The New LeapFrog LeapBand is Fit Made Fun!

*This post is sponsored by LeapFrog and CLIF Kid. I received free products but all opinions are my own. 

Over the years our family has enjoyed a great many children’s products from LeapFrog. I am a big fan nearly anything they make so I was excited to try out the brand new LeapBand from LeapFrog with my kiddos and their friends. The LeapBand is a little like a Fitbit for kids, and though I don’t use a fitness band like that I am a big believer in personal and family fitness! I have plenty of friends who love their FitBits so I was anxious to see how the kids would enjoy the LeapBands.

On Saturday, September 6th, we joined loads of other families in having a #FitMadeFun party. Our party was small because we did not want to overwhelm our newly adopted daughter with people, but it was super fun.

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The LeapBand is designed for kids ages 4 to 7, but my two year old loves it and the 10 year old had great fun with it as well. It is worn on the wrist and tracks movement so the kids earn “joules” with lots of activity. There are customizable pets that the kids get rewarded for taking care of and there are fun fitness challenges that inspire kids to get moving. We had the most fun with the challenges!

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The kids participated in the Fit Made Fun Record Breaking Challenge with ten minutes each of three different activities.  Here they are playing follow the leader and dancing like chickens! There were giggles galore.

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After several more planned activities such as a game called Frogs on the Lily Pads, the kids did some stretching to make sure no one was too sore or got injured.  We made sure they had plenty of water to stay hydrated on our super hot Texas afternoon.

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After all that exercise the kids had worked up quite an appetite, so they had snacks provided by Clif Kid. Clif Kid sent us three flavors of Zbar Protein bars to choose from, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Chocolate Mint.

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Rose and Nathan both loved their Zbars and I love the fact that they are full of nutritious ingredients and healthy.

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The kids seemed to love the new LeapFrog LeapBands. It has kept them busy with fun physical games for days. The digital pets are cute but it’s the challenges that really interest them, which is of course the same appeal that any adult fitness tracker has. I’m definitely in favor of anything that keeps kids up and moving.

I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and CLIF Kid sponsored MommyParty. The opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Gotcha Day!

Today we finally picked up our sweet daughter, Rose Naicha Hubbell, to join our family forever. I don’t actually love the term “gotcha day” but that’s what it feels like right now. It was a very special day.

We flew to Haiti last night and were met by a family coordinator from our agency, America World. It was so great to finally meet someone from the awesome organization that walked us through the whole 2.5 year process. We rode to the guesthouse in the back of a tap-tap, an open air pick up truck common in Haiti! It was dusty and crazy hot and humid. We were so happy to relax there and dine with English speakers.

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So then after the America World staff all prayed over us we headed up the mountain to Kenscoff, where Chances for Children is located. We stopped at the grocery store to buy cakes for a goodbye party tomorrow. Once again I got suuuuper car sick on their roads. Had to shut my eyes, which stinks because I want to memorize everything for Rose’s sake, and still almost puked.

We were earlier than they expected so we waited a few minutes while a nanny got Rose dressed up for us, and then she walked out and I scooped her up. No smiles, no familiarity, just silent scared shock…which stands out when every other kid is smiling, acting goofy and begging to be held.

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We walked around talking and getting comfortable. At least she wasn’t terrified of Mike this time. Wary, yes, but she didn’t cry when he held her or I left the room. Eventually she fell asleep on my lap in the rocking chair.

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We were fortuate enough to meet Corrigan Clay, of the Apparent Project, and Zach Lee, of Alliance For Children, during this trip. Kathi Juntunen is in town too, which is great. C4C just opened an awesome medical clinic.

After awhile we left for the guesthouse, with Rose clinging to me for dear life. Driving through the public market in Fermathe is a sight to behold. Its a sea of bodies that barely move out of the way, only inches from the car.

Some snacks, a new dolly and especially a new outfit really perked Rose up. Her first real smiles and giggles came as I changed her diaper…she loves that! I practiced my Creole with her and understood a few words when she finally started talking. She ate a ton of chicken, rice and beans, and fried plantains for dinner. She is thrilled with her new sippy cup and sucks down as much water as she can.

Then it began to get dark and she seemed punchy, like silly tired. I put her in her pajamas and decided to try putting her in a kids bed with a rail next to the queen bed. She was laughing and playing and began to test the boundaries a bit. I tried laying down with her but that made it worse, she thought it was a game. So I walked out and left her with Papa in the room. She immediately crashed without another peep. Hooray!

Tomorrow is a big day of saying goodbye to all her friends and family at the orphanage. We have a party planned. We also hope our visa is ready so we can leave as scheduled on Wednesday! We are so grateful for all of your prayers and support thus far, and we can feel the Lord’s presence with us.

