How I Lost 30 LBS in 15 weeks

Mornin’ y’all!

For those of you who know me personally, you already know that I am in the final stages of  losing ALL of my baby {and pre-baby} weight.  After the girls were born, I was able to lose the baby weight, but it took me a long time since I was attempting to do it all on my own.

This past January, I joined a local bootcamp class with some neighborhood friends twice a week.  I was super intimidated at first….sure I would be the chunkiest and most out-of-shape.  And I couldn’t even really use the “I just had a baby” excuse, as Lincoln was 8 months old!  But I showed up, and I had nothing to worry about.  It was mostly women, all shapes and sizes, and abilities.  We were all lined up on mats facing the instructor, so no one was really watching anyone but him.  The trainer pushes me further than I’d ever go myself, but doesn’t have that stereotypical military bootcamp style that I was terrified of.  He doesn’t yell at me at all, yet somehow I still want to do those 100 squats!!!

So I thought I’d give you some examples of the exercises that we do in a typical class.  Feel free to pin these for later…I like to pull them up on my computer when I workout at home for a quick guide.

I know it’s not healthy to obsess over daily weight fluctuations, but I find it extremely motivating to take complete measurements every month.  Luckily, my Bootcamp trainer does this for me, but here is an easy chart to print out…all you need is a fabric {flexible} measuring tape and a scale-use the same one every time!

Weight Loss and Measurement Progress Tracker

Source: To Insanity and Back

Click here to download and print the FREE measurement tracker.

And now for some workouts!

Here is the quick 6 minute arm workout that I do if I have no equipment and no time. Click Here to see clips of each of the 9 moves…

 Source: Lifting Revolution

This is a sample of what we do in Bootcamp…It’s intense and hard work, but everybody just pushes through at their own pace.

And on my off days, I try to make it to the gym and I do this treadmill routine {which I used when I rocked off 45 pounds after I had Jayna}.

Next week, when I’m back from Vegas, I’ll share with you the nutritional tricks I used to help me lose the baby weight!

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{Free Printables} The Best Chapter Books for Girls

One of my favorite school initiatives that Jayna has gotten into this year is reading 100 books per quarter.  Now, Jayna is quite the reader.  Despite only being in kindergarten, she can read on at least a 3rd grade level, maybe more.  Her favorite types of books to read are chapter mysteries, like A to Z MysteriesMagic Treehouse, and Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew {which are the elementary-aged adventures of our favorite female sleuth}.  I don’t mind them because quite often the mysteries involve learning about science, history or geography as well, not to mention problem solving skills.  And I love the vocabulary she learns….”Mom, do you know the difference between a tomb and a sarcophagus?”  Seriously.

Luckily, her school allows her to count each chapter as a book on her countdown each quarter, and she is well on her way to reading over 500 books/chapters this year!  And I have no doubt she will read even more this summer.  But to widen her reading scope, I’ve been searching for some new and different titles for her to enjoy….specifically chapter books for girls.  It’s tricky to find ones that are appropriate for 6 year olds {language, innuendo, intensity, protagonist’s attitude, etc.}.  Thank goodness for Pinterest.  Here are some sites I found that have hundreds of chapter books for girls listed!

Source: Real Food Enthusiast

Source: What Do We Do All Day

Source: Pragmatic Mom

Source: I Think We Could Be Friends

I love the age-appropriate descriptions on this site! Source: Modern Mrs. Darcy

I’m sure there are a ton more out there, but I thought these would be a great place to start!  And this summer, in addition to everything else on our Summer Bucket List , we’ll be reading 100 books!  And this year, I’m printing out two of my Summer Reading Checklists….one for the family, and one just for Jayna!

Free Printable Summer Reading Lists from PalmettosandPigtails.comI made these printable lists a couple of years ago…before Jayna was reading on her own.  It was so fun to keep track of the books we read over the summer. Click on the pictures to download the doc and print away!Free Printable Summer Reading Lists from PalmettosandPigtails.comFree Printable Summer Reading Lists from PalmettosandPigtails.comDo you love it?  PLEASE feel free to pin these!  {Hover over each with your mouse, and the little PIN button should show up automatically!}

What were your favorite books to read growing up?

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Shrimp and Grits Kids and Chicks

*I received the Shrimp and Grits Kids Sunshine Ruffle Dress mentioned in this blog post for free, in exchange for a review on my blog.  As always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own!

Last week was so exciting for us.  The weather was beautiful {and the pollen didn’t seem as bad}, and it’s not too hot yet.  I’m totally soaking up these few weeks of Spring that the LowCountry has.  We started the week off celebrating our risen King on Easter, watching Jayna play “Sue the Smelly Pirate” in a local play, and finally getting to have a soccer game {first time that the fields have been dry enough to play in weeks!}.

