Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Blog Roll

Here is a list of my favorite blogs. Topics include comedy, fashion, faith, motherhood, art, and design. They are not listed in any particular order. I hope you find something here you enjoy.

A Beautiful Mess Logo

Monday, April 29, 2013

Workout Journal 4/22 - 4/28

I came into this week knowing I was going to have to do better with working out. Although I don't regret taking time off to do other things important to me, a BIG reason I have seen results is because of consistency, slow and steady wins this race. So the reason I am working out this week is to be consistent.

Two things that really helped motivate me this week were.....

1. I started a Pinterest account and created a 'Fitness and Restoration Board' to inspire me when I am feeling yucky about working out. Below is the image that really helped me through this week.

2. I watched Tracy Anderson's 5 tips for Motivation. I came across this at the beginning of my Restoration journey and I reference it from time to time when I feeling blah.

Monday 4/22
I did the entire Tracy Anderson Post-Pregnancy DVD. I am seeing huge results with my arms and a little progress with my abs and my legs. My strength is building each time, but I have to admit that I am getting impatient with this little layer of fat on my stomach. I know this is going to take the longest to go away but if I am consistent in challenging myself, it will go away. Slow and steady.....:)

Wednesday 4/24
I was not feeling myself today - I felt kind of like I was in a fog. This held true through my work out. I had the motivation going in, but half way through I felt like someone had popped my balloon. I had no energy and was feeling a little dizzy. I started by dancing a couple of songs to my Club Dancin' playlist for the month. This wasn't part of the original plan but once I put my headphones in I almost couldn't stop myself from dancing :) At the end of the second song, I felt I need to slow down to lower pace so I completed the ab and arm sequence of the DVD (which is about 30 minutes). It is nights like these that I wish the DVD was a little shorter. I don't like the feeling of not finishing but sometimes - it is just too much.

Friday 4/26
Tonight I had a great time with family by the campfire - eating smores......lots of them. When we got home, I had this uncanny urge to workout. So, I jumped on it. All of my regular workout clothes were dirty, so I threw on a pair of spandex shorts and a sports bra and hit the yoga mat. This outfit actually made my workout better.

Because I basically had on nothing, I was able to really see my body as I worked out. This helped me to focus on each move. I was able to see my how each series affected my muscles. I think that I will dress like this more frequently (good thing I workout in my living room, right :)

I have been mulling over in my mind a couple of options to give myself another big push. I feel like I have gotten into a hum drum routine and need to push myself to the next level with my fitness. I will keep you posted of my plans.

Sunday 4/28
I have been on such a roll with motivation this week. It has felt really good. I worked out again tonight to the Post Pregnancy DVD. I felt stronger tonight in the first portion of the abs. Of course, the piking series is a beast and will probably be the last section I will be able to physically conquer. I am proud of myself for what I accomplished this week. I hope that it continues.

Read more about my complete workout routine on my Restoration page.

Thanks for reading.

- brook.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Little #1 Turns 2 - A Lorax Themed Birthday

My biggest little, [F], turned two this past weekend. As I mentioned in a recent Kid's Book Recommendation - he is in love with the Lorax. So, we decided to throw him a Lorax Themed Birthday Party.  We had a blast.

Lorax Themed Birthday Party

Funny side note - my family and I realized that there was something 'not right' about the birthday banner later on that evening when we were having dinner together. The [a]'s are backward :) A classic case of 'mama brain' in action as I was making this banner late one night :)

Truffula Tree Cupcakes
I decided to do cupcakes this year and it worked out wonderfully.

These 'Truffula Tree' Cupcakes are topped with a paper straw and a ball of cotton candy.

Tip: When working with cotton candy, put it in the refrigerator if you are prepping it ahead of time. It doesn't last very long out in the open air. In fact, by the end of the party the ones left over were starting to melt.

In the story, the Truffula Trees are yellow, orange, pink and purple - because we were throwing a boy birthday party we chose to go with blue.

The extra cotton candy we put on top of straws and popped in a jar for guests to enjoy.
Lorax Themed Party Food

We also had Humming-Fish in Water (Swedish Fish), Humming-Fish on Land (Cheddar Goldfish), Brown Bar-ba-loots (Chocolate Teddy Grames), Bar-ba-loot Treats (Marshmallows), and Truffula Seeds (Mixed Nuts).

The orange Lorax punch is a mixture of Orange Sherbet, Sprite, and Club Soda.