Gotcha Day!

Today we finally picked up our sweet daughter, Rose Naicha Hubbell, to join our family forever. I don’t actually love the term “gotcha day” but that’s what it feels like right now. It was a very special day.

We flew to Haiti last night and were met by a family coordinator from our agency, America World. It was so great to finally meet someone from the awesome organization that walked us through the whole 2.5 year process. We rode to the guesthouse in the back of a tap-tap, an open air pick up truck common in Haiti! It was dusty and crazy hot and humid. We were so happy to relax there and dine with English speakers.

20140818-201753-73073316.jpg

So then after the America World staff all prayed over us we headed up the mountain to Kenscoff, where Chances for Children is located. We stopped at the grocery store to buy cakes for a goodbye party tomorrow. Once again I got suuuuper car sick on their roads. Had to shut my eyes, which stinks because I want to memorize everything for Rose’s sake, and still almost puked.

We were earlier than they expected so we waited a few minutes while a nanny got Rose dressed up for us, and then she walked out and I scooped her up. No smiles, no familiarity, just silent scared shock…which stands out when every other kid is smiling, acting goofy and begging to be held.

20140818-203948-74388478.jpg

We walked around talking and getting comfortable. At least she wasn’t terrified of Mike this time. Wary, yes, but she didn’t cry when he held her or I left the room. Eventually she fell asleep on my lap in the rocking chair.

20140818-204422-74662581.jpg

We were fortuate enough to meet Corrigan Clay, of the Apparent Project, and Zach Lee, of Alliance For Children, during this trip. Kathi Juntunen is in town too, which is great. C4C just opened an awesome medical clinic.

After awhile we left for the guesthouse, with Rose clinging to me for dear life. Driving through the public market in Fermathe is a sight to behold. Its a sea of bodies that barely move out of the way, only inches from the car.

Some snacks, a new dolly and especially a new outfit really perked Rose up. Her first real smiles and giggles came as I changed her diaper…she loves that! I practiced my Creole with her and understood a few words when she finally started talking. She ate a ton of chicken, rice and beans, and fried plantains for dinner. She is thrilled with her new sippy cup and sucks down as much water as she can.

Then it began to get dark and she seemed punchy, like silly tired. I put her in her pajamas and decided to try putting her in a kids bed with a rail next to the queen bed. She was laughing and playing and began to test the boundaries a bit. I tried laying down with her but that made it worse, she thought it was a game. So I walked out and left her with Papa in the room. She immediately crashed without another peep. Hooray!

Tomorrow is a big day of saying goodbye to all her friends and family at the orphanage. We have a party planned. We also hope our visa is ready so we can leave as scheduled on Wednesday! We are so grateful for all of your prayers and support thus far, and we can feel the Lord’s presence with us.

DIY Makeover Tutorial: Vintage KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Rosanna Hinde to the blog in a guest post about how to make your grandma’s old stand mixer look fresh and awesome. This is totally relevant to me as I keep finding cool vintage treasures in the process of cleaning out my grandparents’ house. I love their stuff but I don’t want my whole house to look straight out of the 50′s. This is a fabulous and easy way to add some style and flair to a vintage appliance. Thank you Rosanna!

KitchenAidMixer

I’m not a hard-core baker. I like to bake, but I hate washing dishes, and my counter space is limited. Plus, I am cheap. This means I want a stand-mixer, but I don’t want to pay for it, clean it, or find the space for it.  But one day a friend said she had a used mixer for sale for $60. It’s a vintage mixer, a “lovely” faded yellow. “Lovely” isn’t the word I really want to use here, if you know what I mean.

Vintage KitchenAid

Once I started using the mixer, I knew it was a keeper. But what to do with this faded yellow? I mean, it’s depressing to use a mixer that’s so… “lovely.”

I knew what I was going to do with it the moment I saw it. I kept ignoring that crazy “you can do it!” voice in the back of my head, but it wouldn’t shut up.  “Spray paint it!”, the voice said. “You can do it!”

Sometimes you just have to give in to the voices in your head to make them go away. Or you can medicate. I chose giving in.

Here’s how I gave my KitchenAid mixer a make-over:

Step 1: Scrub it clean. I used a DIY granite cleaner (dish soap, water and rubbing alcohol) and a Magic Eraser. Man, I love those things!

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Step 2: Tape off the metal trim with a nice painters tape, and hide your cord in a Ziploc bag. Tape off any part of the cord that is still exposed. Trust me on this one. I didn’t, and I was scrubbing paint off the upper part of the cord for a while.

