Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Five Free Weightloss apps

Following on from my post last week about my weightloss binder, today I'm sharing five of my favourite free apps. I'm a pen+paper kind of girl but sometimes technology really is the way to go! 

MyFitnessPal (MFP)
I use this great app to log my food, log my exercise and interact with other members. I usually pre-enter my foods for the day and then edit if anything changes. That way I can see how many calories I'll be eating and how many I need to expend and whether or not I can have that slice of birthday cake. It is incredibly easy to use, you can use the barcode scanner to add foods quickly and easily. The other thing I really love is that it also tracks things like water intake, protein, sugars etc. As a vegetarian this is extremely useful. The only problem is that sometimes foods entered by users only include the calories not the other nutritional information like sugar and protein. You can also use MyFitnessPal from your computer and access the great forums and start a diary. 

There are a lot of GPS-based running/walking apps but this is the one that I use. Basically you hit start, start to run or walk and it will tell you how far and how fast you went, and how many calories you have burned. It allows you to select a playlist to listen to (although I tend to listen to podcasts instead), and you can also access the website from a computer to set your own route. It also offers goal setting, training plans and a bunch of other stuff I never use. It also (once youve set it up) automatically sends your exercise data over to MFP. 

This app offers food and exercise logging but I prefer to use MFP for that because I find MFP more user-friendly and detailed in that regard. But the thing that SlimKicker absolutely ROCKS at is keeping you engaged and challenged. Basically, SlimKicker is like a game with challenges and then badges and  points to earn to go up to the next level. There are loads of challenges to choose from or you can create your own. The challenges are divided into categories: Nutrition, Emotional, Willpower, Fitness, Giveaways (actual prizes), User-Created. Some examples of challenges- The replace soda challenge, 10 wall squats a day, a salad a day, jog during commercials, electronics curfew. Best of all, you can add your friends and compete against them! 

This is the app version of a running program that has been around for years (I remember it from before I had my eldest child). It's really easy and convenient and helps give a bit of focus to your usual jog. 

Skimble Workouts
This is a huge database of workouts- some free, some paid and some created by members. You need to use your discretion with the user-created workouts and the forums can be a bit of a meatmarket but the actual workouts are great with visual instructions and timers. Skimble also lets you find workout buddies nearby. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

My weightloss binder

Summer is fast approaching here in Australia. You can tell because flies have started to reappear, as have all of the weightloss ads on tv. I started my (self-devised) weightloss program about eight months ago and while there have been ups and downs, it's mostly working. I'm not going to share my weightloss program with you today as that is something specific to me and my health needs (in particular the challenges of losing weight while having Hashimoto's Disease) but I thought I'd show you my weightloss binder. It keeps me organised and inspired, both of which are important for long-term weightloss.

The binder itself is just a regular A4 2-ring insert binder which I have prettied-up with scrapbooking paper. In the front and back pockets I have an outline of the program and shopping lists (current and old) and also a sheet with my measurements and markers (how fast I can run 1km, how many pushups I can do, heartrate, how long I'm out of breath etc). The first section of my binder is a bunch of blank weekly plans. I plan out my meals and exercise in these. Old ones go to the back of the pile.

Then I have five dividers labelled Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner; Snacks/Desserts; Fitness/Exercise. These contain ideas, inspiration, printouts etc that I use to create my weekly plan.

Some of the meal ideas I have used: iVillageweightlossresources.co.uk, Lite'n'easy

Some of the exercise information I have included comes from: Coles SimplyLess, Shape Magazine, C25k, Hundred Pushups, and I also have a list of youtube videos that I like. I have pages and pages of info on stretches!! 

I track my weight on the wiifit and log food/exercise on MyFitnessPal

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

DIY loveheart paperclips

So we all know that planner addiction can be an expensive addiction. I mean, there are soooo many cute little things you can buy. Some items might be cheap but the cost soon adds up. But who wants a boring planner? We want cute, right??
Have you seen these cute little loveheart paperclips from Kikki-K? $9.95 for a jar of 50. And these colourful paperclips from Officeworks are nice and cheerful… and cheap at only $6.98 for this whole box.  But they lack the ‘cute’ factor.