We Say Let It Grow Sign

In the kitchen we had some party favors and a photo booth set up. At first, people were shy about getting their picture taken, but it wasn't long until everyone was having a blast with it. I plan to have a photo booth at every party in the future :)

Lorax Party Photo Booth

(Above) The backdrop to the photo booth is recycled comics.
(Below) I found these grow kits at Target for $1 - So cute.

Lorax Party Favors

Our Papa artist in residence drew up a Lorax Scene and had everyone sign it as a birthday card to our Little Man. As you can see, [F] had fun coloring it too :)

Hand Drawn Lorax Birthday Card

Such sweet memories we made with Little Man. Can't wait for [B]'s first birthday in July.

Check out my [Brook@MamaBeeNoE] Birthday Party Pinterest Board for more ideas.

Party Inspiration came from [Left Coast Mama], [Hank and Hunt], [Hostess with the Mostess], and [The Lorax Movie].

You may also enjoy....
Earth Day 2013
The Lorax
Egg Week 2013

This post is part of my Diary.

- brook.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Workout Journal 4/15 - 4/21

Tuesday 4/16

I am coming off of a great week of working out and still feel the motivation. However, there are quite a few 'not to miss' life moments scheduled for this week and I want to get some working out in even if it is just a little.

Tonight I am heading out to have a meal with a dear friend during my regularly scheduled workout time. So, I was determined to get my workout in during the day. Thankfully the boys both took a great morning nap and I was able to do the entire Tracy Anderson Post-Pregnancy DVD. It felt great, especially since I worked out during my favorite time of the day (mid-morning). I did feel slightly apprehensive during the workout - worrying that one of the boys was going to wake up and cut my workout short. But their tiredness worked in my favor :)

Wednesday 4/17 - Sunday 4/21

I did not workout during this whole time because as I mentioned above there were a lot of things going on this week that were very important to me.....

- Family in town from over seas that I have not seen in over a year. This included a 7 month old nephew that I had yet to meet in person.

- My oldest turned two. Which was exciting and fun. The party planning was extra work, but totally worth his precious reaction to it all.

No regrets about not working out - but know that it is back at it next week.

Thanks for reading.

How was your workout week?

For more details on my entire workout routine - read my Restoration page.

- brook.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013 - [Kid's Book] + [Must Read]

Happy Earth Day Greeting

Happy Earth Day everyone! Today I bring to you two Mama Bee No E reading recommendations. One is a Kid's Book for the littles and one is a Must Read for the adults.

Earth Day [Kid's Book]

I found this book at the very beginning of April when our librarian was getting the Children's Library ready for Earth Day. This selection was featured on one of the display shelves and it instantly caught my eye. The reason - it is a very simple picture book about conservation that is perfect for the littlest of littles (most kid's books I have found on Earth Day and conservation are more detailed and intended for older kids). The book is 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World by Melanie Walsh.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh
ISBN #: 978-0-7636-4144-3

For starters, this book is printed on 100% Recycled Material.

Each page has one or two line conservation tips, which makes it a fast read - perfect for toddlers.

[F] loves the different shaped die cut edges of each page. He was so excited to see what was next.

I even learned something new from this book - You can save 18 glasses of water if you turn off the sink while you brush your teeth. That is a lot of water! (See Illustration Below)

A definite must read for your littles on Earth Day (or any day for that matter :).
10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh (Illustration)

Earth Day [Must Read]

Recently, I recommended The Lorax on my Kid's Book Page. While I was writing the post, I stumbled upon The Lorax Project. This is a project set up by the folks at Dr. Seuss's Seussville. It's focus is to encourage adults and children to partner up and act on behalf of the planet. 

I loved all of the resources available at their website www.theloraxproject.com. They have desktop screen savers, activities, and much more. I will use this site as a resource for my boys for years to come. The favorite thing I found was a list of things I can do with my kids to teach them about helping the planet and conservation. Almost all of the things on this list, I can do with [F] & [B] right now even though they are young.

I hope you enjoy these Earth Day Resources.

For more reading recommendations - check out my Kid's Books and Must Reads pages.

- brook.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Lorax By Dr.Seuss

ISBN #: 978-0-394-82337-9

In honor of Earth Day coming up (April 22nd) and the theme for [F]'s 2nd birthday party, I recommend to you - The Lorax.

This a beautiful story of a little furry 'peanut' who speaks for the trees that are being chopped down in the name of commerce. We fell in love with this story through the animated film that was released in 2012. Once [F] and Josh :) saw the first few minutes - we were hooked. Since then, we have watched the movie a million times and gotten the book to read the original story.

This book teaches a very important lesson that I want to make sure my kids don't miss - Treat the planet with respect. Be aware of what you consume and how it affects others.

