September 27, 2011

Five Years and Butterflies


 My oldest baby turned 5 yesterday and so we had a Butterfly celebration!



Homemade butterflies adorned our windows and doors


Everyone is in the party mood!


Showing a little love...



"I can hardly see you over that huge belly!"




Family and friends writing and drawing on Kailyn's birthday table 



A Butterfly/Caterpillar cupcake cake!



The boys were definitely finding their "inner caterpillars"


While us girls got in touch with our beautiful butterfly-selves.  (okay, we all wore just wore cute pins)


 Time for food!





Time for presents!





You can't leave out little sisters...they got a gift or two.



Finally got what she's "always wanted," a unicorn pillow pet!  So worth that face.


Getting bigger right before my eyes these days...




Addy's little pillow pet is bigger than her!



Can't forget the cake...



Another wonderful year ahead...=)

September 24, 2011

Vacation!!! (My First Vlog)

We spent the weekend on the beach with our beautiful girls (their first time ever), and here's a little vlog (my first time ever) about it.



Some fun memories:









September 21, 2011

30 Things You Can Do To Boost Your Body Image



1. Move your body by doing activities you love. Physical activities help you reconnect with your body, not to mention they’re great for your health. This can be taking a walk, stretching in the morning, going to the gym, or biking around town.
2. Think of one thing your body did for you today. Do this even if your “one thing” is as seemingly simple and small as helping you breathe or take a walk. It still cultivates a sense of gratitude and helps you realize that your body is constantly working for you.
3. Compliment yourself. It can be incredibly helpful (and put a smile on your face) to consider one thing you love about yourself today.
4. Compliment someone else. Share the love! Seeing the good in others and telling them so cultivates a sense of gratitude and positivity, too.
5. Smile at yourself in the mirror.
6. Wear clothes that fit you well and make you happy, regardless of their size.
7. Check in with how you’re feeling. Oftentimes we blame our bodies and start to nit-pick because of negative emotions that we’re not even aware of. Asking yourself how you’re doing throughout the day is a good way to keep yourself in check. Whenever I was feeling ugly and uncomfortable in my skin, I was really anxious, tense and unhappy with my life. Which had zero to do with my body!
8. Laugh. It does a body image good!
9. Read an inspiring quote on body image. Here are a few: uplifting quotes from Caitlin’s book Operation Beautiful and from my interview with Julie from Beautiful You.
10. Look at or add to your inspiration body image board.
11. Let out any frustrations from today. Use healthy coping strategies, so they don’t simmer and bubble up in your body.
12. Get enough sleep. Nothing good can come of being an energy-less shell of yourself. Not getting enough sleep over time becomes very unhealthy and can mess with your mind, too.
13. Take care of your hygiene. This might sound like the silliest tip. But listen, I personally work from home and if I’m having a particularly busy day, you bet I very well might not take a shower or even brush my hair. (OK, this applies even if I’m not having a busy day.) Or realize at 2 p.m. that I’ve been sitting at my computer wearing pajamas. It’s very hard to feel good about your body when you haven’t gone a good job caring for it. Even such minimal actions as showering, applying lotion, washing your face or putting on lip gloss, help – a lot.
14. Preserve your boundaries and adjust accordingly. On Monday, I talked about the importance of creating and maintaining boundaries for healthy relationships. Well, part of a healthy body image is respecting yourself and protecting your physical and emotional boundaries. This is a daily practice. (Here’s that article again on boundaries.)
15. Open your eyes to all the beauty around you. We go through life without really paying much attention to blooming flowers, sunshine, funny-looking clouds, kind gestures and the smell of the air after a rainstorm. These are amazing things. Cultivating this mindfulness of the amazing not only leads to a greater appreciation of our lives but also to a greater appreciation for ourselves and the beauty of friends, family and others.
16. Cut the clutter. I know this tip is most often featured in home magazines, but I know that for me, I feel most out of sorts with my body when my environment is all out of sorts. My physical surroundings shape my inner world and when things are mostly organized, I feel calmer and happier.
