Category Archives: Art Projects

New Year, New Plan!

New Year, New Plan!

Let me start off by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I am sorry that I have not been around lately! My website actually got hacked for a while and it took my husband a bit to get it fixed. Apparently it was a pretty bad one. This seems like a silly site to even want to hack, but what do I know. Lol.

Here’s the thing. I know I have done horribly these past few months. Absolutely. I want to puke when I think about how I feel and how much weight I have gained. But rehashing those things and how disappointed I am in myself is not going to do any good. It will just make me depressed, which is something that I am prone to during the winter anyway. I definitely do not need to add to it. So, I am moving on. New year, new plan! I am going to be setting monthly goals, and maybe a couple of “end-of-the-year” goals too.

As far as exercise and eating go, I am keeping it pretty simple for now. I am drinking my water, tracking my calories, and moving my body. My shoulder has been doing a lot better the last few weeks and even survived me painting my bedroom and lifting a very heavy headboard. But I can still tell that it definitely needs to be a bit babied when it comes to certain things. So, I am going to take it “easy” with my workouts. I am going to alternate days between a Leslie Sansone walking DVD (or something else like that, as my DVD is currently MIA) and HipHopAbs. I am also going to throw in some other ab workouts and light weights here and there, to really get myself back in the groove. I am excited to see what this new month brings! I am ready to be focused again!

I also need to refocus in some other areas of my life. As a family, we need to find a church we’re comfortable at. And I need to get a better grip on handling a very opinionated three-year-old. With that being said, here are the goals I have figured out thus far.

January Goals

  • Stick with my exercise plan. I am not making it too hard on myself, as I really am restarting from ground zero. So I know that it is something I can do. I just need to actually DO IT.
  • Lose five pounds. Yes, I know that weight is not everything. Yes, I know that there are other tools to use to judge your health. But, honestly, I need to lose the weight. I am way up, I feel horrible, I have no energy, and I have an extremely poor body image right now. So yeah, I think it is ok to say I want to lose five pounds this month.
  • Track my calories, even if I end up going over some days. I still need to be accountable to myself.
  • Read my Bible. Just start with five minutes a day. It is way better than nothing! And I want to start incorporating a Bible reading time daily into my Zeeva time too.
  • Attend church every Sunday, weather permitting. If we try one and do not like it, then we will try another.
  • Sew our new curtains for our bedroom. Woohoo for a bedroom makeover!
  • Finish fixing up my new (old) nightstand. This involves fixing a broken piece, staining it, and finding some new knobs that we like for it. It is going to be awesome when it’s done and will look great in our new bedroom!
  • Figure out what I want my new weightloss goals to be. And a reward system.
  • Eat a lot of our meals from food we already have stored up.

  • Year Goals

  • Reach my weightloss goals.
  • Stick with it! Do not give up like I did in 2013.
  • Run another 5k. That was my best moment of 2013.
  • Vacation! Even if it is not far from here.
  • Finish SIX paintings! I did three last year, so I think I can do it!
  • Feel comfortable in my own skin. I am just about as far away from that as possible right now, and I hate feeling like this.
  • can some jelly. Lol… I know, this does not sound very exciting. But it is something that intrigues me and yet makes me very nervous. So it will push me out of my comfort zone for sure!
  • That is what I have for now. I may add to this list or change some things around. And I do not have a single problem with changing my goals as the year evolves. It is my life, after all. Sometimes things come along that make you adjust your thoughts.

    Do you have any goals you would like to share? Or any goals that you reached last year that you are particularly proud of?

    I Did It!

    I Did It!

    For those of you who do not know, I went to college for graphic design. I do not really use it much anymore but I worked outside the home as a graphic designer for about five years, and then worked with Thomas at home for the next couple of years. But I have not done much work since Zeeva was born, just a few odds and ends here and there. I am also an “artist”… I say that with quotations around it because I honestly feel like a fraud when I say that. I have not done much art since college, but especially in the past few years. I want to… It is just hard sometimes.

    But I finally finished a painting! It is my first real piece of finished art since I was pregnant with Zeeva three years ago and did two murals… One on a friend’s nursery wall and a hand painted border that is on Zeeva’s walls. And, while I would not consider it my best piece of art I have ever made, it is really important to me because I created it as a focal point for my life right now. I have lost focus on a lot of things and my hope is that, by having it in my living room, it will be a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that are important to me.

