Monthly Archives: March 2014

“Fixin” it!

Today was Day 1 of the 21 Day Fix.  In case you haven’t yet read my previous blog posts on the 21 Day Fix (which you totally should by the way), the 21 Day Fix is a fitness and nutrition program geared to run for 21 days. It teaches clean, portion controlled eating, and throws in total body workouts too. People have been experiencing tremendous results on the Fix and in just 21 days, SO, I thought I’d finally give it a go – it’s my turn!

So, let me backtrack for a minute.  After having Monroe, I quickly lost most of my baby weight (within about 5 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight). Once my body readjusted to all the changes post birth, I did however gain a few lbs back. (typical for me to do after I have a baby – lose a lot, gain some back, then plateau there during the duration of me nursing my kids) Also, I must mention that I’ve just completed the Brazil Butt Lift program so I’m sure some of that weight is due to fat converting to muscle.  In any case, I’m “ok” with my current weight, but wanted to learn how to better fuel my body and choose wiser, more portion appropriate food choices.

Que the 21 Day Fix program!  In preparation of the start of the Fix, I spent last week reading/studying the Eating Guide and trying to best plan out my menu for this first week.  (Trying to utilize what we already had in the fridge, my variety wasn’t very interesting, but simple can still be yummy not to mention easy to prepare too 😉 )

So, here is a run down of what you can expect a typical day on the 21 Day Fix to look like (1200-1499 calorie plan – the book goes over how to calculate your ideal calorie range). Keep in mind there is a TON of variety for you to choose from- this is just what “I” prepared for myself today:

Breakfast:  greek yogurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon and 2 hard boiled eggs (I ate one for breakfast and 1 for a mid morning snack)
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Lunch: Chocolate, PB, Banana shake – chocolate Shakeology with almond milk, ice, an apple banana, and a tsp of PB. I jazzed it up a bit and drank it from one of the German “steins” Marv brought back from his deployment 🙂
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Afternoon snack: 10 baby carrots and about 1/2 a pear (1 purple container)
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Dinner: 10 asparagus spears, japanese eggplant, roast chicken (gotta love those Costco $4.99 chickens!), and brown rice.  This turned out to be a TON of food! Those containers may look tiny at 1st glance, but they’re surprisingly deceiving and fit a nice portion of food! And YES, yes I finished all of this.  🙂 Felt full and satisfied but not uncomfortably full afterwards.  By the way, the brown rice is in a ‘container tower’ in the pic…the actual portion was more than it looks, and I had already eaten about 3 asparagus spears and 1/3 of the eggplant before I took the pic…..so LOTS of food! 🙂
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After dinner, I dutifully completed my 1st 21 Day Fix workout. What I LOVE about these workouts is that they’re only 30 mins long. Autumn takes the time to really walk you through each move, and there’s a modifier for everything so you can go at your own pace. I broke a sweat with this workout and felt great afterwards!
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Followed it up with my evening snack: an orange container of peanuts, and 12 almonds. Again, looks are deceiving! That tiny container turned out to be an adequate amount for me = enough to leave me satisfied instead of uncomfortably full.
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My takeaway from today is that I typically eat a TON of carbs! I think that’s why sometimes I get so sleepy after eating. My energy levels were great today, I felt ZERO bloating or yuckiness, and I’m excited to move onto Day 2.  I feel like it’s a game – figuring out what to plan for the next day, using the cute color coded containers, and trying to get creative with meals.  So far I’m feeling great! I KNOW that everything I’m putting into my body is clean, unprocessed, fresh….FUEL for my body vs empty calories!

Ready to take the next step and JOIN ME on this road to eating right and getting healthy? Order your Fix HERE!  I’ll be doing the 21 Day Fix again in May, so be sure to order in April so you can join me and my Challenge Group!

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Fluffy Bum

That’s what I call Monroe when I see her in her cloth diapers 🙂

Backtracking though, when Maya was 5 months old, after some much needed Cloth Diapering 101 info from a fellow military spouse in Florida, I took a leap of semi-knowledgeable faith and started cloth diapering. This time around, with Monroe, I knew from the get-go that I wanted to start her in cloth early on. However, I was weary of washing sticky black tar-ey poo out of cloth diapers (If you’ve ever changed a newborn’s 1st diapers…you know what I’m talking about!) so I intentionally  made the decision to start using cloth on her after the 1 month mark.