As I mentioned before, [F] has already taken a liking to recycling. I look forward to teaching him more about ways to conserve as he gets older.

Online Seuss Resources:
Dr. Seuss' Website
The Lorax Project

You may also enjoy...
Dr. Seuss' - ABC an Amazing Alphabet Book

Check out my Kid's Books page for more of our families' favorites.

- brook.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Good Ideas for Tough Times by Grace Bonney

I have been drafting this post in my mind since I found this wonderful blog post a while back. After today's events, I thought Grace Bonney's writing in her Modern Etiquette Series to be even more timely.

Illustration by Anna Emilia
This afternoon I got the news that one of my sister's best friends from high school passed away. I didn't know it at the time, but while I was receiving this news - bombs were going off at the Boston Marathon.

So much loss seems to be going around these days. Recently, I have stood by a neighbor who lost her son and mourned with a friend who lost her husband. And it seems like status updates of mourning are popping up on Facebook all the time.

Grace Bonney offers some wonderful advice on how to care for those who are going through a tough time. Some of my favorites from her list of ten are...

2. "Private matters are best left private: Whether or not someone chooses to announce something on Facebook doesn’t mean you should respond in kind. I think very serious matters deserve a serious response. This is not the time for emoticons, abbreviations or YOLO dropping. If someone announces the death of a family member online, it’s perhaps best to respond with an email, call or written letter if you can. If not, a private message that’s heartfelt is best."

This was good to read in this time of social media frenzy. I have a couple of letters I am putting in the mail tomorrow in response to death announcements made on Facebook.

6. Keep in Touch: An initial out reach is great, but one of the saddest things that happens after a tough situation is the way people can forget and drop off quickly. That’s often the time around which most people start re-entering normal life and it can feel like everyone forgot about you. Whether you use a Google calendar reminder or another method, make a date to check back in with your friends and see how they’re doing a few weeks later. They may need some time to grieve, but letting them know you haven’t forgotten about them or their loss a few weeks later is often very appreciated.

I am guilty of this. I love her idea of a Google calendar reminder. It must feel really lonely for someone going through a tough time once all the buzz dies down and the other end of the line is silent. It doesn't have to be complicated - just a simple point of contact. Definitely plan on doing better with this.

Click below for the full post -
Good Ideas for Tough Times by Grace Bonney

Are there any of her tips that speak specifically to you?
Are there any tips you would add?

I found this beautiful quote that perfectly states the support that can be offered during tough times.

“There's no way for them to take away my sadness, but they can make sure I am not empty of all the other feelings.” 
― David LevithanLove Is the Higher Law

Thanks for reading.

For more articles and blog posts of note - see the Must Reads page.

- brook.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Workout Journal 4/8 - 4/14

Tuesday 4/9

Tonight I was back doing the Tracy Anderson Post Pregnancy DVD. This time, I turned the volume low and put in my Club Dancin Cardio Playlist. I just couldn't get motivated by the calm classical music that is already on the DVD. I don't know if it was the music or the fact that I hadn't done strength training in a week - but I was dripping with sweat at the end of it. It felt great. I just love how strong this workout has made me feel. This is one of those days to remember when I am feeling unmotivated.

Thursday 4/11

I had such great plans for tonight. Little did I know that [B] had an agenda already set for the evening. He struggled with fever all day :( and no I didn't cry :).

I put him down at regular bed time, but he cried and cried and cried - so I got him up. He was hot as fire iron and happy as a lark that I got him out of bed. He stayed up babbling until 10:30! So that pretty much killed the hour plus I had planned for working out. Oh well, no workout time for tonight....

Friday 4/12

This evening I had two goals - strength training workout. hang out with my husband. I was able to do both. We watched the Hunger Games movie while I did my workout on the living room floor. This time, I didn't do it from memory - I had Josh's laptop with the DVD playing silently so that I could make sure I covered everything thoroughly. It was good night.

Sunday 4/14

Today I got to visit with some family I haven't seen in over a year (which was great:). I also ate ice cream, banana pudding, and some Sprees - so I knew I HAD to follow through and workout (Boo!). I just wanted to relax after a good dinner with the family. But I didn't - I got my butt in gear and did the DVD. I hated it all the way through - even to the very last move. But I did it. Mainly because I didn't want to come to my journal and have to post that I chose to sit and eat Sprees all night. So tonight's workout is totally owed to my Workout Journal writing and those of you who read it and comment.

Thanks for reading.

Read more details about my workout routine on my Restoration Page.