    Focus. “Let your eyes look directly forward, & your gaze be straight before you.”
    – Proverbs 4:25

    My “Big News” Post…

    My “Big News” Post…

    I have really been struggling lately, watching my weight go up and down, up and down, always over the same three to five pounds. And thinking that I will have huge amounts of inches lost, only to be disappointed at my monthly measurements. Even though I can see some changes happening in my pictures, my clothes do not feel any different and all of my measurements do not reflect these changes. So I have really been feeling discouraged. Couple this with the general stress of raising a two-year-old and a few other life things, and I really have had a bad few days of eating. Confession… I have probably consumed more chocolate in the past week than I had in the almost three months since Christmas combined! Not good. Not good at all!

    So I have been mulling over an idea in my head. I really need to learn how to focus less on the scale and my measurements and more on how I feel… How I feel inside, and outside, and learning to really love myself and ignore the numbers. I have come up with a challenge for myself. I am calling it the Spring Forward Challenge because it will take place through ALL of Spring and will be a time of me focusing on leaping forward in many areas of my life. I am sick of being stuck in a rut. I am sick of feeling down. I am sick of not focusing on the awesome things in life. And that is how the Spring Forward Challenge began.

    Jessii’s Spring Forward Challenge

  • Complete the official Hybrid of Turbo Fire and ChaLEAN Extreme. **this is actually a 120 day program, so I will not finish this until August 4th.
  • No weighing myself until AT LEAST June 21, the first day of summer. **I am probably still going to weigh myself weekly but not look at it. Thomas will record it for me so I can see my results at the end. I also may not weigh myself until the end of the 120 day exercise program.
  • No measuring myself until the first day of summer, with the same stipulations as weighing myself.
  • No soda.
  • Pictures every four weeks, which I will post on here to stay accountable with my progress.
  • Couch to 5k program with my husband
  • Drink at least four bottles of water a day, which is 96 ounces.
  • Eat as well as possible, with as little processed food as my budget will allow.
  • Make wise choices about sweets and determine if it is really worth it.
  • Eat out once a month, at the most.
  • Stick to a grocery budget.
  • Spend real time with God every day — prayer, praise and worship, Bible reading, devotional — whatever I feel led to do during my time with Him. I just need to actually make the time.
  • Church every Sunday.
  • Figure out how to make a budget for an income that fluctuates a bit.
  • Take Zeeva to Toddler Story Time at the library every Tuesday morning that they meet, as long as we are healthy.
  • Mommy and Me Group with Zeeva twice a month, even if I am tired.
  • Less time in front of the television.
  • Be more intentional in my marriage.
  • Do fun activities with Zeeva more.
  • Take daily walks as a family outside whenever possible.
  • Finish two paintings.
  • Sew at least one thing, using some of the fabric that I already have stored up.


  • There you have it… My list so far. Some of the items are very specific, while others are less specific because I honestly do not know what they will end up looking like. I just know that these are all areas that I need to be working on. These are all things that will help me better myself and be happier in life. And I am sure that I will end up finding other things to add to the list as I think more about it and delve deeper into this.

    DietBet – Day One!

    DietBet – Day One!

    Today is the first official day of the DietBet that I am doing! I am psyched to see how it goes! I will say though, it already looks like some people may be cheating. How do you lose 49% of your 4% goal before the first day is even done? Come on people… If you are going to cheat, at least make it look real!

    My official starting weight for this is 159.8 pounds. Ouch! Yep, my weight crept back up there. But I am not sweating it because I am determined to have a FOCUSED four weeks! I have to lose 6.4 pounds to reach my 4% lost, which is a LOT for me. But, as I have said before, I am really not in this for the money… It is about the extra motivation for me. Yes, extra money would be great. But I am not a gambler at all, so that is not what is driving me. I am just determined to have a rocking four weeks! Honestly, this is the only thing that got me through my workout today. I had a not-so-great morning with my daughter (which I am feeling very guilty about now), and I completely melted down. So I was absolutely not in the mood to work out. On top of that, today was the first day of the Lean Circuit for ChaLEAN Extreme and the first day is always the hardest! It is so hard transitioning between circuits. But this is the one that you are supposed to lose the most weight with… It is also the one that I have floundered on halfway through the two previous times I have done it. So I am excited to actually complete it this time and stay strong the whole way through!

