Running Goals Update – August 2016

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Running Update - August 2016

Something I earned from using the Under Armour Map My Run App on my phone.

I really wanted to title this post: #Ds40By40 – August Update, to go along with last month’s post titled #Ds40By40 – My New 40th Birthday Goal.

But, I am so ready to turn forty now.

I just want to get it over with.

On my “40-days before I turn 40” date of July 16, 2016, I found my first silver hair.  SILVER!  It’s actually kind of beautiful, but it was a shock. My first silver hair

Both my parents didn’t get grey hairs until they turned fifty.

I am the queen of screaming “LIFE IS NEVER FAIR SO GET OVER IT” but that silver hair came as a complete shock to me.  I was with my two youngest children at the time and I picked through my hair thinking it was like a piece of string or something (because it was so shiny!) that was on my head that I couldn’t remove.  It probably took me a good minute to realize that it was really a silver hair.

My poor daughter got caught first to look at it and being only six, she really didn’t know what a grey/silver hair looked like.  <Big sigh.>  Just like out of a movie, I ran up to her and bowed low to ask “Sweetie, sweetie! Do you see the grey hair on my head?”

In her precious wisdom, and because I don’t think she really knew what I really meant to look for at the time (even though her father has A TON,) she said, “No mommy.”

Children are precious.

I told all my friends, who had very little sympathy for me as I expected, and I plan on owning my silver hair look – for now – as it comes out.  Both my parents own(ed) theirs and I remember my mom looked so beautiful when she passed away, grey hairs and all.

But I digress.

Back to my Running Goals Update…

This Under Armour shirt ran a bit big, but I love it nonetheless. I might wear it at one of my Disneyland Runs!

This Under Armour shirt ran a bit big, but I love it nonetheless. I might wear it at one of my Disneyland Runs!

As of July 31, 2016, I have run a total of 35-runs over 4-miles.  I ran one ten-mile run in July, and 10-separate runs at 4-miles or more.

My word is Intentional for the year.  I am making these days count including being intentional about my running distances.

I earned a $40 off coupon from Under Armour (photo shown above) just by using their Map My Run App.  Of course I used the coupon already, and bought some really sweet Star Wars shirts for me and the hubby.

Storm Trooper Medal from Full Medal RunsStorm Trooper Shirt from Under ArmourThe first one I chose was the storm trooper one, and I wore it when I ran the 10K to earn the Storm Trooper Medal from Full Medal Runs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That medal was to celebrate May 4th (you know, May the Fourth be with you) and I just had to have it because it was so cool – even though I’m a REBEL through and through.

I bought a shirt for myself and my husband that state “May the Force Be With You” from Under Armour as well. We both wear our shirts with pride and I might be wearing mine at the Star Wars Run in Disneyland in January.  I haven’t quite decided yet, but that will be another post!

Stay tuned for more “virtual race” posts about the various sites I’ve purchased medals to celebrate my love of running.  I’m a medal junkie now, so I am not in short supply to post about my medals and experiences.

I am giving a big nod to Full Medal Runs for their beautiful medals.  They have emails to let you know when the medal has shipped, and I have signed up for the “Are you Rouge” virtual 10K that takes place between August 1 – November 30, 2016.  I’ve already received the medal and plan to run the distance this week!

One last thing – On Sunday, July 31, 2016, I hit the 1000-mile walk/run milestone for the year!  It’s an exciting accomplishment considering I was shooting for 1016 miles for the entire year. Hit the 100 mile Mark at the end of July

Have a great week and I hope you can get some outdoor time this month!


Bucket List Check – Half Marathon Before 40

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DeAndrasCrafts finishes her halfUp until recently, I hadn’t had a bucket list.

Like, up to ~ last year ~ recently.

I knew I wanted to accomplish things, and many of those things had consisted of items most female Americans want like purchasing a house, marrying a great man, and having children.

But to say that I knew “what else” I wanted to do with my life ~ those moments of clarity didn’t come until my mother got really sick.  (Feel free to read the “Bucket List” post.  That’ll tell you more.)

But I digress.

I checked off one of my bucket list items recently and that was to run a half marathon before I turned 40-years old.

Done. DeAndrasCrafts Finished

Checked.

What’s next, right?


Well, let me tell you, if you haven’t read this blog before and you don’t know me personally, I’ve been training for running this race for 12-weeks. Feel free to read up on my running plan here: January Run Goal Update.

I’ve been waking up early to get run time in.  {See the hastag: #DsHalfMarathon on Instagram for my training progress in photos.}

I’ve been seemingly (at least it felt like I was) putting off everything else until I got this race done.  Blog posts, namely….

And now….

Now I’m writing a blog post to remind myself what I had to do to get this far.

I guess this blog post should be titled

Things people never tell you when you prepare to run a half marathon.

1. Be in the phase of learning again.

This is one of those things that is very telling of how you understand life.  It doesn’t matter how you learn, i.e. reading/writing (visual), audiotory, or tactile, “learning” the ins and outs about running is key to running and enjoying it.  Without learning about it, you may hit the wall hard, and not be able to recover from it.  Just remember this: If you don’t like something about it and don’t learn what to do to change it, there’s nothing that can help you.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

I spent the past 12-weeks teaching myself how to endure over 2-1/2 hours of running. Of how to eat.  Of how to step on my feet as I run.  I even had a time where I ran for the first time for 13.1 miles, just to get a feel for how it was going to be.

2.  Learn to wake up really early.

The moon is 'setting' on one of my early morning runs.