Would you like to learn how to turn an ordinary paperclip into a cute-but-still-functional loveheart paperclip?
Start with an ordinary paperclip. This is a 33mm one, so quite a large paperclip. Identify the long, straight edge (seen at the top of this paperclip).
Bend the paperclip in half along that straight edge.
Next, make sure you have embarrassing chipped nailpolish for all the interwebz to see.
Squeeze the ‘short’ edges flat against the long edge.
Adjust into a nice loveheart-y shape.
Flip upside down and use! The paperclip needs to sit at just the right height to look like a heart. If it’s too high or low, it won’t look ‘right’ but it will still function as a paperclip!
 Laura xx
For those wondering, the cute spring notecard is from a set produced by Bianca of A Little Delightful and is available as a free printable from Lovely Living here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

My week 42/52

I'm taking part in PaperLovestory's weekly round-up once again. You can click on the badge in my lefthand sidebar if you'd like more information about how it works. 

Another simple layout for another busy week. We had two employees injured (one at work, one at home) which has made for a complicated week. I've also had my Mum in town, a kiddo return to school, a killer migraine and a bunch of paperwork to sort and file. Notice how my library books were due back Thursday but I didn't schedule a trip to the library until Saturday? That's because I hadn't finished watching the Big Love dvds I borrowed from the library! Teehee! I can't wait to show you this week's decorated pages, I did something a little bit more fun this time around! 

And I also had a play around with making blog graphics so I made this little infographic summary thingy. Words good with I am. 

Laura xx

VIB Award

Now for something a little different.

Last week Carie received the V.I.B (very inspiring blogger) award on her blog and one of the people that she passed it onto was me! I feel like I have a lot in common with Carie, she's a work-at-home mother AND a short wife to a tall husband. But it was still interesting to learn more about her from the seven facts she posted about herself. So now it's my turn- I have to post seven facts about myself and then choose some bloggers that I find inspiring to pass the award on to.

Seven Things About Me:

  • It's a miracle I'm alive at all. I started life as an ectopic pregnancy and somehow moved down on my own before I could be surgically removed.
  • I love Bollywood movies! In my university days I didn't have class on Tuesdays so I would go to the midday session at the movies and watch a new release Bollywood film. I'd take a pillow, small blanket and snacks. The movies go for around 3hrs (with intermission) and the cinema was almost empty meaning I could spread out across the seats so it was excellent value for a cheaper-tuesday student ticket (I think around $5)
  • I didn't get my drivers licence until I was in my late twenties. I still don't have a manual license. But I learned to drive a forklift (for work) before I even had a car license! 
  • I have a star tattoo behind my right ear. The tattoo parlour refused to tattoo my head (especially for a first tattoo) and I had to go and see the owner and convince him that I really wanted it and wouldn't regret it. I've had it for  six years so far and never regretted it for a minute. It feels like it was meant to be there. 
  • When I was a teenager, I tried to get my tongue pierced twice and both times things happened that prevented it going ahead (like the piercer coming off his motorbike on the way in to the piercing place). So I took that as an omen and didn't try for a third time. 
  • I love to read and when I'm pregnant I crave books. Not to eat, haha, just to read. I'll read a novel or two a night when I'm pregnant. 
  • I don't like coriander or mango. They both taste vile to me. Coriander tastes like soap and mango tastes like what raw chicken smells like. I've tried to like them but I just can't! 

And some blogs that I find inspiring (mainly because they are all chasing their dreams):
Sonia @ Life, Love & Hiccups
Claire @ Claire Ever After
Cherie @ Raising Master Max
Peggy @ Cake Crumbs & Beach Sand
Jodie @ Journey To Contentment
Deb @ Home Life Simplified

I could have posted these earlier in the week but decided to hold off until Friday so that you can peruse these blogs at your leisure over the weekend.

Laura xx

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Keeping small children entertained while you are on the phone

There are a lot of benefits to working from home with small children- many, many benefits. But there are some drawbacks too- in particular the fact that children will insist on acting like, well, children while you are attempting to act like a professional.