17. Mind your media consumption. Skinny “role models,” diet advice and weight-loss commercials have stolen our society and produced one ideal. Be aware of the media’s influence on you. And if a show or a magazine doesn’t make you feel good, toss it from your life.
18. Don’t weigh yourself.
19. Keep a journal, and let it all hang out. You can write how you felt about your body today, what you think triggered those feelings and how you might turn things around. Or you might write about general feelings and thoughts about today.
20. Learn something new. When we learn something new, it also opens our minds and lives to the many wonders in this world. It puts things into perspective in a positive way.
21. Center yourself in the morning. I’m notorious for being a big freak-out and downer when I get up. I’m filled with worries about all the things I have to do, all the things I haven’t done and so on. Suddenly everything looks messy, I hate my hair and the world sucks. Clearly this is not conducive to a healthy body image or outlook on life. Give yourself a few minutes of positivity to start your day by meditating, stretching or even writing down positive thoughts in a journal.
22. Avoid the fat talk with family, friends, coworkers and anyone else on this planet. No one ever truly bonds over talking about their supposedly horrible-looking bodies. All it does is create more heartache and perpetuate the negative cycle of fat talk. Plus, there are TONS more interesting topics anyway.
23. Question health news and advice. Over the last decade or so, there’s been an explosion of articles about the evils of fat and obesity. We even have a month dedicated to the awareness of childhood obesity. (Don’t get me started. You can probably guess where I stand on this one.) A lot of this is either exaggerated, misinformation or outright wrong. Always question what you hear, see and read.
24. Think twice before spitting out a mean comment about yourself. Years ago, my disparaging comments were akin to breathing – as in they were just as automatic and natural for me as my body coming up for air.  But after my friends noted just how frequent my negative comments were and how they knew I was hurting myself, I started thinking twice. And the comments decreased.
25. Limit the time you spend looking in the mirror. Of course there’s nothing wrong with using mirrors to apply makeup, preview your outfit and check yourself out. But the longer you spend staring at your reflection, the greater the chance you’ll start nit-picking. I know because I’ve been there. Many times.
26. If something crappy happens, don’t start the self-hate cycle.Instead, repeat these wise words from Kristin Neff’s book on self-compassion.
This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.
27. Have at least one meal with zero distraction. No TV. No email. No phone calls. No work. Just you (possibly alongside your family) and your yummy food. And try savoring every bite.
28. Listen to what your body is telling you as best as you can. This might mean skipping a workout because you’re super tired or stopping eating because you’re full. Or eating more because you can tell that you’re still hungry.
29. Listen to your fave music, and dance!
30. Do one self-care activity that makes you happy. Create a list of five, 10, 20 (the number is of course up to you) activities that help you feel good. Each day, do at least one thing from that list.

September 19, 2011

The Beginning...Preschool!


We are about to embark in a new territory in the Mantooth household...homeschooling!  We decided to homeschool pre-k and we plan to send our oldest to Kindergarden next year.  She has already mastered her numbers 1-10 and ABCs (upper and lower case), so we're moving onto phonics, beginning math, and writing.  My younger preschooler will be starting on her ABCs and numbers.

Since I'm working with two of my kiddos at the same time I realized I needed to be REALLY prepared before the school year starts for us.  We chose to start after our vacation (last week, vlog coming soon!), and I am due the end of January so we are going to focus during these few months on what we want to learn this year and then play it by ear after baby number 4 arrives.

First I decided to have a "Letter of the Day." We'll work on letter recognition and letter sounds for each of my girls.  I also went through the material I already have (workbooks, etc) and decided on something different to work on each day (different for both girls), whether writing, learning more numbers or math, etc.

My goal is start out with a Bible story/lesson each morning (or read a little from one story each day for a week), and eventually I'd love to incorporate the spanish alphabet and some sign language (something to work on after the newest addition arrives).