The moon is ‘setting’ on one of my early morning runs.

Whether you like it or not, running in the morning is way better than running at night.  Unless you don’t have a full-time job (I do) and can run during the day (I cannot) then running in the morning was so much easier than I anticipated.  I’ve done it both ways and learning to run in the morning is not only extremely efficient, but gets my day started, almost before I’ve truly woken up.

3.  Learn to go to the bathroom, really early.

This is something no-one may ever tell you.  It’s not “taboo” per-se, but nobody likes to talk about it either.  Being in the middle of a “long” run and having to go to the bathroom, like REALLY GO TO THE BATHROOM, is not only horrible, but could have been a deal breaker for me.  I mean like, I could have been traumatized by results of having to go number 2 if I didn’t learn how to do this.

4.  Your toes will look hideous.

Here are my bandaged up feet before the half marathon. Definitely something nobody told me about before I trained for a half.

Here are my bandaged up feet before the half marathon. Definitely something nobody told me about before I trained for a half.

Again, not something people normally share with you when you’re a runner.  I love me some pedicures, but after I began running, pedicures became a true necessity.  To pamper my feet and give myself some grace when it came to comfortable shoes was very new to me.  Flip flops now hurt to wear.  My callouses are starting to be noticeable.  I’ve given up “cute feet” for runners feet, and I’m okay with it.

5.  You may or may not lose weight.

I’m still working on this one.  Before I began training for the half marathon, I was running up to 6 miles and losing weight pretty steadily, about a 1/4-pound every week.  When I started doing my high mileage runs (7-miles or more at one time), I had to eat more (see the learning comment above) and I gained about three pounds back.  Mentally, this was difficult to take in at first.  I really wanted to see my high–mileage runs be a benefit to my weight loss, but that just wasn’t the case for me, and again, that’s okay.  I finished a half marathon and will be working on getting into a smaller size in the future.

6.  The mental game is real.

IMG_7184[1]Oh my goodness can I attest to this.

No one ever told me how hard it would be to convince my brain that I could push through the 9th-mile, let alone the 11th.  The best way to describe this (for me) was at the first half marathon race I ran, I hit the wall at mile nine.  You can see my splits and just know that my mind told my body I couldn’t do it anymore.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to stop running and just walk.  I did stop running and just walk several times in the last four miles.  But I still finished, and will be working on getting under two and half hours for the next one….

7.  Finishing a half marathon is much like having a baby.

In my humble opinion, of course, this is probably the best way to describe running a half marathon and here’s why: I’m not sure I want to do it again. 

I got my moment of glory after I finished the race.

I “gave birth” (if you will) to my goal and not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded by the challenge I was looking for and the pride that I wanted to feel after it was all done.

I’m not quite looking forward to the next one, yet.  (You probably understand this if you have at least one child.)  I’ve done it, and I’m not ready to commit to training for another half marathon.  I haven’t signed up for one, yet, and I haven’t really said that I want to do it again, yet.

I’ll be nursing my love of running for exercise for a while and maybe in the future consider “going for another one” – another half marathon, that is.

I’m sure I could add at least five more things to this list.  But, I’ll spare you the crazy and just let you know that I am so glad I did it!

I’m on day two of recovery and have a short run scheduled for myself tomorrow.  I need to learn to stretch better prior to and after a long run.

This "One Tough Mother" medal is also a wine cork! How cool is that! Click on the link to find out how you can get one!

This “One Tough Mother” medal is also a wine cork! How cool is that! Click on the link to find out how you can get one!

My next virtual race scheduled for late April is the One Tough Mother Run by Virtual Strides.  I’m dedicating this mother’s day themed virtual race to my mom.  I know she would be so proud of me!

I just signed up for another virtual 10K (6.25 miles) race today for the end of May.  Sheesh.  Who am I and what have I done with the old D’Andra?

Thanks for reading!
Virtual Strides


Virtual Race Running – My New Favorite Thing

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Virtual Race RunningIn 2015, I ran my first virtual race.

I joined last years virtual race to give myself motivation for running a bit faster and to have a purpose (other than the general exercise of course) to hit a five-kilometer (5K) or 3.11 mile distance.  I got my very first medal, and there was a small portion of my entry fee that went toward a charity called “Girls on the Run.” My first Medal 112115

That virtual race was through an organization called Run the Edge.

After that virtual race, I found out about online running communities, virtual challenges, virtual running partners – you name it; if you don’t want to get to know someone but want to have a committed running partner, he or she is out there for you!  You just have to find that special person….

Anyway, as I write this post, I am training to run my body for 13.1 miles, or what is better known as a half-marathon.  I have never run one before, and I’m doing it to cross it off my bucket list.

You can see my general training plan here: January 2016 Run Goal Update.

I’m getting all the wonderful health benefits that comes with a complete and total lifestyle change, and I hope to keep it up well into the years of when my growing children leave the house.

Virtual races have become an important part of my “not getting bored” with racing plan.

I have chosen a 12-week preparation plan, which includes running four times a week, for a minimum distance of 3 miles, and other mileage ranging from 5 miles, 6 miles to the eventual 11 miles.  I’ve enjoyed the plan immensely and it appears to be working, but the chance to earn a medal for all these times I’m running for “training purposes” has been an extra bonus that has motivated me in a way I can’t explain – it’s just that much more fun.

This past month, this was a popular topic in a Facebook running group I’m in, and I’m writing this post primarily for my future self, and anyone else that stumbles upon it looking up places and links for Virtual Races.

