.Guest Post: Lucy from Craftberry Bush.

Happy Saturday to you all! 
I hope you will enjoy this Memorial Day Weekend and remember to lift the many men and women who fight for our country up in your prayers.

Today Lucy from Craftberry Bush is back with her second post here on Little Things Bring Smiles. This week is all about getting "physical, physical let's get physical!" (I couldn't resist throwing that song in here..thanks for putting up with me everyone!)

 Hello again, I hope you have been keeping well. I am glad to know that you are ready to get healthy

This week I will be highlighting some of the most efficient exercises for a beginning exercise plan. Please remember that if you have never had an exercise program you will need to consult with your doctor prior to starting. 

It is a well known fact that exercising does not only benefit in weight loss but also in maintaining a long and healthy life. Exercise can literally cure diseases like some forms of heart disease, prevent and reverse depression and has even been documented in assisting in the recovery of cancer. The list of benefits is ongoing. 
The key to exercise is to keep moving and make it part of your life. It is easy to say that you want to exercise and even start a program, only to give it up a week or two after the initial excitement. I can tell you from experience that if you stick to the program for at least three weeks you will see results and you will be hooked. It takes approximately 21 days to form a habit and this is a habit worth forming. 
Here are some tips to get you started and ‘hooked’ to exercising:

-Choose a time where you are most likely to exercise and stick to that time. I.e. if you are too tired at the end of the day you are less likely to go for a walk or hit the gym, so exercise first thing in the morning; you’ll get it over with and you will have more energy for the rest of the day. 
-Choose exercises suitable to your fitness level. Even the gorgeous 20 something year girl on the treadmill had to start at the beginning. It’s ok to feel intimidated at first but you will do more harm than good if you try to keep up with the 20 something. It will only lead to injury or becoming unmotivated.

-Choose compound exercises- these are exercises that use more than one muscle group at a time such as squats or pushups. The more muscles you us the more calories you will burn.

-Don’t be scared to lift like a man. It is a myth that a woman will develop manly looking muscles. This is only possible if you are taking performance enhancing drugs. The female muscle composition is not able to develop huge muscles naturally. 
-Take it easy on the cardio-(kind of) many women think that the more cardiovascular exercise they do, the more weight loss. This is somewhat true, however, the more muscle your body has the faster your metabolism becomes and therefore you will have more caloric expenditure. YOU NEED TO PRACTICE STRENGTH TRAINING IN ORDER TO HAVE A COMPLETE LEVEL OF FITNESS.
-Don’t get into a rut and keep yourself challenged. The body is an amazing machine, which has the ability to adjust to any situation in a matter of seconds. What this means is that if you repeat the same exercise over and over again, after a while there will be no apparent benefit. This is what we call a ‘plateau’ in the industry. We see it all the time, people who are eager and willing to exercise but do the same routine day after day and then complain that they cannot lose those last ten pounds. You need to change your workout routine every 3-4 weeks max.

The following is a beginner’s exercise program. Do this program every other day to allow your body to recover (your body needs the recovery in order to build new muscle cells) Here is a link to My Fit, it has a complete list of exercises and how to videos. http://www.myfit.ca/exercisedatabase/exercise.asp
3-4 weeks 
Days 1,3,5 - You can perform the exercises as a circuit of 5 
          exercises done three times or complete each set required
          per body part .i.e. Circuit- Lat pulldown 10-12, chest 
          press 10-12, leg press 10-12, hamstrings 10-12, floor 
          crunches 15-20. Start over from Lat pulldown (keep the 
          same recovery in between)

  • Warm up 5-10 minutes of low to moderate intensity
  • Lat pull down - 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions (30 -40 seconds recovery time)
  • Chest press – 3 sets of 10-12 reps (30-40 secs recovery)
  • Leg Press – 3 sets of 10-12 reps (30-40 secs recovery)
  • Hamstring curl – 3 sets of 10-12 reps ( 30 - 40 secs recovery)
  • Floor crunches – 3 sets 15-20 ( 30 secs recovery)
  • Stretch – 10-15 minutes (muscles should always be stretched AFTER a workout, not prior.) It is a common mistake for people to stretch prior to a workout. I often tell my clients to think of their muscles as a fresh piece of gum – it is easy to break in half. Once the gum has been chewed or in this case warmed up it is more flexible and it yields lots of flexibility.
Days 4,2,6- 25-30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio 
         activity. Remember that these are basic exercises, if they
         are too easy perform, more sets and higher repetitions or
         higher weight. If you are fit in the cardiovascular
         department, increase time and intensity. 
Thank you so much for reading along, next week I will be discussing Nutritional facts and providing you with some useful tips to stick to a healthy eating plan. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will gladly address them through Katie. Have a great workout! 