- brook.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


May 2013 - A Typical Day at Home

June 2013 - Seeing Life After a Bad Dream

September 2013 - Back Home

I stumbled upon an awesome photography project going on over at A Bit of Sunshine. It is called Ten on Ten. Rebekah started this project in 2008 by taking [10] pictures, one an hour for [Ten] hours and posting them on the [Tenth] of every month. The goal of this project is to find "life and beauty in the ordinary things of our day to day"

I will be joining this project with my own submissions next month (because it is too late for me to join in this month). I will be calling the series [10.Ten.Tenth] and linking up with the Ten on Ten project.

For now, please enjoy a couple of my favorite photos from this month's project.

Hope and Honey Ten on Ten
The above photo is part of the Ten on Ten project at {Hope and Honey}.

A little Bit of Sunshine Ten on Ten

The above photo is part of the Ten on Ten project at {A Bit of Sunshine}

A special thanks to Annalea Hart over at Hope and Honey for introducing me to the project.

ten on ten button
- brook.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Workout Journal 4/1 - 4/7

Tuesday 4/2

I am finally back in the groove of working out and my kids get sick :( I still worked out - I just changed it up a bit. My nerves were shot so I needed a good workout and a good release. There is nothing better to accomplish this than Club Dancin' Cardio. I felt great afterwards and it was a lot of fun. Along with dancing for 30 minutes, I also did this alternative Tracy Anderson Arms Routine Gwyneth Paltrow posted online for her GOOP Newsletter.

If you try this (which I highly recommend), know that you will feel like an idiot the first few times you do it because it is really fast paced. Hang in there, it will get easier to follow along. It is a nice thing to have in the workout arsenal in case I get bored with other stuff and it is set to great music.

Thursday 4/4
I am supposed to workout tonight, but I am not because I am exhausted. So I am going to rest on the couch and eat Cadbury Eggs :) Oops :)

Saturday 4/7
Today I did some more Club Dancin' Cardio. I had way too much cabin fever with all the sickness in my house to simply lay on a mat and do the slower paced Tracy Anderson DVD. Towards the end of my workout I did a few plie's which had my quads screaming afterwards. Although it has been an entire week since I have done any strength training - I have enjoyed changing it up and getting a little cardio.

I would love to know if you tried the arms video and what you think about it.
Thanks for reading.

Read more about my workout routine on my Restoration Page.

- Mama Bee No E

Sunday, April 7, 2013

March 2013

This March will always hold a special place in my heart, because it was the first time that I celebrated Easter with my kids. New family traditions took root this month and as always with little ones - there were many milestones, big and small.

March 4th - More [B] Milestones
Today, [B] had to go to the doctor for his first cold AND he got his second tooth ;)

March 21st- Eating Like a Big Boy
[F] became a bigger boy today. For the first time, he successfully fed himself a rice dish with a spoon. If you have toddlers, you know how huge this is. I am so proud of him. Since then he has fed himself apple sauce, oatmeal, and spaghetti (this one was not so successful).

toddler feeding himself

March 26th - We Conquered the Grocery Store.
On this day, my boys and I made our first solo trip to the grocery store for a big grocery run. Up until this point, Josh or I have been going on our own - late in the evening (after bedtime) or we have been going as a family (for short trips).

The boys behaved beautifully and I walked out of the store feeling a new sense of freedom. Grocery shopping is now more convenient.

March 27th - [B]'s Physical Victory
Today, I witnessed a physical victory for my littlest little. I had just set [B] in his bed to finish up the evening room clean-up and I came back to find him reaching for the bed rail. For 2 minutes, he struggled, strained and pulled himself up into a standing position - ALL BY HIMSELF. It was a beautiful thing to see and a moment I will never forget.

March 31st - Our Easter
This year was a special celebration with all of the activities of egg week and the boys receiving their first Easter Baskets.

melting ice egg
melting Ice Egg

easter baskets

I hope you had a good March.

- Mama Bee No E

You may also enjoy...
Egg Week 2013
February 2013

This post is part of my Diary.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Crying Over Spilt Tylenol

These past couple of days have worn me down to a nub -  a weary, worn out version of myself. My oldest has been struggling with insanely high fevers and my youngest has been teething. In addition, my husband has been really sick in the bed - so I have been fighting the good fight solo. The crying and whining has been at an all time high and more specifically - off the chain.

To say that the [crying] was off the chain doesn’t even begin to describe; this [crying fest] broke the chain in half. [The amount of crying] melted the chain down and using precious metals made an even crazier chain.
- modified quote from The Honest Toddler 

I realized just how crazy it had gotten when I started crying....over tylenol that spilt on [B]'s shirt. It was a little thing, but like every other little thing....it hadn't gone without a mess or mistake.

