Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!

Kids across the nation are starting school.  Summer is coming to a close, soon Fall will be here!  Fall is my favorite season, pumpkin flavored everything, leaves changing colors, the cool, crispness of sweater weather, football season, and the official beginning of the holidays.

Some parents are sad about summer ending, we all enjoy lazy summer days with no routine, no shuffling kids to and from activities, and just simply having your kids at home!  While we enjoyed the summer, I’m personally so relieved the kids have gone back to school.  (I wanted to do a happy dance or throw a party when both kids loaded onto the bus and drove off!)

I found these hilarious memes that I know many parents can relate to:

Dean will be a sophomore this year, and Cienna will start third grade!  Time sure does fly.  We had a great summer, we spent lots of quality time together as a family and the kids learned some life skills too!

We spent some time at the beach…

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We were at the pool almost every day!  Cienna learned to swim, and passed her deep end test!

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Dean got his permit in May, Jeremy and I have been teaching him to drive.

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The highlight of our summer was a trip to visit family in Tennessee.  We spent the weekend on the lake, boating and just hanging out with family.

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Jeremy and I were also able to spend a weekend in New Orleans for a mini vacation.

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Hope everyone had a wonderful summer, but I’m one happy Mama that my kids are back in school! Here were their bright and shiny faces from this morning when I snapped the obligatory “back to school” picture:

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DIY Wedding Ideas

The one thing I’ve (re)learned about planning a wedding is how expensive weddings are!  Even though I’m only planning my sister’s wedding, and not paying for it, I still want to help them save money and stick to a budget.  As my sister and I have been tackling the wedding planning checklist, we go over needs vs. wants, and try to come up with ideas to save on expenses.

In the age of the internet, social media, YouTube tutorials and hashtags, there are so many Do-It-Yourself wedding ideas out there.  Pinterest alone can show you a plethora of things you can do with a mason jar!  If you’re a little crafty, creative, and have the time, there are ways to save money by doing things yourself! 🙂

When discussing what my sister envisioned for her flower girls, I recommended tutu skirts.  I got this idea from a friend who got married a few years ago, her flower girls were the cutest little things in their fluffy, blush pink colored tutu skirts!  I looked them up online, and found that tutu skirts are actually a pretty common alternative to traditional flower girl dresses, and just as beautiful (if not more)!  Initially, we thought we would order a skirt for Cienna who will be a flower girl. Then I got to thinking that with plane tickets, hotel stays, rental cars and other expenses, wouldn’t it be nice to make one and save money?  (I’m a planner, a saver and I’m pretty crafty, I can figure this out!)  Check out these cool videos I found on YouTube on how to make a tutu, here!

Cienna is technically old enough to be a Junior Bridesmaid, but tutu skirts can be worn by younger or older girls.  Either long or short, what I love is that they’re simple yet very beautiful!  How pretty are these flower girls?!


     

So, with plenty of time before the wedding, I wanted to make sure I could pull this off.  It’s one thing to do a little research, but what if I make something that ends up looking atrocious?  Lol!  I ordered the materials and got to work…

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Getting started!
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First layer done, working on the second layer.

I won’t spoil the fun and post a picture of the final product, or any pictures of Cienna trying it on, you guys will have to stay tuned for future blog posts, but here is a picture of the *almost* finished product:

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Almost done, will probably add some ribbon, maybe another layer?

This is a no-sew tutu skirt, I didn’t need any special tools or materials, just the tulle fabric, crochet headband, a ruler and some scissors.  It took about two to three hours to make because I was being extra careful, and trying to make it perfect!  At first, this was just a project to see if it would turn out, and I’m so pleased with the results. The best part is that they were inexpensive to make.  With less than $50, I made two and a half skirts!  There will be three flower girls so I’ll need a little more material to make the last one.  Now, we just need to find a good top to go with it.  I would recommend these cute tutus not just for weddings, but for birthdays, or for costumes too!  No need to spend a lot of money ordering one, this is a very easy and fun project you can do with your special little girl, just Do-It-Yourself!

Jaye’s Anatomy: Fitness Routine

Welcome to my first “Jaye’s Anatomy” blog post! 🙂  (Corny title, but hey, it’s catchy!)  Once a month, I’m going to do a post that will give you a peek into my personal life.  It will be anything from what brands I love, television shows I watch, what I’m reading or working on, about my family, just a little something on “what makes up Jaye.”

