A Fit Life- Motivating Myself With The Misfit Shine

Everyone struggles when it comes to eating right, working out, and trying to be healthy. It isn’t easy. It’s a daily struggle to try to stay away from the junk food (because it tastes so GOOD!) and work out.

I have been actively working toward a healthier lifestyle for the last few years, changing the way I eat and working out more. It is so easy to slip back though.

**This post contains affiliate links. However, all opinions are my own **

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Yes, I keep my electronics boxes FOREVER

About a year ago I was looking for some motivation. One of my friends on Facebook posted that they had just gotten a Misfit Shine and they were loving it. The Misfit Shine is a fitness tracker, similar to a Fitbit.

Based on how cute I thought it was (a great way to make decisions, right?) and that she was liking it, I decided to give it a try, and I bought it as a birthday present for myself.

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Right now, I am no where near my goal for the day!

That was 10 months ago, and I have worn it almost every day.

So why do I love it so much? Here are some of the features:

Positives:

  • It is battery operated. No charging required! AND when the battery was starting to die, I received an e-mail telling me it was running low and to enter my name and address and they would send me a free battery! I entered my information, and I received multiple batteries FOR FREE. You don’t even pay shipping. One of my friends that has the Shine received this as well, so it appears to be something they provide at least once!
  • It is waterproof. It can be used while swimming, which is a great benifit if you are a swimmer. I am nervous about using it in water, so I take it off during my shower, but I have had it submerged while doing dishes or draining the bathtub with no ill effects.
  • It is bluetooth. It links with an app on my phone, and it also will pull the information into programs like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt!, Runkeeper, and more!
  • There are multiple ways to wear it. You can wear it on your wrist, attached to your shoe (great for activities like biking), in your pocket, attached to your clothes, there are so many options! There are also many accessories you can by to hook it into. A cute necklace, leather wristband, and different colored sports bands, just to name a few.
  • It functions as a watch. Just double tap and LED lights show you the time.
  • Easily check your progress. I can check how close I am to my goal at any time by double tapping.image
  • It tracks your sleep habits. It is nice to wake up and be able to review how well I slept. It monitors restful sleep, light sleep, and time awake.image
  • The Price– The price on the Shine has come down since I bought it. When I bought it, I paid 91 dollars plus shipping. The price now is only 61-76 dollars depending on what color you want. Mine is now only 67 dollars!

Negatives:

  • There is no heart rate monitor. I wish this was an option.
  • Battery lasts up to 6 months (so they say). With my experience so far, I have had to change it every 4. But with the free batteries, this hasn’t been a problem, and you can buy a 5 pack of replacement batteries on Amazon for only 5.79.

Those are really the only negatives I can think of! Overall I really love this product and it helps motivate me to make all my lights shine.

I have friends who, based on my liking the Shine so much, bought the Misfit Flash. While this is a cheaper option and has some fun colors, I don’t like the feel of the device as much (it is made of a different material) and two of my friends have had their wrist straps break (I am still using the same one that came with mine). The wrist straps seem thicker on the flash, and I don’t know if that is why they broke or if it is just the way they are made (they look a little different than the Shine’s wrist strap).

So there you have it! I love my Misfit Shine. Do you have an activity tracker that you love? Let me know your favorite!

**This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click the link and buy the product, I receive a certain percentage. However, all of my opinions on this product are completely my own and are in no way influenced by this. **

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A Musical Life- Teaching Little Ones Music

Bach. Chopin. Beethoven. We are advised that composer’s music, such as these, will make our kids smarter, brighter, push them to the head of their class. It’s great to give them the exposure of HEARING this music, but when starting to play a  musical instrument, these composers are a little advanced!
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I have been struggling to teach  my oldest to play piano. He hears songs and says he wants to learn how to play them, and I try every now and then to teach him the basics but he doesn’t have the attention span. He wants to know how to play songs NOW.

Unfortunately, that just isn’t possible! So we sit at the piano and I attempt to teach him simple songs to learn from repetition and memory, but he gets bored quickly with this and wants to stop. I have tried to teach him the names of the notes, but he would rather just play around with the keys. Which is fine, as he is learning to move his fingers on the keys and hearing hearing the different notes, but as far as a more formal learning, he just hasn’t been interested.

