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Archive for March, 2013

You read about my current Healthy Living journey here.  Have you been thinking about our challenge?  Ready to see what our Healthy Living Challenge is really about?

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Enter LynDee.  My neighbor and friend who inspired women in our neighborhood to take a Healthy Living Challenge in teams of two.  The original “Feeling Super in 6 Weeks” program has been floating around the internet and here is how we adapted it.  We earn points based on the good foods we eat, the exercise we do, the life we live.  We lose points for naughty choices.  Yikes!  We then report our weekly points to our partner and then to a group recorder who tells us who is “winning” each week.  Pounds lost plays a small part in the challenge because it is more about healthy living than about losing weight.  But we all know that we can’t live healthy without losing some weight in the process so that is definitely a goal for me.

I am now 8 weeks into this thing (the other ladies started 4 weeks before me).  I’ve lost about 15 pounds and I feel like a new person.  Literally.  The group is taking a 2 week break right this minute and then we’ll have one more 6-week session right before summer starts.  New partners. 6 new weeks.  It’s coming starting Friday, April 12.  I decided to keep going during the two week break but I’m not being quite so strict.  I don’t want to backtrack so I decided to stay focused and keep moving forward with the challenge till the rest of the group joins me again.

Now, let’s get down to business.  First, there are guidelines to this challenge.  Rules need to be followed to earn your maximum number of points.  Be honest!  No cheating yourself of the changes that are possible!  These rules are focused on the entire body and spirit so you will see religious things included.  You can choose to leave those things out or simply replace them with something that feeds your spirit.  Click here (Healthy Living Program Rules) to download the rules that WE are using.  Feel free to adapt it but I encourage you to stick as closely to the plan as possible since it works.  I’m here to prove it!  All of these downloads are a reflection of our 4-week sessions.  Our next session will be 6 weeks because we are trying to be done before school is out and summer hits.  But you can do it for 4 weeks or 5 weeks or 6 weeks or whatever works for you.  I loved doing a longer commitment but in 4-week increments.  That was a really successful formula.

Microsoft Word - Healthy Living Program Rules.doc

Microsoft Word - Healthy Living Program Rules.doc

Next you need this Point Tracker.  This is the one we are using and you can create your own really easily – it’s just an excel document.  Our week has been starting on Wednesdays and we report our points on the following Wednesday morning.  I like doing it like that because Sunday is a free day for exercise (20 free points!) and that lands in the middle of our week to give a day to recover.  Due to other calendar items happening in April, we will be starting on a Friday and reporting each Friday.  I am including both Point Trackers (Wednesday and Friday starts) but they can be changed to whatever start day you want in excel.  See the list at the bottom of this post for all of the downloads.  Friday, April 12 will be our start date – all my online friends you can join us or start it whatever day you like!

Finally, you need this Good & Bad Food List.  At first it may seem like everything good is on the bad list!  You’re right – there are a lot of tasty things on there. But they are not doing us any favors so for THIS challenge we are committing to giving them up.  And here’s what I’ve found, it was really hard at first to let go of some of those things, but by focusing on the good food list, I am starting to crave those foods more than I ever did before.  I’m not saying I don’t want to snack on the chocolate chip cookies my friend Kristy brought me for my birthday this week (thanks a lot!), but my cravings ARE reduced the more healthy foods I eat.

Good & Bad Food List

Also, here is a Weekly Calendar Example to give you an idea of what kinds of things can go on yours.  A different person doing the challenge creates the Weekly Calendar each week.  It can include anything that helps us live better – spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally.  You choose these daily challenges.  Here’s the links again for each file:

Healthy Living Program Rules

Point Tracker – Wednesday Start

Point Tracker – Friday Start 

Good & Bad Food List

Weekly Calendar Example

Take a look.  Think it over.  Can you commit to this right now?  I couldn’t do the first 4 week session with my neighbors because Jason had just gone into the hospital and I couldn’t add one more thing to my list.  But I was ready to take it on a month later.  Do what’s right for you but consider jumping into it and creating a more healthy life for yourself.

