Wednesday, May 30, 2012

AHHH!

The excitement in me is just too much to hold in! 

My first post over at After Nine to Five is LIVE! OMGoodness! 

{You know those crazy dreams where you go to school and realize you don't have any clothes on-- that's about as exposed as I feel right now.} 

But in a good way. 
I finally have this amazing opportunity to share my creative ideas with even more people.
And I'm SUPER excited about it. 

So, head over there, check it out, and be sure to leave a comment on her blog letting me know what you think!

Happy Wednesday!
XOXO

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Exercise Routine

To date- I've lost 15.5 lbs! 

These last few pounds have been extra tough to lose, especially with a calorie packed camping weekend- I'm surprised that I still lost weight!

I wanted to show what my exercise routine has been and how it is that I've been able to lose weight- and continue to do so.

Here is my exercise routine:

Monday: 1 hour Zumba
Tuesday: Lift weights and Treadmill (about 30 mins of each)
Wednesday: 1 hour Aqua Zumba
Thursday: Either Jillian Michaels DVD or a Water Weights class
Friday: Lift weights and Treadmill (about 30 mins each)
Saturday: Lap Swim, outdoor run, family bike ride or any other family activity

I am no expert- I have no idea if this is ideal or not- but it's working for me so I plan to stick with it.
I love having the different classes and things to do because I never get bored of anything, I always find myself excited for the upcoming workout. I love each of the workouts that I do (except maybe the JM DVD) because I know myself enough to know that if I'm doing a boring workout I would totally have given up after the 1st week.

Also- I don't let setbacks=quitting. I used to get really discouraged if I didn't meet a short term goal or if I missed a workout. Now I have really tried to just keep going even if I can't work out as hard or if I'm not seeing the same results. That's the difference between a diet and a lifestyle change.

Oh golly, my BF Heidi would be so proud with that last sentence- she's been telling me that for YEARS! Better late then never, right?


Happy Tuesday!! 
XOXO

Friday, May 25, 2012

DONE.

I announced last time that I am now a contributor over at After Nine to Five
& this week I have been crazy busy getting ready to submit my first post. 

It is SUBMITTED. whew. 

I worked my little tail off to get the projects finished- the perfectionist in me was showing her true colors all week. I can't wait for you guys to see it! 

The post will go live Wednesday. I can't wait!
Here is just a little taste of what you'll be seeing next week: 


OH golly guys! It's gonna be good :) 

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!
I'm so grateful for this beautiful, free country that I am a proud to live in. 
Home of the Free, 
Because of the Brave. 
Happy Friday ALL! 
XOXO
 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Life Lately

First off, something pretty totally radically awesome happened: 

I'm now a contributor for After Nine To Five!!!!

I'll be doing craft tutorials twice a month over there- go check it out! 
Here is the Contributor Page, and go Here to check my page!
Ashley is one cool chick  :) 

So, that's one reason why my posts have been lacking. 
Apparently I don't do that many crafts because now that I'm doing tutorials over there I'm 
not sure what I'll be posting over here anymore... I'll figure something out.

Okay, what else has been going on?... 

We had a pretty awesome garage sale. We made almost $150! Considering we don't
really own anything and nearly everything was priced under $1- we got rid of a TON of stuff. 
It feels SOOOO good to de-clutter and I figure- 1/3 of the packing is already done, right? 


We've been playing in our little pool a few times each week- it's been warm! 
PK loves the water- no surprise there- and I love to sit outside soaking in the heat. 
Plus, a got a super cute sun hat that makes the soaking that much more glamorous :) 

I must have hit a plateau with my weight loss last week- I only lost 1/2 a pound!
In all fairness I only worked out 4 days last week instead of my usual 6. 
And we went to Red Robin. {unlimited fries.}
So the combination of all that and so far I've lost 
12.5 pounds. 
To be honest, I'm super proud. {Is it okay to say that?}
I've really wanted to lose weight for a long time, and I would try, lose a pound or two, and then give up.  
I'm glad that this time I have several friends to work out with- because doing it by myself was obviously not working.  So, I'm not going to lose 20 (overall) pounds by June 1st- I doubt it anyway- but this time, I'm not quitting. Maybe I'll only lose 15 pounds- but that's 2.5 pounds more than nothing. 
Attitude is everything.  I'm learning, guys :) 


The Alvey Family Reunion is the weekend. YAY!! 
We're really excited- and this week we'll be busy preparing. 
Not being an avid camper myself, I never really know what/how to pack. I always bring either way to much stuff I don't need (like 5 extra outfits and my straightener), and not bringing important stuff (hand sanitizer or pillows).  So this time we've made a pretty intense list that I hope will be everything. Here's to crossing my fingers! 