Much Love, Lucy 

Lucy, thank you for this post. My husband and I learned so many excellent tips and facts we had no idea about! We are both excited to begin incorporating strength training in our work outs following your guide. Cannot wait to hear about the Nutritional facts next week!


.Good Morning.


I am feeling blessed. I am having one of the most peaceful mornings with tears of joy continually filling my eyes. Just last night I shared how my days with the girls will be much longer now that school is over and I asked for prayers. Well..I can feel them, I can feel your prayers.

I woke up this morning at 6am to brew my husband some coffee for his very long and busy day of filming and I am so glad I did..it led me to where I am right now..

As I took my dog out, I just stood and looked around me in awe of God's handiwork. This morning was perfect. The smells, the fog, the dew shimmering in the sunlight, the cool breeze..it was perfect. It immediately brought me back to my time spent at Camp Tapawingo and brought me to tears. I love how God reminds us He is always with us and so blessed for everything He taught me that summer at Tap.

..I am now sitting in my bed with my cup of coffee on my end table and my lappy toppy on my lap. My pup is curled up next to me sound asleep and amazingly beautiful praise music is blasting thanks to my Chris Tomlin Station on Pandora.

I've been perusing facebook and the blogging world and I am happy. Friends of mine are having babies, friends are recently engaged..recently married..I am touched and so happy for them. I have been lifting them up in prayers and just thanking my Lord for everything He is doing in my life and in the lives of others..how are we so lucky to have a Heavenly Father who loves us so much?

..I am blown away at who God is..He is so giving and understanding and loves us..I am blessed.

This morning is the first morning in about a month I woke up feeling relief in my back, RELIEF! I have been having so much pain in my back and have been seeking help from a chiropractor for a few months now. Experiencing answered prayer first hand gives me chills and again feel so thankful the Lord is watching over me. There is still a lot to be healed with my back but feeling relief is such a blessing and I will gladly accept it!

It's time for me to shower before those darling girls arrive. I needed to write my thoughts down with you all--thanks for listening :) This morning has been so peaceful, thank you for those who prayed for me..I can feel it.

Good morning to you all!



.It's officially SUMMER.

My Summer has officially begun.

The two little girls I watch had their last day of school today..this is great for teachers but a little sad for the nanny..aka ME!

This means..

No more sleeping in til 1030am and enjoying a hot shower followed by a hot cup of coffee with plenty of time to walk my dog down the street to the corner all before leaving my house at 1135am.

Wake up time is now 845am..830am if I want to get a shower in before the girls arrive to my house at 9am.

Oh dear.

My days went from 5 hrs with the girls to 8 hrs with the girls.

I love them to pieces but I will be honest..I am in need of:

Prayer..and lots of it ;)

Here's to my Summer officially beginning..


.Interior Tour.

Adam and I will spend our first night in our first house on June 1st.
We are ecstatic! 
Here is a sneak peek of the interior.

Front Entrance:
Main Hallway:
Guest Bedrooms (3 Total)

Guest Bathrooms (2 Total)
 Addition Nook leading to the Master Bedroom:

Master Bedroom:
 Leading down to the Basement:
More to come:
Master Bathroom
Living Room

Hope you liked the first peek into our new house!
June 1st are you here yet??


.Guest Post: Lucy from Craftberry Bush.

Happy Saturday everyone! 

A few weeks ago I shared my personal story explaining my determination to become healthier spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I am happy to report I have completed 3 weeks of eating better (much, much better) and I can honestly say I feel good! My energy level has continued to increase and I find myself accomplishing more in a day. The 12 minute exercise program has been wonderful and I find myself pushing harder and harder each time and completing more exercises during the 20 second intervals. I am not perfect and will admit I took one week off with exercising because it was my "time" and I am afraid my sweet mouth for chocolate came back for just a few days. Good news: I did not get discouraged! I jumped right back into my healthier diet and exercises. I have not weighed myself because I am not ready to see numbers..I simply enjoy feeling better and my clothes fitting a little (very little at this point) better! 

