Walking on Sunshine

October 23, 2014 - 2:16 pm 10 Comments

Several years before I got pregnant, I was at the weight I am at now.  It was a combination of birth control hormones and depression.  My self-esteem was low.  I hated taking photos.  I had no energy.  I was a miserable person.  Those of you who know me well know that this is not the kind of person I want to be.

And then, one day, my mom introduced me to Leslie Sansone.

It might sound hokey, and maybe it is, but this lady seriously changed my life.  You’ve probably seen her videos at Target and Wal-Mart.  She’s always perky and smiling on the cover.  She’s not staring you down with her six-pack abs promising to shred you in 30 days like Jillian Michaels.  She’s been around in the fitness video world for a while.

I remember the first day my mom brought the DVD to my house.  “Just TRY it,” she said, “We can do it together.” I hemmed and hawed and gave her mean looks.  We got through one mile and I was huffing and puffing.  But, you know what?  I was suddenly smiling!  It’s hard not to smile when you are moving your body.  Endorphins, or something.  It’s just fun.

I started doing the workout video a few days a week.  And then, when I wanted to branch out, I ordered a few more from Amazon.  One of the great things is that her videos are rarely over $10.  I especially like her older videos, where her “walkers” are real people.  They’re not all thin.  They’re not all young.  They’re not all wearing sports bras and matching booty shorts that make you cringe with shame at your holey sweatpants even though you’re alone in your own living room.  They’re people who have had success with her program.  That was so inspiring to me, as I began my journey.  They’re like me!  They did  it!  And I can do it, too.  I can, and I did, and now we can do it together. (Some of her new videos do contain perfectly primped 20-somethings, which I don’t really like.  The quality and ease of the workouts, however, has remained consistent.)

The videos are aerobic, but easy to follow.  Her program is comprised of four basic steps, which she builds on in different combinations throughout the workouts.  They’re walking workouts, so each video is the equivalent of 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 miles of activity.  They incorporate light strength training, which is so important.  You don’t need to be coordinated to do them.  These videos are seriously for anyone.

I popped in that very first Walk at Home DVD today.  I made it through 2 miles (30 minutes) before the baby had a meltdown and I had to call it quits.  And it made me smile.  So much so, that I wanted to share it with you.  I’ve got a copy of the video on its way to me from Amazon right now, and I’d like to give it away.

Things I’ve Learned From Leslie:

1.  You don’t have to do everything 100% all the time.  This is big for me.  I’m usually a go hard or go home type of person.  Having been in great physical condition previously, it’s extremely frustrating for me sometimes to have to pace myself and do things slower than I did them before.  But my body isn’t in shape, and I need to modify some things so that I can build up the endurance back to where it was.  And you know what?  That’s good!

2.  5 minutes  is HUGE.  Leslie says this all the time, in several videos.  Small doses of exercise add up!  Do what you have time to do, when you have time to do it.  Having a stressful day?  Get up and get moving for just a few minutes and see how much it changes your perspective.

3.  It’s a great day to take a walk.  It is.  It doesn’t matter if there’s 4 feet of snow outside or if it’s raining or blazing hot or you just can’t get to the gym.  Take a walk!  Right in your living room.  Get your body moving.

Find something that works for you, that you feel connected to, and go for it.  Be healthy, be happy.  I wish those things for each and every one of you!

If you’d like to win this copy of Leslie Sansone’s 3 Mile Weight Loss Walk, please leave a comment below.  Giveaway will close and I will number the comments and draw a winner on Saturday, October 25 at 10:00PM.


((I purchased this DVD with my own funds.  This blog is entirely based on my own experiences.  Please consult your doctor before beginning a new workout regimen.  You can find DVD’s on Amazon.com or by visiting Leslie’s website, www.walkathome.com.))




You Are My Sunshine

October 16, 2014 - 4:38 pm No Comments

You asked for it, you got it.