We will be starting first grade homeschool in a few months, and with this I really wanted to incorporate music lessons. So I have been thinking hard on different ways to engage him in doing more than just banging away on the piano and to actually get him to learn songs the notes.

And I had a breakthrough today! He loves games and following patterns, so I went to the store and looked for some colored stickers. Any other day I am sure I would find them, but of COURSE, because I was looking for them specifically, I couldn’t find any. I was able to find some white reinforcement stickers at the Dollar Tree though
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I colored them with markers to make 7 different colored stickers, then placed them on the keys of his keyboard with each color corresponding to a different note. Then I took the stickers and used them to write the tune for Mary Had A Little Lamb.

I called my son over, showed him how it worked, and what do you know! For the first time since I started TRYING to teach him Mary Had A Little Lamb MONTHS ago, he actually played it! By himself!image

I think this is going to be a great teaching tool in starting to teach him music. I also picked up Brillante, which is a theory book for children ages 4-7. It looks like it will be a great starting point as far as theory goes.image

I’m just so glad I found something that is helping him be more interested in learning the piano. He always says he WANTS to play, I just hadn’t found a way to keep him interested long enough. Hopefully this will be a great starting point for us.

Do you teach your child a musical instrument or have them take lessons? What works best for you? I would love to hear your comments and advice on keeping them interested!

A Parenting Life- Making the decision to not have more children

Do you ever look around you and notice that everyone and their mother is pregnant? Three people I know just popped up pregnant and my best friend is due to have her baby in the next few months. Suddenly everyone is asking when YOU’RE having more babies.

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And it makes me start thinking baby thoughts…..

Now, I have two children that I love very much. I have struggled with the decision for the last three years of whether or not we should have another baby. I kept saying I was 99% sure we were done, and then someone I know would get knocked up and the flood of feelings about pregnancy and tiny babies would open back up and suddenly I’m NOT at 99% sure anymore.

I picture tiny fingers and toes, the excitement of wondering what this new little person will be like, the joy of seeing my boys with a new sibling and watching them grow and play, the baby smell, setting up a nursery, nurturing another child into an awesome little person.

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How can you NOT want more of these

Then after a few months, I would settle down and be back at 99%. I would try to think of the things I consider negatives:

  • the late nights (I am NOT a night person)
  • crying. A LOT of crying those first few months.
  • being pooped and puked on (I can get this at work!)
  • not being able to get anything done because baby needs to be held
  • the two other children who would be vying for my attention WHILE I try to do things with a baby attached to me
  • how I work full time and would not get to spend those first years with a new baby like I did with my other children.
  • Not to mention the cost, both before and AFTER birth. I am STILL paying on hospital bills from three years ago.

It’s a hard choice, and one I am sure MANY people struggle with. Especially when someone around you is pregnant. It’s gotta be the extra hormones they are putting off, right?

Suddenly your dreaming of another little boy or girl in your arms. And the negatives don’t matter, all you can see are the AMAZING positives. All of the “negatives” that remind me of why I shouldn’t have another child aren’t REALLY negatives in the whole of things.

Those negatives are all short term and COMPLETELY worth it. But I have to have SOMETHING to think on and hold onto to make this decision okay for me. To say I am done and will not have another child and not be crushed by that feeling.image

So, I have come to the decision that I am 100% done. I have my two boys who are my world, and unless something drastically changed financially AND I was able to be a stay at home mom, I don’t feel it would be fair to bring a new life into the world and not be able to provide for it and my family in the way I want to.

I’m holding reality close and even though it does feel sad and disappointing to think I will not experience being pregnant or holding my own little baby munchkin in my arms again, I know I am doing the right thing for OUR family. And if I need a baby fix, I can always babysit one of the upcoming babies.

Every family has to make their own choice and it can be a very difficult one. Have you made the decision to be done having more children? How did you come to your decision? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

A Loving Life- Learning to Love Yourself More

It can be so easy to love other people. You love you parents, you love your children, you love your friends, your family. Why can it be so hard to love yourself?image

Ready for an important nugget on loving yourself better? Okay, here goes:

  • Give yourself the attention you need.

I know this sounds weird. You are probably thinking how are you possibly NOT giving yourself attention. You are with yourself all the time. But if you are like me, a LOT of your time goes into meeting the needs of other people or completing tasks, and your OWN person can become neglected.

