One Year into My Weight Loss Journey

After what seemed like an eternity staring at a blank page I started to type this post. It is not easy for me to recap a year of my weight loss journey because I feel like I have failed. I am no where near where I wanted to be at this time.

I started out doing really good and found lots of things that worked for me. The Dr. Oz Rapid Weight Loss Plan really did give me a great start and boost in confidence. I learned to eat fresher and eat less bad carbs. I enjoyed salads, roasted lean meats and healthy snacks like roasted chickpeas and kale chips. I bought things like chia seeds and flax seed meal and found creative ways to eat them. Most importantly I stopped being afraid of eating fats and incorporated healthy fats like olive oil and avocado into my diet.

It took me a couple of months to start exercising but I started going consistently to the gym and liking it. I started with just the treadmill and then ventured onto the elliptical and arc trainer. I found that I loved the elliptical most of all and even got up to 15 minutes on the arc trainer. My back stopped hurting and I was able to walk long distances.

I was doing well and lost 60 pounds! I had to give away lots of clothes that were too big for me and buy smaller sizes. I started feeling more confident and getting compliments on my weight loss. Things were going good and then the summer came. I became less strict on what I ate and started going out and doing fun summer things like the beach, parks and sprinklers instead of exercising. I kept on and on until I started gaining instead of losing. I took longer brakes off of the scale and kept telling myself I would start on Monday.

Then I discovered the Atkins diet and loved all the foods I could eat on it. I loved eating the cheeses and bacon but also learned how to eat some healthy carbs like brown rice, veggies and some fruits. I lost a bit of weight again and started doing exercise at home again.

Then the holidays came and I starting eating and snacking on everything that I used to eat before I went on my journey. I stopped exercising and started going to tons of holiday events and play dates.

Now I sit here writing about my year on this journey and only 30 pounds down. I know 30 pounds is some lost but for me it is so far from where I wanted to be. I still have a lot to go but I am happy that I am at a loss and not a gain. Years and years of starting weight loss journeys I would always be at a gain once January came along.

I have my planner filled and my exercise and meals planned! I want to be ready for 2015 and have a better year. I want to learn that if I do mess up I have to get right back on track. I want to learn how to have fun in the summer while still staying on track. I want to enjoy the holidays but only enjoy one day of it and not weeks.

On January of 2016 I am going to link back to this post and show how much better I did. I want to be at my goal weight and say "YES I DID IT!"

You Are A "Bow"tiful Valentine Tutorial and Printable

Being a crafty mom I love to create homemade things and make the holidays special for my daughter. Valentine's Day is one of the super fun holidays that I love to craft for. I love the hearts and all of the pink and red!

For my daughter's first Valentine's Day she was almost 8 months old so I made her a Baby Friendly Valentine. Then on her second Valentine's Day she was 1 1/2 so I made her a healthy Valentine Cookie Bar and a Valentine's Day Shirt.

This year I decided to make her some Valentines that she could hand out to the other little girls in her dance class. I thought it would be super appropriate to make little bows for my daughter's cute little dance mates to adorn their adorable ballerina buns. First I went to my stash of bows and picked a cute pick chevron design. Then out came the glue gun, hair clip, needle and thread.

 First I cut a 14" long piece of the 1" chevron ribbon and a 1 1/2" inch long piece of the pink 1/2" ribbon.

Then I took the chevron ribbon and formed it into a figure 8.

Next you take the two loops of the figure 8 and bring them to the center and hold together.

Then you pleat the middle of the bow and take a needle and thread and sew through and around the bow a few times to hold the middle in place. Cut the thread and tie the ends. Trim the ends.

Take the light pink ribbon and wrap around the middle of the bow. Hot glue the ends together.

Take an 8" long piece of the pink ribbon and hot glue it around the clip.

Hot glue the covered clip to the back of the bow in the center. Print out the Valentine Bow Holder and make sure to print out on card stock using the Actual Size setting. Then I cut around the edge of the printable with a scalloped scissor. Cut out the little black rectangles with an exacto knife.

Clip on your finished bow.

To see more detailed pictures and instructions of the figure 8 bow or wrapping the clip in ribbon, check out my Easter Boutique Bow Tutorial

DynaPro Exercise Ball + 100 Exercises + Giveaway

**I received the product below free for my review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be a good fit for my readers. All opinions are 100% my own.

Now that I am incorporating exercise back into my routine I feel so much better. There was a period during the holidays that I didn't do any form of exercise. I started to feel tired, sluggish and my back was starting to hurt again. A weak core means an achy back for me.

I started doing exercise again with my DynaPro Resistance Bands and Door Anchor and already feel myself getting stronger in my arms and legs. DynaPro generously gave me one of their Exercise Balls to review so I was excited to get started on working on my core and back with it.

In the box you get the ball and a pump to inflate it. I remember years ago buying an exercise ball and it didn't come with a pump. It sat in the box for weeks until I went out and borrowed a little pump. The DynaPro Exercise Ball was super easy and fast to inflate and I was ready to get exercising with it.

I love how the box has pictures of tons of different exercises you can do with the exercise ball. I started doing these and then when I mastered them I did a search on YouTube for "exercise ball". Hundreds of videos showed up and I picked the beginner one shown below.