Here are the sites I have verified (as of the date of this blog post) that have virtual races one can sign up for, pay the entry fee and get options sent to he or she, such as shirts, medals, or miscellaneous race bling.

Run the Edge: This is the virtual site that started it all for me.  In November of 2015, I paid for my first medal for the “Hug a Runner” challenge and some of the fee went toward a program called Girls on the Run.  This year, I joined the 2016 miles in 2016 virtual race, as a husband and wife team with the love of my life.  I’m looking forward to doing their “Selfie Challenge” in the summer, as I’m one of those runners that loves to takes selfies on my runs.

Fit Fam: I signed up for the PI day 5K challenge.  Some of the fees benefit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education and I’m hoping to eat a slice of pie the same day I do this run.  On purpose, of course.

Make Yes Happen: Available Virtual Races include the Race to Oz, Escape the Shire-Journey through Middle Earth and Black Friday Half.

Running on the Wall: They have a Virtual Race part of their website, but they also sell a significant amount of runner swag and bling, and great gifts for runners.

Piece by Piece Virtual Run Medal

This is the medal for the Virtual Strides website “Piece by Piece” race, benefiting the Autism Speaks organization.

Virtual Strides: Like the “Make Yes Happen” website above, this site gives money to charity with the fees collected.  There is a “Piece by Piece” virtual run in early February with a chance to win a $50 gift card to the site, and the charity benefited is Autism Speaks.

US Road Running: This site has a “Boston Strong” medal that I’m interested in getting for a 5K, 10K or a half.

Gone for a Run: This is where I signed up for my “I Love 2 Run” virtual race in February.

Hogwarts Running Club: If you love the Harry Potter Series, like REALLY, REALLY LOVE the series, this is the club for you.  The virtual races and the medals are all associated with Harry Potter themes, and I may sign up for a race just to say I’ve done one.

Will Run for Bling: And Charity….  This site currently has a couple races that are available, and has past events that I hope they do again this year, especially the Galaxy Run and the Run Now, Wine Later Race.  Both of those are right up my alley!

Here’s a ton more that I verified the links for, but didn’t even scratch the surface on checking out the medals/bling/charities.  I guess that’ll be for a later date….

Love 2 Run Swag 2016My next virtual race is for Valentine’s Day, called the “I Love 2 Run” race, and it’s only 2.14 miles.  I plan on incorporating the distance into one of my scheduled runs for the week.

You don’t have to run with other people to get medals.  This was a great start for me.  I didn’t feel the pressure of running with other people in a race that I wasn’t sure if I was even going to finish.  With virtual races, I feel all the joy of finishing purpose-filled runs, with some of the fee going to various charities, and I have something to show for all the running time I’m investing in my life.

I hope this post encourages you to get started on any sort of exercising. Even walking counts for many of these challenges.  Just getting the time/mileage in is the important part.

Blessings to you this week!


Our Trip to Ensenada, Mexico

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Trip-Us with the ShipEarly in January, my husband and I were able to take a trip to Ensenada on a Carnival Cruise ship.

The trip was awesome, and here are some highlights as well as a few things I learned about to plan the next cruise for our family.


FYI: We purchased the $50 per person per day option for drinks, usually called totally inclusive.  My husband and I figured that if we were able to drink five (5) drinks a day, that would make the purchase easily justifiable.  Mental note for those who purchase this plan – you can only drink 15 drinks a day, and the drink cannot cost more than $10.00.  This was easily do-able.

I’ll just let you know that we were able to meet that small goal.  Hee, hee.  Don’t be judge-y. We were without children you know.
Expedia.ca: All-Inclusive Packages for $999 with Expedia!

Trip-Queen MaryThe cruise left from Long Beach, California.  We took a photo in front of the Queen Mary, a ship that is permanently docked and is available for both dinner and nightly stays.  I’m not interested in the whole “being haunted” thing, so I probably won’t be making a vacation to stay on that ship anytime soon.

This is the Long Beach, CA skyline behind my husband. DeAndrasCrafts.com

My husband is standing at the very back of the ship in front of the Long Beach skyline as we left the port.

We picked a room with a king-sized bed and a window, and we discussed at length how we don’t know how people can pick rooms without windows.  It’s less expensive though, and we could see how being on the ship is exciting enough.  Other than sleeping or napping, you really don’t spend a whole-lot-of-time in your room.

The team of crew members treat you like royalty, and I personally love the small touches that cruises offer such as ‘all you can eat food’ at any time of the day.  It’s an extremely gluttonous experience if you haven’t experienced anything like that.  They also place extra towels on your bed each evening in the shape of animals.  The frog was my favorite on this trip.

Trip-Towel FrogThe first full day was spent in Ensenada, Mexico, and in the morning before we docked, I ran around the walking/jogging track as we came into port.

Note for any future joggers/walkers: If you use an app on your phone, the app may or may not take into consideration the movement of the ship.

This is my selfie as the ship parked into the Ensenada port.

This is my selfie as the ship parked into the Ensenada port.  I was bummed that I didn’t get to see the enormous Mexican flag that ~usually~ flies on the pole behind me.

According to the run tracking app on my phone, I was able to do the first mile in 4.32 minutes.  As I know that is not possible for me EVER, I knew the app didn’t take the speed of the ship moving into its calculation.  This also made it difficult to judge how far I actually ran that morning.  If I had to guess, it was probably about three miles, but I didn’t count the laps around the track.  The track has a distance marked on the deck as 1/11th of a mile around.  It takes 11 trips around the track to go a one-mile distance.

