Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DIY Party Planning

One thing that I will fully admit to is that I love planning my daughter's birthday parties!  Each year I decide on a theme and then seek out just the right invitation.  From there we are on to food and decorations and then the big day!  I really do love all the little details and making it an experience for everyone there.  This year for mini chickie the theme was dogs and our backyard was transformed with brown balloons with ears attached, dog bowls for the kids to eat from, and pin the tail on the puppy game!  For our oldest this past weekend was of course the ever favorite, Frozen.  If you haven't seen it or heard of it, pick up that rock your under and check it out.  Each year I say it was my favorite but this year was really it!  I finished and felt like I had gone back to my days on prom committee!  As part of the Elf4Health challenge, our job today is to share an expertise.  Since I'm sure you all don't want to learn about how to teach children that don't speak English, I decided to let you in on a little secret....DIY parties can be really easy to do!!  Let me show you how!

Step 1: Pick a theme...I have taken these ideas either from what our girls are loving in the moment or sometimes what they like.  We've had pumpkin parties, rainbow parties, Elmo, princess, dogs, as well as color themed parties.  Picking the theme will help you with the rest!

Step 2:  Invitation time!  I usually get my invitations on Etsy.  I find those cards that someone will design, send you a pdf, and you print them yourself.  It is super easy and usually costs around $12.  I then send it off to CVS to print but if you have a printer at home that does pictures you can even do that!  Here is the invite we had for our Frozen party from PartyPrintouts on Etsy.
Step 3:  Get your hiney on Pinterest!  I get a lot of my ideas from searching Pinterest and making a board of party ideas.  You can follow mine if you want.  I try to search out food ideas and decor ideas and then find ways to make it myself or make it for less money than some of the other budgets are!  The Frozen theme was easy to pull off this year since my daughter's birthday is so close to Christmas.  I went to all the craft stores and the Dollar Store to find all things silver and blue and snowflakes!
Hubs did the lights and he even found a set of projection lights which basically made the room blue.  The background was a piece of fabric I found at the fabric store that I stapled to the wall and then made the border out of white balloons.  We had fake snow from our houses we display so I rolled it out.  The silver and blue sparkly spires were from Christmas Tree Shop.  I also got the giant snowflakes and crowns at the fabric store too.  I made sure I used my union card for any teacher discounts I could get!  

Step 4: Cake and Food...I hit up Pinterest again for a great cake idea.  I then sent several pictures on to our cake person and she made one that literally looked exactly the same!!  
She did awesome!  Now if you don't want to use a person to do the cake you could always do your own.  I've used YouTube and Pinterest to help me make things like Elmo cupcakes and Princess castles before but this year I wanted to spend more of my energy on the decorations.  For food I kept it simple and did a hot chocolate bar thanks to my amazing family!  I cut out snowflakes and put them on the cups for an added touch!  We did carrots (Olaf's nose), snow covered pretzels (yogurt pretzels), and popcorn cups!
Step 5: Goodie bags...Usually I bake something for the goodie bags but since it is so close to Christmas aka the time of lots of goodies, I decided to do non-food goodies.  I again found snowflake gift bags at the Dollar Store (You could also use blue bags and put snowflakes on yourself) and stuffed them with a pencil and sharpener (snowflakes) and these gloves and ornaments.
Step 6: Plan an activity!  This I have to give 100% credit to my sister who brought the boards, the circle cutouts, and all the supplies to complete snowmen!  The kids had a great time making a masterpiece!  Again for ideas you can always head to Pinterest which has more than enough things to do! 




The girls had a fabulous time and I can honestly say so did I!  Now I have almost a year before it's time to plan another!!  Feel free to ask if you have any questions!!


Do you like to plan parties?  Frozen fan?




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Currently....

I will freely admit that I absolutely jacked this idea from fellow ZOOMA ambassador Jessica at Keeping Mommy Sane!  I was looking for ideas and she posted this beauty and I decided to play along!!  Here is what the life of Fancy Nancy is looking like these days!

Currently Reading: Graduate papers and final projects.  One of the downfalls of having a project due at the end of a course instead of a test is that I need to read ALL THE LESSON PLANS!!!  I'm getting a little cross-eyed but I will get through it!  I try to make personal comments so they know I'm not just arbitrarily giving them a grade! 