    You may be wondering what my game plan is for the next four weeks. I have been thinking a lot about it. So here are my goals:

      Drink LOTS of water… At least 100 ounces a day, but more if I need it.
      Do some form of exercise every day, even on my “rest” days. I will be focusing on ChaLEAN Extreme, Turbo Fire, Couch to 5k, and yoga.
      Eat much better than I have been eating. This means paying even closer attention to my portions, eating foods that are better for me and more filling (think grapes instead of raisins), and eating better forms of protein (I have been eating protein bars after my weight workouts a lot lately and I have noticed that I feel much more satisfied and full longer if I take the time to actually cut up an apple and eat it with protein).
      I will be making better meals for my family and focusing much less on pasta, which is one of my favorite food groups. Lol!
      Eating out as little as possible! In fact, I am only planning on eating out once, maybe twice, in the next four weeks. I already know when those times will be too.
      No soda at all. This is not a huge problem for me, but I am also going to limit my iced tea drinking to once or twice a week. I have been getting bad about those.
      My last goal for the next four weeks? Have fun with my family!! I think it is so easy to get wrapped up in focusing solely on one certain aspect of life. I do not think that we have enough fun together as a family. So we will be getting outside as much as Indiana’s February weather and wind will allow us, playing Just Dance 3 together (as soon as it comes in the mail), doing art projects together, and just having fun being a family. I think it is something all three of us really need.

    So that is where I am at for now! I will definitely be keeping you guys updated on how this is all going!!

    Ps… Is it crazy that I am already starting to plan what I am going to eat out on March 9th? Lol! It is two days before the final day of the DietBet so I do not want to sabatouge myself! ;o)

    Weigh-In Wednesday…

    Weigh-In Wednesday…

    Today has been a busy one already and it is only halfway over!

    I brought Zeeva out to have fun with a mommy and me group this morning. We have only been to two activities thus far (visiting the pumpkin patch back in October was the first time). They meet twice a month and I would love to go every time but it is a half hour drive for us and involves getting up quite early (for us!)… So it does not always happen. This morning’s activities included some gymnastics (which I had to hold Zeeva during for most of it because she was being so shy! That counts as part of my workout today, right??), making cinnamon PlayDoh (which smells amazing), having a snack, and Zeeva running around after all the other kids (because she finally loosened up a bit!). Then we ate lunch with Grandpa (my dad)… Zeeva claimed she wanted pizza but she would not even touch it. Instead her meal consisted of lots of bread (just the innards because crusts are apparently yucky), half a fruit cup, milk, and about a dozen bites of MY salad. She is on a kick this week where she really wants to eat my food. If it gets her to try new things finally, I am all for it! After lunch, Zeeva got to walk around Grandpa’s work and see all the Garfield stuffies. She had a blast and was worn out for the car ride home! So worn out that I called in reinforcements to help keep her awake… She talked on the phone with her Grandma (Thomas’s mom) for almost a half hour. It definitely kept her awake! She is now knocked out in her crib (and I am heading for a nap as soon as I am done writing!).

    I am super proud of myself… I planned out my food for today last night because I knew I was eating out for lunch, and that I can be very tempted to make poor decisions at this particular restaurant. And I am proud to say that I stuck with my plan! I did not eat even a BITE of the awesome bread and oil that they serve! It was definitely tempting to finish off some of those crusts that Zeeva rejected, but I was really good about it. :o) YEA!

    Today was also weigh-in day… My final weigh-in day for my week-long experiment. Here are my daily results for the week.

      Day 1… -1.4 pounds
      Day 2… -0.8 pounds
      Day 3… +2.6 pounds
      Day 4… +0.9 pounds
      Day 5… -0.4 pounds
      Day 6… -0.5 pounds
      Day 7… -1.1 pounds

    That gives me a cumulative total of -0.7 pounds, which is not bad for a week for me. But I have to say, I am not going to be weighing myself daily again. I know some people do it that way all the time. It would drive me bonkers though! I am a bit bummed that I had a couple of huge days there but then only ended up losing less than a pound for the whole week. I know part of that is my own fault for going off track for a couple of days. But I think I will just stay more sane if I stick to once a week! I am now only 1.8 pounds away from FINALLY being back to losing real weight (from the little bit of weight I had gained). I have today, I am SICK of this yo-yoing back and forth in the upper 150s! I know my body is making major changes that are not showing up on the scale, but I am soooo ready for my next decade!

    Speaking of tracking numbers, next Monday is my tracking day for this round of ChaLEAN Extreme and Turbo Fire! I am SUPER excited to see how my measurements and pictures look! I need to stay STRONG this week and weekend so I can have a strong finish to this round!

    POLL: Should I start putting my pictures on here? I have not been… Honestly, because I did not know if it is actually something people would want to see! Lol! I could maybe even just put up new pictures every three months or something like that. What do you all think?

