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Monday, September 1, 2014

Bridesmaid Dress Bunny

This is one of those rare times where I saw something on Pinterest, was inspired, and ACTUALLY DID IT. Seriously folks, mark this day down or something. So here's the story.

My best friend, Mary (who also happens to blog!), is pregnant with her second little one. Her first, Parker just turned two this summer and will be getting a little sister in just a few weeks! For Parker's shower, I put together a neat basket of all of the medication, first aid, and health things that Mary and Rob would need for Parker's first year or two. Being second time parents, however, they've got all of that under control this time around. I really wanted to find something special for baby girl; something they didn't already have. 

In comes Pinterest. I saw a pin about turning a bridesmaid dress into a baby blanket for the bride when they had their first child. That's cool and all, but babies end up with A LOT of blankets and most of them sit in a drawer. What else could I do?

When I was in 2nd grade and did my First Holy Communion, my Aunt Pat made me a beautiful stuffed bunny with an eyelet dress and pearls - all dressed up like my Communion dress. I loved it! I recently got that bunny back from my Dad's house and it all clicked; turn the bridesmaid dress from Mary and Rob's wedding into a doll. 

I'll be honest, I loved this dress and thought it was completely a "you could wear this again!" sort of deal. The problem is that I live in an apartment, am therefore limited on space, and had nowhere to wear it again in the foreseeable future. It will live a much more productive life as a bunny, trust me. 

Excuse the wrinkles; it has been in my closet for a few years! I broke out my Ginghers and seam ripper and went to town. Within the first 30 seconds I realized that this dress was made much, much better than I had anticipated. It took a LOT of seam ripping, tearing, and cutting. 

When all was said and done, I had a nice little pile of fabric to work with. Being a shorter dress, I could only hope it was enough to fit the bunny pattern. It ended up being just perfect, with some pieces left over.

I used the dress lining as the lining to the bunny ears since it was a slightly different shade and texture. With no filling, the ears were nice and floppy - perfect for a bunny!

For this project, I ended up buying a Simplicity pattern (#9524) on sale at JoAnn's after searching the internet for a free one. It ended up being a super simple pattern with a lot less pieces than I was anticipating. Coupled with locking eye and nose pieces for safety, the bunny came together in under 2 hours. 

I am so happy with this sweet pink bunny. I've had it made for a few weeks now, just waiting for our next visit so I can give it to Mary. Thankfully, we got together this weekend, so I can finally post about it! Plus, my kids can stop asking me if its for them as it sits on the bookshelf. Guess I'm making some stuffies for Ginny and Charlie next!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fitness Friday: Double Digits & Sweat Pink!

I'll be honest. With how busy things have been around here coupled with the terrible, wet weather we've been having, I really haven't been running since the 10K at the beginning of the month. I feel....sluggish. The reality, however, is that I have a half marathon in ::does math:: really freaking soon. Two weeks and one day, to be exact. Basically, I need to get my ass in gear and jump back on the training wagon. My last long run was 8 miles, so tonight Sarah and I will be tackling 10. My first double digit run! Far from the first for her, however. I think she's just coming to make sure I don't die. ;-)

Despite the horrible training schedule I've been offering up to the running gods, I was accepted as a Sweat Pink Ambassador! Hooray for all things pink and tough and girly!

I love their mission...

"We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick."
Sweat Pink is part of the Fit Approach community; a community built on support for health and fitness of all types and levels. I'm so excited to be part of this community, represent Sweat Pink, and share my newbie running story with others! Check out the Sweat Pink community on the blog, follow on Twitter, and check out Facebook.

Armed with my fancy pink laces, I'm ready for tonight's run. Hopefully, I'll have good things to report for next week as I get closer to the big day!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No Wonder I'm Stressed

A few weeks ago, I got sick for the first time in a looong time. Probably since being pregnant with Ginny. I got full on, want to claw my throat out strep. Ugh. I don't know how kids deal with this kind of illness - I wanted to jump off a bridge. I have no idea if its related or I'm just using it as a timeline, but since then, seemingly out of nowhere, I've been getting this weird fluttering feeling in my chest.

Now, the hypochondriac in me has been fighting the urge to call on Dr. Google to diagnose, but so far I've held out. The thing I don't get is that it's not pain, it was just fluttering. I was able to run that 10K without a problem, so it can't possibly be my heart, right? For three weeks I chalked it up to stress. After all, things are....stressful. It's the busy season at work, Jeff still doesn't have a job, figuring out all the stuff with Ginny's's been a tad hard on the emotions. The past few days, however, these flutters have been accompanied by a headache and a weird nausea that only lasts as long as the flutters. And at that point I called my doctor.