Let me know what you decide!  We would love to have you!

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Need a last-minute Easter gift?  Here’s the project Coleman and I have been working on this week.

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I spray painted this phrase from my Silhouette store and Coleman quickly poured Diamond Dust glitter on it.  The paint acted like the adhesive.  Then I turned my back to spray the background of the blue tag and Cole proceeded to dig his hands into the jar of Diamond Dust and lift them out.

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glitter.everywhere.

Oh well, there are worse things than a layer of glitter in your life.

I used this set of bracket labels for the tags.  I applied washi tape in strips on my white cardstock before running it through the Silhouette Cameo.  Result: custom cut washi tape background for my glittered peeps phrase.  However, this technique didn’t really work when I tried to cut out the phrase because it was more intricate of a shape.  Simpler shapes are more successful.

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To create the dots on the blue tag, just place coins on top of the cut design (I used pennies) and spray paint lightly over the whole thing.  The pennies work as a mask.

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I get impatient so instead of waiting for it to dry, I simply flipped the pennies off the card and let it sit for about 10 minutes to dry.  The paint dries quickly on cardstock.

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We painted the phrase a different color and attached it to the background.  Done.

Here’s to you – my favorite peeps!

Happy Easter!

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Life gives us many journeys.  I don’t think that life is confined to just one adventure or journey or road or trail.  It’s made up of a combination of paths and hikes and jogs and strolls, depending on what is going on at a particular time in your life.  The beginning of May three years ago was the beginning of one of my life hikes.  The climb was steep.  Overwhelming, in fact.  Rocks were tumbling down around me and at times I just curled up and tried to survive the onslaught called gallstone pancreatitis (click here if you want the story from the beginning).

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Weeks in ICU, a pseudo-cyst in my abdomen that made me swell larger than when I was pregnant, pain so intense that I couldn’t move or breath for fear of triggering a greater ache.  My only nutrition for about seven months was from a bag I carried around to a picc line in my arm.  My pancreas was removed except for 30%, my gallbladder is gone and my organs are rearranged in a way that affects my digestion and creates a constant pain.

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But I did survive.  Two and a half years later, after working my way through a laundry list of problems and ailments – some temporary (the need for iron infusions each week) and some permanent (diabetes) – my doctor said, “You need to gain more weight.”

I was a ghost.  I had gained 60 pounds in one week because of the pseudo-cyst and water retention at the beginning of my illness.  I then lost much more than that while on my picc line.  I had survived but I wasn’t very healthy.

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My ability to eat real food was a challenge for many months so when my body finally kicked in and started hanging on to the food I was eating, craziness happened.  I’m not kidding.  The diabetes wasn’t familiar to me and we were playing with my insulin a lot.  I wasn’t experienced in how to read my new body and the sugar lows so when I finally felt cravings for food I acted on them….even when it happened three times a night.  I was ravenous.  Suddenly starving after 2 years.  Since I was told to eat, I ate.

Six months later, I was 20 pounds overweight and my doctor was saying, “OK, now you need to lose weight.”  Talk about frustrating!  I couldn’t believe I had done that!  But I tried not to beat myself up too badly because again, this was one journey I was on in my life.  One experience.  One adversity.  One challenge.  And I was working my way through it.

This was so much more than losing weight, though.  My pain level was still controlling me on a daily basis and I was on many different medications and supplements.  A pill for this, a tablet for that.  I looked at my handful of pills one night and thought, “What am I doing?  There has to be another solution.”

Thus started my attack on my own poor health.  I have a 4-year-old son and I wanted to live a long and healthy life with him and for him.  It was time to tackle this thing.

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What have I been doing since?  Knocking out my health issues and taking control of my own body in more natural ways.  I believe in doctors.  I believe in medication and prescriptions.  But I was ready to try some holistic options for certain things.  Here’s what I’m doing and how it’s affecting me:

1.  FOOT ZONING

My first step was to try foot zoning because my neighbor, Kathleen, has been certified in it and she is a down-to-earth person who was looking for ways to help her family with different medical issues.  She is not mystical or too extreme and that is why I finally tried it. It is similar to reflexology where the entire body is mapped out on the feet but as they work and massage the feet in a specific pattern and method, the entire body is affected.

