Friday, July 31, 2015

How to Prepare for Kindergarten + A Giveaway

School is literally right around the corner for us. I'm partially in denial that I will have a kindergartener as of next week. These past few weeks have been spent preparing Zander (and myself) for him to be in real school.

|| Go to the Kindergarten Round Up.
Shortly before the school year ended, the Pre-K told us about the kindergarten round up night. This gives the kids (and parents) a chance to see the school before the open house at the beginning of the school year. Here, you can tour the classrooms, the computer lab, library, and more to get a sense of what the kids will be doing during their day. Also, the kids get to ride the school bus since most have never ridden one before Kindergarten. Zander learned all the bus rules here.

|| Get your supply list early.
Y'all, the closer the first day of school gets the faster supplies at the store disappear. We took a trip to the school about a month ago to get the list and buy early. We still need to get a bookbag and a few new pairs of pants, but this weekend is tax free in Georgia so we'll be doing some shopping this weekend!

|| Practice buttoning pants and tieing shoes. 
This is something I did not consider working on over the summer until we went to the kindergarten round up. The kindergarten teachers actually suggested it. But seriously, I never realized how many times I've had to re-tie Zander's shoes or help him (and Ainsley) button their pants after going potty. Yes the teachers will still help. Zander still hasn't mastered tying his shoes, however he can button his pants (and jackets) with ease now. One less thing for the teachers to help with.

|| Look for letters and numbers everywhere. 
Zander is still not reading, however he does know his letters and numbers. From driving to the store and back or just reading together at home I am always asking him to identify letters and numbers and the sounds they make. Even with doing this will help him develop his ability to read while he's in school. Some kids are reading at his age, but we're not really pushing a whole lot. He practices writing his first and last name daily.

|| Have tissues ready.
If you're dropping your kindergartener off in the car, or if they're riding the bus (like Zander) tears are almost guaranteed. Zander is my oldest. This is our first school experience. I totally cried when he went to pre-k last year. Kindergarten marks the start of his school career. It's real that he's really growing up. I'm fighting tears now.

Hell... might as well have the wine ready for when they get home and celebrate how much fun they had, and how much they can't wait to go back!

|| Take lots of pictures. 
These are the moments made for photo albums. New friends. New memories. All of that. Time goes by quickly and you don't want to miss a single thing.

And now for a real treat, especially with back to school around the corner! Hope and I have teamed up with Firmoo to giveaway one FREE PAIR of glasses from!! I've worked with Firmoo earlier this year, and I absolutely stand by this company 100%. This is a great chance to win an amazing pair of prescription glasses!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bloggers Give it 100 || Life Happens

Y'all... life happened this past week. I was on a roll. I ran Wednesday last week and I got  my 3 mile time under 40 minutes. My best time EVER. I was stoked to see what I could get my time to be last Friday. And then.... accidents happened. Life happened.

I did some at home workouts on Friday. I make it a point to do abs, core, and some sort of hand weights at home if I'm not doing a workout video. Everything seemed pretty normal to me, and I didn't feel like I had pushed myself too far.

I'm still not entirely sure what happened. I do know the knee twisted, then popped, then I collapsed.

Zander helped me get the brace on and helped me get dressed. I had to go the rest of the day with 4 kids in the house though. I should've probably gone to the doctor sooner, but because I had all the kids I just couldn't. By the time the other 2 kids went home, I was in tears from the pain. I could barely hobble around by then. Thank goodness for mother in laws. She came over around 7 PM that night so I could go to the E.R. to get things looked at. Not the best way to spend my Friday night.

Long story short, I have a partially torn patellar tendon.
Which means, no surgery needed. Plenty of rest, elevate as much as possible, and keep my brace on.

This also means NO RUNNING for another 4 weeks or so.


That news killed me. I mean, I knew it wasn't a great idea. But I think I've been in a depression since then. I know there's other workouts I can do that don't require standing. (Core, upper body, back, etc). I just haven't done anything since then.

So, like Lora I'll be added a few weeks to the end of my Bloggers Give it 100. I want the full experience, and with me not doing anything since Friday I felt like I was cheating myself. So, today we're just hitting the reset button and starting over.

How did you do this week? Link up with Kendra, Lora and I and share!
The Rambling Llama
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And We Were Running || Bloggers Give it 100

Did anyone else read the title in their best Forest Gump voice? No? Just me. Ok... moving on...
This past week I learned something very important about myself. I'm officially a runner. I found this quote and it spoke volumes to me.

