Category Archives: Uncategorized

Avoiding the “Freshman Fifteen”

Ok, I’m not actually a freshman, but last month I went back to school (Texas State) as a transfer student. Interestingly, it has actually allowed me MORE opportunity and motivation to work out. How is that possible, you ask?

First, I have a 1.3 mile walk from my parking lot of choice to my 1st class. I COULD use the shuttle service, but I’ve found it is faster to walk than wait for the shuttle. Oh, and it smells nicer, too. (All those bodies on one tiny shuttle: woah!) So, I choose walking. And it’s not a straight, even path either. There are LOTS of steps, both up and down, as the campus flows with the natural hill country landscape.
Second, I’m taking advantage of the fact that my tuition includes a membership to the campus rec center. It is amazing! There are plenty of cardio and weight machines, a nice free weight area, basketball courts, racquetball courts, even a couple foosball tables. They also offer group fitness classes like yoga, cycle fit, guts & glutes, TRX, 30/20/10, Zumba, bootcamp, etc. So far, my schedule has only allowed me to use the main gym area (free weights and cardio and weight machines) and to participate in the yoga classes, but I’m hoping I can get in the 30/20/10 class at least a couple times this semester. 30/20/10 consists of 30 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength, and 10 minutes of abs and stretching. My gym routine has been 3 days a week, 2 of which I am focusing on lower body with this 12 week program that I found on Pinterest. I like it because it combines heavy weight/low rep with light weight/high rep to get the best of both worlds. The middle day, I have been doing upper body weight training, but I have not yet found one “routine” that I like the best, so I’ve just been switching it up.


Some of the exercises in my lower body program

The final thing I have been implementing is moderation in my eating. Sure, I occasionally get a Starbuck or add waffle fries to my Chic-fil-a Salad or Cool Wrap. But I don’t go crazy about it. My favorite breakfast lately has been a container of Noosa Yoghurt and 2 of Jamie Eason’s Carrot Cake Protein Bars. If you haven’t tried Noosa and you like yoghurt (or yogurt), I highly recommend it!


That Strawberry Rhubarb! YUM!

So, 5 weeks in, how is this new schedule and routine working? I’d say quite well. The first week, I didn’t lose any weight, but for the next 3 weeks I consistently lost 0.4 pounds per week. I’m not necessarily looking to lose weight as much as I am looking to build more muscle and lose a little of the extra fat that I had gained from being more sedentary than I used to be. I’m not sure on any weight loss for this week as I don’t weigh myself every day. I won’t be upset if I didn’t loose anything as this week I have not made it into the gym or yoga due to studying for 4 tests (2 down, 2 to go). I have continued to eat in moderation, which has helped me avoid stress eating, which I can sometimes be prone to.


So, to sum it all up, here is my personal solution for avoiding what many experience as the “freshman 15.”

1. Walk or use steps when you have the option.

2. Exercise. It doesn’t matter if you can do a little or a lot, just use your body and you will get stronger.

3. Make healthy eating choices; eat in moderation. A treat here and there is not going to sabotage you. In fact, it may keep the binging tendencies at bay if you are prone to them.


Now I’m off to continue to study for the 2 tests I have next week. Wish me luck! 🙂

Influenster #TLC VoxBox Product Review

Yay! Time to review another batch of FREE products I received from Influenster to review. This VoxBox was the #TLC VoxBox that was all about the TLC moms give to their children and themselves. The box included the following for me to review: Neosporin Neo to Go, Shell Fuel Rewards, Puffs to Go, Ivory Bar Soap, Avon Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother, and Breyers Gelato Indulgences.

Neosporin Neo to Go

This came in SUPER handy on vacation. I not only used it on 2 of my 3 children, but both my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law used it as well. Those waves were a bit vicious at times and because of the hurricane that had swept through days before our arrival, there were a LOT of shells scraping us up as the waves drug us back up to shore. Neo to Go was really convenient and fast. Everyone who used it was pleased.


Shell Fuel Rewards

This was a perfect time for me to receive this. Apparently you can grab a fuel rewards card for free inside any Shell gas station. We activated the card right away and my husband uses it almost every day right now as he is driving his motorcycle from Austin to San Antonio and back again for work. The 3 cents off per gallon adds up! There are other ways to save even more, like dining rewards and shopping rewards, but we haven’t used those yet.


Puffs to Go

This is just a cute, handy, purse-sized package of Puffs tissues. Perfect for messy faces and snotty noses. Also, I’m wishing I’d have had my purse next to me the other night when I was re-watching Doctor Who with my husband (his first time). Man! Re-watching the first time The Doctor meets River is brutal! I don’t normally cry during movies and TV shows, but Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead were SO overwhelming when I really, truly understood what was happening. Journey’s End was a rough one, too.  (Yeah, my nerd side is showing. Oh well!)