But what I'm really excited to share with all of you are some of the great, FREE resources I've found online that include learning and fun (for 3-6 year olds).  So if you are looking for some creative ways to re-enforce the skills their learning or just something besides TV to entertain, check out some of these links:

Numbers, Shapes and Math Skills:
IXL Pre-K Math Online Practice (you have a limited amount of time each day, like a free trial, but renews daily)
NickJr. Numbers and Shapes Games
Number Game - For younger children

Letters and Reading:
Learn to Read - Starfall.com is FULL of great letter/reading tools for all ages!
ABC - Letters and Sounds - Starfall.com.
ABC Letter Printouts - Starfall.com
Phonics Game - Fisher-Price.
NickJr. Letter and Spelling Games
Teaching the Alphabet Game IDEAS - Ideas for you to do with your child.

Themes:
Bible Pre-K Themed Material (and other themes as well)
Preschool Express - Cool ideas, calendars, etc.

Crafts (ideas and printables):
DTLK-Kids.com
Family Fun - A longtime favorite of mine (great for finding homemade gift ideas)
Checklists and More - Helping parents stay organized and kids have fun
Lets Explore - Blog full of ideas and activities

Learning Games:
Make a Calendar
Valentines Game
Pumpkin Game
Turkey Game
Snowman Game
Earth Day Game
Preschool Learning Games (including spanish alphabet!)
Language and Learning Games
Grocery Store Bingo - Printable
Tons of Pre-K Games - ZiggityZoom.com

September 8, 2011

"You Said What?!"

I first posted this in October last year, but it was on my mind this weekend and I felt someone might get something from it.  So I'm bringing it out of the archives...the 4th "Gracious Essential:" Taming the Tongue.



"None of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. " - James 3:2 (The Message)
This used to be one of those areas that I felt I was really getting the hang of.  I tried to be mindful of every word I spoke, taking the scriptures quite literally:
"And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgement day of every idle word you speak." - Matthew 12:36 (NLT)
My husband can confirm, I was crazy about it!  I went as far as trying not to say "whatever," because it seemed a word with no real meaning.  Of course I stayed away from the typical curse words and even some harsh-sounding words.  But as of late, I realized that I haven't been quite as diligent in watching my idle words. Want a good wake up call?  Have a 2 year old and a 4 year old follow you around for a few days.  They start repeating things you didn't realize you even said...to your friends, parents, random people at the grocery store...
Most of the parents I've talked to agreed that having toddler-aged children is what made them realize they needed to get their words in check, quickly. So, I'll take it as a blessing, having my every discussion and discipline on repeat for the world to hear, because I really want to do my best to tame my tongue.  Why?
"A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything - or destroy it!  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.  By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos...with our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image."  - James 3:5-6, 9 (The Message)
If this is the one area that could help us keep the rest of our lives in check, why isn't this our focus!?  I know that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), so I first must fill my heart with Truth and then I will begin to see a change in my thoughts, actions and words.
One of the best ways I know how to do that is memorizing scripture.  Then begin re-evaluting your life and what you are putting into your heart: friendships, conversations, music, movies, books...what do you find yourself meditating on?  (What do you find yourself daydreaming about?)  Pour truth and life into your heart and it will pump it throughout your spirit, body and soul, so that when you open your mouth only truth and life will come out if it.  And remember, there are times when we just need to keep our mouths shut! (Proverbs 21:23).
Also, be mindful of your inner dialogue.  "Fat talk" applies to how we talk to ourselves about our physical appearance... but we can "fat talk" ourselves into fear, insecurity, distrust, or depression by unhealthy thoughts about ourselves, and God.  We need to keep our inner dialogue positive and watch everything we are putting into our hearts and the wise words will follow!

Starts in the HEART - Aligns the MIND - Brings corrections to your ACTIONS -  TAMES your TONGUE!