I was inspired to make a little taggie sunshine stuffy for you guys, and decided to turn it into a picture tutorial as well.  So, without any further ado, let’s get rolling!




-A small amount of fleece, terrycloth, minky, or other soft and snuggly fabric.
-Assorted ribbon colors
-Black embroidery thread
-Embroidery needle
-Polyfill (or rice, or lentils, or unspun wool, whatever)
-Scissors, a sewing machine, pins, and about 30 minutes of time.

I started by looking around my house to find something flat and round that I could use as a stencil.  I ended up settling on the lid from an empty can of formula.   Use a dinner plate!  A coffee filter!  Whatever you want.  Size doesn’t really matter.  I traced the lid on my terricloth with a sharpie.  You could use a fancy fabric marker if you want.  I don’t have one of those, so I made do.

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You’ll need to cut two (2) circles for each taggie stuffy that you want to make.  I wanted to start off with four (4) stuffies, so I cut a total of eight (8) circles.  I used pinking shears for my terrycloth fabric instead of scissors because I feel like it helps with the fraying and also I just like zig-zag edges.

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After I cut out all the circles, I started to cut my ribbon.  This is where you can use your own creativity.  I used rainbow colors and kept them in the general order of the rainbow, but you could use any colors or patterns you like!  The number you use will depend on your personal preference.  Cut the ribbon in lengths of 3-5″ – vary it as much as you want for more interest for your little one.

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This next part is the only slightly complicated bit out of the whole thing.  If your fabric has a “right side” and a “wrong side” you will want to place the right sides together.  Line them up so the edges match.  Fold your pieces of ribbon in half (hamburger fold, not hot-dog fold :D), and sandwich them between your two fabric circles.  You’ll want the folded edge of the ribbon to be toward the center of the circle, and the cut edges of the ribbon lined up with the cut edges of the fabric.  Pin it into place, like this:

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Go around the entire circle in the same fashion.  I ended up leaving about a 3/4″ to 1″ space between my ribbons, but that will depend on how many ribbons you use, the thickness, the size of your circles, etc.  Again: freedom, people!  It’s what creativity is all about.  When you’re done, this is what you should have:

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Nice and tidy.  Love it.  Sew around the edges of the circle with your sewing machine.  You could also hand-sew this easily if you don’t have a sewing machine since it’s such a small project.  Make sure you use really strong thread as we don’t want our littles to be able to pull out the ribbon if the thread breaks.  I left about 1/2″ seam allowance and it worked out fine for me.  ***IMPORTANT NOTE*** Don’t sew this thing all the way around.  Leave yourself about a 1″ opening, and use a lock stitch when you start and stop your machine for security.  You’ll need this space to turn the stuffy right-side out.  I used the last space between two ribbons.

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You can kind of see the little space down there at the bottom, right?  Nobody is giving me any photography awards, I know.  Moving on, the next thing you need to do is flip it inside out through the hole we left.  Do this like you would turn a sock inside out.  You should end up with something that looks like this:

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Now take a handful of polyfill and start shoving it into the stuffy through the little opening we left.  Don’t get too zealous with this – we want the littles to be able to chew on this so it needs some bounce and softness to it.

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There you go.  Nicely done.  Next, you’ll need to thread a needle.  You only need about 12″ of thread doubled up, and that’s going to leave you with extra.  Knot the end of the thread and sew the edges up using a ladder stitch.  I used white thread because the point is not to see the stitching when you’re done, so it didn’t show up well on pictures.  If you need instructions on how to do a ladder stitch, YouTube it.  Tons of info.  Trust me.  Knot your end and cut the string once the opening is sewn shut.

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One stuffy, minus the face, DONE.  Next you’ll want to thread an embroidery needle with the black embroidery thread.  I YouTubed how to embroider eyes, but ultimately it was just trial and error.  Sketch the face you want directly on the fabric so that you have something to follow.  Or if you’re a real badass risk-taker, wing it.  Get wild.  I have no idea what kind of stitch I used for the “dot” type eyes.  I used a split stitch to do the upside down “U” eyes, which you can see in the finished picture below.