We've had good success with 1-2-3 Magic. I don't want to talk much about what it is, because my sister said she'd do a post about it for me {she's been using 1-2-3 Magic for a few years now}. So look forward to that post sometime soon. In related news, that same sister has recently made her blog public! YAY! You should totally go check her out- she's basically the most awesome lady that side of the Mississippi :) 

I think that's it for now.
Look forward to my first post on After Nine to Five next week! Yikes! 

Happy Monday all! 
XOXO

Monday, May 14, 2012

Filing Cabinet Makeover {tutorial}

I don't know if I can really call this a tutorial- but I haven't done one in a long time- so here it is :)

We had the typical (ugly!) filing cabinet. A biege-ish, cold, big, hunkin' piece of metal that did nothing for the beauty of my craft room/office.

Here is the before:


Step 1: Supplies
I found this cute contact paper from the Dollar Store. I got two rolls of it. 
I also used this plastic scrapper (also from the Dollar Store) that I use to pick up veggies to move them. 
It worked really well to get the bubbles out of the contact paper. 

Step 2: Measure and Adhere
Measure the contact paper for each of the sides that you want to cover. 
This was pretty easy for me because the width of the roll was exactly the width of the cabinet. BONUS! 
So I had several fewer cuts to make- which is good because I can't cut straight :) 



I covered the sides and top- minus the back. I figured no one would see it because it's always in a corner somewhere, and I wasn't sure I had enough. 

Step 3: Beautify 
While I really like the contact paper-  I knew that it needed a few more personal touches. I initially painted the handles and the outside trim that mustard color. It just wasn't right.
So then I painted the trip plum and loved it :)
Sometimes you just have to try something different because when it's all said and done the original plan just doesn't look the same way as it did in your head- happens to me all the time! 

So here it is: 
 The finished filing cabinet. 
I actually really like it. 
Definitely a big difference! 

Before & After: 



For 3 bucks! LOVE those kind of crafts! 
Heck- they're the only ones I do :) 

Happy Monday.
p.s. {Its the middle of MAY! Whoa- 2012 is going fast!!}
XOXO
Linking Here: 

How we paid off our car

When Jed and I were engaged- his car broke down. {He may have spent the previous months teaching me to drive manually... but that's beside the point :)}
Fast forward to when we got married- Jed was going to drive to IL, we'd get married, honeymoon, and then drive back to Utah together {with all of my stuff}. I wanted an automatic, fuel efficient, big trunk and roomy inside car, and Jed got it- a Toyota Camry.
Yes, my grandma has the same car. And yes, everytime we see another Camry- it's only as we speedily drive past them on their Sunday drive :)
But the car has been sooooo good to us. We've gone on lots of trips, put more than our fair share of miles on it, and added a few dings on the sides for good measure. Yes, I will cry whenever we have to get rid of it :)

Anywho- I was asked by a good friend how we were able to pay off our car 2 years early. Jed and I both thought about it and came up with this list:

1.) Living on less than we earn
2.) Scholarships
3.) SAHM
4.) Income tax returns
5.) Paying Tithing

First: Live on less than you earn
We've been fortunate enough to always have employment- knock.on.wood PLEASE!
I worked part time on campus and nannied for basically the first year of our marriage. Then, after PK was born, I was able to do some part-time babysitting. Jed has worked multiple part-time jobs including SportzFlimz, private math tutoring, BYU Math Lab {all at the same time} and more recently has had 2 paid internships for Moxtek and Novatek. There have been several months where we've had to eat what we already had rather than go grocery shopping, we've made many sacrafices along the way, and have made sure to make every penny count {through ad matching, couponing, doing research before bigger purchases etc.} There have been times when we've had to use savings in order to pay medical bills, but we've really tried to take this counsel to heart and do our best to follow it.

Second: Scholarships
I honestly can't say enough about how proud I am of my Jedediah. He worked his tail off throughout school in order to qualify to be a Heritage Scholar at BYU {this is a huge honor.} This scholarship paid for all of his tuition for his undergraduate work. What was even more awesome was that we still qualified for the FAFSA grants, so we were able to put that money directly into savings. With books, medical expenses, having a baby, etc. we've been very blessed by this money. I encourage everyone with the opportunity, or parents even, to help your child understand the importance of working hard early on to be able to reap the benefits later. Jedediah was clearly taught this {thanks Mom and Dad Alvey!} and it has really blessed our family. Because of this money, we were able to follow rule number one a little more realistically.

Third: SAHM {stay-at-home-mom}
There are several reasons why I have chosen to be a SAHM, one of which is for financial reasons. I have read several different articles that say the average SAHM saves about 100,000 a year based off of each of her duties. While I really don't think the number is quite that high for me right now, I do know that I've been able to save our family a lot of money just by being home. For example, we only have one car and don't have a need for another right now. This lets us save on gas, insurance, and a car payment each month. Also, because I stay at home and thus have more time at home, I have more time to make cheaper, healthy meals, make my own homemade cleaners for a fraction of the price, coupon, and be more aware of needs in the home. While I understand that being a SAHM isn't always an option for people, I know that it can save families money- not to mention a ton of other reasons I think it is the best option if at all possible.

