My Personal Trainer: Nike Training Club

Don’t you love endorphins?  I love how exercise improves my mood, my energy level, and my body.  But I hate how hard it is to get in the habit of working out, and how easy it is slide back into lethargy.  Even with a free gym around the corner it can be ridiculously difficult to make exercise a regular part of life!  Throw a few small children into this mix, and it can feel hopeless.  I still remember, though, how wonderful it feels to exercise. So when I heard about Nike Training Club, I thought I’d give it a try.  Their slogan is: “Your personal trainer. Anytime.  Anywhere.”, which we all need, right?  Nike Training Club (NTC) is an iPhone and Android app that facilitates workouts. Here’s an overview: There are over 85 customized workouts available, varying in intensity, skill, and length. Each workout has a series of drills, each with its own video and pictorial guide. NTC connects to my own music, so I set up a Workout playlist with my preferred uptempo, fun music As my minutes accrue, I earn rewards!  It really is amazing how motivating it is to hear “Congratulations!  You’ve unlocked a reward!” Some of those rewards are “badges” that declare my prowess (wink, wink), but others are tangible prizes like elite workouts. A year and a half later, I’ve earned 4,205 minutes, and I’d say it works!  Because of those small children in my mix, I usually don’t even have time for a 30 …

LauriMy Personal Trainer: Nike Training Club

Reading is for Grownups too: A New Yorker article

TNY_03_04_13 cover

​Lately I’ve been particularly challenged to read more for myself.  I read picture books to my children to fuel their growing brains, but do I read stimulating material to grow my brain too?  Jon reads and reads and reads: articles, blogs, magazines, tutorials.  It’s easy for me to forget to read.  But as other moms will testify, if I don’t keep feeding my brain, it will atrophy.  

We subscribe to The New Yorker, which is always thought provoking if you take enough time to sit down and actually read it.  Though I cannot keep up with the weekly influx of The New Yorker’s information, I do pick it up periodically and read an article.  Last week’s issue (March 4. 2013), contained an article of particular interest to me: “Giving Voice: A surgeon pioneers methods to help singers sing again“, so I made time to read it.  

Excellent article!


LauriReading is for Grownups too: A New Yorker article

Some Favorite Children’s Authors

Smokey's Books

As both a nanny and as a new mom, I didn’t have any particular method for choosing books at the library.  We’d linger in the aisles, browsing for something sweet, hoping it didn’t contain anything too offensive.  When I taught kindergarten, I became aware of some wonderful children’s authors, but I forgot most of them when my babies came. 

Lately, though, I’ve been scouring friends and blogs for great authors!  It’s a new hobby: to find children’s books with wonderful stories, delightful illustrations, and maybe even morals to boot.


LauriSome Favorite Children’s Authors

Photography and Me

Colour Photos

Wow, I need to learn to take better pictures!

Despite my good intentions, I’ve never taken great photographs.  In fact, I often seem to take pictures that are crooked, out of focus, poorly lit, even subjectless.  So far with this blog, Jon has been helping me tremendously, and I need to get up to speed!

So yesterday I took a gulp of humility and began browsing beginning photography websites and blog posts.  Several recommended sites were simply way over my head, but I checked out the Digital Photography School online, and even joined their weekly tutorial email list.  I read part of an article for a basic understanding of what “Exposure” means.  I must start somewhere.

LauriPhotography and Me

Clothing Swap


‘m so excited!  Last year, a friend and I hosted a Clothing Swap, and it was so much fun we’re doing it again next month.  I had heard of this mystical, magical event, and it intrigued me.  When I researched online, I found that some groups are super structured, and others are rather chaotic.  Did we need to make tickets for each item brought?  Should we moderate the quantity each person could glean?  Would establishing rules actually help?

One rule I like: You must try it on before it’s yours.

LauriClothing Swap

Artist Mother

Art Mom

​My dearest dream has always been to have children and homeschool them.  So now I thoroughly enjoy my home full of pattering footsteps and constant nurturing.  I love being a Mother, even more than I thought I would.  Our homeschooling adventure has just begun, with Elise learning to read and write and explore math puzzles.  

What I didn’t expect is this Artist in me that insists on being nurtured too!

LauriArtist Mother

We Both Read

​With a young reader in the house, I’m always looking for interesting, easy reading material.  As a former kindergarten teacher and reading tutor, I keep a pulse on anything labeled “first reader”.  It is amazing how difficult some of them are, like when they include “igh” or “augh” vowel combinations, which is NOT beginning reading.  So I’m always looking for stories that actually have decodable words, the more short-vowel (closed) syllables, the better. However, that definitely restricts the story!

I recently discovered the We Both Read books

[email protected]We Both Read

Blanket Time

Blanket & Book 2

Years ago, when I heard my white-haired friend, Dian, sharing advice with a young mom, my ears perked up, and I tucked it away. Dian said, “Your baby is just crawling, but it’s not too early to start Blanket Time.” What in the world is Blanket Time?

[email protected]Blanket Time

Home Blessing Hour

Shiny Sink

There are so many things I’ve learned from Marla Cilley, better known as “The FlyLady”.  I may be a naturally organized person, but I never learned how to translate that into having a clean, peaceful sanctuary of a home until I started learning the FlyLady’s system. Her tool I used today is the Home Blessing Hour. Not to be confused with the drudgery of house cleaning, it’s an hour (or so) that I take every week to bless my home!  

[email protected]Home Blessing Hour

Beautifying a Journal

Journal Art 12

I remember when I wasn’t an avid journaller.  A myriad of barely-begun notebooks floated around my life, when I struck a lucky streak: if the journal was GREEN, I stuck with it.  If not, forget it.  So I began looking for green journals everywhere!  Once the habit caught on, I did go back and fill up some of those old, mostly empty ones, and I’ve been tearing through pages ever since. When I was introduced to Morning Pages, via Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, my journalling took on new fervor and purpose.  She proposes a morning ritual of longhand brain dump for three pages.  Every day.  Just write whatever is on your mind. Sometimes I ask a lot of questions, or rant about frustrations.  Other times I recap the adventures of the day before.  Sometimes, as Cameron points out, they are whiny and ridiculous, other times they are prayerful and inspiring.  Either way, they get the creative energy flowing by getting the junk and irritations out of the way. Three pages every day will burn through journals.  I also discovered that I prefer to write in sketchbooks, rather than lined journals, so that I can doodle, or change the direction I write, or make word art, or whatever I want!  It’s liberating.  Unfortunately, beautifully inspiring sketchbooks are expensive and hard to come by.  So, I’ve started purchasing basic black hard cover ones (a 5.5″x8″ stacks nicely with my bible, similar to this one), and I decorate them myself.  My favorites are …

[email protected]Beautifying a Journal