The shipped docked around 8:30 AM or so and cruisers were able to get off the boat for excursions and local shopping/touring.

We easily purchased a excursion that morning for a 10 AM departing time, to go see something called “La Bufadora” and wine tasting at an Ensenada winery.

This is my second (or maybe third, I can’t recall) trip to Ensenada, Mexico, and it was my husband’s third or fourth.  We had both been on mission trips to Ensenada, but separately and thus this vacation was our first trip to this city together.  Neither one of us had experienced “La Bufadora” and it was a spectacular site that was worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.

My husband is standing in front of La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico.

My husband is standing in front of La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico.

The cruise-ship provided tour guide said that there were only three locations of this type of phenomena in the world, and Ensenada is one of the three.

For me, one of the coolest things I experienced was seeing a rainbow in the occasional water spray after the water shot up from where the ocean meets the rock formation.

I wish I got video.  It was quite beautiful, loud, and breathtaking when the splashes occurred.

A rainbow formed in the spray at La Bufadora.

A rainbow formed in the spray at La Bufadora.

The drive from the ship to the spot where La Bufadora is located is about 35 to 40 minutes on a chartered bus that was part of the excursion purchase.

The tour guide told us all his favorite spots along the shops at La Bufadora, and we were one of the first visitors of the day there.  From the dirt parking lot where the bus parked, there is about a quarter-mile walk to the rock formation of La Bufadora where you walk in between local shops of clothing, purses, jewelry, souvenirs, and food of every kind imaginable.

If you haven’t been to Mexico before and you’re reading this to find out more about it, let me be the first to warn you about Mexican sales personnel.

They are VERY PUSHY.

And sometimes, just sometimes, if you know enough Spanish, you can tell they are not very nice when you politely say “no thanks.”

It’s just a hard day’s work for them and that’s how I like to look at it.

Also – The rumors about Mexican water are true – be very careful about drinking anything with ice in it as well, as that includes free samples of Pina Colada mix that the vendors push on you as you pass by.

Very few things are regulated in Mexico like they are in western countries, and water cleanliness is not a priority to them.

There were also people performing dances and singing for us, such as this fine gentlemen to allowed us to take a selfie with him.

Trip-With at LocalWe make sure we pack plenty of one-dollar bills for tips before we leave for any vacation, and this vacation was no exception.  We gave him a couple of bucks as he was not only serenading us, but let us take a photo.

I purchased a clam shell the size of my head from a local vendor that was filled with crab meat, clam meat, seasoning, and shrimp on top.  There’s no way to tell if something is undercooked while there, but I didn’t get sick so I highly recommend it.

We ate lunch at the taco shop closest to the parking lot.  (This was also something that was recommended by our guide and worth every bite.)

Before we left we paid the 50-cent fee (each) to use the bathroom at the taco shop.  Don’t forget about the water coming out of the faucet in the bathroom to wash your hands.  It’s still a good idea to wash your hands, but ensure that you pack a small container of hand sanitizer to use AFTER you wash your hands with Mexican water.

The trip back was relaxing and I took a short nap on my husband’s shoulder in the bus.

There was nothing special about the wine tasting at the San Tomas winery, although it’s always interesting to hear history of places and the wine tasting room had plenty of history in itself.  The wine we tasted was … well … it was … sweet, but it was not our preferred type of wine.  I’ll just leave that comment for your own judgement.

That evening was our “elegant” dinner on the ship, and the waiters and waitresses sand the song “Celebration” to us which was quite a treat.

We finished off the evening with a “Diva’s” song and dance tribute, and then a comedy show.  The day itself was exhausting, so it was easy to get some sleep the second night.

The second full day is on the sea, and we didn’t plan out much except to eat and play a few “what’s that tune” games.

We walked around before the games started to take photos on the ship and that’s where my Selfie Stick came in handy.

The cruise ships exhaust ports are in the background, along with one of the water slides.

The cruise ships exhaust ports are in the background, along with one of the water slides.

My husband and I talked about bringing the kiddos on a cruise like this, and for now, we’ve convinced ourselves that it would be possible.

First, it would have to be warmer, as the pool and the water slides would be a big seller for our children.  “Warmer” as in a daytime temperature of 75-degrees or higher.

Second, I think we would take grandma, or a friend to help be a sitter, as we would want to purchase three rooms and have the children in the middle.  Even though we are adults, our experience with trying to sleep during the third night reminded us that we are older adults and do not care for the young adults waking us up at midnight, 2 and 5 in the morning with his/her conversations and antics.  It was clear that one of our neighbors had a friend for the last evening, and I literally tried sleeping with my fingers in my ears.  It doesn’t work well at all.

The walls in between cabins are seemingly paper-thin.

Note for next time: Bring earplugs.

Lastly, we figured that the children would have to get off the boat for an excursion of some kind.  The bus ride was just the right length for us, but 40-minutes might have been too long for our kiddos.  Perhaps something closer or more exciting would have to be planned out for them.

Maybe after a three day cruise with the kids we could take it up a notch and go on a four or five day cruise.

All I know is that I like going on cruises.

I like them immensely.

This is my third one in my lifetime and I hope to go on many in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Name for Blog Posts


2015 Year in Review

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2015 Year In ReviewThis year has brought it’s ups, downs, and everything in between.

Much like a Facebook and their version of a “Year in Review” I tried really hard to post photos and memories of my life in this blog.  It ended up being like one of those generated memes of expectation vs. reality….

My Recap:

Blog Wise ~

I posted seventeen (17) blog posts.