I never thought of myself as a runner. In fact, I avoided those teams in high school (track and cross country). Even running for P.E. or swim practice really turned me off. I seriously hated everything about running. I was the "what is the point" person. I was the person that when I saw a running update on social media for anyone, I'd scroll past faster.

And then something changed.

A little over a year ago I was able to afford a gym membership. I was able to meet with a personal trainer for about 3 months (twice a week for three months) It was a LOT, y'all. I really have her to thank to change my mind about running. She made me see the fun in it.

It's still not something I can totally explain. It's absolutely one of those things where, when you're a runner you know it. I know I have several blogging and IRL friends that get this. I really don't want to explain it. Instead, I want to share my amazing #bloggersgiveit100 moment from this past week.

I was able to run a full three miles without stopping in 47 minutes. Y'all. This is a big deal for me. I have never before now been able to run even a full mile without stopping. The day I did this, you better believe I posted it all over social media. I'm proud of myself.

Yes, the time isn't the best in the world. But that doesn't matter to me. What matters is what I pushed myself to do. I didn't feel any pain after awhile. I felt a high. Endorphins are a real thing. ("Happy people don't kill their husbands", right Hope?) I also apologize to anyone on my snapchat friends that are sick of workout snap feed stories, cause they won't be stopping anytime soon.

So now I'm excited to see how I can push myself further. What else can I do? Where else can I run in my town to explore? I also am dying to get something to hold my phone on my arm while I run so I don't have to just carry it. Any suggestions on that are welcome.

I'm truly grateful for my entire blogging community. Y'alls encouragement on my fitness journey have been nothing but incredible. I love each and everyone of y'all, and I truly appreciate the comments.

What have you done to keep moving this week? Are you participating in #BloggersGiveIt100? Grab a button and link up with Kendra, Lora, and I. And don't forget. It doesn't matter how fast you are going. You're still going faster than everyone on the couch!
The Rambling Llama
And now for something completely fun!! Hope and I are hosting a giveaway! Day Designer/Blue Sky Planner Giveaway from Penning Hope and The Rambling Llama | Day Designer Blue Sky Planner Giveaway
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tell Me About Your Town : Fun Facts

History to me is fascinating. I'm thrilled that the month I get to co-host Tell Me About Your Town with Amanda we get to talk history! 

I had to do a bit of googling about Monroe. Cause, let's be real, y'all. Georgia is a massive state. Not the biggest by any means, but it's big. I grew up in one particular county and knew very little about many other counties / cities most of my life. Hubs and I have lived in Monroe for about 2 and a half years now, so I guess it was about time I started learning a little more about the city... other than where the best place to get pizza was. (That's Amici's by the way!) 

Random fact: Monroe, GA has an elevation of 909 ft. 

The town was founded in 1818 and made a city in 1896. The county we live in (Walton) was named in honor of George Walton. So basically the county I live in was named after a guy that wasn't even BORN in this state. That to me is hilarious. 
George Walton
In the 1900s, Monroe was one of the state's top producers of cotton. 
The two main cotton mills no longer produce cotton, however they still serve as economic engines for the city. They have been turned into two large antique mills. One rests nicely behind our house about 3 tenths of a mile. The back of the mill near our house is sometimes used to film the Walking Dead. About once a year since we've been here the film crew and trailers park back there. Can you blame them for wanting to use it though? It's creepy at night back there

Random fact: Monroe has the nickname "city of Governors". Seven of the men to act as Governor over Georgia have come from Monroe. In Chronological order: Wilson LumpkinHowell CobbAlfred ColquittJames Boynton,Henry McDanielClifford Walker, and Richard Russell, Jr..

And a fun fact about Georgia in general:
It's illegal to tie a giraffe to a lamp post 

What's a fun historical fact about where you live? Link up with Amanda and I to share! 

Amanda Moments

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Criss Cross Applesauce: DIY Fancy Tee

First of all. Don't freak out. Don't run away. You're still in the realm of the llama. Yes, we're doing a fashion DIY today.

I originally saw this on a facebook video. (I think one other DIY was thanks to facebook as well!) It was just a minute long video, so I had to watch and rewatch about 50 times before I felt comfortable enough to even try this for the blog! (Emily, #fortheblog). I lucked out last Friday and my step sister wanted to help out, so we totally practiced on one of her shirts before I attempted one of mine. Full disclosure: I did two of my shirts.