Monroe is now 8 weeks old.  Up until the 5 week mark, I used disposables exclusively. (Pampers, if you reeeeally wanted to know 😉 …..I would only buy them with coupons, and stocked them up throughout my pregnancy during sales, etc.)  Ever since her 5 week mark – for the past 3 weeks, she’s been in cloth! ….And I must say, I.Am.Loving.It!

Type of Cloth Diaper
Let’s get back to basics. What kind of diapering system am I using? I am using prefolds and covers. (with Maya I used BumGenius, Alva and Kawaii pocket diapers that required tedious stuffing of the inserts, and a longer drying time)  Prefolds are perhaps the type of diaper that most resemble diapers of long ago – you know, BEFORE disposables? (Did there ever exist such a time?! YES!)  These consist of a soft multi layered cotton cloth that you then fold up to fit inside a waterproof cover.  The cover has snaps and/or velcro that allow for adjusting the size to best fit baby. (I use Thirsties covers)  With this system, when you have a wet diaper, you only need to change the prefold (cloth part) – you can reuse the cover all day long as long as it doesn’t get soiled. If it gets slightly damp on the inside, simply give it a quick wipe, and you’re good to go! But I would hiiiighly recommend changing everything with a poppy diaper. I don’t mess with those… Here’s the covers I use:
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Now that you know the type of diaper I chose to use, I’ll move into how I prepped them, since you MUST prep the prefolds before use otherwise they won’t absorb adequately!

Prepping Cloth Diapers
Now, if you’re like me, the moment your cloth diaper goods arrive in the mail, you’ll want to start using them. Because, you know…a cloth diaper just sitting around waiting to be used isn’t doing anyone any good!  Sometimes I get so excited I tend to skip over a few details, BUT, you NEED to prep them. This is how my prefolds looked when I received them.  I purchased 2 brands: Osocozy unbleached cotton prefolds, and Diaper Rite organic cotton prefolds. 
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I made sure to carefully read the packaging care instructions on prepping the prefolds and also did some trusty Google-ing of my own to get the best comprehensive idea of how to prep these.  Good thing I did because I was able to learn a little trick that saved some time and water with my prepping.  Now, what kept coming up over and over in my prepping research was that in order for the prefolds to obtain optimal absorbency, they needed to be washed in VERY hot water.  Most people would just throw them in the washing machine, raise their water heater temp, and let the washer do its thing.  (Keep in mind it’s recommended to wash it this way 2-3 times (drying each time in between).  Well, to cut out 2 of those washing machine washes, I simply boiled my diapers on the stove in the biggest pot we had.

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I had to do this a few times to get through all the diapers, BUT I didn’t mind at all! I felt so accomplished because as I boiled each batch, I could see the water changing – all of the oils were getting released from the cloth.  Here’s the after shot of the water, so you know what I’m talking about:
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Next came throwing all these “stove prepped” diapers into the dryer – drying them fully, followed by another washing machine (HOT) wash and another dry. Make sure to empty out your dryer filter each time! You’ll be amazed at all the fuzz that comes off of these…  But, it yields fluffed up prefolds – as seen here:
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From the “prepping” process, these prefolds shrunk, quilted up nicely and grew in thickness about 2x’s! (I also gave my diaper covers a quick wash and line dried those to get them ready to use.)

Using Cloth Diapers
Satisfied that my “stash” was fully prepped, it was time to test it out on Monroe!
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I’m still learning about this whole process, but the way I use the prefold is to simply fold it into thirds, place it in the diaper cover, fold down the front of the prefold to make sure everything stays contained within the diaper cover, and snap (or velcro) it shut. So far, this is what works for me, and since Monroe’s not yet mobile, I don’t have to really worry about anything shifting or moving.  Within the next month of 2, I intend to start practicing other folds and I do have a couple “Snappies” waiting in the wings too (for securing these various folds that wrap the cloth entirely around baby’s bum)