    Surprising Inspiration…

    Surprising Inspiration…
    Surprising Inspiration…

    I did something this week that I have never done before. I finished my first-ever quilt! I am not going to lie to you… it was not the easiest thing I have ever done. And some of my choices really probably ended up making it harder than it needed to be. My design started out as one thing and morphed into a completely different quilt by the end. But I am very happy with it and proud of myself for sticking with it through doubt and stress and tears and aching arms and pricked fingers and a tortured back. Yep, I definitely know the meaning of putting my blood, sweat and tears into something!

    Here is the funny thing about the quilt. I am normally very obsessive about certain things being “perfect”. If crafty project do not come out exactly as I planned, then I tend to feel down and a bit like I have failed. This is especially true when it comes to measurements and straight lines. I planned this quilt out perfectly on the computer, but as I was sewing it, some of the lines started to waiver a bit. Some of my threads got messed up. I even ended up with some small folds in my fabric squares. I really thought these things would bother me when I was finished. But, I can honestly say that I do not even notice them. I think the quilt looks fantastic. I just hope that Zeeva loves it, because I know I do!

    My very first quilt! Zeeva LOVES Strawberry Shortcake, so we had to go with that!

    When I finished the quilt and realized that I did not even notice the mistakes, it immediately occurred to me that the quilt reminded me of my weight-loss journey. I have had plenty of mistakes and setbacks. I have been off track for a lot of this past week especially… it has probably been my worst eating week that I have had in months. And it is very easy to feel down about that. But I need to remember to look at the whole “quilt”, not just each individual square. Yes, each victory moment that I have feels amazing. And each defeat moment feels horrible. But I need to remember that my whole journey — my whole quilt — is the most important thing on which to focus. A few wrinkles and a couple of dropped stitches and crooked seams here and there do not define my whole journey. My quilt will still turn out amazingly… and I will still be incredibly proud when I finish it!

     

    A Change of Plans…

    A Change of Plans…

    I am changing my plans for December. I am taking a step back from things. I really just want to take the next two weeks to just live and enjoy being with my family. The horrific events of Friday really made me realize that I have not been spending enough time just being. Almost all of my time during the past few months has been spent working out or cleaning. I have not been taking time during the day to just play with Zeeva. I have barely taken time to relax with Thomas. So I am taking a step back for the next two weeks. I am not going to count calories and obsess over that. I will not go crazy and gain ten pounds or anything like that, but my brain just needs a break from that. And I will exercise when I “want” to. I am not going to stress about it. I am not going to worry about it when I do not get n cruel workout in during the day. 

    For the next week, my focus will be Christmas activities. We went and saw lights last night. Tonight, we watched “White Christmas” and introduced Zeeva to “hot” chocolate.  ;o) Really, lukewarm chocolate. Lol! She even got marshmallows in it, which she loved. Tomorrow the plan is to make salt dough ornaments in the morning, then celebrate Thomas’s birthday in the evening. Wednesday will be painting the ornaments (and some wooden ones I got for really cheap at Jo-Ann’s!) and I will be making the dough for sugar cookies. Thursday will be actually baking the cookies and hopefully visiting Santa at the mall! So yeah, I have plenty to keep me busy this week! Plus, I still need to finish Zeeva’s quilt! I hope you all focus on what you need to this time of year.

    The Thirty-One List…

    The Thirty-One List…

    Ugh. I have had a bad couple of weeks. I shockingly did manage to lose half a pound since September twelfth… But I am still up about a pound since September first. I guess that is really not that bad, but it is still a bit of a bummer.

    Yep, I have been bad. Being sick so much this month has really thrown me off. I am ready to be healthy again!! So, I am taking over starting today. I am eating better and I am going to start my exercise program over again. I still have a bit of a cough, but I am more than willing to take breaks when I need to. I just need to reset. I feel like I have been eating everything in sight the past week or so! I feel like I have no control over myself at all. I need to get that control back.

    In light of all of this, I have decided to set some new goals for myself. I have been thinking about doing this for a while now, but I really do need to do it now. I think it will help me refocus. I know I have all of my mini weight-loss goals, but I think that it has been hard for me to focus on those things because it has been so long since I set them.

    I actually think that I am going to make a “things to do before my 31st birthday” list. I have been wanting to do that and I have several weight-loss goals I want on it, so this will be a great combo list! It also has some very random items on it… Shocking, I know! Here goes!

