is right when you walk in, & I thought it was pretty cool! I've always wanted to visit Chicago :)

I couldn't believe the details involved. I really wanted to just take a ton of pictures, but there were people waiting behind me so I had to click fast. I'm told that they actually change this a bit for each season. I think it would be awesome to see what they do for Christmas! 

The Jungle Expedition was next. It was pretty dark so it was hard to get good shots. Again, people were behind me waiting for me to walk so I had to just click click click. I had to resort to using my flash.

I'm sure I didn't even see all the jungle beasts in this area. So much to look at! 

I believe this next area is newer:

I love Star Wars so was excited to see Darth Vader, Obi-Wan, & this little guy:

Next up was a ride that was quite similar to one of my favorite things we did in Disney, the Buzz Lightyear ride.

You ride in a dragon car & you try to zap as many trolls & skeletons as you can. Unfortunately something of mine was malfunctioning, so while my gun did vibrate when I shot something, my points were't tallying. The same darn thing happened in Disney! I know what you're thinking .... operator problem .... but this time, Matthew's gun didn't work either. So ha! Yes, we could have ridden again ... but we thought we'd give the little kids a chance :)  No cameras allowed on the ride so you'll just have to trust me: Ride this. 

Another fun thing for all ages - a couple of short 4D movies.

We watched both movies - "Clutch Powers" & "Legends of Chima". And I didn't even get sick, lol (I don't usually do well with 3D. But hey - this was 4D so I guess I'm ok with that!).

There were a few areas we missed, either because it was too congested or my kids just weren't interested. They have a Master Builder Academy, where you can learn some building tips (my kids don't even own Legos anymore, plus it was insanely crowded in there, so we skipped it) -- a Factory Tour, which I think again is aimed towards younger kids -- & we also only peeked into the Cafe. It looked like a lot of fun & they had an area in the middle where you could race your creations, but again - really packed. We did hit the Lego store on the way out. It was fun to browse through all the different Lego sets that you can't find anywhere else. 

All in all, we had fun. It was a great way to spend 2 hours on a Saturday, although I do suggest NOT going on a weekend if possible. In hindsight, I should have taken off work & gone during the week. But we still had a great time. All the employees were nice, everything was clean & there was a lot of laughter so clearly everyone was having a great time. Even my big boys had fun AND they even admitted it!! Huge!! If you are a fan of Legos, age doesn't matter. My 40-something year old cousin sitll loves Legos, & I heard he was quite jealous of our little day trip :)

If you want to read more details, or find out if I missed anything :) -- you can go to there web site HERE. You can also follow them on Facebook & Twitter.  

***I will post about the rest of our day soon. Was IKEA a thumbs up or thumbs down for me????

**I was given tickets for my family to visit Legoland. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

High Five for Friday

Ok, let me explain....

It's summer.

I was sick for over 2 weeks. 

We've been UBER busy. 

It's summer.

It's hard to believe I actually had *more* spare time when I had little ones running around. Everyone told me I'd get busier as my kids got older. Didn't think it was possible. 

It's possible.

I'm going to have to rename my blog. There is no such thing as "mom's time". Moms GET no time! 

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

So .... kind of half "High Five for Friday" & half "what have I been up to since my last post" ..... in a nutshell:

1: A trip to Legoland Chicago. A separate post about this fun day will happen as soon as I get through all my pictures :)

2: Our County Fair is going on right now. We are in 4H, which means showing projects & working at the fair. Thankfully, for the first time since we've been doing this it is NOT in the triple digits this week! 

Lexi, my cousin's fur baby

3: I had my new brother & his family over July 5th. It was part birthday celebration for him (his birthday was a few days prior), part July 4th celebration & part meeting more family members. I ended up having about 15 people & it was a blast. Thankfully no rain! Having that many people in my house would make me break out in hives lol....

4: Baseball, baseball, baseball ....

5: Annual picnic at the Zoo for my husband's work. Unfortunately it wasn't the best weathers, but we still had fun. How can you not have fun when the animals pose for the camera & say "cheese"?

Hope you all are having a great summer! I think I actually have some time to do a little blurfing tonight - I need to catch up!!

*~* linking up with Lauren Elizabeth *~*

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The best Memorial Day EVER

Nothing tops the birth of my 2 children as the most fantastic days of my life. But this one comes close. You are not going to believe what's been going on in my life the last couple of weeks! Bear with me, this is a long story, but a happy one!
I am 46 years old & an only child. You have no idea how much I HATED being an only child. Especially when I was little & lived in a very small town. I was extremely shy (kind of the anti-adult me) & not having any siblings didn't help. All my friends had siblings. The first time I met another only child was in high school. She loved it. I envied her because I really hated it. 