I began (drafted) four (4) blog posts that didn’t get published.

I posted seven (7) Instructables this year.  You can also see these on my Instructables tab.  They are shown from the most recent published.

Family Wise ~

My mother passed away in January.

My father successfully recovered from his open heart surgery in 2014 and was able to take care of his grandchildren once again in late February of this year.

My mother-in-law went through her cancer treatments and beat cancer.

My children began swim lessons this year and my oldest ~almost~ passed the highest level (Level 10.)

We went to Hawaii as a family this year.

Our youngest had the last adorable season of youth-soccer, where they don’t keep score and we’re just out there for fun. <Sigh.>

Kids playing soccer just for fun....

Intellectually ~

I read a total of eleven (11) books this year!  Three of them were non-fiction.  My goal was twelve, and I really wanted to count the Rainbow Magic Fashion Fairies that I completed with my daughter, but I didn’t.

Five books completed from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

The Horse and His Boy

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’

The Silver Chair

and “The Last Battle

With my oldest I read a fun book called “The Year of Billy Miller” by Kevin Henkes.

We completed “The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkien this year, and we started on the Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring in the beginning of December.

As a family, we read “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl.  That book is VERY DIFFERENT from the movie.

I personally finished the book by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze called “Smart Money Smart Kids“.

My trainer gave me a book that I enjoyed reading (a health book!) by Dr. Kelly Starrett called “Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally.”

Lastly, I read a book with fellow believers from our church.  That book was “Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint” by Nadia Bolz-Weber.  It was…interesting and overall, a good read but it’s not for the new Christian in my humble opinion.

Health Wise/Physically ~

The biggest thing that happened this year was that I was able to lose 31 pounds in seven months.  I’ve gained about four of those pounds back, but I’m on the way to getting those holiday pounds off by continuing to run.

I’ve managed to avoid taking cholesterol medication that the doctor was going to prescribe me.

I’m also grateful that I’m completely recovered from my knee surgery back in August 2014.  The left knee though….  We’ll just have to see what happens next year.

And Career Wise ~

This is where the “adulting” part of life gets tricky.

I am so grateful for the job I have.  It pays well, I get to leave everything at the office and not take work home with me, and I have great co-workers.

The upper management people are …

well, they are …

hard to deal with to say the least.

As this is a public blog, I will put it like this: follow me on Instagram, and you can get an idea of my life on a daily basis.  I used the hashtag #DsLastProject and there’s 19 photos that will show you how much I loved the job I used to have.

As of January 11, 2016, that will be changing permanently and I will be permanently assigned to a desk job in the Special Projects Section of Design.

A government worker at her finest.

Yup.

~ In Summary ~

  • The first part of the year sucked.
  • My mom went to be with the Lord and the best way to describe how I feel is by repeating what someone told me: Grief comes like a thief.  It steals your joy when you least expect it, despite how well you seem to be doing.
  • No truer words have been spoken to me about my mom’s passing.  I am grateful of everything she taught me, and I know where she is but boy does it suck sometimes not having her around.
  • In April 2015 I made the decision to follow whatever my personal trainer told me to do.  My number one goal was to lose as much weight as I could before I went to Hawaii.  I did it.  I think I lost about 25-pounds before we left in August and when we came back, I began running to hit my next year’s goal – running and completing a half-marathon race.
  • We went to Hawaii in August 2015.  What a place.  We will be going back.
  • Children’s birthday’s and the year-end holiday’s have gone off without a hitch.  (Knocking on wood and praising the Lord right now!)
  • My husband and I have written goals down for the upcoming year, and I have lofty goals for 2016.

I say bring it.

I hope you bring it too.

As always, thanks for reading.

Name for Blog Posts


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Week Fifty of Fun and Crazy

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It’s been a busy week.

Busy in the nicest sense of the word.

You have to remember something about me though – I am the tree-up after Thanksgiving, mamma of three little people, Christmas card sending, Pinterest freak of woman who loves the precious moments that don’t always get recorded.

But, with that said, here’s what we were up to this week –

Making Ninjabread cookies may become a new tradition in our house for Christmas.

Making Ninjabread cookies may become a new tradition in our house for Christmas.

Sunday was a typical “funday” for us.  After church we made some Ninjabread cookies.  I made the frosting with too much water, so the “white” did not show up but it was made out of powdered sugar, so it was still sweet.  I finished addressing all of the Christmas cards, and my husband and I finished up the monthly calendar.

Monday night was the first of the two Christmas musicals we are attending for our children this year.  My baby E had been working hard to get his moves right for the precious performance, and there’s nothing like children singing to brighten your week up.

Our youngest son is in the center of the sea of children.

Our youngest son is in the center of the sea of children.

On Tuesday I got the news that I was “officially” moving from Construction to Design.  I will be in the Special Projects section of the Engineering Dept. I work at, and it was partially a relief (because the waiting game is over) and partially sad, as I leave a season of my life that was exceptional.

I keep moving forward, as Walt Disney himself said. (I got that from the movie Meet the Robinsons.)

With that said, I was assigned a project relatively quickly to perform inspection on-site at a project at Millerton Lake. The only description I will give for right now is that I am blessed to have a job.  We’ll see how it plays out.

I’ve been told by many that this transition will probably turn out to be for the best.  I totally get that on a logical, brain-functioning level.  But my heart is still healing from the pain of being transitioned by forces that I cannot control.

Unfortunately, this is the government in action for you.

It affects people and you don’t even know.