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My expectations were low and there are many claims of things that it can do to help our bodies.  I didn’t really see the kind of results that others might experience with this method of treatment but after the initial series of 8 sessions, there was one major change in how I felt.

My energy level was remarkably improved.

For the first time in 2 1/2 years I could keep up with my son.  I still felt pain every day but I no longer needed a nap every afternoon.  Naps were over for me and I could move easier and was more free than I had felt since I got sick.  That was worth every penny.  I still do foot zoning about every two weeks to keep things going.  My health issues are long term and we are working toward a maintenance schedule of once per month.  Foot zoning is one piece of the puzzle in my attack to gain a healthy body.

2.  ACUPUNCTURE

I had heard that Chinese acupuncture helped with pain and since I was taking 6-8 low-grade pain pills in every 24-hour period, pain was ruling my life.  I went to a local acupuncturist with hope but again, not very high expectations.  I started on a 8-session series where I visited her twice a week and she targeted my abdominal area, digestion and pseudo-cyst area.  She also worked on helping me sleep better and controlling my food cravings.

Acupuncture has changed my life.

acupuncture

After 6 weeks I was able to drop to just one pain pill every 12 hours and I’m working on getting off of those right now.  I have left behind many of my other meds because my digestive issues are more controlled and healed.  My body temperature has been extreme – I am always hot and can’t really function in anything but cool areas since my illness.  My body temperature is now more normal.  My food cravings are very controlled.  My sleep is better than it has been in a long time.  I have to roll Jason over every night, usually twice a night, so being able to maximize my sleep and get back to sleep easily is really important to my overall health.

I am now down to one session per week and feeling the effects like nothing I have ever experienced.  I am a believer.  After feeling this kind of pain for almost 3 years and to be virtually free of it after 6 weeks is remarkable to me.  I feel balanced in so many ways and I am grateful for this method of treatment that has literally changed my life.

3.  HEALTHY LIVING CHALLENGE

Finally, my friend LynDee spearheaded a challenge that has been floating around the internet for awhile, tweaked it to fit the needs of our neighborhood and invited some truly committed women to be a part of it.  It involves having partners to keep you accountable, exercise almost every day and keeping track of good and bad foods you eat.  Everything has a point value and the goal is to get as many points as you can by the end of each week, report your points and see where you land on the leaderboard.  Oh, and you get points for losing weight but weight is not the focus here.  It’s all about eating right and moving more. (click here to see post explaining the challenge & free downloads)

Healthy-Foods

I’ll share the program in more detail in this future blogpost but I want you to think about joining in with us for our next 6-week session.  We’re finished with our second session this week and we will be starting up again on April 12.  Start thinking about it.  Do you want to change your health?  Nutrition is key and this challenge helps you focus on healthy eating and healthy habits.  I’ve lost 14 pounds in 8 weeks but more than that, I look great.  I look healthy.

FINAL THOUGHT

This is my journey.  And my tools to navigate this particular path.  It may not be the same path that you need to take but I wanted to share my experience with you since it has impacted my overall health so dramatically in just a few short months.  I started Foot Zoning last fall but acupuncture began 10 weeks  ago and the Healthy Living Challenge began just six weeks ago.  All of these things are working together for the same goal.  The same good.  The same results.  One step at a time.  I am not an expert on any of these things.  I’m just sharing my experiences.  I add what I can, when I feel like I can tackle it.  We should all do what we can, when we can without feeling pressure to do something we are not ready to do.

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I am reminded of this post from 2011 (click here for free download).  The idea of balance applies at every stage, including this one.  But I can’t help thinking of it in new a new light – balanced energy, a balanced diet, a balanced spirit, a balanced body.  This is what matters most right now in my life in order to make the most of the rest of my life.

But I would love to join you on my journey this next round of our Healthy Living Challenge!  Watch for more info about the program – coming soon!