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Step 3: Use an Exact-o knife or razor blade to trim off excess tape. Don’t know where to start with the blade? Punch your fingernail into the tape, and that’s where you start!

Vintage KitchenAid

Step 4: Spray paint 3 coats, about 45-60 mins apart. Use a fan in a well-ventilated area, but somewhere there’s not a lot of dust. Don’t forget the underside of the mixer arm!

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Step 5: Remove tape. Clean up your overspray with nail polish remover and a Q-tip.

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Step 6: Stand back and admire your work of art!

Vintage KitchenAid Mixer Makeover

Please note, do NOT, I repeat: DO NOT go back and spray with a coat of clear varnish. I did this the following day and immediately the red paint began to pucker up and crackle. I could’ve cried. But I’m not the crying type, AND I knew when I started this project that I might ruin it… and I was okay with that. I guess I still am. More than anything, I realized I CAN do this. Guess those little voices in my head are pretty useful after all!

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Punching Fear In The Face, While Running

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This is me at mile ten of the 2013 Houston Half Marathon, high fiving my kid.

This past weekend I got nervous. I started to feel an undercurrent of anxiety on Friday that increased to a more noticeable level Saturday evening. I attended a conference here in Houston all day Friday and Saturday called Empowered to Connect, about parenting kids from “hard places”, meaning adopted and foster kids. But that wasn’t what made me nervous at all, that was encouraging and exceptionally helpful.

Why was I nervous? Because my marathon training schedule called for me to run ten miles that weekend and I couldn’t do it with my usual group at my usual time due to the conference. I asked around to see if someone would run with me on Sunday at 5am, but so far I had no takers. I was facing the prospect of running all ten miles alone.

Nevermind the fact that I’ve done exactly that before. Last year during training I had to run one ten mile run on my own, in my own neighborhood. I got it done and felt amazing for accomplishing that. But it was cooler weather and I was running during the day. This will be at 5am, in the dark, at 80 degrees and 95% humidity (as it is every day before dawn, at which time it heats up to 95 degrees).

Nevermind the fact that I ran 9.5 miles just two weeks ago. Forget the fact that I ran ten miles or more MANY times last training season. Forget that I ran my fastest 10k ever last weekend and a very fast (for me) tempo run just a few days ago. Suddenly all my progress was being drowned out by one voice in my head: fear.

I kept thinking of ways to get out of doing this run. I kept thinking maybe I’d just end up cutting it short. I was afraid I’d be late for church. But I knew that Sunday morning was the only time I’d realistically be able to get it done, alone or not. I knew the following weekend I had a conference again and the week after that is my ten mile race.

So how did I drive back the voices of fear and doubt? Well, first I took some necessary baby steps. I skipped the alcohol the night before. I reluctantly filled my water bottles and popped them in the fridge and freezer. I set out my hydration belt, my headlamp, my Garmin, my oatmeal for breakfast, my running shoes and clothes. I forced myself to go to bed at 9:30, and I set my alarm for 4am.

So when that alarm went off? I knew it was time to run. Luckily a friend of mine, Carla, was also running ten miles at 5am with her much speedier running partners, so I chose to at least start with them. When I arrived Carla asked if I wanted her to run with me. I knew she was used to going faster and I told her I’d be doing 5:1 intervals and left the choice up to her. She said she’d start with me and see how it went.

ten mile run in cinco ranch

We started off faster than I normally would for such a long run, and I worried I might pay for it later. Her running friends took off and were out of sight pretty quickly, but Carla stayed with me. We had plenty to talk about and I didn’t even listen to my music. I kept my pace strong and she did my intervals with me. Five miles clicked by like it was nothing. We tried to stop at McD’s for me to use the bathroom but it wasn’t open yet, so we backtracked a little to Denny’s. I noticed her breathing harder than I was, but she didn’t seem to be struggling too much. I tried a new kind of gel, which wasn’t bad but made my hands incredibly sticky. She didn’t use any nutrition.

At about eight miles I noticed I was pulling ahead of her just a bit so I backed off our pace a tiny bit. She wasn’t carrying much water so we stopped at a gas station and bought some more. For the last two miles she struggled but I still felt amazingly strong. I talked her ear off and slowed up a bit, and when we hit ten miles she was done even though we weren’t back to our cars yet so we just walked the rest of the way.

I am SO glad she ran with me. It might have been completely different if I’d been alone, but it ended up being one of my best runs yet. All the training I’ve been doing paid off in spades. Having someone to talk to makes all the difference in the world for me. But if I hadn’t fought back the voice of fear, I never would have even showed up and I never would have experienced the huge surge of energy and accomplishment I felt that lasted the entire day.

So don’t listen to those voices of fear in your head! Punch fear in the face and just do it!