I understand that some don’t care about me or my family because they’re too wrapped up in their own lives, but I also want people to know that I am a person with a life and commitments that make it so that I can produce three functioning members of society that will hopefully one day be paying taxes, helpful citizens of the community and dare I say, make a difference in the world, even if it’s in the lives of only a few.

Still – I’ll bet you don’t normally get a view like this for your job. Wed121015-Week50

But I digress.

Thursday and Friday both seemed to fly by.

My husband and I did our calendar planning for upcoming events and knew that Saturday was going to be a long day.

It didn’t disappoint though!

We had been planning a Star Wars Episodes IV – VI marathon for several weeks now at the church we attend.

As everyone knows, the new Force Awakens movie is going to start showing on December 18, 2015. No, we don’t have tickets for the first day but we are planning on going the first week it’s open.

We started out Saturday taking a photo in front of our tree, and yes, that’s a Darth Vader mask adorning the top of the Christmas tree.  I call this “the Force is with us” Christmas season.

You do not have permission to use this photo for anything.

You do not have permission to use this photo for anything.

I knew watching three movies back to back for anyone would be difficult, but I was glad we had twenty or so people who stuck it out the whole time we were at church to watch all three movies.Marathon at Church 2015

The main idea was to be together, and that’s what our family did.

I did have a brief argument with my husband about staying at the church for almost eight-hours, but we worked it out as we always do.

I’m terrible, I know, but I loved it!  I’ve never watched all three movies back to back like this before.

Sure, I’ve ran them back to back at our home, but I’ve never been able to watch them back to back.  There’s a huge difference there.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing the new movie more than ever, and the thing I’m looking forward to the most are the things that make Star Wars enjoyable – good triumphs over evil, unexpected plot twists, and not knowing what’s going to happen next.  Let’s hope they keep those main things in the storyline.

See you soon,

Name for Blog Posts

Craftsy


How We Made Our Fairy Garden

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DIY Fairy Garden for moms & daughtersOn my best days, I do crafts with my children.

Some crafts, as we all know, require patience, time, and a certain amount of creativity – but this is especially true when working with children.

My daughter is five years old as I write this blog post.  She and I spent some time together planning, finding pieces for and putting together the Fairy Garden pictured in this blog post.

As with most things, she had asked me weeks ago to create a fairy garden with her and in my kind-of “oh I hope she forgets about it” attitude, she continued to ask me to make one with her and in a slow work week, it finally happened.

My first stop (as with most projects) is Pinterest.

I think on a Wednesday evening, I sat her down at my computer and typed in “fairy garden.”

I ended up pinning a link from Homedit: Magical Fairy Garden Designs.

On Thursday we went to the craft store and picked out various odds and ends for the fairies to have as part of the little garden area.  The store I took her too had a huge clearance on Spring items, so the most expensive thing was the birdhouse she picked out for the fairies to live in.

She painted the birdhouse with her favorite colors and of course, “colors that the fairies like” as she told me.  I have glitter paint from a previous project, and she added that over the dried colors over the next couple days.

Painting the fairy house At some point in the week I took my daughter to the local garden/hardware store and purchased a small six-pack of Scottish Moss.  I re-used an 12-inch diameter pot that I had been keeping around and we already had the soil.

Moss & Pot

We started the process by adding the painted fairy house to the dirt area first.

place the large objects

Next we placed the moss around the house.

remove the mossplace moss

My daughter used her fingers to dig up a spot for the moss prior to placing it.

The next step was to place the odds and ends we found at the craft store.

The fence was placed first, around the house.

The fence was placed first, around the house.

My daughter placed the other accessories for the fairy garden in various places, including an ice chest (my favorite) and a lantern.

My daughter placed the other accessories for the fairy garden in various places, including an ice chest (my favorite) and a lantern.

I think the best thing about my daughter placing all the accessories was that her idea of what a home would look like came shining through.  She didn’t want bugs or butterflies per-Se, but she liked the ladybugs on the teeter-totter. She also liked the ice chest and picked out a ceramic fairy so that the “real fairies” know it’s safe to go in there.