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In hindsight, it would have been WAY easier to stitch the face on before sewing pinning and sewing.  I suggest that you do it that way, since the finished product turns out much cleaner since your knots will be hidden inside the stuffy.  Anyway, next stitch the mouth on, and BAM!  Sunny rainbow stuffy goodness.

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I love them, you guys.  I bought a crap ton of terrycloth and so I am sure I am going to be making more.  For right now, I have these four finished to give away.

My son is definitely my biggest reason to smile.  He makes me happy when my proverbial skies are grey.  I hope you enjoyed following along with me because I definitely enjoyed making this tutorial.  Crafting and creating and being productive, as well as connecting with you all, has really helped me get myself out of the funk I’ve been in recently.  So MUCH love to each and every one of you.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on the blog announcement post in our Sunshine Group.  If you’re not yet a member, join by clicking here. 

Shine on, ladies.



Shout It Out Sunday

October 5, 2014 - 10:13 am 2 Comments

This blog isn’t necessarily a babywearing blog, but babywearing has definitely played a big role in helping me to connect with other mothers and find some positivity in my life after so much darkness.  Since this week is International Babywearing Week, I wanted to share a little bit of my story with everyone and explain to you why this has become such a passion of mine in these last few months.


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Anything that allows me to share moments like this with my son is a winner in my book.  Because I was unable to breastfeed my son past 10 weeks, I struggled with guilt and worried that our bond would be less close or less meaningful.  But, it’s just not.  I would die for my son.  Anything.  Anything that little boy needs, he is going to get it.  And, although he is only just 5 months old, he looks at me with such love and such joy in those big brown eyes of his.  I know that he adores me.  We play games together that he won’t play with anyone else.  I can soothe him when nothing else will soothe him.  When he is wrapped up against my chest, he calms and coos and relaxes and all is right in his little lovely world.  Babywearing helped me to accept that although I have my failings, I am a good mother.  I can and will do anything it takes to ensure he is safe and happy and healthy.I’ve also come to know people through babywearing in social media.  My Project: Spread Some Sunshine is a perfect example of this.  I’ve never met most of you, but I feel like we are friends.  I was originally inspired to begin the group because of the kindness and generosity I experienced in the Talk about Tekhni group.  Tekhni Wovens is run by an amazing woman, Alisa Heytow-DeMarco.  She is kind and generous and funny.  The admins of the Tekhni group are knowledgeable and patient and approachable.  It’s a lovely community and it inspired me to spread the joy that I experience when babywearing with other families who may or may not have the means to have one of these wraps on their own.  Tekhni is a great brand and the quality of the wraps they produce is a great value for the price, but not everyone has a budget for woven wraps.  So, since we have been so blessed in our lives, I wanted to share what I have with other families.  It’s been a totally rewarding experience and I am so thrilled that our little project put smiles your faces.

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The internet allows us to connect in ways that would normally be impossible.  I wouldn’t know how to thread a ring sling, or what a CCCB is, or why my son is a rainbow baby if it weren’t for social media.  I wouldn’t even know about Tekhni or Girasol or Cloth of Kin or Danu Slings if I didn’t have Facebook.  When I’ve had a long day, and I can’t get out of the house, I can just pop online and learn and connect with all of you.  We can talk about wrap strikes and g/m² and drool over the next release from so-and-so.  I can answer questions and get my questions answered.  We can all ooh and ah over how adorable our babies are.  And bewbs, let’s not forget bewbs.  😀

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So yes, today I’m glad and thankful that we have a thing called the internet and that it has brought all of us together.  It’s been an invaluable resource to me over the past few months.  It has brought me this blog, and a reason to put my thoughts down in writing and get them out of my too-crowded mind.  I’m grateful to each one of you for sharing these experiences with me.Also, as promised, I am currently working on another small giveaway.  It’s going on the sewing machine later this evening, so I’ll be back tomorrow with details and pictures and more reasons to smile.  Happy Babywearing!