I got this idea from another blog (one of my favorites) that I follow.  I’m so surprised at what I learn from people’s blogs, specifically about their personal experiences.  Anything from housekeeping stuff, cooking, baking, parenting, or about fitness.  If reading this helps anyone learn something new, then my writing would have served a purpose.

Today I’m sharing my fitness routine.  First, I want to say that I am NOT a professional fitness person.  I have no expert knowledge on any specific discipline, if anything, I’m profoundly average!  I’m merely sharing my personal experience on stuff that I’ve tried and what works for me.   Fitness is such an important part of my life, it’s not about a desire to look a certain way or be a certain number, it’s simply about being healthy and FEELING good.  Anyone who’s active in their fitness journey can attest to the fact that Fitness is like “the gift that keeps on giving.”  <<– One of my best friends Lori shared that idea with me, and it’s been my mantra ever since.  When you’re physically fit, you’re more mentally fit, and when you’re mentally fit, you’re more spiritually fit, you’re a better mom, or a better wife, a better student or employee (not necessarily in that order), and it just goes on and on!  All I’m trying to be is the best version of myself.

So, here’s my fitness routine:

Monday: I do a group fitness class called Body Pump, it’s my favorite class.  It’s a full body, strength training class that gets you lean and toned.  I love this class because it isn’t about how much weight you can lift or squat, but more about the reps.  One full session consists of around 800 repetitions, and you burn a ton of calories.

This is what a Body Pump class might look like, and this picture shows why I love it.

Let me let you in on a little secret, I’m really not that motivated.  Showing up to a class is the extent of my motivation.  When I get to class, I get more motivated by the people, the instructor, the music.   So, since I’m already there, then I’ll do the work!  No one wants to be the one at the gym who showed up to a class then half asses everything, if I show up, I might as well use my full ass, lol! 🙂

I found this and had to share, so funny!

Tuesday: Cardio!  On Tuesday I’ll do a short run (3-4 miles).  Lately, I’ve been running on a treadmill because of the heat and humidity, but I’ll be back outside soon!

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Wednesday: Cardio and PiYo.  I start Wednesdays with a 2-3 mile warm-up run, followed by a PiYo class.  I discovered PiYo about a month ago, it’s awesome!  It’s a fusion of Pilates and Yoga, and I’ve found that doing this instead of Body Pump twice a week has helped with my knee issues.  It’s low impact, high intensity and such a challenge (I was dripping with sweat)!  If you want a class where you’re constantly moving and using all your muscles, try this!  PiYo builds strength, flexibility and has the Yoga benefits of stretching, in one class.

This is what a PiYo class might look like.

Listen, when you click on the links for Body Pump or PiYo, you’re going to see some extremely fit and sculpted people.  It’s intimidating, but a real class will have real people of all ages, shapes and sizes.  The classes I go to are for all fitness levels, and what I love most about classes is that I’m joining a group of like-minded people, with similar goals, it’s an environment conducive to accomplishing those goals, because “success breeds success!”

Thursdays and Sundays are my rest days.  Rest is just as important as working out, sometimes when I’m lazy, rest is the thing that motivates me to get the workout done!

Friday: Cardio or PiYo or both!

Saturday: Saturdays I work out with Jeremy and Dean, it’s our “long run” day.  Jeremy will probably run 8 miles, I’ll run like 4.5 in the same amount of time, then we’ll do abs or another body part.  Remember what I said about like-minded people and success breeds success?  I’m lucky to have a partner (and friends) that share the same passion for being fit and healthy, it makes it so much easier to stay on track!  A bonus?  When we go to the gym, Dean wants to come too, we’re showing him how to take care of himself by example (The gift that keeps on giving!).

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#thecouplethatrunstogether #gymbuddy #swolemate #teammoncier
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Me: Come on, flex your muscle!   Jeremy: Umm…no!  Take the picture! LOL!

That’s what my weekly work out routine looks like.  Some might say, they simply don’t have time to work out.  I get it, we all have different things to fill our time with: jobs, kids, homework, etc.  It’s hard.  But…everyone has the same amount of time, we all get 24 hours a day!  We have to SET (not make or find time, *set*) time to spend on ourselves, 30 minutes or one hour, walk, run, whatever, make time for yourself!