I am thrilled to announce our guest blogger today! It is Lucy from Craftberry Bush! Lucy is a wonderful Christian, a loving mother, wife, and friend. Her blog captures the beauty God created in elegant, creative ways. Lucy's blog offers high quality photos that will instantly draw you in to the warm, whimsical feel she continually creates. Lucy shares personal stories about her family as well as fun, inspiring craft projects for all to enjoy! I love reading Lucy's blog and was so touched when she offered some advice on getting healthy. Lucy is a personal trainer with excellent insight on getting healthy. I asked Lucy if she would like to write a few posts for my blog to inform me, as well as my readers, about tips for diet and exercise and she jumped at the chance! Here is Lucy from Craftberry Bush!

Hello guys, 

I am so honored to be here at Little Things Bring Smiles to share with you some basic information on getting healthy. When I read that Katie wanted to embark in a healthier journey, I was immediately excited. As a personal trainer, I offered Katie my assistance and support and of course Katie being our sweet Katie, she thought you would also benefit from some of my suggestions.

In the next couple of weeks we will be discussing the how’s and why’s of getting there. 
Let’s start with goal setting…

Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle or increase your endurance, it's important to tailor your workout to fit your goals. That seems obvious, but almost everyone who starts working out eventually finds their enthusiasm waning as their goals get further and further away. One way to avoid giving up is to make sure your goals are realistic and that you have a specific plan to reach them.

If you're trying to lose, get healthy, build muscle or excel at a sport, you'll need SMART goals - Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. When you don't have a specific goal, it's difficult to keep exercising and to track your progress to see how far you've come. Keep in mind that you can have a variety of goals - Losing weight, getting in a certain number of workouts, improving your health or even just making better choices every day.  

Before you start working out, take a moment and ask yourself these questions:

1. What do I want to accomplish with this exercise program?
2. Is my goal realistic and attainable?
3. Do I know how to reach my goal?
4. Do I have a timeline for reaching my goal?
5. How will I reward myself when I get there?
For example if your goal is to lose 50 lbs in 6 months, it is possible but it is not reasonable and you will only end up feeling defeated and discouraged. Experts recommend that you lose no more than 1-2 pounds per week, but it isn't likely that you'll lose 2 pounds every single week and many people find they actually lose about .5 to 1 pound on a good week. 
Be aware that if your goal is to lose weight, the more weight you have the easier will be to lose weight initially, but the closer you get to your goal weight the harder it will get. That does not mean you should give up. 
Do you need to lose weight? 
Often our weight loss goals are based on what we think we should look like rather than what's reasonable for our bodies right now. There are broad parameters to use to figure out if you need to lose weight but, in general, you might be a candidate for weight loss if you have the following characteristics:
  • A BMI of more than 25
  • A Waist-Hip ratio of higher than .8 for women and higher than 1.0 men
  • An Abdominal Girth measurement of more than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men
Of course, these are only guidelines and you should consider them as such.
Take a look at your life, do you run out of breath while walking up the stairs or just doing everyday activities? Do you have pain in your joints? Are your clothes not fitting properly? Do you just want to feel healthier ?
Nutrition and Exercise. You cannot have one without the other. Come back next week when I will provide you with some basic information on the best exercises and some nutrition tips.
Thank you so much for reading along and good luck on this new journey.
Much love, Lucy
Thank you Lucy for taking the time to write this. I am looking forward to next week's post :) 
Happy Weekend!


.Random Thoughts.