Then I came across the video below from Bryan n Rob where they show you 100 different exercises you can do with an exercise ball! 
An exercise ball is a great investment if you are going to be working out at home. You can do tons of different exercises and it can be adapted from beginner to expert. If you are looking to purchase one I highly recommend the one from DynaPro. It is constructed of professional grade PVC and anti-burst up to 2000 lbs. 
Click on the link to purchase a DynaPro Exercise Ball on Amazon. You can also take your chances and enter the giveaway below to win one! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway No purchase is necessary to enter. One US entrant per household. The Winner will be contacted by email and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor will be responsible for product shipment to the winner of this giveaway. 

Game Day Queso Fundido Sausage Picadillo Dip

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Farmland® and Latina Bloggers Connect.

My family and friends like to get together on Super Bowl Sunday even though we are not huge football fans. My husband's birthday always falls around the date so that gives us the extra excuse to get together to celebrate. We have the usual American fare but being Latin we always throw in some Puerto Rican staples like chirraron del pollo instead of chicken wings and tostones instead of fries.

I wanted to take my yummy pizza dip and "latinize" it by adding some amazing picadillo with my favorite sausage from Farmland®. Picadillo is what us Puerto Rican's use to stuff everything! It is usually made with ground beef, pepper and onions, olives, sofrito and some tomato sauce. I wanted to make my picadillo extra special so I used sausage instead of the boring ground beef. Farmland®  Homestyle Sausage is my favorite because it is gluten free with no MSG. It has a burst of natural flavor with enough fat to give it the best texture!

First I diced some peppers and onions and softened them in a tiny bit of olive oil. Then I removed the casing from the Farmland® homestyle sausage and added it to the pan with the onions and peppers.

After the sausage has browned a bit I added the sofrito. When the sausage was completely browned and cooked I added the tomato sauce and cooked it on medium heat for about 5 minutes.

I took a small casserole dish and layered the softened cream cheese and sour cream in the bottom. Then I added a layer of the picadillo and then topped it with mozzarella cheese. I baked it in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. The cheese should be browned slightly and bubbly.

Instead of your ordinary chips or tortillas I used platano and yucca chips!

Queso Fundido Sausage Picadillo Dip (Printable Recipe)
  • 1 pound of Farmland® Homestyle Sausage
  • 1/4 cup sofrito (found in the freezer section or substitute a few handfuls of chopped cilantro)
  • 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup olives stuffed with pimento, chopped
  • 1 tblsp capers
  • 4 ounces of canned tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Add the pepper and onion to a pan with a little bit of oil and cook until slightly softened. 
  3. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the pepper and onion. When sausage is starting to brown add the sofrito. Cook until the sausage is fully browned and cooked. 
  4. Add the olives, capers and tomato sauce and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. 
  5. Mix the cream cheese and sour cream and place in the bottom of an oven proof dish. Add the picadillo on top and then sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese has browned a bit and is bubbly. 
  7. Serve with platano and yucca chips. 

Ballerina Bun Crochet Ear Warmer Tutorial

My toddler has been going to dance class for about a month now and I am such a proud dance mom! There is nothing cuter than seeing a little class full of 2-3 year old's in their little leotards and ballet shoes! Being a first time mom I was super nervous right before her first class because this would be her first time staying with someone other than my mom or sister.

As soon as she saw the other little girls with the same leotard she quickly ran to them and got acquainted with the barre. It was time for the moms to leave the room and head on to the waiting area. I was afraid that she would cry or try to follow me but she didn't do either. She really didn't seem to mind that I left. We got to watch them though a TV that is feed with the camera from the dance room. All of us moms seemed nervous at first but once we saw that they were fine we started chatting up a storm.

I have yet to make her a little ballerina bun because it has been so cold that I have had to bundle her up with sweats, boots, hats and gloves. If you know how it is combing a toddler's hair you wouldn't dare waste the time of making a nice ballerina bun to then have a hat mess it up .

Since we drive right up to the studio I needed a hat or something to keep her warm just until we ran into the studio. The light bulb went up in my head when I decided to crochet her a super warm ear warmer that would also cover part of her head but leave her bun alone.

To make the ear warmer I first measured my daughters head where the ear warmer would go. Than I used a worsted weight yarn and J hook. I made a chain of 10 and single crocheted and then half double crocheted and tapered the length by doing half double crochet increases. I continued to crochet up to the measurement I got and then tapered it back down. I finished with a buttonhole at the end and then sewed on a large button to the top.

To create the bow decoration I cut out a piece fleece that was 4 3/4" x 4". Then I cut another piece of fleece that is 2" x 4". I took the first piece of fleece and folded it in half and sewed down the two sides with a 1/4" seam. Then I sewed the bottom edge with a 1/4" seam leaving a space in the middle to turn inside out. Trim and turn inside out. I took the second piece of fleece and folded it in half to make a long strip. I sewed down the side with a 1/4" seam and turned inside out.

Then I took the large rectangle and placed it on top of the ear warmer where I wanted the bow to go.

I pinched the bow in the middle and placed the middle strip on top.