Here’s to a journey full of health, energy and joy.

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I’ve been involved the scrapbooking industry for many years.  Trends have come and gone throughout the course of the the 10 years that I’ve been going to trade shows and events.  But one thing that hasn’t changed is the ability that Becky Higgins has to record life in a meaningful way.  Project Life is no different and now that she has been doing this a few years, we are scouring the internet for creative ideas of how to personalize our Project Life albums even more.

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If you own a Silhouette, you’ll love these Project Life Cards that are now available in my Silhouette online store.  Here’s a look at what you will find:

Quotes 1, Quotes 2, Quotes 3, Quotes 4, Ampersands, Arrows 1, Arrows 2, Months of the Year, Days of the Week

PL Quotes1 - Thumbnail PL Quotes2 - Thumbnail Georgia Phrase Template PL Quotes4 - Thumbnail

PL Cards - Arrows 2 - Thumbnail PL Cards - Arrows 1 - Thumbnail PL Cards Months - Thumbnail PL Cards Days - Thumbnail

What are you doing with your Project Life Cards?  Let’s see!  Send me an email with images or links to your blog and we’ll feature it here!

Happy Cutting!

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What have you been doing with my Silhouette shapes?  Send me an email with photos or links to your blog posts and we’ll share!  Your creativity is awesome to see in action.

Don’t you love the new herringbone trend that we are seeing everywhere?  I do.  Of course, we need to transfer this trend into our Silhouette projects and you can do it with this herringbone pattern in square and rectangle shape – horizontal and vertical options all in one file.

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Also, I have a new batch of bracket frames and labels that look A-MA-ZING on any project.  You’ll want to pick up all of them to have on hand.

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5 Bracket Frames with Mats - ThumbnailHappy Cutting!

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Our crocuses are up.  The first sign of spring and one of my greatest joys this time of year.  A tiny bundle of light peeking through the snow or the cold-packed earth.  Another tiny flower of inspiration is the forget-me-not.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf talked about the humble forget-me-not flower in this speech a couple years ago (printable version here).  It was a beautiful image and a beautiful message.  I promptly designed this printable, purchased a bundle of silk forget-me-nots from Hobby Lobby and placed one blossom on each little image.

I have been giving them as gifts ever since.

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Now you can give it as well.  Here are different versions of the Forget Me Not message.  Click on each title to download the printable.

Forget Me Not – President Uchtdorf 5×5 – the 5×5 frame is from Hobby Lobby in their regular stock

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Forget Me Not – President Uchtdorf 4×6 – if you can’t find the 5×5 frame, here’s a 4×6 to make it easier for you

Here is a non-religious version of the same idea.

Forget Me Not Own Words – 4×6 – this version is only in the 4×6 size

Forget Me Not Own Words Merged- 4x6

Five petals.  Five thoughts.  Five things to remember.  Just add the petals with your own silk forget-me-not flower.  Trim the blossoms from the stem and adhere with a glue dot for stability.  The dimensional look of the flower is perfect.

I love these words.  Whichever version you choose, I hope you love it, too.

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Arrows are HOT, HOT, HOT right now.  My Silhouette store has a whole bunch of great arrow shapes for all of your projects.  I’m taking submissions for project photos or links to blogs that use my shapes.  Email me at kolette@kolettehall.com if you have something to share!

Arrows and Thin Arrows

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8 Thin Arrows & 7 Thin Arrows

Thin Arrows

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I love words.  In any form.  Therefore, when I design for the Silhouette, I do a lot of words, phrases, sayings and thoughts.  Here are some of my word and phrase collections found in the Silhouette store.

Banner Words and Phrases: Life, Birthday, Thank You, Love, Princess

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Banner Arrows - Life - ThumbnailArrow Words and Phrases: Birthday, Life, Remember, Sentiments, Thank You, Together, Baby, Months, Days

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Flourish Words and Phrases:

Smile/Enjoy

Wish/Birthday

Celebrate/Party

Memories/Remember

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Love Each MomentLove Each Moment - Thumbnail

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