What You'll Need:

  • A Shirt you won't hate that you totally ruin if you mess up (hey, all honesty, it could happen!) But it also needs to be a shirt you would want to wear more often than not! I suggest a plain, but cute Tee. 
  • Sharp scissors
  • Needle 
  • Thread (preferably to match your shirt, but hey, get adventurous. Why not?)

What To Do:

  • Fold your shirt in half in the back ONLY. We're not cutting through the whole shirt here, y'all. Just fold the shirt in half in the BACK. 
  • Cut into the back of the shirt. Your incisions will need to be at least half an inch but up to two inches into the shirt. The smaller your cuts, the smaller the width of the "box" on your back will be. 

  • The closer the cuts, the smaller the bars you will have across your back. So the distance between your cuts depends on how you want yours to look. I made mine pretty close together. 
  • Start About where your shoulder blades would be on the shirt and cut down as far as you will like. (If you don't want to sew much, don't go too far down!) 
  • Unfold the shirt. 
  • Intertwine your fingers (using both hands) and GENTLY stretch out your cuts to thin out the "bars"

Now here's the tricky part:

  1. Take the top "bar" (I don't know what else to call it!) Overlap it with the one immediate next to it. Grab the next "bar". 
  2. Sew these together in the middle. Just enough thread to where they don't pull apart. 
  3. Do this until you're done! 

Basically, the bar you grab will always overlap the one next to it. You're sewing every other bar together to get the criss cross appearance.

Once you get to the bottom, that's it. You're done! Now you have a really fancy looking tee, that in stores could have cost big bucks!

I want to hear from you! Would you try this shirt? Do you love this look? Tell me in the comments!
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Working Out as a SAHM

So, I realize this is not the case for all SAHM's. I'll start with that. Because this is my unique case.
My husband and I cannot afford for me to have a gym membership. As much as I'd love one (because, hello! indoor pool for laps!!) I don't want to put us in a poor financial situation just cause I want to stay healthy. So! I have to improvise. Y'all are pretty familiar that I do workout videos and things like that. But sometimes that doesn't cut it. You gotta switch things up!

Granted, some weeks (some DAYS) are better than others. I will say, I can always count on my kids to be my workout buddies.

My at home gym is not as big as other people's but it works for me. On days I don't do a workout video I count on my hand weights and remembering things an old personal trainer taught me. Christine had blogged about using playground equipment to workout. Which is great, when we actually go to the park (but in this heat... yikes!)

I use my coffee table. At least twice a week, if not three times a week I focus on upper body and back. (My back and core is my huge problem areas!) The coffee table is sturdy enough to do inverted push ups. This works my triceps and upper back.
If I push the coffee table against the wall I can also use it for step ups and jumps. Don't worry, I clean it after my feet have been all over it!

I have 5 lb hand weights. I'd love to get bigger ones, since I've gotten to the point where I really need to do a LOT of reps to really feel anything. I'm not complaining too much though, because at least I have them!

Finally, a workout isn't complete with some sort of cardio. I have found a really amazing running partner in Zander.
Earlier this week, we tried to go on a run while he rode his bike. A mile into the run, the chain broke on his bike. We were forced to cut the run short and head back home. Sadly, I had to carry the bike the whole way back because the back tire wouldn't spin. He stayed positive the whole way back. Yesterday he was begging to go on a run again. It didn't workout because Daddy didn't get home until almost 9 last night. That was just too late for a little boy to be running with me! On days we don't run we always do jumping jacks, jump ropes (without the ropes), and other forms of cardio in the house to get our heart rates up.
Of course pictures or it didn't happen
I love that my kids will do all the workout moves with me. Their version of hand weights are some form of dog toys. It works though, right?! At least they're getting the moves down and proper form!

So this week for #BloggersGiveIt100 was a good one. I'm thrilled that I'm constantly teaching my kids better habits. Lets keep this good vibe going into next week!
Are you participating in the Bloggers Give it 100 challenge? Tell us how you did this week! Link up with Lora, Kendra, and I so we can encourage you!
The Rambling Llama
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Is There a Perfect Bun?