Ivory Bar Soap

Who hasn’t heard of Ivory soap? I am currently using this as my bar soap in my shower. Other ways to use Ivory are to make your own laundry soap or have a fun science experiment and stick it in your microwave and watch it expand.


Avon Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother

Okay, I gotta be honest, I really don’t have many wrinkles just yet and the ones I do have didn’t seem any different after using this. I tried it both under and over my makeup without any noticeable change.  It did have a nice, silky feel though.


Breyers Gelato Indulgences

Since they couldn’t send me this in the mail without it melting all over everything else, they sent me a coupon to redeem it in my grocery store for free. I picked up the Tiramisu flavor and it was SO good. I was even a nice mommy and shared a little with my kiddos. I will definitely be picking this up at the store from time to time. Other flavors that they have available are Vanilla Caramel, Raspberry Cheesecake, and Triple Chocolate. (That Triple Chocolate would go great with the Puffs and some Doctor Who!)


So, what was my favorite product in this VoxBox? Definitely the Breyers Gelato Indulgences! The Neo to Go was pretty handy to have as well.


*I received all of these products complementary from Influenster for testing purposes.

End of the School Year Business Part 1

I wrote in my post the other day that I would share about how I have been so busy lately. Turns out that when you have kids in school, May can be as busy as November and December. Add the end of year school business to everyday life, and wow, it is a busy life for me!

So, what have I been up to?

For starters, I’ve been teaching my youngest child to read. I am using the same book I used with his older brother and sister, Tech Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann. I am so excited to be able to say that I have successfully taught all three of my children to read. My older children will sit and read for hours. My youngest doesn’t quite have the enthusiasm for reading as his older siblings (he’s like his daddy that way), but he is still very proud of his accomplishments.

Here he is reading a book for fun. I can’t even describe in the right words how happy this sight makes me!



I also spent a day recently with my daughter doing a couple of activities that we both enjoy: running and shopping!

We started our day out going for a run with not one, but both of our dogs. We have a 62 pound Plott Hound named Roux-B (pronounced Ruby) and an 18 pound Beagle named Katie. Now I can’t hold both leashes at the same time while running (it is a skill I have yet to master), but O wanted to bring both dogs along. She was confident that she could run and hold Katie’s leash. So, I entrusted her with our smaller dog and off we went on our run. The first route we took was 1.83 miles. After that, we dropped the little dog off and took a water and potty break before heading out for our second run of the day. That route was 1.22 miles. O did an excellent job running! At one point when she had Katie’s leash, she tripped and fell, bumping her knee and chin on the cement. I asked if she wanted me to take the leash and head back home, but she just smiled and said, “No. I’m okay. Let’s keep going.” She is such an inspiration to keep going no matter what happens. Not just in fitness, but in all areas of life.




Then, we went shopping. O had some money that she had saved from her birthday that she wanted to spend on new summer clothes for vacation. So, off we went to Old Navy and The Children’s Place to check out the sales. She ended up getting a total of 4 pair of shorts, 4 shirts, 2 dresses, and 1 pair of sandals.

After shopping, we went to Starbucks of some Frappuccinos (decaf for her). It was a fantastic day spent with my little girl who is growing into a fine little lady.



Next up on our schedule was the school talent show. A, my oldest, did a comedy routine with his friend. The boys made the routine up themselves and it included green whipped cream “pies”.  Here is the only picture I took as I spent the whole time trying to figure out all the 5th grade boy humor that all the other children thoroughly understood and enjoyed.




My daughter also participated in the Talent show. She did a hula-hoop routine that was a big hit. She stood on 1 leg and jumped during parts of it. The song she used was ‘Let it Go’ from the movie ‘Frozen’.

Here she is during her routine:




That is only part of what we’ve been up to lately. I don’t want this post to be too long, so I will be making this a 2 (maybe 3) parter. Stay tuned for more updates from the Payne family including a trip to an Austin museum, my classes I’ve been taking with N, our Beagle’s medical problems, and last but certainly not least: graduations.

Beauty Tuesday – Multi-Purpose Facial Serum

Wow! It’s been a whole month since I’ve posted a blog. I guess you could say I’ve been a bit busy. I’ll post on that another day.

Despite being so busy though, I wanted to make sure to post for Beauty Tuesday. Today I am sharing my recipe for my awesome facial serum. But first, I want to share a little story about how my husband discovered the awesomeness of this stuff.