Currently listening to: Pandora...Sarah McLachlan Holiday! 
We listen to Christmas music the moment it comes on the 24hour loop in our house and this channel gives me the holiday cheer without the "Dominic the Donkey" flair!  I love it!

Current Show: Now let me say that I love and DVR any and every Real Housewives and watch them when no one in my house is awake...seriously these people are fascinating!!  However, hubs and I starting watching Homeland many seasons ago (like the Brody days) and we have been watching it together every Sunday night...or Monday night if we can't stay awake!!
I will admit that lately the episodes have been so action-packed that I have had trouble after falling asleep.  I mean really thinking of crazy terrorists is one thing...quite another when they end up on the news the next day.  Scary....

Current Challenges:  I am continuing my yearly tradition of being part of #HolidaySweat with Amanda and Sweat Guru as well as joining in on #Elf4Health.  These are both going really well and are as always a fun way to stay active during the holidays...must rack up those points!  This week's challenge in #HolidaySweat is yoga...which fit perfectly in with my personal challenge with GaiamTV to do more stretching and yoga to find a balance between my go go go workouts and the rest my body needs!  Currently GaiamTV is having a Gratitude Special where you can get free access to their videos until December 24th! 
bit.ly/1suDbPJ
A great way to try it out and see the vast resources you can tap into!!

Current Need:  A good maid...seriously I have fought this point for years and years but I think I may be waving the white flag at this point after cleaning and getting ready for my daughter's birthday party this weekend (I'll post more on that later!).  I work 2 jobs and my husband works full time as well...we have 2 girls...and my hubby and I are both active people who spend time either at the gym or out on the road.  Inevitably what gets ignored is the house.  I mean don't think the Fancy Nancy house is dirty but there are certainly some parts that need some attention.  Time just flies by and I forget about it!  Now if I could just find someone who will also do laundry...put it away...plan meals...and grocery shop life would be even more amazing!!

Current Annoyance:  Dental work...I put it off far too long and boy now I am paying for it!  I went in this morning and well....it's going to be a doosey!  The only plus is that they were talking about getting me a guard for grinding (sounds sexy huh?) that could also double as a retainer!  In all honesty this makes me psyched since I lost my retainer (after 22 years) and have been so nervous without it!! 

Current Beverage:  Coffee with SF Chocolate Mint creamer...I guzzle quite a bit of water each day but each morning I love me some coffee (and perhaps afternoon too!!).  Coffeemate (don't judge) makes an awesome sugar free chocolate mint creamer that just screams Christmas time!!  I sit by the tree and sip away....that is until the chickies wake up and then it's being guzzled while standing at the kitchen counter while I make lunches and breakfasts!  Either way I'm loving it!

Currently Thankful for:  My support system...My hubs is my number one cheerleader but these days around the holidays I am reminded of how blessed we are. 
I love watching the Christmas cards coming in and seeing friends and family around this time!  Life can be a roller coaster at times but to be reminded that there are others with you on that ride is so comforting!  Loving traditions with great friends like making cookies and seeing Santa!!  I also am thankful for the ladies that I have met as a runner...such a vast group but one I know I can call on no matter what!  I love seeing them around and hearing from them...and planning races with them!  There was a time in my life when I did feel very lonely and disconnected which makes it all the more important to give thanks for the fullness around me!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Motivation

When this quote from Kara Goucher came up on my news feed it rang oh so true with me...especially after a less than stellar weekend of eats for me!  I have worked hard...wicked hard this year to get to the place where I am in my strength, weight, and running and I have no plans on throwing it away now!  This week I'm all in again...blinders on and focused!  There are just 3 weeks until the end of the year...just 3 weeks!  Don't throw away your goals...your hard work...make gains to end the year and enter into 2015 with your hands raised high instead of stumbling to the finish!!
What has been a highlight for you this year?

Friday, December 12, 2014

What to Get a Runner...Part 1

It's that time of year again when you are out to find the "just right" gift for that fabulous runner in your life...perhaps that fabulous runner is you!  These next few Fridays I am going to highlight a few gifts each time as ideas for you to give that very person!  Let's just call it my version of the 12 days of Christmas!

