June Projects – Face Masks and Christmas Stockings

I kept myself “busy” last month. I’ve been mindlessly eating whenever I have “free” time and being busy prevents me to accomplish my goal of losing the baby weight. We don’t get a lot of free time with an infant and a toddler but it seems that whenever I have some, my instinct is to get something from the pantry ~ anything sweet to satisfy my sweet tooth. It has to change.

For the month of June, I listed things that I want to do that doesn’t involve #1 Eating and #2 Computer. It would be nice to do something creative as well to take my mind off the pandemic, the news and the social media.

Masks, masks and more masks

I sewed 2 masks for our family. One for my husband, one for me and one for MBP. I was lucky that I have some scrap fabrics and elastics handy. Bonus points since the fabrics were old pillow covers and baby blankets that were torn by our furbaby. I didn’t have to order anything and I heard that it is really hard to get elastics these days. I followed this video to sew my elastics. We use it whenever we have to go outside and shop for groceries or visit the doctor for a check up. My husband has to put on his contact lenses since the mask fog up his glasses.

Custom made masks

Christmas in June

I also sewed 2 Christmas stockings. One for AHP and one for our furbaby. I made 3 in 2017 during my first maternity leave. I’m lucky that there were some extra fabric to match one more stocking for AHP. I have to use a different fabric for our furbaby, but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. I followed this tutorial. I’m still pretty new to sewing, but I’m pretty happy with the result, especially of the appliques.

The 3 stockings from 2017 hanged in our former house in Seattle
Additional stockings for AHP and our furbaby Leela

I’m hoping to at least finish one project per month. It’s not a very lofty goal, but I’ll be happy if I can stick with it.

Losing post baby weight during the pandemic – Month 1

Last May, I seriously started tracking my weight. I was on my highest weight post baby #2 and I know that I’m ready to lose the baby weight that I gained since baby #1. I added another 25 lbs while I was pregnant with baby #2. I lost 10 lbs about a month after giving birth.

Exercise

My husband and I started going to our home gym (set up by my husband) once AHP was sleep trained at about 10 weeks. It was my first time weight training and I have to start from 0 lbs, just using my body weight in the beginning. I’m also not doing any abs work out until I can see a pelvic floor physical therapist. Unfortunately, the women’s health PT was furloughed at our local ATI branch so I still haven’t seen one. By end of May, I started tracking my weight and my diet.

The start – 5/28/2020

Tracking my diet

I was eating mindlessly and the pandemic didn’t help. I also have sweet tooth, and have an obsession with Nutella. It just hit me one day, after seeing a photo with my newborn that I didn’t like what I see. It also gives me a chance to be in control again with my own body or at least to feel that it’s mine shared of course with AHP, while I’m nursing.

Picking an App – Noom vs My Fitness Pal

I saw an Ad about Noom and started reading some reviews online. It seems that users were pretty happy with it and saw great results. At the same time, there’s a lot of comparison about Noom and MyFitnessPal. I downloaded both. I paid $1 to use Noom for 2 weeks while MyFitnessPal is free. On May 26, I had my first weigh in at 124.6 lbs. This is about 19 lbs heavier pre-pregnancy. Noom projected that I will be on my goal weight by September. I liked Noom in the beginning. Noom gives you article to read everyday as a form of motivation. As it advertised, it is all about psychology. Every item has a check mark. There are about 7 – 8 things you have to do for the day. You will also have access to a community and a coach after a free trial. MyFitnessPal has a premium version which you have to pay for. I only uses the free app. In my opinion MyFitnessPal has a better user interface and more food recipe on their database. It also has some exercises and articles that you can read on your own.

After about a week of tracking my food intake and my weight, I decided to use MyFitnessPal instead of Noom. Reading articles from Noom just didn’t work for me. On June 26, I’m at 116.8 lbs, losing 7.8 lbs in one month.

Using MyFitnessPal

It’s pretty straight forward. You put in your weight, height, age and your goal weight. You are then allowed to have a certain calories per day and you are supposed to track what you eat. Mine was set to 1230 calories. Since I’m nursing, I allow myself to go more than 1230 and consume about 300 to 500 calories. 1230 calories is not a lot, so I need to budget what I eat. At this point, I am really glad that I’m nursing so I can eat more.

In addition to counting calories, I also start intermittent fasting or really skipping breakfast. This is easy for me since I sleep during AHP’s first nap. I have coffee during the day and my first meal is usually around 11:30. In the beginning, I was really strict and I tried to consume just 1,230 calories, but I did get hungry and realize that I need to eat more since I’m still nursing and burning a lot of calories. I lost 3 lbs on that first week, which is probably not healthy. Right now, I’m losing about 1 – 1.5 lbs a week and I’m pretty happy with that.