She checked me out and said my heart sounded fine, but wanted me to do 24 hours on a Holter monitor just to be safe. Alright, I can get behind that. She also told me that she wanted to do blood work to check my thyroid. I explained that the other doctor had checked it back in the winter (when I was dead tired all the time, like 1st trimester level of tired) and said it was fine. After double checking it, she said that it was technically fine, but that my T3 and T4 levels were one point above the bottom of the range and should have been followed up on. Oh, well that's nice to know! So between the flutters, fatigue, difficult weight loss, and a few weird hormone things, it could be my thyroid. OR I could just be crazy. At least I know it's one of those options. Updates to come, I suppose.

My doctor's appointment was not the only one yesterday. Charlie also went to the pediatrician, this time for his eyes. We've noticed him squinting at things and one eye drifting a little when he looks over his shoulder. Not sure what's going on, but he was referred to a specialist to figure it out. So, between his immunology referral and this eye referral on top of Ginny's urology referral, let's just say the referral coordinator at the pediatrician and I are on a first name basis. :-/ At least my insurance is accommodating these requests, right? There's always a bright side.

In the meantime, there's lots of waiting for appointments and test results. At least everyone is (relatively) healthy in the meantime.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School with KiDecals

**This post was sponsored by Kidecals and contains links to their products and media outlets. The product being reviewed was provided to me by Kidecals free of cost. All opinions are 100% my own and I do not review products that I don't believe in or use myself.**

First, I need to say that I cannot believe that Charlie is old enough for preschool. I know that is a really cliche parent thing to say, but it's true. I feel like it was just yesterday that he was my tiny baby, going to daycare for the firs time. But no, he was off to preschool today with a new lunch box and backpack, running down the side walk with absolute glee to get inside. 

In order to keep his fancy new school gear from getting lost, everything being sent in must be labeled. Thankfully, a few weeks ago, Kidecals asked me if I'd be interested in a review and after checking out all they had to offer, I had to get in on it. 

Kidecals creates versatile, durable, laminated labels for just about anything you can think of. They've got a variety of labels for kids to keep track of the ridiculous number of belongings they require, but unlike most other label companies out there, Kidecals has awesome options for other purposes as well! From canning and DIY labels for home made goodies to organizing decals, wall decals, mustache labels (because, why not?!), and chalk board labels, I was so impressed with the variety of options all on one easy to navigate website

They even have these amazing and oh so appropriate doorbell labels designed by Scary Mommy. Who hasn't needed one of these labels? I know I have. 
For my review, I was able to pick out some labels to try. With Charlie starting up at preschool, I chose a set of "Everyday Labels" in the "Blast Off" print. This set came with 12 two inch labels and 24 one inch labels; just enough to mark everything we needed with an appropriate sized label. With a live view proof available right on the screen, I could adjust the wording and text size and easily see how it would turn out. The finished product was exactly what I saw on the screen proof. 

I blanked out our last name, but it would have gone under the rocket ship on the label. You could also use the secondary space for a phone number, classroom number, or even a short allergy message. You can move the text up and down along with the size, so it truly is customizable.

Charlie had a lot of fun helping me sticker up all of his belongings for school. His nap bedding, Jake lunchbox, Minion backpack, water bottle, sweatshirt, and lunch containers all got the Kidecals treatment. With plenty of labels left over for the odds and ends that get called to school throughout the year, this kid isn't going to lost ANYTHING and that makes me a happy Momma. 

When celebrating back to school, why should Charlie have all the fun?! While perusing Kidecal's website, I discovered something that tickled my blogging Mommy fancy.....keyboard decals for Mac books. 

Now, I love me a good daycare label. They make day significantly easier and I am so happy to have them in my life, but these? These might be my favorite labels in existence. pretty computer. 

RIGHT?! Are these not the coolest? Like the rest of their site, there are a ton of color and pattern options and they are made to stand the test of time. I type, a lot, and I truly feel like these are going to last for the long haul. The non-residue acrylic adhesive sticks, but is removable without damaging the keys. They were surprisingly easy to put on and only took about 15 minutes.

Are they easy to use? 

Heck yes. Peel and stick. It doesn't get easier than that! Need a change? Just peel them off and go with something else. The adhesive won't ruin surfaces when used properly.

What is my favorite parts?
  • There was a tremendous variety, for kids AND adults, to choose from.
  • Personalizing them was a breeze.
  • They arrived 4 days later with free shipping!
  • They are laminated, heavy duty, and stick to a variety of surfaces.
  • They are dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer proof so there is no need to buy different labels for different items. One sheet does it all.
  • Did I mention free shipping?!
Do I recommend them?

Absolutely! And lucky for you, Kidecals is offering a 15% off coupon code for my readers! Just plug in ilovelabels at check out to score this deal.

Thank you to Kidecals for the opportunity to learn more about your awesome products! Show Kidecals some social media love and swing by and follow them here, here, here, here, and here!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Fitness Friday: My First 10K!