Easter at Ashley Ridge Church

And to finish off our week, we gained two new family members.  Starburst and Lemon Merengue are on loan to us from Legare Farms for two weeks.  Then, when they aren’t cute and cuddly anymore, we can return them and get the eggs that they lay as adults.  The perfect pets!

Rent A Chick Program from Legare Farms #rentachick #shrimpandgritskids

Jayna insisted on wearing a pretty dress for the occasion.  So I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her to wear her new Shrimp and Grits Kids dress.

Shrimp and Grits Kids Review: Sunshine Ruffle Dress #shrimpandgritskids

I just loved all of the coordinating outfits in the Sunshine Collection…I had a hard time choosing one!  I ended up going with a size 8 Sunshine Ruffle Dress….it’s a little big, but she will be able to wear it for at least two seasons.  The material is a really light-weight cotton, so it’ll be perfect to wear during the hot summers too!

Shrimp and Grits Kids Review: Sunshine Ruffle Dress #shrimpandgritskids

We both adore it….she thinks it’s very “grown up” looking, but still has some ruffles and a beautiful big Southern bow in the back.

Shrimp and Grits Kids Review: Sunshine Ruffle Dress #shrimpandgritskids

Shrimp and Grits Kids Review: Sunshine Ruffle Dress #shrimpandgritskids

I just adore Shrimp and Grits Kids….especially their sale pages.  You can get all of the family collections there for almost half off.  And I love how their family collections include big girl and little girl {and boy} styles….so they can all coordinate, but not be wearing the exact same outfit.  My favorite of all time set that we had was part of their Mermaid and Shrimp Collection…they made perfect First Day of School Outfits!  Even Millie’s shoes were squeaker sandals {with the squeak taken out for her teachers’ sanity!}.

Shrimp and Grits Kids Mermaid and Shrimp Collection #shrimpandgritskids

They even have a new Frozen Collection called In Summer

Shrimp and Grits Kids new Frozen

Head over to their site and check it out….I’d love to know which collection you like the best!  Leave me a comment!  If you are local, be sure to stop by the annual Shrimp and Grits Sample Sale for some terrific deals {that’s where I go the mermaid outfits!}.  And follow me over on Instagram to see what Lemon Merengue and Starburst have been up to this week!

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{From the Archives} Simple Spring Pleasures

Now that spring {and the pollen} have finally arrived in the LowCountry, I thought I’d do a little “Way Back Wednesday” to the spring of 2012.  I love looking at these types of posts….just a few little highlight pictures as a peek into our daily lives!  Enjoy!

We’ve had a busy week.  And we’ve been sick.  But, there is always a silver lining!  Sometimes I just have to focus on those simple pleasures…  Here are our highlights for the week:

Of course she wouldn’t show them for the camera, but Amelia sprouted two teeth this week!

Our Christmas Cactus that we got a couple of years ago from Aunt Linda, surprised us and bloomed again!

I had a Pampered Chef/Thirty One Bags Party and had some lovely Girl Time with good friends!

Jayna has almost been a pleasure to be around this week! =)

And we’ve had some very silly moments!

We had a fantastic time with friends at Veggie Tales Live!

 Honestly, I can’t take them anywhere…..

Spring is here and we are feelin’ it!

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Flowertown Festival 2015: An Anticipatory Post

This coming weekend will be the second year I participate in the massive Flowertown Festival 2015 in Summerville, South Carolina.  It’s three long, hot days of aa-mazing homemade crafts, clothing and artwork.  Hundreds of Thousands of people flock to the Lowcountry to wander the quaint streets of Summerville for the weekend, or participate in the equally famous Cooper River Bridge Run in downtown Charleston {held on Saturday morning.}.  And just like last year, I’m equal parts stressed, anxious, nervous and excited!!!

Flowertown Festival 2015: An Anticipatory Post

This year, I shook up my inventory a little bit by adding some new merchandise.  I am getting rave reviews about my new bibs.  They are adjustable in size, so they can fit babies or toddlers.  Soft cotton designs on the top, and absorbent terry cloth on the bottom to soak up…everything.  And you can get them with OR with out a pacifier holder.  The ones with the holders use a snap to keep that paci attached and ready…it’s been a huge help with Lincoln, who is just now figuring out how to FIND his paci to sooth himself.  These bibs don’t let it get far!  Here’s a sample:

Bibs with Pacifier Holders in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

Bibs with Pacifier Holders in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

And here are some of my newest prints that have matching burp cloth sets!

Bibs {also available with Pacifier Holders} in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

Burp Cloth Sets in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

Burp Cloth Sets in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

As always, my burp cloths are my biggest sellers.  They come in packs of 3 and are triple-ply cotton and flannel for extra soft absorbency.  Lots and lots of new prints this year, including some more modern fabric that was a little out of my comfort zone, but hopefully y’all will like them!!

