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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Dreaded "Before" Pics...

I can't believe I am posting these for the world to see, I am hesitant as they're not very flattering, but if I am going to put the P90X program to the test, I'm going to need proof and nothing proves a point like BEFORE and AFTER pictures.

Here are my stats as well:
Weight: 119.2 (about nine lbs more than I'd like, and 17 lbs heavier than I was when practicing Kendo regularly)
Waist: 27 inches
Hips: 33 inches
Chest: 32 inches
Left Bicep: 11 inches
Right Bicep: 10 1/2 inches
right thigh: 19 1/2 inches
left thigh: 19 inches.

My goal is to comfortably fit in my size fives regardless of weight(I can now wear them thanks to Jillian Michaels and Tae Bo, but they could fit a bit nicer.) and to lose another inch on my waist and hips both. My main hope and goal is to tone and firm up all over.

I will post new pics every thirty days and update on weight and measurements at that time as well.
As you can tell from the photos, I need to tone up my belly area(what 40 year old that gave birth to four kids doesn't?) and lower back area, as well as gain a little muscle and tone the arms and legs.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Officially Starting...

My husband installed my pull up bar, and I am ready to start P90X for real, starting today. Maybe later I will get brave and post a "before" pic and my stats such as weight and measurements to have a comparison at the end of the 90 days.

I am making only a few slight changes to the prescribed plan. Mostly adding in more cardio.

As prescribed P90X Phase One would look like this:

Day 1: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X

Day 2: Plyometrics

Day 3: Shoulders & Arms, Ab RipperX

Day 4: Yoga X

Day 5: Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X

Day 6: Kenpo X

Day 7: Rest or X Stretch

What I will be doing:

  • Day 1: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X, Tae Bo Cardio Circut 1
  • Day 2: Plyometrics, Yoga
  • Day 3: Shoulders and Arms, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 4: Yoga(my own), Tae Bo;Billys Favorite Moves
  • Day 5: Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 6: Ultimate Tae Bo
  • Day 7: Rest

I already did today's workout and am feeling it! Due to currently struggling with pull-ups, I am using the bands while I work my way up to them. After the first 6 push ups the rest are done on my knees. I hope to make big improvements in both these by the end of Phase 1. has a great online community(both a paid and unpaid membership, I signed up for the unpaid) where you can keep track of your workouts, progress, and chat on message boards and such. If any of you sign up there and want a workout buddy, you can find me as SamuraiMom.

I've been a bit annoyed how in each workout the instructor really pushes the supplements, especially the Recovery Drink, but after researching it a bit, and experiencing some of the soreness I am, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. I will let you know what I think once it gets here(thanks to living in a rural area it will be a couple of weeks)

Check back later for stats and (maybe) pics!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yoga X

Today I was relieved to have the P90X Yoga workout to do as I am still a bit sore from Wednesday's Core Synergistics. At an hour and a half long, it was just a little long in my opinion, but it felt nice to get a good stretch.

As far as judging this as a Yoga video, it's okay. Nothing too exciting, but no real major complaints either.

The first 45 minutes were standing and balancing poses, followed by 45 minutes of floor work including a brief ab segment.

In most workout videos I really don't notice music, I can care less to be honest, but in my yoga practices I really like music, Asian Flutes or Indian music. This like another I reviewed recently was more new agey and annoyed me a little.

His instruction was okay. Anybody who has had even minimal yoga experience should be fine. For a true beginner I think there could have been a little more instruction.

He talked alot, which annoys me in any workout, but especially a yoga workout. Yoga is quiet and reflective, meditative. He couldn't stop talking long enough to allow me to get in a meditative mood. By the very end it became downright annoying, especially as he was rooting or cheering on one of the exercisers, I mean, come on, this is YOGA not football practice!

While I found it incredibly annoying, and the routine as a whole a little boring, someone who really isn't interested in Yoga, but wanting a good stretch after harder P90X days may enjoy this. If you're looking for a true meditative or reflective Yoga, check out my Yoga label for my favorite picks.

Like the Kenpo I reviewed yesterday, this make a nice addition to the full program, a necessary one at that. If you are working the whole program as laid out, DON'T skip this one or any of the others. If you're looking for a stand alone yoga tape, look elsewhere.

So far, the only DVD from this series that I can see using as a stand alone workout would be the Core Synergistics. Of course I still have many more to try, but my point is that this series is really meant to be used as a whole, and should be. I think it would be a waste of money to buy any(with the exception of the one mentioned) to use alone without the rest of the program.

So far, from what I've tried, I think this series if used as prescribed can be very effective and would recommend it. As far as breaking up the program and using parts individually, I don't think it would be money wise or wise in regards to seeing a physical benefit.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friends Don't Let Friends....

Friends don't let friends drive drunk and they certainly don't let friends tattoo other peoples names on their bodies. Just don't do it, and don't allow anyone else to do it, just don't....

Maybe if you're over 50 and been married 20+ years, but even then...nope, just don't do it!!

Ab Ripper X & Kenpo X

I must start by confessing, that while I didn't find yesterdays workout(Core Synergistics) as challenging as I feared it would be, by yesterday evening I was feeling it, and by this morning I am downright sore!(in a good way of course!)