Why not start setting your mind on the Word with these scriptures: (I'm using the New Living Translation, unless otherwise noted)
  • "Listen to His _________________ and ______ them in your ________. (Job 22:22)
  • What does God say about changing our hearts? __________________. (Ezekiel 36:26)
  • "________ in me a _______ heart..." (Psalms 51:10)
  • What happens when you control your tongue? ___________________.  (Psalms 13:3)
  • "If you claim to be __________ but don't control your tongue you are just _______________." (James 1:26)
  • "If you want a happy life and good days ________________________. (1 Peter 3:10)
  • "Set a _____ over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the ____ __ __ ____." (Psalm 141:3 NIV)
"Gracious speech is like clover honey - good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body." - Proverbs 16:24 (The Message)

September 6, 2011

Good, Clean, Beauty Product Fun

Bath and Body Works
I love going in here, and they usually have really good coupon deals, but so many of their items are ranked very toxic (according to cosmeticsdatabase.com).  So finding any items there that are ranked lower in toxicity is FUN!  Here is what I recently found:

C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine | Gets a 2 on the Toxicity Scale!!! Sometimes they have BOGO sales or Buy-Something-Else get a Lip-Product-Free!  So keep your eyes peeled for deals/coupons!  Regularly priced at $7.50.

ULTA
Ulta is great because they carry SO MANY different brands of health and beauty products.  They have a rewards program and offer many coupons (and sales), especially great during the holidays to pick up some free gifts.  Here are a few good items they have:
Almay | Here is a list of the good rated products. My favorite product is the pictured, sunkissed blush!
Aveeno | Here is a list of the 0-2 rated products.  I LOVE their lotions for my sensitive skinned girls!


Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen | There are tons of "clean" products made by Badger, this one gets a 2 and is $16 at Ulta.com.


Basis Sensitive Skin Bar Soap | This is really clean at only 1 and the price is pretty awesome too, $2.29 at Ulta!
Biore Nose Strips | I'm never sure if these really work but they always feel good after.  They are $7.49 at Ulta, but I'm sure you can find deals in your local Target, Walmart or on Amazon.com.  Coming in at level 2!


Burt's Bees Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment | Along with pages of other products, this one is ranked at a 2.  $7.99 at Ulta or $6.77 (with subscribe & save + free prime shipping) on Amazon.  I can't WAIT to try this!

Sephora
Balmshell LipGlosses | Coming in at 0 on the cosmeticsdatabase.com scale, these would make a great find!!!  They are priced at $11 online (half off original price)!


BareEscentualsHere is a list of items that are rated 0-2, check them out if your interested in their mineral makeup.  Definitely on the pricey side.


The Body Shop | They also have quite a few options from lip balm, to toner, to bronzer and more rated from 0-2.  The prices aren't too bad either, check amazon.com for deals as well.


Carol's Daughter Kizzi | Kizzi is a hair pomade rated at level 2, listed are a few other products coming in even better than that.  Only $9.50 at Sephora.com!


Clinique All About Eyes Rich | Receiving a 2 on the toxicity scale, this is only Clinique product listed under 3 (though the database isn't thorough).  A bit pricey for $29 on sephora.com.


Cosmedicine Instant Wrinkle Write Off Pen | A 1 on the scale!!  This company is listed on Sephora.com but not this product.  I found it here on amazon for only $8 plus shipping!!


Philosophy Bronzer | Getting a 2 on the cosmetics database scale, instant sunshine is always great!  $16.75 at Sephora.com.
Stila Contour Lip Liner | Receives another 2 and costs only $7.45 on Amazon.

For Men (at Sephora)


Anthony Logistics Eye Cream | Gets a 2 on cosmeticsdatabase.com!  Healthy moisturizer for your guys (a little pricey at $33 on sephora.com, but keep your eyes peeled for a sale) - now the hard part, getting him to use it!


Jack Black Body Rehab Scrub and Soak | I've never heard of this before now, but it gets another 2 on the scale and free Prime shipping at amazon.com - but it's still $35.  Sephora.com says $35 as well.
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