    Things To Do Before My 31st Birthday!

      Refinish my nightstand
      Hang at least three things on the wall
      Finish my headboard!
      See fall leaves
      Go to an apple orchard with Zeeva
      Complete another round of ChaLEAN Extreme
      Get a new hair cut (as my reward for finishing my first 30 days of ChaLEAN Extreme)
      Make an article of clothing for myself
      Reach my final weight-loss goal
      Make some Christmas presents
      Finish three paintings
      Have a shopping day with my mom and sister
      Decorate for Christmas!
      Throw Zeeva an awesome second birthday party
      Get a massage
      Play in the snow with Zeeva
      Watch all six Star Wars movies     :o)
      See awesome Christmas lights
      Introduce Zeeva to hot chocolate
      Make applesauce
      Make a box tunnel for Zeeva
      Bonfire
      Play with Play Doh with Zeeva
      Have Zeeva make a handprint ornament
      Organize favorite recipes, finally!
      Get together with friends!
      Have a kid-free weekend
      Trim plants for winter
      Bake homemade pretzels
      Wear a cute outfit with tights (eek!)
      Have a spa night at home
      Decorate cookies with Zeeva 
      Start a new tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas
      Watch White Christmas
      Fit into single-digit-sized pants!
      Spend a winter day relaxing with Thomas
      Take family photos… Twice!
      Have a daily devotional plan that I stick with

    So there you have it… I may end up adding items to the list in the future, but that is it for now! I guess I better get cracking on these things… I have more than one item to do a week!  

    Artsy Fartsy Weigh-In Wednesday…

    Artsy Fartsy Weigh-In Wednesday…

    Well, I did it… I finally used my art studio for ***gasp!!*** ART!  It only took three years of living in this house!  ;o) I only did a bit of a wash on a piece of watercolor paper… I do not know what it will turn into. I spent a bit of time last night washing out my watercolor palette (it had dried up paints in it) and I took some time this afternoon to mix up some new colors. So, I felt like I had to do something with it before I lost my nerve. It felt weird to paint after such a long lapse… Almost like it was foreign to me. I even forgot exactly how watercolors react on completely dry paper! But I know that I am going to be using them a lot more now. I am planning on painting during a lot of Zeeva’s naps. I have lots of ideas running through my brain, I just hope that I am able to execute them the way I envision.

    I am getting so lax about keeping you guys updated about my weigh-ins! I am so sorry! I do not know why that is either, because I have been doing pretty good! So, yesterday was, of course, Weigh-In Wednesday. Thomas and I just started a new phase of ChaLEAN Extreme on Sunday and they say that you can usually expect a gain for the first week or two after starting each phase because your muscles are retaining so much water from the change in the workout. So I was totally prepared for a gain. But I lost 1.1 pounds! The exact same as the week before! Thomas lost the same amount also, which rarely happens. I am completely psyched for this month. I am now half a pound away from my next goal, and I just know this phase is going to be awesome. I can already feel it in my bones. And I will be finishing it near my 1-year mark on my weight-loss journey. This phase is seriously no joke though… Man, does Chalene make you work for it! I am sooooo beat after the workouts, but it also feels so good because I KNOW that it is doing awesome things for me!

    April Goals…

    April Goals…

    March worked really well, having a huge goal of walking 100 miles. The only bad thing about it is that I really did not have much success on the scale. And, while I did lose some inches, I did not lose nearly as much as I thought I would after doing all of that walking. I know I should be happy with what I did lose, and I am, but I really want April to be awesome on the scale and with the tape measure. So I am really planning on stepping it up a notch or two! 

    I have been taking the past couple of days to think about what I want my goals to be for April. I have come up with a list, which is ever evolving at this point. I keep thinking of more things to add to it! And only about half of it is weight-loss related… The rest are things that are personal or need to be done around the house. So here are my (current!) goals for April…

  • exercise every day
  • get back into strength training and toning
  • step up my cardio and ab workouts
  • lose 5 pounds
  • keep track of my calories every day… Nothing gets left out, even if I have an awful day.
  • drink at least 96 ounces of water daily
  • stay within my calorie budget
  • do one new activity with Zeeva at least once every two weeks
  • spend more time with God
  • read my Bible at least five minutes every day
  • plant flowers in my container garden
  • do at least one crafty project
  • organize the art studio that is currently masquerading as a junk room
  • have at least one date night with my wonderful husband
  • So there you have it… My goals for April! After sticking with my goal for March, I know I can reach these goals!