The gift of....an injury free year!  Runners all know that to get better/faster you need to put in the work.  What runners aren't always good at is that cross training/stretching part!  Why not give your runner a month's subscription to GaiamTV, an online resource for all things yoga!
They have some really great videos...even ones geared toward runners!  The added bonus is that they can do it anywhere they want...hotel room, friend's house, or in their own home (if they're like me and don't want anyone to see just how NOT bendy they are)!  A month's subscription is only $9.95.  Help them be on their way to staying injury free!

The gift of...happy feet!  From the moment I was introduced to Feetures socks through ZOOMA I was in love!
They come in a huge assortment of awesome colors (men too!) and are honestly the most comfortable socks I have ever owned!  The bonus is that they keep my feet blister free no matter what the conditions are!  I love them so much I even made it to their website with a few friends of mine!!  Lol!  I've never shared this on here before but I just LOVE it and get all giggly when I watch it!

You can order Feetures online or find them in your local running store!

The gift of...A RACE!  Yes runners love their races and what better gift than to give them a race entry!  You local 5k all the way up to a destination race like....say...a ZOOMA race near you!!!  There are 5 fabulous locations to treat that running lady in your life!  Be sure to save yourself a little coin and use the code NANCY15!
The gift of...sage advice and laughs!  Some of my favorite running books have come from the two amazing ladies that make up Another Mother Runner
Their books Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother are still sitting pretty on my night stand dog eared and highlighted!  Well these fabulous ladies are doing it again and releasing their third book soon!
You can preorder it on Amazon today!  While you're at it you can order their previous two books for that mother runner in your life!!!

Stay tuned next week when I talk more about what gear to gift your favorite runner in your life!!!
What's on your running gift list?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Three Tips Thursday

This time of year brings it's own challenges with it.  Those of you who were already strapped for time (seriously time is worth it's weight in gold lately), are finding yourself with extra responsibilities and duties.  We were blessed with our oldest daughter being born just 6 days before Christmas, so yesterday I was scouring every craft store on the hunt for the perfect Frozen decorations...and hour later I think I have purchased every silver and light blue glittery and sequin product made along with every snowflake on Cape Cod!! 
I mean with a cake as fabulous as this...
I love this time of year and the fun of spending time with friends and family...planning just the right birthday party for my chickie...baking cookies and doing crafts...shopping for just the right gifts(well not always)...spending time with my loved ones by the light of the twinkly lights...driving around neighborhoods just to spy lights.  I don't however love getting to January 1st and feeling bloated and just plain blah!  With the rise in activities I want to be doing with those I love, there comes the challenge of fitting in the workouts that help to keep me smiling and my pants fitting!  This is a challenge for sure and I have a few tips for you to conquer this.
How do you fit in fitness during the holidays?  Any tips to add?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Motivation

I've gotten myself in a place lately where I'm liking my runs...like liking them a little too much...like I need to start throwing the hammer down a little bit more.  On Saturday, I was running around the campus of my alma mater, which is also where I am an adjunct professor.  I was trotting along thinking running in the dark and the rain was plenty to take me out of my comfort zone.  I passed this set of stairs...and up I went...each mile I passed it I sprinted up.  Yes it was hard...God knows my lungs were burning...but when it was all over, I felt awesome!  I need a little more of that in my workouts...getting to the end and feeling unstoppable!
Do you push yourself to your limits or do you fall into the comfortable?
Go out and challenge yourself this week!

Speaking of a challenge.....

That's right you can get 10% off your 2015 ZOOMA race registration for ANY ZOOMA race by using the code NANCY15!!!  Treat yourself by signing up between December 8th-14th!!!  You don't have to be joining me on Cape Cod (even though I would LOVE for you to!) since this works for any ZOOMA race!  Are you joining in the ZOOMA fun? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Motivation

At the beginning of November, I joined the Pile on the Miles Challenge and set the goal to run 125 miles for the month.  I was all geared up...had the miles by the week figured out...and knew that I could do it.  The first week came and went...with a tanking motivation...I was ready to throw in the towel and just coast through the month.  Then Crystal from Carpe Diem Crystal encouraged me not to give up and reach for what I really wanted!  Well November 30th came and I ran my 127th mile!!!  There are times when I dream big...and fall short frustrated with myself, but no longer!  I proved to myself that I can get it done!  I can do big things with hard work...and so can you!  Last month of the year...dream big!!
How will you finish 2014 strong??