Anders Ruff Workshop

Pineville and Davidson, NC

Disney Hacks

Stroller Edition

Adventure Air

Rock Hill, SC

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Raising Thankful Kids - Thanksgiving Edition

This year for Thanksgiving we wanted to make sure our family was giving back to our community. We are so blessed, and there are so many people experiencing truly difficult realities.

We want to instill a sense of appreciation and service to our community in our children. We started talking to our 5 year old about Thanksgiving and all that we have to be thankful for and how we were going to include her in giving back. We discussed how there are many families who don't have important things they need, like food, for the holidays. This is a concept that I'm not sure S completely understands, because she's never experienced any true need.

I loaded the kids up and we went shopping for non-perishable Thanksgiving food items. I let S help think of all the foods eaten at Thanksgiving, and she picked out which we should purchase. She was very proud that we were going to help a family in the community to have a Thanksgiving Dinner. We also purchased a rectangle laundry basket to donate with the goods for delivery to local families.

We're donating our basket to The Sandbox, a wonderful local organization in Charlotte that locks arms with families whose children are battling cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. They help these families throughout the year by assisting them with the day to day needs that are out of reach because they are caring for a sick child. The Sandbox has many fundraisers and events throughout the year, including the annual 'Evening of Believing' prom that I've lucky to be involved with for the past 3 years.

If you want to get your children on board, helping other children with cancer and their families, check out how The Sandbox is helping with the holidays by clicking here.

All Thanksgiving donations are asked to be dropped off at one of their 3 South Charlotte locations by THIS Friday, November 15th.

No time to shop? You can donate a grocery gift card, or donate $80 to feed a family of 4 and The Sandbox volunteers will do the shopping for you!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Baby's 1st Haircut with Pigtails & Crewcuts

A baby's first haircut is one of the many milestones anticipated by parents. It marks their growth into toddler-hood as their wild baby tresses are exchanged for a big kid hairdo. I remember my daughter's like it was yesterday, she sat perfectly still and calmly let them cut her curls. My son, however, is a world apart from my daughter - he's 100% squirmy, wild, crazy boy! This caused me to be a little apprehensive about how our first hair cut would go. I decided to enlist the professionals - enter the staff at Pigtails and Crewcuts in Blakeney.

The ambiance of Pigtails and Crewcuts is 100% kid approved. The waiting room offers a train table, tv, toys and an art station. Their shelves are filled with two lines of kid friendly hair products including an organic option and other products (and referral source) to deal with the icky situation of lice. They also have hair accessories such as brushes, adorable bows, headbands and more. A basic kids cut costs $18.95 and a first haircut package is $24.95. The Cotswold location currently offers birthday parties and they don't forget about Mom and Dad, we can get our hair cut for $27.95 and $18.95 respectively.

Kids sit in a cute assortment of re-imagined chairs that are cabs, fire trucks and airplanes. My son had an immediate smile as he sat in his yellow cab and began turning the wheel with gusto. Our stylist Michelle had E (16 months) wear his cape backwards so his little hand could keep busy on the wheel while she moved with expert precision cutting down his wild mane. The stylists there know all the tricks to keep kids happy and amazingly still. Michelle even included big sister S (5) in the process as she helped distract E and hold his hands, and provide general entertainment. Not a tear was shed. I was amazed.

They took a picture of his new, big boy cut and saved a piece of his baby hair for this sentimental momma's baby book. Then it was off to pick a toy from the treasure chest and try his first lollipop. I was very impressed with the experience at Pigtails and Crewcuts and we will visit again as E grows his curls back.

DIY Disney Punch Countdown Calendar

Looking for NO-FEE Concierge Disney Vacation Planning? I'd love to chat with you about how to make your family's Disney Vacation (World, Land, Cruise, Aulani, Hilton Head, Adventures) seamless, fun (even for you Mom!) and full of life-long memories. Email me at Lareina@WaltsWorldVacations or on Facebook at Lareina with Walt's World Vacations.

Our Disney trip is quickly approaching and with the excitement brings COUNTLESS questions from our 5 year old of 'HOW MUCH LONGER????' I decided that having a physical count down until Disney would make for a fun craft together and a practical way to show her how much longer we would have to wait until we arrived at the happiest place on earth.