It's Friday.
Another weekend is here.
I am so behind on house cleaning.
(which is sad because more than half of our house is packed)
We will not be moving until June 1st.
Closing got pushed back..
..and back.
Totally fine, we can take our time packing.
Funny thing about the new house..the shutters we were told were black are actually NAVY.
Yep, after visiting numerous time we decided they are definitely more blue not black.
Glad we did not paint the front door black ;)
I still have not mailed out the Little Things Giveaway package to the Wilson family.
It's been over a month.
Sorry about that..
On this topic, I still have not mailed my sister-in-law her "W" book page letter I made back in January.
Yes, January.
Goal for this weekend: MAIL OUT PACKAGES!
There are about 5 loads of laundry taunting me to wash them.
I just don't want to.
But I will.
My head is hurting.
I should probably get off the computer, eat some lunch, and have my delicious cup of hazelnut coffee.
Tonight Adam and I are spending time with our friends Ben and Hannah and baby Jack.
I really love our friends here in VA.
Did I mention that when we finally move in our new house, Ben and Hannah will live 5 blocks away?
Yeah, pretty cool..I know.
In my head I have been planning our housewarming party decor.
Remember, we did not even move in yet and do not have furniture to fill the home but here I am thinking about party decor.
We will have it catered so I can actually enjoy the party and socialize.
I'm thinking BBQ.
Definitely going to do BBQ.
I need to shower today.
I'm feeling sleepy and it's not even 2 o'clock.
I could sleep since the girls are sleeping.
The girls I nanny..not a mommy yet :)
Okay, head is telling me to get off..
..have coffee..
..take a shower..
..then read more blogs all before the girls wake up.
Happy Friday everyone!
Oh that laundry, darn.
Wait, tomorrow is SATURDAY!
Perfect laundry day in my book ;)


.Last Night = Perfection.

I love spending time with my husband. 

Yesterday afternoon while chatting with Adam on gmail, I mentioned I was in the mood to be "out" and asked if he wanted to go window shopping for the new house after work. My awesome husband said, "sure!" I love how willing he is to put up with my "moods" :)

Our night consisted of..

Stop #1: Our new house. We moved more furniture and took measurements in the living room as well as the deck.
Stop #2: Schewels Furniture. Adam and I were simply wandering the showroom looking for anything that stood out. No luck which means no money spent, always a good thing!
Stop #3: Wendy's. Yeah..we gave into fast food BUT we both ordered salads! I tried the new Berry Almond Chicken Salad and it was delicious and according to their stats, under 400 calories!
Stop #4: Big Lots. We found so many things for the new house and at amazingly cheap prizes! Lamps to flower pots to shower rods you name it--we found it! Nothing was actually purchased but we know we will be heading back to Big Lots as soon as we officially move in to our house.
Stop #5: Joe Beans. Drive through coffee. Enough said.
Stop #6: Sam's Club. Looked at their selection of patio/deck furniture. Liked what we saw, but we are still trying to decide between going the table and chair route or the outdoor couches. The deck is rather small so we need to measure and lay everything out.
Stop #7: Target. Adam made a "deal" with me before going in we were simply going to look at their patio/deck furniture and NOTHING else. He's a smart man..I could spend hours in that store. We found outdoor couches that we LOVE and the price was right. We'll be back :)
Stop #8: Pet Smart. Colden needed more meds, the ticks are so bad here.
Stop #9: Pet Store. Who doesn't like looking at puppies and kittens?
Stop #10: Sweet Frog. Vanilla frozen yogurt topped with strawberries and brownie chunks. Mmm.
Stop #11: Red Box. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1..I know, we are nerds and enjoyed every second of it!!
Stop #12: Home sweet home. Husband, blankets, comfy couch, puppy, cuddling, and Harry Potter mean one thing...

...Last Night = Perfection


.Blog Changes.

Hello everyone!

I will be working on my blog tonight changing a few things here and there. Please excuse any "mess" you find as well as random posts when you visit. Hopefully these changes will be finished soon :) Thanks for understanding! If you have any suggestions on how to make Little Things Bring Smiles more user friendly, I'd love for you to share! Hoping to find a new template to use. Thanks again for reading and visiting as my blog gets a mini makeover!



Little Things Tutorials

One of the best things the blogging world offers (in my opinion) are the amazing step by step tutorials showcasing different recipes, crafts, house projects, you name it! As a reader of many blogs, I truly appreciate when the blogger takes the time to post a step by step process so you can try your hand at the craft. I wanted to give back and say thank you by providing a few tutorials myself.

Be on the look our for new items and happy crafting everyone!

Acorn Wreath 
More to come!

.Do It Yourself.

Do It Yourself

Life at times can be boring and is in need of a simple DIY pick-me-up! I am a huge fan of anything DIY and love creating beautiful, affordable things. I use this blog as an outlet to share my DIY adventures in hopes to inspire you to make projects of your very own.

Below you will find four categories:

DIY Wedding
DIY Party Decor
DIY Crafts
DIY Home Edition

Have a look around and stay a while, thanks for stopping by!

DIY Wedding: Rustic Elegance
DIY Party Decor:
DIY Crafts:
DIY Home Edition:
More coming soon :)