Burp Cloth Sets in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

Burp Cloth Sets in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

Burp Cloth Sets in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

My pacifier clips have gotten a makeover this year.  They used to attach to the pacifiers with velcro, but now, they attach with either snaps or elastic.  The elastic ones work with just about any brand of pacifier I’ve ever seen, including the popular green hospital round pacis.  Just thread the elastic through the hole or the handle, and pass the rest of the “leash” through the elastic too to secure.  Easy Peasy!  Look for the oh-so-popular Fox and Mustache prints, as well as some new colored rosettes this year.

Universal Pacifier Clips in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

Universal Pacifier Clips in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

I have decided not to make the carseat carrier cushions any more, so I’ll only have a few of those out at the festival, as a last chance buy.  But I have plenty of Door Hushers this year!  These are some of my best sellers.  The elastic wraps around the door knobs on your kid’s bedroom door, and the fabric part covers the latch so the door closes silently.  It fits snug enough for the door to stay closed, but lets you sneak in and out of baby’s room without having to turn squeaky knobs!

Door Hushers in Palmettos and Pigtails' Etsy Shop

 I’ll also have an assortment of shabby flower clip that can also be used on headbands.  So, if you are going to be in the Lowcountry this weekend…come on out and see me!  I’ll be located on the sidewalk in front of the tennis courts {where I was last year}, right before you hit all of the restaurant vendors!  And for you, loyal readers, get 10% off your regular priced purchase with the secret code FLOWER.  Make sure you mention that you saw it on the blog!

Come find me! {Look for the YELLOW DOOR!} Follow #YELLOWdoor to see what I’m up to this weekend!

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5 Non-Candy Themed Easter Basket Ideas

Our Easter basket tradition is simple….after a winter full of candy corn, candy canes and chocolates, we ask the Easter Bunny to lay off the sweets as much as possible, and focus on the impending summer!  Don’t get me wrong, there are still a few Jelly Bellies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs at the bottom of the basket, hidden under Biodegradable Easter Grass and summertime goodies!  But don’t tell the kids….

New bathing suits arrive each year in the Easter baskets.  New flip flops, sunglasses and hats too.  And if there is room, sunscreen and pool toys!  I love the simplicity of this tradition….easy, cheap and stuff they actually need! {For more info on any of the pictured items, click on the photo}


Back when Millie was a baby, I thought I could be supermom and make handmade items for the kids’ basket.  I sewed weighted bunnies for Bunny Rabbit Bowling, and a taggie toy for baby Millie.  I’m not sure where I found the time to make all that stuff, but I’m over it now!  Bathing suits, it is!

So the bathing suit theme works for now, but I’ve been thinking about some other non-candy themed Easter basket ideas for the future.


You know me…I am all about some educational games!  I had the original Hot Dots in my classroom back when I taught.  The kids loved using the magic stick to chose their answers, since it talked and played music if they got the answer right!  I’m thinking the girls would LOVE this princess version!  And did you know that Shrinky Dinks are back in style?  Me neither, but it’s AWESOME.  I found some that you can make into jewelry too.  And last weekend my living room was transformed into a pillow and blanket fort.  The kids {including Dave} were dismayed when I dismantled it…I needed my coffee table, and pillows, and kitchen chairs back!  So I’m thinking that a Flexi-Fort is what they need…the sticks bend, so they can create all sorts of nooks and crannies.  And best of all….they can do it themselves, in the playroom!


My kids literally have hundreds of books….but they just love to read!  One of my absolute favorites is The Day the Crayons Quit {grievance letters from each color crayon to a little boy! Super funny!}.  I’m thinking Jayna would love this Magic Treehouse Book, since she loves chapter books and is halfway through her soccer season too.  And Dear Zoo is another classic board book that teaches animal concepts with cute, interactive flaps.  Lincoln loves to “read” with me and is very hands on…so a flap book would be perfect for him.


And if all else fails, jump on the Frozen bandwagon, right?  My girls love, love, love this movie {who doesn’t?!}.  I, personally, am not a fan of branded “stuff”…but I do have a few exceptions.  I’m fine with princesses being plastered on underwear if it keeps them dry {“don’t pee pee on Elsa!!”}.  Is it weird for the Easter Bunny to bring undies?!?!  I also found some classic board games {Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, etc.} that got the Disney treatment and look way more fun to play now!  And I don’t mind non-traditional toys and activities being branded if it’s subtle.  I love these rollerblades because they are in the Frozen colors, but don’t have Elsa’s face all over them.  They’ll be able to grow with my kids for a long time after the Frozen craze has melted away.

What non-candy stuff ends up in your Easter Baskets?  Leave a comment…I’d love to have more ideas!

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A Love Story: 70 Years Later

This afternoon, I have a love story for you.  It’s not my story, but belongs to my friend Jenny.  Her family got a 70 year old surprise this past Valentine’s Day, and she’s letting me tell you about it!

