Perks of Being an Aunt

Last month, I got to celebrate my nephews 2nd birthday! I cant believe he is already so big, and he has a vocabulary I think some 8 year olds would envy.  A fun fact is that he was born the weekend I graduated from college, so he is a nice maker of how long I’ve been in the real world. Yikes, has it really been 2 years since I was a True Blue UConn Husky???  Quarter-life crisis aside, we all had a great time with the little munchkin.

He is super into trains so we went to go see Thomas! Seriously, this thing is like a rock concert for toddlers.

Thomas CollageAfterwards we got together for lunch, cake and presents.  In addition to Thomas, my nephew LOVES the movie Despicable Me.  He cant quite say it, so his requests sounded like “Pickle me”.  When we babysat it was a bit confusing, but eventually we figured it out.  In light of this, I decided to attempt my first Auntie confection.  And behold, the minions were born:

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2014-05-03 18.30.18Aren’t these so cute??? I kept the recipe simple and made Martha Stewart’s vanilla cupcake recipe.  I then added a generous amount of blue food coloring to represent their overalls.  The batter was slightly yellow from the egg yolks so I had to use a lot of coloring to keep it blue, not green.  For the frosting, I made my first butter cream! Soooo good, but also made me realize just how much butter is in butter cream.  Well worth it.  I love the shade of yellow I was able to get.  Its so vibrant and is a pretty good match for the real characters. Because the frosting dries stiff, I did a base coat and then smoothed it out with a second layer of frosting to make a nice even surface for decorating.

When I was planning out my cupcakes, I was trying to come up with a creative way to decorate.  I was pretty sure my frosting abilities weren’t strong enough to do the eyes in white frosting.  Might have gotten a bit scary.  Instead, the idea to use mini marshmallows popped into my head! Using a toothpick, I drew pupils on the center then added some extra frosting to the bottom to act as glue.  I used a basic black gel frosting for the other details. Viola! To best represent the minions diverse personalities, I mixed up there expressions and number of eyes.  It was difficult to get the classic Whaaaaa? face, but I still got a nice range.

At the party, I think the kids were too young to really get it, but they went over well with the adults.  And the kids liked the flavor so win-win.

What whimsical baking have you done?

 

FitBit: a Bit of an Obsession

Back in December, I decided to treat myself to a gadget.  I had a bit of income from a retail job that I worked while I was RD Job hunting, and I hadn’t done something for myself in a while.  My friend Emily, who works on her feet all day, and I decided to go for it and get ourselves FitBit Zips.  We had heard great things from reviews and friends (*cough* Melissa) and wanted to see how active we really were during the day.  She got pink and I, of course, got lime green.  Well its been a little over 6 months now and I have to say, I’m still excited about it.

Basics:

  • The zip is a pedometer that can hook onto your pants or undergarments
  • It tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned-including calories from basic body functions
  • It syncs with your computer so you can see trends

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I wear this thing every day, occasionally missing it on the weekends.  When I first started it showed me that I was not as active as I thought.  I was on my feet for my job, but was really only walking 3000-4000 steps a day (goal 10,000).  Knowing his prevented me from over eating.  Now that I have activity built into my day and I am meeting my fitness goals, it makes it easier to eat appropriately.

More on the website:

  • You can track your food intake and it will calculate your needs for weight loss, gain or maintenace
  • You can manually enter activities not picked up like swimming or yoga
  • You can enter in your sleep for more complete wellness
  • You can compete with encourage your friends and other FitBit users!

Fit Bit Dashboard

Since starting my own FitBit journey, I have purchased them for Eric and my mom, and I know others are probably sick of me singing its praises.  But that’s not going to change anytime soon! I have found that having some accountability has made me much more willing to engage in both structured exercise and more activities of daily living.  If I’m reading on a couch and I’m thirsty, I’m more likely to actually get up and get water, rather than just sucking it up.  If a friend needs help moving something, I’ll lend a hand more readily.  I now see everything as an opportunity for steps.  I don’t think it has gotten truly obsessive, but it has made me more aware of activity opportunities.  A neat feature is that you can earn badges.  These can be a personal best for steps in a day or total miles over your lifetime.  Recently, I got this beauty:

Fit Bit BadgeAnd I am totally ready to walk 500 more. And wind up at your door… You can’t NOT sing that song. Right?  Overall, my Zip is very easy to use, is secured snugly and I love that it syncs, allowing me to see every step I’ve made over the past 6 months.  If you want a boost to get you going or to monitor your already active lifestyle, I say go for it.  They are about $60.00-$70.00 but you do get a lot out of it and it will last you ages.  Happy stepping!

Do you already use any other fitness tracking gadgets?