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My Weightloss Journey

Posted by Elisabeth on January 20, 2015 in Beachbody, family, medical/health |

About 3 months ago, I was absolutely miserable with myself.

I hated everything I saw in the mirror. It was all terrible, and I was really failing at my 2014 New Years Resolution of loving myself, for myself, and for my family’s sake as well.

Yes, I had a baby this summer. Yes, it took 9 months to put on the weight, and so you could justify 9 months to lose that weight. But that wasn’t all of it. I was suffering from a myriad of symptoms. No energy. Postpartum depression. Migraines. I was drinking 2-3 cans of my favorite soda, Dr. Pepper, just to make it through the day. (A good day was just one Dr. P. And with a crazy -cute, but crazy- toddler and and infant, I found a lot of excuses on why I needed more than just one.)

41weeksLR

Me… Mid July. Highest weight I have ever been!!!

Enter Beachbody.

Through an online mom group, I met my beachbody coach, who was inviting people into her clean eating group. That was something I most certainly needed work on, so I thought, “Why the heck not?”

Though I only half-heartedly paid attention to the clean eating group, I kept watching her posts, which lead me to try Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix challenge pack with Shakeology.

And you know the crazy part? IT WORKS.

I started December first, and have been working hard since. With JD’s sleep regression for most of December and the first half of January, it was tough to work out every day. I didn’t always make it. But I did work out a lot more than I had… in years? Now that I think of it.

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Me December 1st in the pink shorts. Around Dec 20th for the blue shirt.

I also tried to stick to the 21 Day Fix meal plan. Honestly, the meal plan is 80% of the results. So even though I couldn’t always get the workouts in, (or I got sick, and knew it wasn’t the day to push myself), I still got some awesome results. I haven’t had a soda since December 1st. I have had lots more salads, ancient grains, and whole foods. It was great, in some ways though. I still had a lot of my recipes I could use if I just made small adjustments and remembered that it wasn’t an all-you-can-eat buffet!

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Down 15 lbs from my start weight, wearing a new shirt that didn’t have a chance of fitting pre-challenge!

And now? As of yesterday? I am TWO lbs away from my pre-JD weight, almost exactly 6 months after his arrival. With Evelyn, I never lost the last 10 lbs, even after 15 months.

I felt like I was trapped in a fat suit that wasn’t really who I was. Besides the weight, I felt horrible all the time. I felt like I couldn’t start to workout even, because it was hopeless. I couldn’t change, and I had a lot of reasons why I couldn’t make it work.

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No more.

Besides weight, I am feeling better in a lot of ways. I have years of bad habits I’m working on breaking, but the results have been awesome. And my WHOLE family is benefitting from it, from the baby I breastfeed, to the husband and toddler who likes to work out with me and eat the healthier food I make.

EvelynYoga

I loved it so much I am now a Beachbody coach, or distributor, and have my own site with more information on the individual products and workouts you can try. They work.

I’m no longer feeling so inclined to sit on the sidelines of my own life. I take pictures with my kids. SOMETIMES WITHOUT EVEN WORRYING ABOUT MAKEUP! Because I feel better about myself as a whole.

I will be posting more about individual things I have been doing, but I wanted a more general overview, or introduction, on this awesome journey I have started, and how I hope to keep going down this path! Please feel free to ask me questions! :)

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Review: Homeschool Planet – Calendar/Planner

Posted by Elisabeth on January 15, 2015 in Reviews |

Homeschool Planet Review

It’s been a crazy few weeks. Kids who won’t sleep. Babies who refuse to sleep. Babies getting new teeth. Appointments. Classes. Even with my two little ones, it seems like there’s always something to remember on the calendar.

Speaking of calendars and planners… For those of you out there who do homeschooling, or just have a lot to plan for your family, this review may be for you!

 

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Homeschool Planet:

Price: $65.00/year or $6.95/month

Free 30 day trial available. (One thing I LOVE about their trial period is that you don’t have to enter in your credit card, so if you forget to cancel and your account expires, you don’t have to worry about getting charged!)

For the trial, you will need to create a FREE account with Homeschool Buyers Co-op, but emphasis goes back on the “FREE” aspect there.

 

Features at a glance:

  • A Calendar View that lets you see anybody’s or everybody’s calendars at once
  • A Planner View with a simple list of everything you need to do and when
  • Automatic Rescheduling
  • Separate logins for kids
  • Daily Digest emails to everyone in your family with their own schedule, assignments, and chores for the day
  • Email and text message reminders
  • Lesson plans
  • Easy attendance tracking, grading and transcript creation
  • To Do lists
  • Shopping lists (one each for each store)
  • Widgets
  • Lesson copying
  • Mobile version (limited, and it did not work very well for my Samsung smartphone)
  • Calendar sharing with other calendars like Google Calendar

 

Some things I personally liked about this program:

The set up is easy and straightforward.  It wasn’t hard at all. You can make it more complicated with color-coding and what have you, but that’s about it.