Overall Review (so far…)
I must say, so far, I am LOVING cloth diapering Monroe with the prefold/cover system.  I tell Marv this all the time, but every time I do diaper laundry (usually every 2 days), I just think “ka-ching, ka-ching” (a money sound in case that wasn’t obvious…lol). Yes, it adds an extra load of laundry onto my ever growing pile of regular laundry, but I actually don’t mind doing laundry and LOVE saving money even more….  And with the price of disposables constantly on the rise (have you noticed how Pampers diapers boxes/bags are getting smaller and smaller yet the prices are going up?! Robbery I tell ya…..) I’m happy to have consistency in our budget.  My initial investment into my cloth diapering “stash” was about $200. This included:
– 24 size 1 prefolds,
-12 size 2 prefolds
– 5 size 1 Thirsties covers
– 4 size 2 Thirsties covers
– 1 Planet Wise large hanging wet bag
– 2 Planet Wise wet/dry medium sized wet bags
– 2 pack of Snappies
– 12 cloth wipes
– 2 spray bottles of cloth wipes solution
I anticipate this “stash” to last me until Monroe is basically out of diapers….maybe with a couple small purchases of extra prefolds, detergent, wipes spray etc. along the way.  But at a cost of roughly $60/month for disposable diapers, I should be breaking even by about the 3 month mark from using cloth, which makes me VERY excited! I’m all for saving the environment (landfills from poopy diapers) WHILE personally saving money! 😉  Marv even says this system so far is WAY easier than the pocket diapers we used on Maya and he has NO problems changing Monroe, although he does tend to lean towards using the velcro covers… 🙂  We’ve had no explosions or blow-outs since using these cloth diapers – everything stays nicely contained due to the elastic around the waist and legs which is GREAT.

All in all, I guess you could say I’m a cloth diaper cheerleader now.  I’m still learning as I go, but if you have ever thought about using cloth, have questions about it, or can even give me some advice, I’m here to help/answer/listen!

 

Not your everyday homemaker…

Since moving into our house last May, I’ve been enjoying myself doing home-maker-ish things. So far, I’ve sewn the kids Halloween costumes (we were superhero’s in case you couldn’t tell…
Superhero kids! Handmade costumes  superhero family Handmade costumes

I’ve made the kids play capes:
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Made the kids cuddly minky blankies:
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And taggie lovies too:
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Can’t forget the curtains for the living room:
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And refurbished LOTS of furniture (that will need its own blogpost sometime in the future) So, what “homemaker-ish/DIY” project did I set out to do next? Well, on this weeks’ agenda: homemade, hand painted, RULER growth chart naturally!  Sand, stain, carefully hand paint, and seal….this one took a little bit just sitting there caaaaarefully hand painting all those #’s! I guess it was a labor of love though because I LOVE the finished product!
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And wouldn’t you know, it fit perfectly between the kids’ rooms upstairs. 🙂 Looking forward to tracking their heights throughout the years and being able to take this mobile growth chart with us should we ever happen to move. (My height chart growing up was drawn directly on the wall which meant once the house got painted…there went all our heights)

Next up, picture wall along the stairway. I’ve always wanted something like this, but did you ever realize just how many PICTURE FRAMES you actually need?! So a few years ago, I started randomly collecting them. Yard sales, clearance sections in stores, other random finds, and slowly, throughout those years, I’ve been able to amass a small collection.  My objective was to build an economical, mish-mash of picture frames that were similar yet all different – different sizes, different finishes, different styles – and I think I was able to accomplish my vision. 🙂 Still a work in progress – our family is growing and so will the picture wall – but loving it so far!
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 This picture was taken at the airport the day Marv deployed – I bet Maya wanted daddy to pack her up and take her with him!
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Anyways, over the past year, I’ve really been honing my homemaker ways 🙂  Now just trying to think what I should do next. Thoughts?

 

Challenge Yourself

Ever felt like THIS??  <—-click there

Ready to “DO something”?  Starting Monday, March 31st, I will be hosting a Challenge Group for:

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Beachbody’s newest fitness and nutrition program – the 21DayFix has had such an AMAZING reception so far….results have been phenomenal with participants losing up to 15 lbs in just 21 days!  It combines total body fitness (via 30 min workouts) with CLEAN, portion controlled eating. In wanting to keep the amazing momentum going and HELP others experience their own success with this program, I’ve decided to host a 21DayFix Challenge Group.

What is a Challenge Group?
A Challenge Group is a FREE small, private Facebook group where people come together to complete a workout program TOGETHER.  The purpose of it is to provide support, and encouragement and to keep people motivated as they embark on their fitness/nutrition journey.  I will be posting daily within the group – recipes, words of encouragement, food for thought, assignments, and check ins.

Why should I join?
Joining this Challenge Group will provide you motivation, support, and encouragement as we ALL go through 21 days of this 21DayFix fitness and nutrition program together.  We will all be in the same boat, encouraging one another to stick with it. It won’t be “easy”, but we’ll all be in this TOGETHER!  It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have to be accountable to not only yourself, but others as well.

What is expected of me in order to participate?
What you need to participate in this Facebook Challenge Group is the 21DayFix program. If you already have it, GREAT! If you still need to order it, click HERE  You will also be required to check into the FB group daily.  It’s only 21 days!