I poked the ends of the middle strip in between the stitches of the ear warmer and pulled through to the back side.

Using a 1/4" seam I sewed the ends together.

Ballerina Bun Crochet Ear Warmer (Printable Pattern)
Worsted Weight Yarn and J Hook
ch = chain
sc = single crochet
hdc = half double crochet

Chain 10.
Row 1: sc in 9 chains
Row 2: chain 2 turn, hdc in first stitch, 2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in next 4 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in last stitch
Row 3: chain 2 turn, hdc in each stitch
Row 4: chain 2 turn, hdc in first stitch, 2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in next 6 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in last stitch
Row 5: chain 2 turn, hdc in each stitch
Row 6: chain 2 turn, hdc in first stitch, 2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in next 8 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch, hdc in last stitch
Row 7-37: chain 2 turn, hdc in each stitch
Row 38: Row 2: chain 2 turn, hdc in first stitch, hdc decrease in next 2 stitches, hdc in next 7 stitches, hdc decrease in next 2 stitches, hdc in last stitch
Row 39: chain 2 turn, hdc in each stitch
Row 38: Row 2: chain 2 turn, hdc in first stitch, hdc decrease in next 2 stitches, hdc in next 5 stitches, hdc decrease in next 2 stitches, hdc in last stitch
Row 39: chain 2 turn, hdc in each stitch
Row 40: Row 2: chain 2 turn, hdc in first stitch, hdc decrease in next 2 stitches, hdc in next 3 stitches, hdc decrease in next 2 stitches, hdc in last stitch
Row 39: chain 2 turn, hdc in each stitch
Row 40 - 42: chain 2 turn, sc in each stitch
Row 43: chain 1 turn, sc in first 3 stitches, chain 3, skip next three stitches, sc in last 3 stitches
Row 44: chain 1 turn, sc in first 3 stitches, 3 sc in chain loop, sc in last 3 stitches
Row 45: chain 1 turn, sc in each stitch

Follow the instructions above to make the bow and then sew a large button to the beginning end of the ear warmer.

Keep Those Bed Sheets on with the Epica Bedding Anchors!

**I received the product below free for my review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be a good fit for my readers. All opinions are 100% my own.

Every morning without fail my husband and I wake up to sheets that have popped off the corners of the bed. It is usually my side and it is annoying. I have tried so many different kinds of sheets from cheap ones, to expensive ones, to deep pocket ones. I don't know if it's the mattress or us moving too much.

I finally found some generic bed sheet anchors a couple of months ago and it was a total waste of money. It was cheaply made and the clips just didn't clip on the sheet. After a few uses about 2 of them broke were the stitching on the elastic snapped. When the bed anchors were on it was as if I didn't have anything on at all.

Then came the ones from Epica to review. As soon as I saw the design of them I though it was completely genius! First of all the clips easily clip right onto the sheet. Then the clips are clamped onto bungee type elastic instead of the standard apparel elastic that is stitched on. Lastly you can adjust the tightness of the elastic with an easy cord lock that you just press and let go at the desired tension and it automatically locks in place!

I love that you don't have to lift the mattress to place on the anchors. All you do it put them on the corners of the sheets and slip them right over the mattress. With a few trials and errors you will know exactly how much tension to lock in place. The clamps are nickel-plated and coated with a fabric protector so you don't have to worry about them ruining your sheets.

The first night I used them and every night since I have awoken to a perfectly placed on fitted sheet. The clips are super strong and held the sheets in place all night! It was so easy to put on and now I don't have to worry about buying new sheets that won't stay on!

The unique design also allows you to use them for other things like tablecloths, curtains, furniture covers and more!

Click on the link to order your own very affordable Epica Bedding Anchors on Amazon.

Low Carb Pizza Dip with Pepperoni Chips

During my first year of teaching, years ago I was lucky to have a group of very supportive veteran teachers to take me under their wings. My school was broken up into 4 different academies and each academy kept together and took care of one another. I remember having one of our many lunches together and one of the retired teachers coming over for a visit with the most delicious dip I have ever had! I asked her what it was and what the recipe was. She said all you do is take a block of cream cheese, Italian seasonings, spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese and throw it in the microwave until it all melts.

As I was thinking back to the dip recipe I realized how low-carb the ingredients were. Dips are typically low carb but then you have the issues with the high carb dippers like chips and tortilla chips. I remember how crispy and stiff salami gets when you slowly heat it up in a pan so I decided to try it with pepperoni. It worked! The pepperoni chips where nice and crispy like chips and the perfect accompaniment to the pizza dip.

Low Carb Pizza Dip (Printable Recipe)
  • 2 ounce of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Mix spices and crushed tomatoes together and set aside. 
  2. Spread cream cheese onto bottom of ramekin. Top with sauce, then cheese. 
  3. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. 

Pepperoni Chips
  • 2 serving of pepperoni slices
  1. You can bake them or pan fry them but the easiest way is to microwave them. I take a flat plate and put a couple of paper towels on top. Add a layer of pepperoni slices. Cover with another paper towel and microwave in 30 second intervals until they are nice and crispy. 
Serves 2: 5.4 Net Carbs per serving