We now have a dedicated home office and I try not to spend too much time in there during the day but obviously I need to for periods throughout the day. Sometimes Ashley will be in there with me 'helping' me. Sometimes she's off riding her bike, watching a dvd, eating lunch, playing with her dolls etc. But sometimes she's right under my feet and I'm trying to make/receive important phonecalls.

Most of our clients know that I work from home with young children. And "sorry, that was my three year old in the background" is explanation enough for the odd noise here and there. But for the days when it's less of "an odd noise here and there" and more of "a cacophony of odd noises plus an inexplicable urge to fiddle with things and climb on things and touch my eye" I have a secret stash of toddler activities in my office. 

Some people call these kinds of activities "busy bags". They are generally small, simple, open-ended play experiences. Ones that don't require instruction from me, that can be enjoyed over and over (ie the resources don't get used up) and preferably have a somewhat educational component (ie sorting by colour, shape, size, number; recognising letters of the alphabet; sequencing; play food; etc). Because they don't use up resources they are a bit different to some of the activity packs I have set up in our home (things like crafts for the girls; crayons&notebook; etc)

I've decided to expand my stash and in have also decided that since I'm doing that, I need to organise them a little better so I'll be sharing some more about my busybags and organisation in the coming weeks. I'll also share some of the pre-prepared activity packs I have.

In the meantime, Pinterest (as always) is a great resource for busybag activities if you're looking for something similar to use in your own home.

Laura xx

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WAHM lunchboxes

School started back yesterday and so I'm back into the routine of making lunches. I thought I'd share a little tip with my fellow work-at-home mothers (or just stressed stay-at-home mothers)- make YOUR lunch in the morning too!

My lunch on the left, Ashley's on the right 
Honestly, I can't tell you the number of times that I started making dinner and realised that all I'd eaten all day was three LCMs. Or how many times I was in the middle of something and feeling really productive but had to stop to make Ashley some lunch or a snack.

My lunch: cheese&pickle sandwich, hummus, corn cruskits, grape tomatoes. Ashley's lunch: cheese&vegemite sandwich, mini biscuits, golden delicious apple, cherry tomatoes and crackers. 

When you think about it, it really makes so much sense. I don't know why it took me so long (about six months) to start doing it. Maybe I was still stuck in the fantasy that I'd have so much more time on my hands to be so much more productive while working at home. I probably thought I'd mill my own organic wheat into my own organic flour and bake it into beautiful organic wholemeal baguettes and top it with organic lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and homemade mayo while my work waited patiently to be done and my three year old quietly taught herself to read in the corner so that the floor could mop itself.

Whatever the fantasy was, the reality is that most days I don't want to stop multiple times (and always in the middle of something important!) to make snacks and lunch. Most days, if I hadn't pre-made lunch, I'd probably stop and grab a sausage roll on the way out of the shopping centre or maybe just not eat at all. And while I always include fruit and veg in my girls lunches and always have that intention for my own lunch, it never really happened- until I started portioning out fruit and salad and putting it onto a lunchbox for me. Approaching my lunch the same way I approach lunch for my girls can only be a good thing, right?

Here are the benefits as I see them:

  • It's much quicker and there is less cleaning up
  • I'm more likely to make healthier choices
  • Ashley can help herself to healthy snacks (instead of dragging a chair over and raiding the pantry every 40 minutes)
  • I'm less likely to skip my lunch 
  • Portion control!
  • It's good practice for Ashley who is at school next year
  • No excuse not to grab our lunch boxes and head outside for an impromptu picnic
  • Less wastage- if Bella has half a serve of something for lunch, the rest goes into our lunch, ditto with leftovers
  • The lunchboxes sit flat all day so I can do cute bento-inpsired lunches and they won't look like a tossed salad by the time we eat them!

These lunch boxes are Sistema Klip-it 2L lunch boxes and they were around $5 each. I'm a Decor girl at heart (with Tupperware a close second) but I couldn't find anything else that I loved. These have room for a sandwich+snacks or pasta+snacks or salad+snacks, are large enough that I can place smaller containers in the sections but small enough to fit nicely into our fridge (or my bag). We also have a drink bottle each in the fridge.