Soak Up The Sun

September 30, 2014 - 8:56 am No Comments

Tummy Time Outside

Today is a beautiful morning here at home.  The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it isn’t 90 degrees yet outside.   HAH.

It got me thinking.  Being a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM), I often go the entire day never even stepping foot outside.  Baby Bear and I stay and play indoors all day long, which is some times nice, but I often go a little stir crazy.  Texas summers (and even now, in the fall) can be hot and muggy and uncomfortable.  But stepping outside this morning got me thinking.

Sunshine improves our mood.  We live in a quiet part of a quiet neighborhood, and just listening to the sound of the leaves rustling on the trees, or the birds singing their songs, or the squirrels chattering and chasing each other is so nice in the mornings.  Being outside and feeling the sun on my skin just automatically puts a smile on my face.  Baby Bear has always been absolutely fascinated with the outdoors, too.  There’s a particular tree in our front yard that is MASSIVE, and his eyes are always glued to it whenever we step outside.

This week, when Bear has been extra fussy and hard to calm because of a tummy virus, I’ve been taking a blanket out to the front lawn and we’ve been sitting under that big tree for however long it seems like Bear will tolerate it.  He rolls around on his tummy and looks up at the tree and grabs his little toesies.  I tell him about how the grass grows and how the  leaves are going to fall from the trees soon because of the season, and how they’ll grow back in the springtime.  And it’s fun!  We enjoy it.  It’s so amazing that just stepping outside for a few minutes can totally brighten up our day.

So this week, if you find yourself at the limit of your patience, if you need to re-center yourself and take a moment to let the housework wait and just be, step outside.  Take your little one(s) and soak up some sun, and show me your smiles!  Post a picture in the comment section of our Project: Spread Some Sunshine Facebook Group, under this post, of you and your littles enjoying some sunshine, and you’ll be entered to win this sunny Tekhni scarf.

sunshine scarf

One entry per household, please.  Shipping will be covered to US mamas, and the scarf can be shipped ROW at cost to the winner if necessary.  Drawing will close this Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 6:00PM and winners will be announced in the Project: Spread Some Sunshine Facebook group shortly after.

Project: Spread Some Sunshine

September 28, 2014 - 8:58 am 2 Comments

My whole life, the only thing I ever wanted to be was a wife, and a mother.  I’ve never had any serious desire for anything else.

And man, this job is hard.

I don’t think anyone can really prepare you for either job.  It can be really, really hard to stay positive sometimes.  Especially if, like me, you’re a perfectionist with a penchant for being your own harshest critic.

Circumstances in my life over the past few years have made it difficult for me to maintain a positive outlook.  I know that’s vague, and I had a long explanation of everything that life has thrown at me over the past year all typed up and ready to go.  And then I realized that complaining about those things is exactly what I want to avoid.  You see, I get caught up in focusing on the bad that has happened, instead of the myriad of things that I have been blessed with.  I think that we all do.  It’s encouraged in our society today, this sense of injustice. It hardened my heart.  It made me feel guilty and left out instead of grateful and full of joy.

I think, sometimes, we all get caught up in the “more is more” attitude.  We want something for nothing.  But happiness is a decision.  It’s earned.  It’s a conscious effort.

I want to be the kind of person that leaves a smile on the faces of people who I come into contact with throughout the day.  I want to share what I have been blessed with and hear how others have been blessed as well.  I want to be happy for other people’s successes and I want other people to celebrate my triumphs with me.  I am making the decision to have a grateful heart.  I want to earn my happiness.

My goal is to spread as much of this feeling, as much peace and joy and thankfulness, as I can.  I would love for you to join me.