So, let's talk hair today, y'all.
How many of y'all out there have tried to achieve that "perfect bun" look that most ballet dancers pull off so well? If you're like me, most likely your bun ends up coming out a little messy and your look goes from sophisticated to "I don't really care what I look like" in about 4.5 seconds. Am I right? My IRL bestie Amanda from Knock on Wood sent me a happy mail package a few months ago. Completely random, and full of pampering goodies. One item she included was the "Perfect Bun" that you see in the "as seen on TV" aisle in the store. That's kind of what inspired this post.
This is what we're working with here:

|| The Perfect "Bun in a box".
I was really excited to try this. I had seen it on T.V. and based on the pictures on the box, my bun was destined to turn out... well, perfect! OMG... Y'all... This did not work for my hair. It's supposed to wrap the hair and secure it without having to use bobby pins. It didn't connect the back of the bun for me at all. From the front it has the illusion of a nice, neat bun. However, as you can see from the picture, in the back it's sloppy and not connected. Like I said, fail. As many attempts as I made to get this to work, it just did not. I'm sorry to the makers of this product but I will not be using this.

||Sock Buns.
Y'all! I have to give Kristyn all the credit here. I legit had never tried doing a sock bun. With my bun in a box failure, I posted on Instagram how I got a better bun with just my hair tie. Kristyn commented on the picture saying "have you tried a sock?"

Naturally, I had to try. Now, I'm not a fashion blogger. I'm extremely hair style challenged. Having said that, I will not be doing a tutorial. I will say though, this has absolutely been the best bun I've ever had. I will share I used this tutorial to create the sock bun. I also used an old sock to create the sock part of the sock bun. You can buy the donut shaped things in the store for $3-$5, but why not just make one for free?
Also, this took quite a bit of practice. As you can see in the picture, the bun itself looks a bit frizzy. This is from me having to take down the bun and keep trying. Once you have the technique down, it's super easy and it looks amazing.

|| "My bun".
Prior to trying sock buns, I would just use a hair tie to secure my buns. My hair is long enough to where I can make a high pony, twist it around and wrap a pony tail holder to secure everything in place. Before my hair was this length, I would have to use bobby pins to keep stray hairs from escaping. I've had a lot of practice with wrapping my hair and securing it to where it looks more put together than just a messy bun. However, compared to the sock bun it's much smaller. The sock bun ads much more volume.

I'm sure the bun in a box has to work for some people. For me it was a complete fail. Thanks, Amanda but I just can't.
The verdict for me is sock bun = perfection for a nice "put together" look for a night on the town. "My bun" = perfection when I just want my hair off of my neck and not really having anywhere to go.
Which technique do you use to create your bun look? Are you happy with the messy bun, or do you aim for the sophisticated neat bun?
The "perfect bun" from a box makes a good mustache though.

previously seen on Chits & Giggles in April
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bloggers Give it 100 : 93 Days Left

Well, here I am a co-host to this amazing new linkup and I'm late to the party. True llama fashion, right? Oh well, I'm here! That's what counts right?

So last week was our first week of #bloggersgiveit100. I did not do as well as anticipated. Sometimes life just happens, and you have to roll with what you're thrown with.

Last Week:
I worked out one day. ONE. Y'all. It's pitiful. I would count swimming with Christine as a workout, but after all I ate I'm fairly sure it doesn't count.
I admit it was bad, but I can't beat myself up about it. Everyone has those days. Or weeks. It happens. Just try to start over.

I ate all the food. Josh bought popsicles. TOOTSIE ROLL POPSICLES! This is not a drill. I ate at least two every single day since he brought them home.

This Week:
My goals are going to be simple....

Work out at least 4 days a week. I have to just stay moving. Every day I plan to mix it up with different workout to not get my body used to the same thing.
Yesterday I did zumba sculpt and tone. Y'ALL! I FEEL THE BURN today. This was zumba on CRACK. I don't have the toning bars from Zumba, but I do have hand weights so I used those. My entire body feels it. This is a good thing!

Don't eat all the food. I really need to be better about eating healthier. This is my biggest problem. All the crunches in the world aren't going to help the fact that brownies and pizza are going in my belly.

I wish I had more to contribute this week, but last week was hard. It was the first of the month. A holiday weekend. I know, all the excuses. This week is a new week though. We're going to rock this week! I'M going to rock this week.

What are your goals for the next week?
What are you trying to do for the next 93 days?

Grab a button and link up!
The Rambling Llama
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