The construction can be done with any box you have lying around the house. I used a left over cardboard box and an exacto knife to cut out the squares, circles - or if I was really a saint - Mickey Mouse heads! Once they were cut out we let S paint it red. I took white tissue paper and hot glued the paper behind each opening, allowing her to punch out each one day at a time. On the back piece of cardboard, I printed out a picture of Disney World, and all the characters so she will be able to see them peering through as we punched out our count down. We embellished with a Mickey head cut out of foam, and she practiced writing her numbers for the count down.

Mickey here we come!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Losing Weight is a Piece.... No... a Small Slice, of Cake

I've just finished my 8th week with Weight Watchers Online!

Week 5
This was my first week with a gain.  It was after a girls weekend away with far too many points spent on alcohol, jell-o shots and flannel pajamas coffee. Yes, we were moms gone wild. I tried dancing as many points away as possible - luckily the gain was only 1 pound, but it was still disheartening to see it on the scale. I did work hard to keep the food under control and made sure I ordered mostly salads at dinner. This week I realized how many calories are in salad dressings and ended up bringing my own low point dressing with me. I'm also learning that with me it's all about location, location, location! So I'm repositioning my fruits and veggies in an easy to see, easy to grab and eat location in my fridge.

Week 6
We experienced a family tragedy this week which I still don't have words to describe my sorrow over. I did my best to keep within points but found my heart broken - which I would typically medicate with food for, but I didn't find myself doing that this time even though I was simply heart broken. This week I was down 4.8 lbs and I've met my 5% goal and had to re-determine my next weight loss goal.

Week 7
It was my sweet daughter's 5th birthday this week. My non-scale victory was that I only ate 1 slice of her birthday cake even though the extra cake was calling me from the fridge for 5 days after the celebration was over. I tracked religiously and did some mall walking. I keep re-committing to  getting active and getting my heart rate up, but I didn't make it to the gym this week. I'm able to start predicting the WW points that a food is going to be. Now that fall is approaching us the fruit options are starting to dwindle, but I'm making sure I'm keeping fresh veggies and tasty fruit always available. This week I'm down 2.4 pounds.

Here is an excerpt from my typical food day:

Greek key lime yogurt - 4 p
Coffee with 1/4 c of sugar free pumpkin free creamer - 2 p
Banana - 0 p

Tuna fish 1 serving - 4 p
1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese - 2 p
3 pickles - 0 p
Lettuce to wrap it in - 0 p
Hellman's Mayo low fat 1 tbsp - 1 p

Chicken cooked with spices 5 oz - 5 pp
Baked potato - 4 p
low fat sour cream 1 tbsp - 1p
green beans steamed 1.5 cups - 0 p

Skinny cow ice cream sandwich 4 pp

Week 8
I'm making sure I keep fruit at the ready for when I'm hungry. This is majorly important to my success - having healthy food on hand so I don't make high point choices. This week I ate at Sonic. Holy goodness the points were high for that meal, but the thing I love about WW is that there is nothing off limits - AND I DIDN'T FEEL GUILTY LIKE I CHEATED ON MY DIET! I just have to accommodate the splurge with my points and eating and working out for the rest of the week to get the results I want to see on the scale. I also made it to the gym twice and got 12 activity points which I didn't even eat. This week I lost 1.2 pounds.

My total weight loss for 8 weeks is 22 pounds. I feel like it's slow and steady, which I'm ok with. My scrubs for work are starting to feel a little loose on me and slowly I'm starting to fit into clothes I haven't been able to wear in a while. I keep telling myself - this is a marathon not a sprint. If I don't see the results I'd like to see I always have next week to tweak it as I see fit.

I'm so lucky to have the love and support of my wonderful husband Jim. I'm a member of a Weight Watchers support group on Facebook, and I'm saddened by how many women are harassed by their partners over their weight and the torment they deal with from the lack of support and negative words. I'm counting my blessings he's in my corner and I'm counting the pounds away as I work toward my goal.

Weight Watchers Disclosure: People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Disclosure: I have received a free 3-month pass to experience Weight Watchers online. I am not being paid to use or endorse Weight Watchers and thoughts are my own.