Fast forward to when my dad died 11 years ago, at age 57. Way too young. Again, I was very alone. Sure, I had my mom. But we were grieving differently. I had my husband, but he still had both his parents. He had no idea what it was like to lose a parent. I really glommed onto my friends who had lost one or both their parents. I felt a connection to them. 

Fast forward again to last week Sunday. My mom called & after the usual chit chat, she asked if I had any time to stop by after work any time soon. I looked at my calendar, & told her possibly on Wednesday, but that we were pretty booked the whole week. I figured she wanted help putting in her screen door or something else warm-weather related. When I asked what she needed help with, she said "Nothing, I just need to talk to you." I thought "uh oh...". I asked if she was ok, & she assured me she isn't dying. I asked if I was dying. She laughed & said no, she just needed to talk to me in person. Now, just a few months ago my grandma, who I was extremely close to, died. Even though I knew it was coming, my mom had no problem telling me over the phone. Something was wrong.

She finally relented, & said my aunt had been contacted on Facebook by someone, & she was afraid I would be, too. Now I was wondering if I was in the Witness Protection Program & didn't know. Then she dropped the bomb on me. "The person who contacted Aunt C is your father's son."

Um ....... what?!?!?!?

"Your father dated a girl in high school before he met me, she got pregnant & they put the baby up for adoption."

Um ....... what?!?!?!?

She proceeded to tell me they had already broken up when they found out she was pregnant, in fact he was already dating my mom. Her mother was a very strict BEOTCH & turned my grandparents away when they offered to help. The girl was sent away to live with a family as a housekeeper until the baby was born. My grandparents even offered to have her live with them, but this girl's mom said if they came near her daughter, she would call the police. So .... they left it alone. The baby was put up for adoption & that was the end. My mom did know, as did my aunt & uncle. But that was it. 

So a few weeks ago my aunt got a message, asking if she was {my father's} sister. She said yes & it went from there. After my mom told me, I looked him up on Facebook & he is the spitting image of my dad. My aunt forwarded me some of the emails between them & OMG, the humor -- same as my dad. It was scary.

But nothing prepared me for today. My aunt & I got to meet him, & WOW, it was like talking to a younger version of my dad. He's funny, intelligent, clearly a very caring husband & father - he is everything I ever would have wanted in a brother. He lives in Madison, just an hour away, & we are already planning to meet each other's family. I posted a picture of us on Facebook & the support from both sides is amazing. Everyone is thrilled for us. I've lost a lot of family members in the last few years, I never thought I would actually have any kind of addition!

So this Memorial Day definitely goes down as the best in my life. We have been enjoying getting to know each other via Facebook posts, messages & photos. I can't wait for him to meet the rest of my family, nor can I wait to meet his wife, daughter & the rest of HIS family! 

If you have read this entire thing THANK YOU for sharing in my joy!!! 

Me & my new brother:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mitchell Park Domes {Milwaukee}

I was lucky enough to chaperone my son's field trip last week to the Mitchell Park Domes. I love the domes, but I don't get there often. Pretty much, when I chaperone field trips, lol. If it weren't for field trips I'd never get to go anywhere fun! 

It's been a crazy spring here in Wisconsin, & this day was no different. When Michael & I left the house at 8:00, it was about 60 degrees. 10 minutes later when we got out of the car at school, it was about 80 & humid. That does not make for a fun school bus ride into Milwaukee. But it could have been worse. It could have been snowing! 

So if you've never heard of the domes, there are 3 of them - Tropical, Desert, & the Show Dome which is seasonal. We visited the Show Dome first. Don't worry, I won't share all my pictures LOL.

We went to the Tropical Dome next. Why not, my hair was already trashed from the humidity LOL.

Actually, I think this was my favorite. I liked the beautiful spring flowers in the Show Dome, but the Tropical Dome had things I'd never seen before. And I'm not talking about the dinosaurs. 

Last but not least, the Desert Dome. I was a little afraid to enter, thinking I wasn't going to be able to breathe, but the temperature was actually quite cool. 

I had such a great day visiting a great place with a great bunch of 5th graders. If you are in the Milwaukee area, check out the Mitchell Park Domes. Definitely a fun day for all ages!