Eating Right

I also learned more about nutrition. Obviously, I know that fruits and veggies are good for you but I never looked at the nutrients of foods that I eat. As I said, I like sweet A LOT. Knowing that 1 serving of Nutella or about 2 tablespoons are 200 calories, not to mention another 110 calories from the bread really put it in perspective. I am eating 310 calories of mostly sugar. I realized that I like rice a lot, but can cut it down and be satisfied with 2/3 of a cup. I went back on eating more fruits for dessert and been enjoying more cantaloupe, mangoes and apples. I have harder days. After 2 weeks, we celebrated MBP’s birthday, I devoured cupcakes and tons of Filipino food. There are days that I will still mindlessly eat once the kids are in bed, while I’m watching some TV. This is hard and I never thought that I will have a problem losing weight. In fact, growing up, I have a problem gaining weight. I tried to keep myself occupied and for the month, I listed some things that I want to do that will keep me busy.

Keeping track of weight

I weigh myself every morning, before I start my day. Weight fluctuates during the day and I’m usually lighter in the morning. This week, I fluctuate between 114.5 ~ 113.6 lbs. It’s annoying when I move up from the previous day since I like looking at the downward graph. I have to remind myself that I should really look at the trend on a weekly basis.

Progress for 1.5 months

Goal

My end goal is to be at 105 lbs. I’ve been on this weight for a good 17 years before pregnancy. At the same time, I also want to build some muscles. I’d like to be on my ideal weight by the end of September, keep it and stay healthy.

Watch out for progress!!

Early Retirement Spending – June 2020

It is still hard to believe that the first half of 2020 is over. It was the quickest and yet the slowest year at the same time. AHP is officially out of the newborn phase and we celebrated MBP’s 3rd birthday in the middle of the pandemic.

Spending wise, in June we spent 1,812.03

Groceries – $623.89

Groceries still top our spending. There are really no other way to spend money in quarantine aside from food. In June, we (I mean my husband, mostly) cooked everything we ate. We haven’t had a chance to discover any new restaurants in the area to get some take outs. For those times that we did, pre COVID-19, we were disappointed, so it is fairly easy to just cook everything at home. We did spend quite a bit on groceries, majority of it spent at Costco and WINCO.

Household Supplies – $200.49

This category seems to be catch all for everything we needed to maintain the house. We bought a new lawnmower because the battery of our old lawnmower was no longer charging. We found some hacks to revive it but my husband doesn’t think it will last. My husband bought one that plug in to the electric outlet. He seems to like it better even with the cord. We thought about buying a gas powered mower, but getting gas is just a hassle and the thought of keeping it in our garage scares me.

Utilities – $316.05

Utilities includes water, sewer, electric and gas. My husband says that our water bill is $40 higher this month since we turned on the sprinkler on our front yard. We are trying to revive the lawn and I guess $20/month is not so bad. I didn’t recognize the trend since our water bill is lump to utilities. Electric and gas is $40 cheaper though since we are no longer using the heater.

Gifts – $125

The fundraising event for MBP’s coop was canceled for the year because of COVID-19. Majority of the funds for his coop comes from this event. We decided to donate the cost of 2 tickets to the coop.

Birthday, Anniversary and Father’s Day

We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary this month and MBP’s 3rd birthday. He was born a day after our anniversary. Mr. MMD got some flowers and we had a pretty low key celebration.

We invited my immediate family for MBP’s birthday. This includes my parents, my grandmother and my 3 siblings. I made a rainbow cupcake, some rolls and bake chicken while my parents brought some Filipino food. It was a lovely day and our bellies were full. We had so much fun seeing MBP get so excited for his birthday. A week before his birthday, he was asking what day it was and keep on telling us that “today he is 2, but on Saturday he will be 3”. It was hilarious and he was so happy blowing his birthday cake. I was a bit bummed since I thought that this is the first time that we can celebrate his birthday with his classmates, but he still had a lot of fun! He was really excited with all his gifts. Just shortly after, we visited the kids pediatrician for AHP’s 4 month check up and MBP’s 3 year check up. It’s the only adventure out for the kids. We stayed home for the rest of the month, but enjoyed the sunny weather and the trails in our neighborhood.

I made the birthday cupcakes for MBP’s 3rd birthday

We also celebrated Father’s day and just like other celebrations, it was very low key. MBP “made” a card and my husband cooked some pancake ~ the usual breakfast every Sunday.

The Best Dad Card

Here’s a recap to our spending in 2020:

We’re tracking under 40k if we assume that our expenses will just double through out the year. Holidays are always expensive though, and we still don’t know if MBP’s school will open for the year.

And here’s the breakdown of our May expenses

DescriptionAmountComments
Groceries715.8A bit high for the month
Household Supplies200.49Our new lawnmower
529 College Fund200
Utilities166.39Water and sewer
Gifts & Donations125Donation to MBP's coop
Electricity87.02
HOA Dues68.25
Garbage62.64This is for 2 months worth of garbage and recycling
Shopping52.39Rolling pin, portable fan and other stuff that I can't remember
Internet45
Alcohol & Bars19.11Some beer from Costco and from WINCO
Gas & Fuel17.71
Mobile Phone15.912 lines from Xfinity mobile
Amusement14.99Flowers for our anniversary
Clothing14.21Some clothes for the Mr.
Subscription6.55Monthly Prime Subscription
Electronics & Software0.57AWS monthly fee to host the blog
Grand Total1,812.03