Do you pre-make your lunch if you're at home or do you like it super-fresh? Do you have any inspiring lunch-related pinterest boards? Leave me a link below!

Laura xx

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Project Life Station

*smacks hand* Bad Blogger!

I left a cryptic clue a week or so back about my amazing purchase then forgot to post about it. My amazing find was a desk organiser from Homeart for just $19.99! I ended up buying three because they're just so cheap and so versatile. You can find them on the Homeart website here and see if your local store has any stock.

This is how I have used one of them. It's pic-heavy so I'll save the others for another day. I had to remove the hinged shelf from the back of the organiser and now it holds nearly everything I need (except album/sleeves) to complete a Project Life layout. At a squeeze, this unit could hold two core kits but I just have one core kit, some plain 3x4 cards and some I've made myself (from trimming free printables or regular scrapbooking paper).

I covered this clipboard myself to hold my layout planner pages. It's really handy for noting which pics will go where before you even start to edit and print your pics. You can write the photos file name in the grid (ie IMG0245) or a brief description. And you can even scribble down journalling, quotes etc that you want to remember. I can't remember where I found the printable, I printed them en masse about a year ago and there's nothing on the actual page. If you know who made them, please let me know!

I sort, print, trim and (re) sort my pics then keep them stored by month or page in these little photo storage pockets. Then when I have time to sit down and work on my Project Life album, everything is ready to go and I can enjoy the process. 

I keep some flair items in the little section and my Project Life pens in the drawer. You can see that this organiser can hold a LOT of cards. There's still room to store a lot more 3x4 cards next to the 4x6 if I wanted to.

Some people have had some bad luck with these pens (arriving already dried out) but I've had no problems so far with mine, I love them.

How do you store your Project Life bits and pieces? I'd love to see! Leave me a link or description below.

Laura xx

Monday, October 14, 2013

My week 41/52 (and 40/52)

One of the obvious problems of having a blog about how busy you are is that sometimes you are too busy to blog. That has definitely been the case in the last week or so. We've been enjoying school holidays (as you would have seen from my last post), rearranging our home office set-up (condensing from three rooms to one, basically) and doing some major finishing touches on our house which has meant chasing down lots of quotes. We've also had family visiting from out of town and all the usual work 'stuff'.

So, long story short, I missed last Monday's 'my week' post so you get a two-for-one this week. Both of my planner layouts were quite simple this past fortnight.

Week 40- a lot of my plans/notes were on separate 'project' lists and not in my planner. 

Week 41- lost of little things to do and lots of socialising too, which was nice! 

Laura xx

Saturday, October 12, 2013

School holiday "to do" list (and free printable)

I blinked and it was October. Seriously.

I really don't like the year passing this quickly, not least of all because it's only a few weeks until I turn twenty-four.... for the 9th time. The school holidays crept up on me too. A day or so before they started I started a list with Bella. We normally do this well in advance of the holidays and usually have a list for places to go and a list for things to do (at home). This time, under pressure of time, I printed off these super cute "to do" lists from Angela at Hello Cuteness. I'll leave you the link and details at the bottom of the post.

I trimmed the pages and my girls coloured them in (the printable is coloured but I printed on a black-and-white printer). 

Because the three lists are printed flush against each other there was no room for a margin to hole punch and I didnt want to ruin the checklist so I paperclipped the lists to the front of a divider. These means I can easily flip through the pages of the list. These pics were taken immediately after I had assembled it so the list isn't very full and nothing has been ticked off. 

A ribbon-topped paperclip not only keeps the lists in place, it allows me to locate the lists quickly in my Filofax. And yes, those are Project Life cards in the background, I'm hoping I can incorporate these completed lists into PL somehow but I'm not sure how to do it. If you have any ideas, please let me know!!

Okay and now for the printables:

Aren't they stunning? I'm not going to post the direct link to these because I want you to see the other beautiful, free printables Angela has on offer. The ones above are in the "to do" list section which is towards the bottom. Click the link below to print your own. 

Laura xx