I’m not saying that it isn’t fulfilling to give to others, or help them reach their goal or meet their needs. But if you don’t do this for yourself TOO, it can be exhausting and wear on you.

After a week of working, trying to keep up on cleaning, meeting the needs of my other family members, I am just DONE. I get to a point where all I am is irritated at everyone and everything. I will snap at being asked to do something for someone else. I will end up basically in tears because I feel like I can’t function to do anything for anyone. And it is because I am so overwhelmed and frustrated and I can’t figure out why. But it is because I haven’t taken any time for MYSELF.

And it is so simple. Or at least the IDEA of it is. Take time for yourself.  Very simple to put it that way, but I know how difficult it can be to even GET 10 minutes alone to focus on yourself.

Ever try locking yourself in a bathroom so you can have 5 minutes to yourself? If your a parent, I bet you have. And I bet it went something like this: Ahhhhh. Time to myse- “MOM! MOM! ARE YOU IN THERE? I NEED YOU! CAN YOU HELP ME?” Likely followed by a quiet bad word by you.

I know first hand how HARD it can be to find the time for yourself to show your soul some love. But it is SO IMPORTANT! I know it is because without it I end up a complete mess. Unhappy, unable to function the way I need to, irritating to the people around me. Or at the very least, confusing them as to why I am so crabby toward them, when the problem isn’t them. It’s that I just need a moment to myself.image

It is SO IMPORTANT to take that time for yourself. Take 10 minutes, an hour, a day, a week, and get away from it all. Focus on yourself for whatever period of time you need, because you are important too! Show yourself some love. Do something YOU want to do, take some quiet time, read a book, feed your soul in whatever way suits you best. Because you need to love yourself to be happy, to be calm, and to be loving to yourself and others. Without that time for yourself, it makes all those things difficult.

Show yourself the love today. Find even a little time, just for you, no one else.  No one but you can do that for you. Take care of yourself. Maybe lock the bathroom AND the bedroom door for two layers of protection. Good luck!

A Book Lover’s Life

A good book has the power to transport you to another world, to make you laugh, make you cry, leave you sad to leave the characters when it’s finished, or impatient for a next book in a series to come out.

I realized last night, looking at my nightstand, that I have a problem. A book problem. I just love books so much and I am running out of room! I have all the books I have read lately stacked on my nightstand taking up so much room I can’t see my clock.                                                        image

I have a kindle, which is great for traveling as you can take many books in a tiny space, but I only recently realized I wasn’t reading as much as I used to. Anymore, if I see a book that looks interesting, I would try to remember the title, thinking I would go home and buy it on my kindle, but I realized that I never actually do this.

For some reason, I have an issue when it comes to buying a book that I can’t hold in my hands AS A BOOK. Almost all the books on my kindle are free downloads. So when I saw a book recently that looked good, I decided to buy the it- the actual PRINTED PAPER book- and since then I have bought 6 more and poured through them all.

I have missed having a REAL book in my hands. There is something about that tangibility. Holding the book,  the weight of it, turning the page instead of pushing a button, seeing how far you have come and how far you have left to go, rather than seeing a percentage at the bottom of a screen.

While technology is a wonderful thing, I have been missing out on reading lately, simply because it doesn’t excite me to pick up the kindle and read. I feel excited when I think of picking up a book and sitting down to read. Plus when it comes to real books, I don’t have to worry about if my book is charged so I can read it.

I am so glad that I realized how much I missed reading books as BOOKS and not as a flat piece of technology. There is a great time and place for an e-reader, but books are IT for me, unless I am traveling. So with all that said, since it is summer, here are just a few of my favorites for you to check out if you are looking for a good read: (**This post contains affiliate links. However, I have read all the books listed and highly recommend them all!** )

  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin- The typical girl favorite, this is still a wonderful classic. Following the Bennet family as the Bennet girls look for love, experience prejudice against them and their own prejudice against others, deal with scandal, and find their way in the world. And you can’t forget the wonderful love story between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, which is, of course, the main draw here. Bonus: Last time I checked, you can get this for free if you are using a Kindle.                                        image
  • The Outlander Series, Diana Gabaldon– If you are looking for something to keep you occupied through MOST of the summer, The Outlander series is perfect. An epic love story through time, it follows Claire Beauchamp/Randall/Fraser, a 20th century nurse, as she travels back and forth through time, finds love with James Fraser, and has to traverse the dangers of politics and war in the 18th century. This is a series of 7 books: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, VoyagerDrums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone,  and Written in my Own Heart’s Blood.   This has just been started into a tv show, and you can now find season one parts 1 and 2 on DVD (part 2 is on preorder currently). It’s pretty good, although after reading the book it took me a few episodes to get into it.