It all started when Jenny’s family {in Pennsylvania} received a package from a stranger in Missouri.  Inside was a letter from 1942 from on board the USS Arogonne.  It was a love letter from Jenny’s Grandfather, to her Grandmother, when he was in the Navy during WWII.

A Love Story: 70 Years Later

The letter was dated three years before Jim and Mary were actually married, and begins, “My dearest darling, here I am writing to you again because I haven’t anything else to do.”  The letter goes on for two pages, describing Jim’s love for Mary.  He states, “…I love you more than anything else in this world….its such a consolation to know that someone still loves you and is waiting for you back home.”

A Love Story: 70 Years Later

The couple eloped in August of 1945 in Maryland, and were happily married for 64 years before passing away.

A Love Story: 70 Years Later

But the most incredible part about this love story is how the letter managed to get back to Jenny’s family.  Apparently the letter was found in an estate sale, and the sender looked up Jim’s obituary to find information  about his surviving family.  Since the obituary mentioned the family business, an address was easily found and the letter finally made it’s way back to the family.

A Love Story: 70 Years Later

Jenny says that her grandfather was an avid stamp collector and would have loved that one of his letters had found it’s way home.  It’s an amazingly beautiful story, but more than anything it “reminds us of their love story and of how much they are still with us even though they are not.”

A Love Story: 70 Years Later

Jenny’s family also told their story on ABC World News:

A love story for the ages!

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Cleaning for the Cleaning Lady

Today, we have a cleaning lady coming to “assess” our house.  Dave and I mutually agreed that we could squeeze a monthly deep clean into our budget, so we’ve started shopping around.  So today, I’m going to invite a stranger into my home to tell me how messy it is, and how much I’m going to pay her to clean it.

Maybe I’m being a bit of a drama queen here.  I mean, I’m absolutely thrilled that we are able to afford a little help.  But I can’t help but think my “Stay-at-Home Mom Card” is being taken away from me…or at least being scrutinized a bit.  I am the first to agree that raising 3 little kids is hard.  I certainly don’t sit on my couch eating bon-bons all day.  And add to that a 3,000 square foot house that just always seems dirty and cluttered.  And then there’s dinner, and grocery shopping, and laundry….don’t even get me started.

And I do realize that my awesome JOB, as a stay-at-home mom, is to raise my kids.  But also to keep house a little, you know? I feel like I should be able to handle the dust bunnies, loads of laundry, and vacuuming.  After all, I have my monthly cleaning calendars and short bursts of time when children are sleeping or playing nicely.  And I’ve got Dave and the kids that help out a lot too…the kids even have chore charts and age appropriate daily responsibilities. But it’s the deep cleaning that I struggle with.

So admitting that I need a little extra help with scrubbing showers, cleaning baseboards and washing windows isn’t all that bad, right?

But.  Even I know I shouldn’t, I feel like the cleaning lady will always be judging my dirty, cluttered house….and thinking, what does this lady do all day?!?!

So this morning, I am cleaning.  To impress the cleaning lady.


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Valentine’s Day Dance

Our neighborhood put on the cutest little Valentine’s Day Dance for the kids this weekend.  It was the first time anything like this had been put on, so I had no idea what to expect…but I should have known that they’d pull out all the stops!  All the kids were dressed in their Valentine’s Day finest, happy to pose with silly glasses and boas in the makeshift photo booth.

I couldn’t convince the girls to wear their Valentine’s Day shirts, but at least I got their hair brushed!

Even Jo and I made it into some pics!  Lincoln tolerated it, but he would rather have been on the dance floor!

The DJ was fantastic about playing a good mix of Oldies “Love” songs {like Love Potion Number Nine}, tweeny bop music {insert Taylor Swift here} and group dances {the girls heart the Macarena!}, and so the dance floor was filled the entire night with bouncy boys and twirly little girls, and lots of good-sport daddies!

Dave was out of town, but Millie was able to recruit a stand in!

And, you’d be so proud of me….I was totally good, and completely resisted the beautiful display of cake pops, cupcakes and ice cream bar!

Valentine's Day Dance table of goodies

Sorry about the grainy pictures, I was taking with my phone, and it was pretty dark.  The ambiance was complete with candles in votives filled with mini marshmallows!

Everyone had a fantastic time, and it was a great way to start off the Valentine’s Day weekend!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! We celebrated with heart shaped pancakes and a photo shoot!

Valentine's Day Photo Shoot with DIY T-Shirts

Valentine's Day Photo Shoot with DIY T-Shirts

Lincoln was a little drooly…

Valentine's Day Photo Shoot with DIY T-Shirts

My little loves!

Valentine's Day Photo Shoot with DIY T-Shirts

For the tutorial on how to make their adorable t-shirts, check out this post, or even this one!

Hope your day is filled with hugs and kisses from the ones you love!

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