I needed to do this with her.

~~~ I just didn’t know I needed to do this with her until after it was complete. ~~~

Fairy House Close-UpWe added the sign that fairies were welcome into the moss so it could stand up on it’s own.

I am so thankful that I took the time to create the garden with her.  She’s five.  It’s a hard thing for me to remember in my late 30’s what it’s like to be with my mom, let alone remember when I was five what it was like to be told “No, sorry honey. We can’t afford to do that” or “I don’t have the time.”

I made the time to do this with her and I’m so glad I did.

Blessings to those who read this.  I hope you can make your own. 😉


Week twenty-eight of Fun and Crazy

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Crafting with my friends in my newly finished craft room.

Crafting with my friends in my newly finished craft room.

Oh what a wonderful week it’s been.

It’s a been a while since I posted on this blog and I think I finally figured out why.

I’m a person who “does things.” Out of the five love languages, mine is “actions” and to me, I am really happy and have joy when I have accomplished something, made something, and something got done that may not have if I didn’t put the effort into it.

A blog is an interesting mix of “doing things” but not seeing (or touching, or feeling) the results of it.  I try not to be obsessed over it anyway.  Sure there are ways to see traffic to the site, look to see if people bought anything from affiliate links, and how many people engage your content, but the tangible result is difficult to feel the love that I pour out into the pages.

But -Here I am.  Posting for my children because they are my ‘Why’ I do things that I do anyway.


My theme for the week: I learned quite a bit about myself and my life.

  • I learned it’s really hard to work from the house.  My husband works out of the house and as many times as I have been secretly jealous of him, It’s difficult to do on summer break when my kids are home.  I tried it this week, and let’s just say, it’s hard for me to get anything productive done.
  • I learned my daughter’s love language this week.  It’s ‘touch.’ I have no doubt now if I did before.  She hangs on my husband and I like we’re monkey bars.  She tried kissing me on my arm and even though she’s my daughter it totally gave me the willies.  Ya, now I know.
  • I learned that my husband is an amazing meat-cooker.  He won a meat contest over at Instructables for the best rib recipe and I am excited about getting shipped meat from Pat La Frieda Meat Purveyors.  We’re kind of nervous about the meat being shipped to California from New Jersey, but here’s hoping it’ll make and I’ll keep you posted.
  • On Sunday the 5th, I re-learned how to jog in my neighborhood.  My personal trainer told me to try jogging for 30-second bursts, walking a bit, and the jog again for 30-more seconds.  In the beginning of my first mile, when I tried to run, it felt like my feet were lead.  I jogged and walked for a total of 45-minutes, for a distance of 3.2 miles.  It was difficult on my lungs, my legs felt like jello when I got home, but at the same time, I did it and it felt great.

So many things happened this week, as they usually do.

My husband cooked a tri-tip in the Traeger smoker overnight.  It was surprisingly good.  It was covered in sage and a few other spices, as we are on a low-carb eating plan right now.

pre-smoked tri-tip on the Traeger

Pre-smoked tri-tip on the Traeger

overnight smoked tri-tip

Overnight smoked tri-tip with sage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My kiddos had a great week making crafts, going to swim lessons, and we went on a spur-of the moment trip up the hill to try out the Jeep. (More on that below.)

DeAndrasCrafts Kids Making crafts

DeAndrasCrafts Kids making crazy glove people crafts.I lost another pound, bringing my total for the past 14-weeks to 23 pounds lost.

On Thursday, I had a few of my friends over to make some mosaic necklaces.  I hope to get that up on the blog soon!

My princess painted her fairy house for her fairy garden.  We finished that on Sunday and you can see the result here: How We Made Our Fairy Garden.Mosaic Necklace w Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ended up going on a four-wheeling trip with some friends on Saturday.  A spur of the moment trip for us is anything planned in a week.  We went up a run called Bald Mountain and you can see Shaver Lake from the top of the run as shown in one of the photos.  It was awesome and feel free to follow me on Instagram to see the longer captions of some of the photos below.

The kids (my three plus one extra) played on rocks as the vehicles got unloaded from trailers.

The kids (my three plus one extra) played on rocks as the vehicles got unloaded from trailers.

 

As the Jeep sits in the background, my oldest shows me the difference between deciduous trees and coniferous trees.

As the Jeep sits in the background, my oldest shows me the difference between deciduous trees and coniferous trees.

You can see I'm wearing one of the pendents I made at the party! We took this selfie as the first time breaking the Jeep in for our family.

You can see I’m wearing one of the pendents I made at the party! We took this selfie as the first time breaking the Jeep in for our family.

On the Bald Mountain Run, there is an area people stop to see if they're vehicle will get up V-rock.

On the Bald Mountain Run, there is an area people stop to see if they’re vehicle will get up V-rock.

The top of Bald Mountain 4-wheeling run is an amazing view!  Shaver Lake is in the background.

The top of Bald Mountain 4-wheeling run is an amazing view! Shaver Lake is in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s the thing about our weekly round-ups – it’s the best memories.  That’s what I want my kiddos to remember when they’ve grown.  If there’s one thing I learned from my mother passing away, it’s that I remember <almost> all the good things.  You don’t think of that when you have to go through the bad stuff, but when you have good things in life, I really believe you have to remember them.

Maybe the hard stuff teaches us, but the good stuff is what needs to be remembered.

My hope is that when my children are old enough to read this blog, they realize how fun their childhood was.  How special little events were (and are as they are happening.)

A certain amount of family togetherness happens that’s hard to describe quite frankly, when you don’t have TV or the internet to rely on.  I’ve talked about this before when going camping, and going 4-wheeling is just about the same thing.  It also opens their world to new people that they wouldn’t have another opportunity to come in contact with unless they share a common thing like 4-wheeling.  All this stuff is learned somewhere, right?

I hope everyone has a great week coming up and as always, thanks for reading!

I get all my jeans and my children’s jeans from Old Navy.


Week One Round-Up of Fun & Crazy

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Round Up Week 1

Our #scarfie photo only took four tries to get right! I made the kids scarves and am wearing one I made for myself too.

Week one for me “ends” on Saturday, January 3, 2015.

And it has been a really rough start to the new year.