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  • The Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer– I have just started reading this in the last month, so I have only just started book 3. There are 5 books in this series, which takes fairy tales and puts a sci-fi spin on them. Each book builds on the last, intertwining the tales with some of the basic elements of the fairy tales we all know and love, but taking them in a completely new and unexpected way. The 5 books in this series are Cinder, Scarlet, Cress,  Fairest: Lavana’s Story, and Winter.                                                           image

That should give you just a few books to check out this summer, and if you are as much of a book lover as I am, I’m sure these will bring you HOURS of enjoyment. I am always looking for something new to read, if you have any suggestions, leave me a comment!

A Happy Life

I WANT MY CHILDREN’S LEVEL OF HAPPINESS. Look at a child. Do you see how happy and excited they can become over ANYTHING? How anything can be fun and it doesn’t matter if it’s silly? How fun does that look?

We all could use more happiness in our lives. A little more goofball. The things that make you happy may be little things, they may be big things, but they are there. Sometimes we just have to look for them.

It’s not always easy to be happy. But I find that I am in a better mood if I try to tell myself to be happy. To look around and see and do what makes me happy. Sometimes it can be difficult, especially when I am in “a mood”, but that is when I try to remove myself from where I am and go do or find something that I know makes me happy.

I can see the joy and happiness of my children in most everything they do or see. They have their favorite things, and those things make them so happy that they literally jump and shout, and just HAVE to tell me about it. They will speak a million miles a minute about something they are excited about, all while jumping all over the room. They can’t hold it in. And I don’t want them to.

I want THAT kind of happiness and excitement. To be so overcome by that happiness, that I CAN’T hold it inside, it escapes for the world to see. I used to try to hold this inside because I felt like people would judge me for that excitement. As I am getting older though, I realize that it doesn’t matter what THEY think, it matters how I FEEL. If I want to sing, or dance, or laugh and giggle with joy, I will let it out. I won’t be scared anymore. Because I crave that level of joy that my children have.

Happiness should be something we all strive for. It is what makes life enjoyable! We can’t all be happy ALL of the time, but the times of sadness or heartbreak makes those moments of happiness mean more and make us better able to appreciate them.

Find your inner happiness. Find that EXCITEMENT for the things you love and let it show! This world needs more happiness and joy, less heartbreak. So today, find one thing that makes you want to let out that happiness and let it show for the world! You might inspire someone else’s happiness.

Leave me a comment letting me know what makes YOU happy. Inspire me! Have a HAPPY day!!!!

A Energetic Life

Do you ever just plain run out of energy? You have all these great ideas, thoughts, and plans, and then it  feels like too much effort to take it to completion.

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That’s how I have felt this week. I have had plenty of ideas for things I want to get done, posts and new blogs I plan on starting, and then I run out of energy. It’s like the thought process just sapped the energy to DO right out of me.

This morning though, I woke up feeling re-energized. Maybe it was the cup of coffee (or 3) first thing off the bat. That never hurts. Or maybe it was waking up to find this note on my kitchen table that my husband helped my kids write.

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Either way, I am feeling full of energy and the desire to get to work on a bunch of projects.

Life should be filled with energy and joy, because otherwise what are we doing? Laying around, miserable and unhappy, not accomplishing anything. I don’t know about you, but that isn’t the life I want. I want all the joy life can bring. I want to be happy and live with a full heart. I want my children to see that they can do anything if they just get up and DO. They just need to find their energy source and apply it to what makes them happy.

Find what gives you energy, and don’t let the daily grind sap it from you. Whether it’s coffee, a morning run, a certain song, WHATEVER IT IS, find it, use it, and get going. Use that energy and make it work for you. Press forward and work toward your goals. And if you run out of energy, there is always more coffee.