I liked that I could add cute pictures of my family members, to their individual profiles, too.

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I also like the backgrounds. Let’s all agree, having choices on what your calendar looks like may seem small, but that power to change it makes us happy. Some of the selections are very kid friendly, too. (Robots, musical notes, dinosaurs, oh my!)

The separate shopping lists are pretty nice. If you like to get certain items from Costco, from Target, from your local grocery store, then the ability to switch through lists is nice.

The side widgets are a nice touch, but not really necessary. I like having a daily quote to look at, but if it disappeared I wouldn’t miss it. The separate To Do lists for everyone in the family is a nice touch if you have kids old enough to log in.  And there is something so very satisfying about being able to click the checkbox and see the tasks get crossed off!

 

There are features I noticed that I don’t use much, but I think could be great are mostly related to actually setting up structured classes for the homeschooling or actively in school families.

Homeschool Planet keeps track of the number of days in a school year. There is also the option to track hours. You mark off your school days, holidays, etc.  I know some states require you to keep closer track of your school hours and days, so this feature would be a nice addition for those of you who fall under those regulations.

The class set up seems to take a bit of time, but once you have it down seems great! I really like the idea of having the daily digest email you and  your students with their scheduled assignments, and how it allows you to input their grades. I can’t say too much about actually using these features personally as my 2.5 year old is not allowed to get on the computer herself, and our learning is more active play, song, and reading books than graded assignments.

 

My overall take:

If you homeschool, this would be a great digital planner and calendar for you. It’s the whole package. You can have all your appointments, classes, plans, to do lists, grocery lists, in one place. I love the idea of older kids being able to log into their own accounts, too. I would find this an extremely useful tool in getting me organized for the school year.

This could be even useful for parents who have children in a school outside the home, too, as long as they have a teacher that openly communicates with them on assignments, etc.

However, if you are like me, without school-aged children, the most useful aspects of this calendar aren’t really worth the price tag. I have a Google Calendar, and use Google Keep for my shopping lists to share with my husband, which are free with my Google account. In that regard, I don’t get to use the most this program offers. That being said, I definitely will be considering it for when my children are old enough to start traditional school.

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Check out more reviews at Home and School Mosaics.

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Review: 3D Fiberlash Mascara

Posted by Elisabeth on November 9, 2014 in Reviews |

You. Guys.

Well, you girls, really. Though your guys will probably like this once you use it. ;)

I kind of have the ugly eyelashes in the family. The husband and the TWO YEAR OLD have better eyelashes than me. (Seriously, her eyelashes are gorgeous. I am jealous.) So when I saw the chance to review Younique’s 3D Fiberlash Mascara, I jumped at the opportunity to try it.

It. Is. Amazing. Get yourself some. Review over.

Just kidding, I’m still gonna talk about it.

About the Product:

3dfiberlashmascara

The 3D Fiberlash Mascara is just a simple three-step process that combines Transplanting Gel and Natural Fibers to help create the appearance of incredible thickness and volume to your existing lashes. They are NOT false lashes. They are your own! The fibers are natural…made from Green Tea Leaves, hypoallergenic and safe for contact lens wearers.

Younique has lots of other great products, but we’re focusing on the mascara for this review. All Younique products are natural based and a mineral makeup. There’s no testing ever done on animals.

For Me:

At first I was a little skeptical. I really hate it when eyelashes look obviously fake. I wore some fake eyelashes recently (for a good reason!) but it was uncomfortable and I felt it looked too obvious. So I was worried that it wouldn’t look that great when I put this stuff on.

Wrong! The husband calls it my “sexy” eyes. (Sorry, Mom and Dad, if your reading this. But it is true.) I get random compliments all the time that my eye make up looks particularly lovely when I wear my fiberlash mascara. I’m starting to get addicted.

How to Apply it:

(Do it one eye at a time. This is important because the gel dries quickly and the fibers don’t stick as well.)

  1. Put your normal mascara on. (It’s optional. I personally skip this step. I feel like it makes my eyelashes too clunky.)
  2. Apply the coat of transplanting gel.
  3. IMMEDIATELY after, apply the fiber coat.
  4. Then generously apply more transplanting gel to make the fibers stick.

DONE. In less than 3 minutes I have my sexy eyes on.

These are my normal eyes:

3DFMbefore

These are my eyes on 3D Fiberlash Mascara:

3dFLafter

(Sorry for the different day pics. This one just showed the difference the best)

Some extras:

The first time I put them on it was a little weird. Do it a few times before you decide that you don’t like them. I am glad I gave them a chance!