My dear husband whom I love very much isn’t so into all the homemade, DIY, homemaking stuff (now if it has to do with a motorcycle, that’s a different story). The first night I made this serum he asked, “Is it really worth the time and effort to make all this stuff yourself?” My answer was, of course, YES! Fast forward a month or so…

He comes out of the bathroom after showering and says to me “I’ve been using that stuff in the brown bottle with the Hello Kitty Duct Tape* on my face and it works really well for my dry skin. What is it?”

*Yes, I used Hello Kitty Duct Tape on this bottle. Don’t judge. You’d do it too, if you had found it on clearance.

My reply, “That’d be the stuff you teased me about making a few weeks ago. I guess it really is worth it, huh?”

And to this day I may or may not tease him for belittling the wonders of homemade beauty products.


Anyway, the point of this story is to share that I made one of the biggest doubters I know into a believer without even trying. It really is that amazing. Oh, and it’s not just amazing for my husband’s dry skin. It works wonders for my crazy combination skin. (I have patches of skin that are dry and oily at the same time. How does that happen?!?!)


So, here’s the recipe that I know you are dying to know by now:


Multi-Purpose Facial Serum


1/8 Cup Aloe Vera Gel

1 tsp Vegetable Glycerin

1/4 tsp Jojoba Oil

1/4 tsp Sweet Almond Oil

5 drops Melaleuca Essential Oil (tea tree)

5 drops Lavender Essential Oil

5 drops Frankincense Essential Oil



Mix all ingredients into a dark (blue or brown) glass bottle. Shake well before each use. Apply desired amount to face and neck, avoiding mouth and eyes.


See my DIY Facial Toner post for other essential oil options.

Today I’m linking up with my dear friend Kate’s blog, Teaching What is Good, for her Women Helping Women link-up. Head over and check it out!

Let me know in the comments if you use this recipe and how you like it.


Mommy and Child classes and Eating Healthy on a Budget


You may have noticed that I didn’t post a workout journal on Friday. I felt like those posts were a little dull, so I won’t be posting anything that is just workouts for a while. I will give you a little update on my progress though. I’ve been plugging along with my P90X schedule, but the running hasn’t happened since my asthma attack. I’m planning on getting out for a run tomorrow. I’m a bit nervous about it. My lungs are feeling back to normal, but I’m still dealing with Texas allergies. Yuck!

I’ve also been busy with a class that I’ve been taking through our school district with my preschooler. It is basically a parenting class that helps equip moms (and dads) to prepare their 3-5 year old children for success at school. We have weekly assignments that we do each class that are either done on our own for our children’s use or with our children. Most can be modified for older siblings as well. Tonight I will be making dream catchers with my older 2 children like the one my little guy and I made in our class together. Another assignment we had was to make a picture of something they like with their name in the upper portion of the picture. I really have very little artistic ability (even though I desperately would love some more), but here is what I came up with:

Nathaniel's Train


Yes, those are Texas wildflowers at the bottom. I am not sure how to rotate the picture using our new scanner (I guess my husband better help me with that next time), so I guess you just get a free neck stretch. Sorry!


As usual, we are saving money for something upcoming. This time, it is vacation.I’m guessing, like me, you don’t have one of these growing in your back yard:


If you do happen to have one, might I inquire where to find another like it?

Ahem! Anyway, most of our expenses are not flexible, like rent, utilities, phone bill, etc. BUT, one area where I have some flexibility is our grocery budget.

The best way for us to save money on food is to eat at home as often as possible. For a while, on Wednesday nights, I would go to Whole Foods and make myself a delicious salad from their salad/hot bar and then go to church where the kids would get a Chic-fil-a meal. Just that one meal alone though was costing us almost $30. YIKES! So, much to my children’s displeasure, we are eating at home before church on Wednesday nights. The reward though is going to be great! The money we are saving just on Wednesday nights is going to be used to go play mini-golf in the Outer Banks one night while we are on vacation. When the kids get bummed about no chicken sandwiches, I remind them of the goal: MINI-GOLF! That usually perks them right up!

I also came up with this list of budget-friendly foods that fit nicely into a healthy lifestyle. Please feel free to add your ideas to my list in the comments section.







Nut Butters

Canned Salmon

Greek Yogurt (the fat-free has more protein and makes a great substitute for sour cream)



Chicken Broth (free if you make it yourself)


Healthy Fat


Coconut Oil

Olive Oil


Nut Butters












Pumpkin (canned or make your own)





Frozen Veggies







Green Beans



Salad Greens (Spinach, Kale, Romaine, etc.)


I hope you find this list helpful when planning your meals. Again, please feel free to add to this list and let me know your addition in the comments.



[Linking up with Women Helping Women via Teaching What is Good.]