I’m SO READY! When will this start?
This 21DayFix Challenge Group will begin on Monday, March 31st.  If you still need to purchase the program, click the link as mentioned above as soon as possible to order.  Due to its amazingly popular demand, it’s currently backordered 2-4 weeks, so get your order in ASAP! If you still want to join this Challenge but don’t think your order will arrive in time, don’t worry – there will be other 21DayFix Challenge Groups. Make sure to order your FIX program to save yourself a spot in the next Challenge!

What is included in the 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack?
With your Challenge Pack order, you’ll get everything as seen below:
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More specifically, you’ll get a general instructional booklet, a 3 day quick fix pamphlet (for when time is limited and you want to quickly lose some weight in a HEALTHY manner), the 21 Day Fix Eating Plan – complete with sample recipes in the back, 21 Day Fix Workout DVDs, and bonus Plyo Fix DVD.
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You’ll also receive 7 color-coded pre-portioned eating containers (for portioning out your meal ingredients/foods), and a 25 oz Shakeology shaker cup.
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Since you get a Shakeology shaker cup, it’s only fitting that some Shakeology would be included with your Challenge Pack as well, right?! You’ll get a 30 day supply of your “Daily Dose of Dense Nutrition” – Shakeology:
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Ready to get started? Fill out the form below to sign up for the Challenge Group:

Put me in, Coach!

Coach. What do you envision when you hear this word?  A man in his mid 40’s, slightly balding, (but covering that with a baseball cap), with a semi-beer gut, toothpick hanging out of the side of his mouth, giving tough love to his little league team? i.e.:
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What would you say if I told you “I” was a coach?
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I “hope” you don’t see a resemblance there! 😛  Let me put this into perspective, I became a Coach with Beachbody while 6 months pregnant with my 3rd baby, Monroe. I didn’t have a “beach body” by any means. But I did have a desire to HELP and EDUCATE people about their health and taking care of themselves. I didn’t let the term “Coach” hold me back, I was determined to take this title as an opportunity and run with it!

In the months since, I’ve been able to continue staying at home with my kids – working from home, I’ve been able to HELP people reach their health and fitness goals, and I’ve personally experienced financial freedoms in the process.

A “Coach” doesn’t need to be an athlete, model, health ‘guru’ etc.  Absolutely not. Whether you’re male, female, a business-man or a stay-at-home mom, tattooed biker dude,  or librarian. Whether you’re outgoing, shy, confident, reserved, someone who works out 5 X’s a day or someone who still has a ways to go in your own personal fitness journey. IF you have the WANT and DESIRE and discipline to take control of your future and HELP others, you WILL be successful in this business…And yes, YOU can do it!

As a Beachbody Coach, I use my own personal experience and knowledge about Beachbody and their programs to help match people up with programs that will fit their lifestyles and fitness needs. I encourage people to take a more in depth look at their nutrition and help to guide them into making healthy, beneficial choices. I motivate and encourage people as they embark on their health and fitness journeys. And I mentor other coaches who choose to HELP people as well.

Have you ever considered becoming a coach yourself but were scared, worried, unsure or too shy and therefore held yourself back? MESSAGE ME. Talk to me.  “Beachbody Coaches” (as scary and “official” as this title sounds) are regular people just like you and I who come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, professions, financial backgrounds, etc.  But we are ALL capable and equipped to help SOMEONE meet their health and fitness goals.  Ready to start your journey into Coaching with Beachbody? Email me at amberyamada@gmail.com or send me a private FB message at http://www.facebook.com/AmberYamada  OR, ready to get started NOW? Become a Coach NOW here!

Honest after-baby insights – ENCORE!

Monroe is  just about five and a half weeks old now, so I thought it was time to add on to my previous blog/YouTube video and touch upon some honest insights that I’ve thought of since that last post.

Covered in this video will be things like – strangers wanting to touch baby, hair problems, sweat…again…, and life with multiple kids (combatting jealousy, etc) “newness” wearing off,  and not forgetting YOURSELF! But first off: daily dose of Monroe 🙂 I can’t believe just how BIG she’s getting!