ONE EYE AT A TIME! (Part of the reason I didn’t love it the first time… I forgot to take it one at a time).

Eyelash brushes would probably be useful. If I had one I would use it for these just to help with clumps, but my fingers worked just fine.

At $29.00, this is a bit of a splurge. But they are supposed to last at least 3 months (and the fact that I am a SAHM and don’t bother with makeup daily anymore would probably extend that a bit more) and they stay on. Remember, I am a hormonal mess right now with a new baby and a toddler and tears happen, and these babies stay on great. Woohoo for water resistant mascara!

You can wear these with contacts. Just make sure you apply a lot of the gel to help the fibers really stick and seal so you don’t end up with tiny pieces coming off later on on in the day

All right, everyone. Go splurge on yourself and get yourself some pretty, awesome, easy-to-apply eyelashes. The immediate raise in compliments alone with make the investment worth it. ;)

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To find more reviews on this product at Home and School Mosaics click here.

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Review: Wizzy Gizmo – Who Created Everything?

Posted by Elisabeth on November 2, 2014 in Reviews |

When it comes to teaching a two year old and other younger children about the Creation, it’s safe to say that it can at best be “challenging”. Thankfully, Wizzy Gizmo has created a fun product to make that job a little easier!

I received the book “Who Created Everything” to review. Here are some of the basics.


WhoCreatedEverything

Explore the wonders of Creation

It all begins when Wizzy Gizmo places the Bible on his incredible Gizmovision invention. The machine whirls and hums, the room begins to vibrate and shake, lights flicker on and off. The invention is surrounded by tiny arcs of electricity, as a sphere of blue-green light emerges and begins to grow bigger and bigger. There is a flash, and then things really begin to happen…

Some features: 

  • 58 pages
  • Covers Genesis chapter One
  • Vocabulary words are highlighted throughout
  • Glossary included
  • Review questions in the back for parents and teachers
  • Retail Price is $12.99

My thoughts:

My sweet two year old has a hard time reading longer stories without pictures. Not too surprising, right? The writing style is still very accessible for younger children, with trying naturally tie in detail with vocabulary or ideas that children might normally question. So while my younger child struggled, I could see it working well for a child a year or two older than her.

What I really loved for my daughter was the audio drama version.

WhoCreatedEverythingAudio

It includes very animated narrators and kid voices complete with songs. When I first downloaded the audio to try out, my daughter happened to be in the room. I hit play just see what it was like, and immediately, my toddler ran over to me to see what was going on. For the next 15 minutes, my extremely active, energetic toddler sat still next to me and listened quietly to the audio, as I turned pages in the book to let her have a visual as we listened.

While the description on Wizzy Gizmo’s website states that the audio is geared towards ages 4-12, it definitely is effective for a larger range than that!

I enjoyed the Wizzy Gizmo products and felt they would be a great addition to a Christian homeschooling curriculum!

You can find Wizzy Gizmo and learn more for yourself on the following media platforms:

The Wizzy Gizmo Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Youtube

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Find more reviews about the various Wizzy Gizmo products here at the Home & School Mosaics website!

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Well, this happened. Finally.

Posted by Elisabeth on August 6, 2014 in Evelyn, family, pregnancy |

World, meet JD.

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He came into this world a little later than we were expecting him to. Lucky for him, this has been the most mild summer I’ve ever experienced in Texas, or else we would have had some serious problems. As it was, he kept us waiting quite a while.

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Here’s the pic I posted on social media to help prevent people from asking me somewhat hourly if the baby had come yet. And then he waited FOUR MORE days. 11 days late total. And boy, was that exciting when he did come. I’m still working on finding time to get all the details leading up to his labor story. When I get around to it, I will post. Fortunately, my body is not in the business of making giant babies, so despite his extra incubation period, he kept it just under 8 lbs. Thanks, little guy.

So far, he’s a huge sweetie. Pretty much a complete 180 from his older sister. Maybe his mellow personality is why he was pretty comfortable with hanging tight for that extra time. But because of that sweet, mellow personality, we’ve decided to keep him. (AS IF IT WERE AN OPTION. We would have kept him anyways, but he’s helping us out by making it much more pleasant. Keep it real.)

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Big sister is doing an amazing job overall with this huge transition. I am really proud of her. We had a -really- rough first day when it was just the three of us alone for the first time, but she genuinely loves her baby brother, gives him kisses, and stops whatever she is doing when she hears him cry to let me know that “Baby J.” needs something.

I am loving my little family and am so glad that this sweet soul has now FINALLY come to join us. The sweet moments and group cuddles make all the sleepless nights and toddler tantrums totally worth it. I wouldn’t trade these cute kids for anything!

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