Fourth: Income Tax Returns
Because we do not make that much with the random jobs we've had, each year of our marriage we've gotten an income tax return (sweet!). Basically this isn't anything extra that we've done in order to save money- but because of Rules #1-3 & #5, we haven't accrued any other debt. Meaning our income tax returns have been used to pay for medical expenses (don't even get me started on the ridiculous amounts of medical expenses we've had...hopefully no longer!), airplane tickets (I've flown back to IL several times), as well making a lump deposit on our car loan with each return.

Fifth: Paying a full tithe
Each month, we write a check for tithing. It is 10% of all we earn given to our church. It is used for the upkeep of our church buildings, building new temples, it even helps subsidize tuition for BYU. We also are encouraged to give a generous fast offering, which is money that is used for humanitarian efforts, as well as those who are struggling within our own church boundaries. We both feel that everything we've been blessed with- especially financially- is in correlation with paying our tithing.

I am grateful to my husband who has taught me the importance of being frugal. This does not come naturally to me. He has helped me keep a budget, to be more aware of where and how our money is being spent, and to make changes as necessary.

So there it is! How we paid off our car :)
Happy Monday all!
XOXO

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Progress and Menu

As of this week, I've lost 10 lbs.

I haven't posted a single blog post for an entire week- meaning I broke a personal goal of mine for this blog. However, this past week has been very important to me-for me even. Sorry for the absence, but I promise- I'm here today a better person than I was.

Basically my family has chosen to eat healthier and exercise regularly (5-6 days/wk). We watched the documentary Forks Over Knives, along with the advice of my doctor, and realized that many of my health issues {yours too!} could be largely overcome- even eliminated- just by changing what we fuel our bodies with.

I am here to say- I have never felt so good. I'm sure you've heard that before. Maybe from your crazy athletic, green smoothie drinkin', marathon running friend and thought- "She's crazy! I don't have time for all of that! Life is just crazy right now."

Answer me this: When is life not crazy? I can't think back- vacations included- to a time when my life wasn't crazy in one way or another. For me "my life is too crazy" was no longer an excuse for feeling so crappy. I wanted energy, clarity of mind, and genuine happiness and knew that I shouldn't be deprived of these simple pleasures.

So I decided to take my life in my own hands- I mean it's really nobody else's responsibility, right?

Things that we have cut out of our diet: 
--meat
--anything processed (take a look in the average Americans cupboards- yeah, that stuff)
including but not limited to:
--white flour
--white rice (anything where the nutrients have been taken out of it)
--most other animal products (milk, sour cream, butter, ice cream, cream cheese, cheese in general)
***we have personally decided to continue eating honey/plain Greek yogurt and to use eggs in baking

We also are only eating natural sweets (cocoa, agave, honey) but very, very limited. Sugar is not good for my body- it hates me apparently.

When I first went on a similar diet- back in September- I was like, "What the heck can I actually eat??"
Well, I've learned this time around- there are plenty of things. Here is our 2 week meal plan:

1. quinoa and veggies
2. vegetarian shephard's pie
3. visiting family
4. Cinco de mayo dinner: cilantro, jicama, grape salad, zucchini guac put into tacos
5. pizza with veggies*
6. rice stir fry*
7. whole wheat waffles/strawberries/natural peanut butter/honey: substitute applesauce for sugar/oil
8. whole wheat pasta primavera
9. tuna and rice wraps {Yes, I know tuna is meat. We, however, have a ton of tuna}
10. sweet potatoe patties and fries
11. OUT to dinner {Zupas?}
12. spaghetti squash spaghetti
13. LARGE salad

*Recipes I already had or just whisked something together- I just found these today and they were very similar to what I made.

Breakfast ideas:
Cereal
Smoothies
Overnight oats

Lunch ideas:
left overs
tortilla/lettuce wraps
salad

Snack Ideas:
smoothies
banana nut muffins
veggies

Some things that I have learned in the last two weeks:
  • Drink a ridiculous amount of water
  • wash/cut produce once a week
  • produce keeps well in a large Ziplock bag with a damp paper towel
  • eating healthy is not more expensive
  • eat jicama
  • eating good-for-you-food keeps you fuller longer, and with less too :)  
  • do things for the right reasons and in the right way
  • SAD=standard American diet
  • exercise makes you look and feel better
  • be proud of yourself while changing, not just when you reach your goal
  • I look hilarious doing Zumba :) 
If any of this needs explanation, or you are interested in more great healthy websites- send me an email! Leave a comment if you have any good websites too :)

I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Tuesday!
XOXO