Every mom has been here. And every mom in this place needs encouragement, because times like these are part of the deal of motherhood and will always feel insane and overwhelming in the moment. Times like these force a mother to choose - between patient and impatience - steadfastness or meltdown. I was headed for the later in both of these cases - so I sought out some comforting words of encouragement.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
- Galatians 6:9 

In my words....
Child rearing is not a business of quick rewards. Results come over a lifetime of consistent investment. This is the Lord saying to me, "Hold fast....dear mama....Hold fast."

Jesus said "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
- 2 Corinthians 12:9 

In my words....
Only in my weakness do I remember who is the only source of unfailing strength through hard times. Without this grace, I am a nub....a screaming, crying....out of control nub of a mother.

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For you have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities...
- Psalm 31:7 

In my words....
The beauty in all of this mess is that the Lord knows my soul so well. He knew it was off the chain at my house and that I would cry right after I spilt the Tylenol. He also has just the right encouragement to help this mama keep it moving.

Have you been here lately?

- Mama Bee No E

You may also enjoy...
White Knuckled and Weary - Trying to Draw Blood from a Stone

This post is linked up with.....Lil Light O' Mine, Blue Eyed Bride, Life in the Green House, Kelly's Korner.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Club Dancin' Cardio

This post is going to do one of two things:

A.  make you think I am an idiot

B.  let you know that I am your girl and secret best workout girlfriend :)

I LOVE, I mean LOVE to dance. I don't mean ballet conservative dancing, I am the type of dancing you do in a club.

My love for crazy, music blasting, forget about everything dancing started when I was very young. My Dad has an enormous music collection and amazing stereo system. Most nights when he came home, he would blast the stereo and all of us kids would get out all of energy and dance before bedtime. My mom would always tell us that there is no such thing as someone who can't dance - there are those who are self conscious about it and those who are not. My parents raised us to be the later. These dance sessions are some of my fondest memories of my parents and my childhood.

Every once in a while I will workout by doing some Club Dancin' in my living room. It is a great cardio workout and an excellent way to release negative energy from the day.

In order for Club Dancin' to be an effective workout, you have to turn the music up in your head phones and REALLY dance for 20-30 minutes - as if you were on stage :)

Everyone has those songs that they don't want anyone to know they love. But.....when you are by yourself, you totally jam out to the song. Well, with no shame, I am going to reveal my favorite workout songs as playlists. I will try and update it monthly.

Here is the one for April 2013.
Cardio List April 2013 by Brook Powell on Grooveshark

May 2013
Cardio List May 2013 by Brook Powell on Grooveshark

June 2013
Cardio List June 2013 by Brook Powell on Grooveshark

Are any of these songs already on your playlist?

- Mama Bee No E

Check out my Restoration page for more information on my whole workout routine.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Workout Journal 2013: 3/25 - 3/31

Tuesday 3/26

I did not want to workout today (hence this post). It has been over a week and my motivation has taken a pretty good hit during that time. I have started to feel achy and weak while sick. I don't want to go to far down that path (I have spent long enough that place) so, I forced myself to do the DVD and actually, it wasn't that bad. I am glad that I waited until I felt 100% before jumping back in, just wish it wasn't so hard to get back started. Hopefully the rest of the week will continue to get better.

Thursday 3/28

Today, my workout goals conflicted with my husband's goals for the evening. He wanted to relax and watch TV (Whale Wars to be exact :) and the living room is usually where I workout. Thing about it is - I wanted to watch Whale Wars too. So, I did AND worked out at the same time.

I learned that I know the workout so well, that now I can do it without the DVD :) I was just as sweaty and tired at the end as if I was doing it with the DVD. I don't want to get in the habit of doing it this way (mainly because having a 100% focus on the workout is a good way to clear my head) - but it is nice to have the flexibility.

Sunday 3/31

I didn't get my workout in yesterday because my oldest little has come down with a mean virus. After taking care of an erratic, indecisive, emotional sicky - I was exhausted. So, I worked out tonight instead. I ended up doing only abs in front of the TV watching Whale Wars again :)

I needed a shorter workout because I didn't get to it until 10pm. When that is the case, I always default to the abs because that is my main problem area with strength training. It went well. I felt strong and I am loving that feeling.

One benefit I am finding about this workout, is that if I do it consistently - a break, even a week or so - doesn't put me back too far.

I am pondering trying out Jillian Micheals 30 day Shred as a go to for days when I need a shorter routine....we shall see.

Thanks for reading.

For more details on my workout routine and goals check out my Restoration Page.