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First off, let me expand on a concept that I briefly mention in this video, but talked more about in the last “After Baby Insights” video as seen HERE….about SWEAT! (specifically night-time sweat) Now, I’ve never actually “researched” this, but I would assume it’s due to hormonal (?) changes and our bodies trying to return to their factory settings? Who knows, but in any case, it happens. At just over 5 weeks out, I still wake up for Monroe’s early morning feed drenched! Like…we’re talking having to change my shirt amount of sweat. Gross I know. It’s more of the “cold sweat” sweat, so not “as” gross, but still.  Lol, anyways, if this happens to you, know that you’re not alone! If it doesn’t happen to you, then just know that I’m here looking on in envy 😉  But in all seriousness, every time I wake up to nurse Monroe (2-3x’s a night) I make sure to drink a glass of water for 2 reasons: 1) I’m nursing and need to stay hydrated to maintain my supply and 2) I figure if I’m sweating so much at night, I want to make sure I don’t sweat out my hydration that I’m putting in due to my nursing, lol.  Anyways, ENOUGH about sweating! On to the good stuff…here’s my “Honest after-baby insights, Encore edition” video 😛

Another year…

Yesterday, I turned the big 2-8.  Honestly, had Marv not reminded me a couple days before, I would’ve completely forgot! My birthday snuck up on me this year 😉  So much has happened in the past 12 months – we moved into our new house, Marv went on and returned from his deployment, Monroe was born – I’m so thankful to have experienced that all and to now be another year more experienced, wiser, insightful, and OLDER.

My day started out with all three kids sleeping in! We all woke up at 7:30am.  Ah-maz-ing.  For the most part, we spent the day cooped up in the house – reading books, watching Veggie Tales, and doing art projects.  Around 2-3pm, the gloomy sky started to clear up so I made a command decision, for my birthday, I wanted to have a dinner picnic at the beach!  On the menu: fresh fruit, Cookie Butter and organic strawberry jelly sandwiches, cold leftover pizza (I love it, don’t judge), chips, and organic apple juice boxes.

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I stayed on the “carpet grass” (as Marv calls it) with Monroe  while the kids got to play in the sand, and SWIM with daddy! These two….they just LOVE the beach!

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Now, doesn’t this just look like it’s straight out of a postcard?! (minus Milo running through it that is…)

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After some fun in the sand and water, it was time for nice COLD showers at the beach. We brought the kids sleepy clothes since neither of them had napped all day and we anticipated one or both of them falling asleep on the way home in the car….trying to be proactive! 🙂

Next came part 2 of our dinner picnic. Kids finished the rest of their food and got to enjoy their juice boxes while we all sat and waited for the sunset.

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And, oh was it worth the wait…picture of Marv holding Monroe as he looks out at the beautiful setting sun while I sit on a bench cuddling Milo and Maya….priceless.

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When Marv asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, the only thing I was sure of was that I wanted to treat the kids to Menchies! (frozen yogurt place where you pick your flavor and all your toppings and you’re charged by the weight). Kids LOVE this place – it’s our go-to treat spot. So, we decided that on our way home from the Ko’olina Lagoons, if the kids were still awake when we got close, we would stop and get some dessert. Wouldn’t you know it, kids were wide awake!…and THRILLED when they saw Menchies! What fun is a birthday if you can’t spend it with the ones you love, right?

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My birthday this year was awesome. I got to spend it with my loving husband, my two cuddly, inquisitive, adorable kids – Milo and Maya, and my sweet new baby girl Monroe. It didn’t matter what we ended up doing (if anything at all) as long as we were spending time together (since my “Love Language” is Quality Time).  27, you sure were good to me. 28 – you have some big shoes to fill but I look forward to the best year yet!

 

 

Not just your ordinary cupcake tin…

About a year ago, at a yard sale, I stumbled across a plain old cupcake tin.  Nothing special to it,  just a regular cupcake pan.  In addition to finding DEALS, I also love to repurpose items!  I quickly envisioned a finger paint holder! (at the time my kids were 1 and 2.5 years old).  Since I was already getting some other toys and books for the kids, I was able to get this beauty thrown in for FREE. Can’t pass on free!  This got packed away as we moved from one house to another – and just recently got pulled out again.  Picking up some inexpensive washable paints from WalMart – this FREE cupcake tin hence became an amazing paint holder!
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A cupcake tin, by design, is already segmented – so none of the paint colors get mixed up.  It’s easy for my kids to distinguish which color they want to use, it’s mess free, and increasingly more important —-> re-usable! (vs. having to throw out a paper plate with all the paints on it, etc) Just wash and store until next time!  My 2 year old LOVE painting and this makes it super easy for us both 🙂

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I mean… just look at her go!

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Aaaand, the finished product. Her favorite part is helping me hang it up on their artwork wall.

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Another great paint holder would be egg cartons. (Don’t forget to recycle them once you get your painting fix out of them!) Having fun doesn’t always have to cost an arm and a leg…it just takes some creativity and thinking outside the box!

Now, until my next yard sale find….. 😉