Again, I’m not an expert on fitness, just sharing a piece of my journey, paying forward the same thing I’ve gotten from others, it’s a cycle… “The gift that keeps on giving!”

Top Ten Tuesday: What I Miss about Washington

We’ve lived in Florida about 6 months now.  While we like it here in the Pensacola area, we miss Washington!  There’s no place like home.  Today, I’m posting my first “Top 10 Tuesday” which I’ll do every first Tuesday of the month.  As an Ode to Washington, I’m posting the Top 10 things I miss most!

10.  The Mountains – Oh how we miss the mountains!  The Cascades.  The Olympics. The breathtaking, magnificent views are unparalleled, you have to remember to pick up your jaw when you see these sights in person, and each time you see them it’s like seeing them for the first time.  The mountains surrounded us, almost serving as our daily reminder to come outside, explore something new, take in God’s beauty.  I don’t just miss the beauty of the mountains but the feeling of being with nature: bliss, calmness, peace.

Cascade Mountains.  I had to steal an image from the web because I don’t own a fancy camera, but even the best camera ever couldn’t do these views justice.

The Olympics.  I mean…even if you don’t hike or backpack, you can appreciate the beauty they possess.

9.  Coffee – You haven’t seen a caffeine addiction like that of a Washingtonian’s.  In the small town of Oak Harbor where we lived, there were 4 coffee houses and about 6 coffee stands, this is all within a 5-mile radius.  There’s literally a coffee stand on every corner, and that’s just in my small town.  If any of my Washington friends want to send me some coffee, here are my faves:

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8.  Sweater Weather – You can wear a sweater 365 days a year in Washington, even in the middle of summer you may feel a cool breeze, especially if you live by the water.  Sweater weather is my favorite weather!  Layers, scarves, boots, I’m all about it!

7.  Misty Rain – Since we’re on the topic of weather, I even miss the misty kind of rain we got in Washington.  I love the rain, there’s just something about its cleansing and soothing effect that makes me feel relaxed and comfortable. When people here ask if we left Washington because of the rain, I have to laugh because Florida probably gets more rainfall (in inches)  than Washington.  In the Pacific Northwest, we got a misty drizzle, drip type of rain, yes it would fall all day, but I could still do stuff: run errands, run or hike, because as they say “If you wait for perfect weather to do something, you won’t do anything!”  I never had to use an umbrella in Washington, now I have an umbrella in my car because down here, we get what Forrest Gump calls “big ol’ fat rain!”  Case in point:

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6.  Outdoor Activities – Backpacking, Camping, Hiking.  There’s so much to do in Washington, and this is where my husband and I truly discovered our inner “outdoorsmen.”  Washington’s Hiking trails are some of the best in the country, I could probably search everywhere and not find trails that compare to the ones in Snoqualmie or Olympic National Park.  I miss them so much!

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L-R: Mt. Pilchuck, Goat Lake, Fort Casey, Big Four Ice Caves.

5.  Washington Craft Beers – I don’t drink so this actually for my husband.  There’s over 200 craft breweries in Washington, a haven for a beer enthusiast.

30 Things No One Tells You About Leaving Washington

4.  The Greenery – They don’t call it the Evergreen State for nothing.  See #1 and #5, you get the picture(s)!  Okay, here’s one more…

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3.  Nature – Clean air, bald eagles soaring overhead while I’m on a run, deer crossing the street in my old neighborhood.  Washington isn’t just a state with wondrous natural beauty, but it’s a state where people have a reverence for nature and preserving the planet.  Recycling bins everywhere, bans on plastic bags, I’m down!

2.  Pet Friendliness – Sadly, pets aren’t welcome everywhere like they are in Washington.  We used to take Junior everywhere we went: public parks, the beach, dog parks, hiking trails, camping.  Now we have to make sure he’s even welcome 😦

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1.  Deception Pass Bridge – Every time we drove off the island, my husband and I would joke about how people come from everywhere to see the bridge, take selfies and pictures.  There are people on this bridge every. single. day!  Rain or shine, it’s really quite an attraction.  Every time we come back from a trip, or from living somewhere else, when we get to the bridge, we immediately announce… “we’re home!”  There’s just something about this bridge that is familiar, and it always feels like it’s welcoming us home 🙂