My mom went to the hospital on the first day of the new year with pain in her legs and was unable to walk around herself.  She needed an extra dialysis, which is becoming a more frequent need in her ability to function.

My father, her estranged husband who is a better grandfather than he ever was as a father, has been helping me out while I take care of my children and try to continue to keep a job and be a wife/mom/daughter/sister, etc. and this is during his own recovery from open heart surgery in November.

Some could say “crazy” is my middle name.  This week proved that I can tackle crazy like a boss.

Here’s the weekly round up of fun and crazy in the life of DeAndrasCrafts.com:

Monday - December 29 - Thank you!

Monday – December 29 – Thank you!

On Monday, I went to work and didn’t notice until almost 1015 AM that I had the “Thank You” sticker my youngest son put on me from the local supermarket.

I sent the photo to the left to my husband and told him I felt like a true mommy today!

He told me to own the sticker like a boss and continue to wear it.  I did for a while, but chickened out around lunch and took it off.

Tuesday and Wednesday (December 30 & 31) were great.  I worked out in the field on those days, something I didn’t think I was going to be doing much since going back into the office a couple of weeks ago.

I took off part of the day on the 31st so my husband could go to the doctor.  He was diagnosed with a slew of ailments, one of which was bronchitis, and was put on antibiotics with icky side-effects.  He also took it like a boss.

img_5821

My daughter's Hello Kitty head is finished - direction are from the Book Hello Kitty Crochet by Mei Li Lee

My daughter’s Hello Kitty head is finished – direction are from the Book Hello Kitty Crochet by Mei Li Lee

In the afternoon of the 31st, I began working on my daughter’s Hello Kitty crocheted stuffed animal from the Hello Kitty crochet book I got for Christmas.  The pattern is definitely for a seasoned crochet-er and I’m going to have to purchase pink brads for the cheeks and some pink tulle.  I almost can’t believe I don’t have any pink tulle (for the ballerina dress, page 16) lying around….

We stayed up with the two oldest until 9 PM on the 31st, and I rang in the new year in tired mommy and daddy fashion of staying up until about 10 PM and going to bed.  My husband was in bed before I was and the only reason I stayed up was to read a chapter of Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s book, “Smart Money Smart Kids.”

I’m trying to read twelve (12) books this year as part of my goals, and I chose this one as the first one to complete because I’ve had it for a while and it is SO IMPORTANT!

Thursday was the day my mom went into the hospital.  She ended up getting additional dialysis, and that made her feel much better.  My father was instrumental in getting her over there, and helping me out on Friday evening when she got out.

The first of the new year wasn’t fun in our house as we are still dealing with pink eye that my youngest son brought home with him last week around Christmas.  It’s been difficult to say what the worst thing has been about the experience of pink eye – it’s either the giving-your-child-eye-drops or the fact that it doesn’t seem to go away!  Ugh.

This is my "Do Over" plan for the next 10 days.  I am planning on reconnecting with my family through writing, journaling and blogging.  #DoOverBook by Jon Acuff

This is my “Do Over” plan for the next 10 days. I am planning on reconnecting with my family through writing, journaling and blogging. #DoOverBook by Jon Acuff

The evening of Thursday, January 1, 2015 I began a 10-day challenge from the author Jon Acuff.

You can read more about this here: 10-day Do Over Challenge

So far, so good in my “Doing Over.” As I write this post I am three days into the challenge and I’ve got a game plan for blogging about our family’s weekly events, good or bad.  I’ve also started an enormous list of “To Do’s” that I plan on organizing and separating by month, by need, by want and by importance.  My Type A brain is so excited about getting organized and hopefully in the process a little more simplified (hitting those 2015 goals!)

On Friday, the two oldest and I learned how to finger knit.  I think the hardest part for me was watching and listening to my 3 (almost 4-year old) complain that he wasn’t doing it.  After working with my five year old daughter, I’ve determined that finger knitting is definitely for children ages (mature) 5 years old and up (at least in my family.)

We used Lion Brand Homespun yarn. – Click on the link to look at it on Amazon.

RUW1-Finger KnittingThe 9-year old was able to catch onto the pattern of wrapping the yarn around the fingers easily, something the 5-year old wasn’t able to grasp as easily and I had to watch her wrap the yarn around her fingers so she wouldn’t miss a loop.  We watch a video by Fiber Flux on You Tube, and although the oldest admitted it was cool to learn, he was done after about 15-minutes or so.  The five year old spent a little more time with it, but she too was done after 20-minutes.  We were all trying to keep our hands to ourselves (so the pink eye could stop being spread around) and I was hoping this was going to take more time up during the day.

Oh well.

I was blessed Saturday morning by my children not getting out of bed until 7 AM.  My coffee was hot and I turned on the fireplace to blog by the fire.  It was a day of taking down the Christmas tree and putting all the Christmas stuff away.  It seems bittersweet but like we tell our children, it’s all about making Christmas a special time of year.

For next week: I am hoping and praying for normalcy to resume in our household once again next week.  It was a productive week though, despite the unfortunate interruptions of having to get my mom from the hospital and dealing with a sick husband and pink-eyed kiddos. I’m hoping to start my goal board this week and get the kids excited about doing life together.


Playing with Magic Nuudles

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Review of Magic Nuudles So what are Magic Nuudles?

It’s an interesting toy that sparks imagination.

We took them on a trip to Yosemite because I knew I wasn’t going to keep these kids entertained without electronic devices for more than an hour.  But that’s just me.

I bought them at JoAnn’s Craft Store for I think $8 or so, and they are also sold on Amazon for a similar price. They were a bigger hit for my 8-year old and 4-year old, more so than with my 3-year old.

Anyway, the kids enjoyed them and I give them a two-thumbs up for the following reasons.

Use a sponge to wet the nuudle(1) Simple to use.  A wet sponge or a wet paper towel is practically all you need to create and use your imagination.

Bio-degradable product - Magic Nuudles(2) They are somehow, amazingly biodegradable under water.  That’s a pretty cool aspect that I appreciated considering I think a squirrel took off with one thinking it was a snack.

(3) There’s no limits to a child’s creativity when given colorful building blocks (or in this case, building pieces of biodegradable nuudles.)

Here is a 1-minute plus video of my children using, creating and making up a “diddy” with these Magic Nuudles.  It’s just for fun!

You can also check out their website at www.magicnuudles.com.

Craftsy