Scratch another thing off my 30 in 30 list! It's been a few weeks, but on Saturday, August 9th, I ran my first 10K race! The Penn State Hershey Chocolate Tour combines two wonderful things, running and chocolate, and all to benefit the Penn State Hershey Melanoma Center. My third race in all, it was a lot of fun despite being on an ugly hot, humid day.

The race day included a 10K walk, 10K run, and then bike races of various lengths. I hitched a ride with Sarah, Matt, and Julie to Hershey, which was helpful since I'm still a newb and Sarah and Matt are pros at this whole race thing. After the riders left, we got registered (complete with our neon yellow t-shirt and post-race ice cream coupon) and got ready to roll.

I took a shot in the dark and guessed I'd finish in about 1:10, since that was my 6 mile time a few weeks ago. The route was a nice figure 8 around the Milton Hershey campus, which is beautiful and relatively flat, but pretty boring. Corn field, house, house, corn field, farm, house, farm, house, repeat. Like I said, it was beautiful, don't get me wrong, but a little more scenic entertainment would have been nice!

The most exciting part of the day, geeky enough, was that I got to try out my new Garmin Forerunner 220 for a long run/race. This thing is amazing and I am so glad I saved up for it. It was super easy to set up, syncs to my computer without a problem, and is so much more convenient than pulling my phone out of my waist pouch all the time. I can easily see my pace, time, splits, etc. right on my wrist and it also has an alert (sound and/or vibrate) that I can customize for run/walk intervals. Brilliant!

My watch worked perfectly throughout the race and was super comfortable. I need to learn not to look at it so much though; a watched pot never boils. I need a wrist band to cover it that says, "Don't worry about it. Just run."

Having run 6 miles only one other time before, I was surprised how well things went. I definitely started having the, "WTF are you doing? This is ridiculous." thoughts around mile 3, but just kept running. I am still listening to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children on my iPod as I run, so that kept me occupied as the sunny miles wore on. There were water/chocolate tents at each mile marker giving out bottled water and chocolate to the runners. I definitely took advantage of the water, but cannot imagine eating more than a Hershey Kiss while running! I downed at least two bottles of water and am still not sure how I didn't have to stop to pee. Porta-pots are a mighty strong motivation to hold it.

The last mile was rough and I admittedly took it easy. It was only about 80 degrees, but there was not a cloud in the sky and the humidity was just hanging in the air. I came across the finish line to happily see a 1:09:47 on the clock. A fraction of a second under my predicted time -- I'll take it. I averaged an 11:11 pace and had relatively good splits.

Happy finisher!
After some post-race chocolate and Turkey Hill ice cream, we put in another 2 miles to keep up with training for the Run Like a Diva half on September 13th. The crazy part? I didn't even hurt the next day. Whoa.

Despite the disgusting weather, this was a really fun race. I felt good and was really happy I did it. Good race with good friends. I can't wait for the next one!

August Stole My Blog

I'm sitting at my kitchen table having gotten home from work on time for the first night in weeks. Working in the education realm, August is by far our busiest month with all of the training and prepping before the students return. This makes for a crappy blog turn out every single year. No really, if I pull up my stats for the past few years, my blog takes a dive for about 3 weeks every single August. I really need to hire a late summer ghost writer...

Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I love this time of year - it's what I live for! BUT it also means that I've hardly seen my family, am most likely eating too much junk food on the go, and haven't had time to blog about, well, anything.

August 1st was a big day for me; a big shitty day. It was the 15th anniversary of my Mother's death. Since I was 15 years old when she passed away, it meant that on August 2nd, I had officially lived longer without her than with her. Talk about a heavy realization. A lot happens in the first 15 years of your life, but so, so much more happens after that; all things I haven't been able to share with her. I read this Huff Po article a few years ago, knowing this day would come. Well, it came and went.

Death is such a horrible thing. Just when you think you're at peace with it, you get a slap of reality that reminds you that you'll never be at peace with it. There's no possible way to be. I knew this time of my life would come, but it's such a strange realization to have none the less.

Luckily for me, August kept rolling whether I liked it or not and was a welcomed distraction. While I was out working my tail off, Jeff has been home with the kids trying desperately to find a job. Unfortunately, he's also in education and there are zero jobs in this area right now. The ones that have opened up have been met with hundreds (not an exaggeration) of applications. Other jobs in the area either retail (pay too little to pay for full time daycare), require significant additional education, or are driving a tractor trailer, which would take him away from home too much for my work schedule. For now, he's going to be a SAHD with the kids, but thankfully we'll still be able to afford to send Charlie to preschool.

Speaking of preschool, Charlie starts on Monday! How is this possible?! All next week I'll be posting about how we've been preparing, his first day, and a whole bunch of good educational type stuff.

I also have a ridiculous number of amazing reviews coming up as a result of Blogger Bash that I can't wait to share. So, consider this an apology; an annual apology. August stole my blog once again this year. Stay tuned - I promise I'm not disappearing least until next August.