Because of this soreness I was somewhat glad the Kenpo X workout was not quite so challenging either. It started off with a very nice warm up incorporating several yoga type poses which I think yoga is by far the best way to warm up and cool down! This loosened up much of the soreness I was having and I was ready to go!

The workout itself is a little slow moving, Tae Bo it is not! Now in all fairness, I LOVE my Tae Bo and for me to compare the two just really isn't fair.

Actually, this workout would be great for someone with no martial arts background and no other experience with a martial arts cardio type workout such as Tae Bo. It moves slow and easy giving you time to learn the moves, and there is no fancy footwork or dance moves to learn, which is a big plus in my book! I even learned some new combos and blocks. I must say too, that the instructor explained the kicks a bit better than they've been explained in the Tae Bo tapes I do.

So all that said, as far as a cardio video goes, it's okay. If you're looking for true cardio with kick boxing type aspects, go out and get Tae Bo. If you're just starting out with cardio and want to try something with a little martial artsy type stuff in it, this might be for you. Also, as part of the complete P90X system, I am sure it is a nice addition.

I didn't feel tired after doing this, and still had some energy to burn, so I popped in the Ab Ripper X. Wow!! It is quite an ab workout for sure!

It is only about 16 minutes long, and you just jump right into it, with a very, very brief cool down at the end. You really work those abs hard the whole time with no resting in between. It is an intense ab workout and I had a hard time with a few of the exercises. I can almost guarantee you I will be feeling this one tomorrow! I will let you know when I post about which ever tape I choose to do(I am trying to decide between the yoga and the plyometrics)

After trying three of these workouts, I think I am getting a "feel" for the program, and have some definite likes and dislikes which I will share in another post later.

Samurai Girl

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

P90X Core Synergistics

Someone from my husbands work was kind enough to lend out her P90X DVD's. I watched all of these yesterday and was quite impressed! It reminds me very much of my youth and bodybuilding days(it's been a long, long time!) Training different body parts of different days, and adding in some cardio, yoga and much variety.

I found a great website yesterday where the training schedule for the complete set was posted as well as the P90X fitness log. I suggest anyone interested in fitness check out her blog as she has reviews and information on several programs and downloads of many fitness guides as well as interesting links.

To do the whole P90X program you really need a few basic items; a chin up bar, mat, some weights or bands and maybe push up bars. I am lacking in the chin up bar, which from what I can tell is just about the most important item! Until I acquire one(which I hope is soon) I will be trying the cardio, Kenpo, Yoga, Plyometrics and Core Synergistics and reviewing them here.

Today I did the Core Synergistics. It was fun, and a challenge! This is not a tape for a couch potato to start off with! I have been working out for the past several months doing Tae Bo and the Jillian Michaels tapes and was able to do this, yet still feel challenged in parts.

This tape combined several exercises that combined different moves working several different body parts at once. Many of them I've done either in Yoga, or doing the Jillian Michaels or Biggest Loser tapes, but this workout took it up a notch(or two!)

There are alot of oldies but goodies like push ups, but even those, they have reinvented making them much more challenging and fun! Push ups are my big weakness, mostly due to an old should injury that acts up still, but I was able to do many of these, and the ones I had a hard time with I just went to my knees after the first four or five. There were a few exercises using weights(always my favorite!) as well as some yoga type poses with a twist(bow to banana and superman to boat) even after practicing Yoga for years, some of these were a little hard for me.

Overall the workout was fun, challenging, yet completely doable for someone who isn't trying to start straight from being a couch potato. I heard how "hard core" these were and was afraid it would be too much for me, but it wasn't. These workouts are far the most "guy" friendly I've seen on tape, much more so than even Tae Bo which till now had been the most guy friendly I've tried, and even those are still obviously geared more towards us gals.

I definitely see how this series can whip you into shape. It isn't any secret, magic formula, it's plain old hard work and effort. This isn't a get thin overnight gimmick or magic pill, it is plain hard work, and if you're willing to do it, it will work for you.

My husband shared how impressed he was with the gal that lent these to us, and her weight loss transformation. A real person, not a paid info-mercial celebrity. So clearly this works if you do..

I will be back each day Thursday-Saturday reviewing the other tapes I can do for now, and hopefully by after the weekend I will have that chin up bar and can start the program in the order it is meant to be done, and will review accordingly and update with progress. I am not looking to drop weight at this point, mostly get toned and add a little muscle size.

You can purchase these at Beach Body.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tip Of The Day With Jillian Michaels!

For all of you fellow Jillian fans....SELF Magazine is having a 14 day "Tip of the Day" video clip featuring Jillian Michaels. I believe you have to sign up, but it is worth it!(and it's free!)

While I was there I searched her name, and came up with a full page of other stories/articles with/about her.

Check them out! Jillian's tapes and workouts combined with Tae Bo have done more to help me get back in shape than anything else I've tried!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One Small Piece of the Pie...

People often ask "what's wrong with the world today?" Well, here's just one small piece of what is wrong:

This is the so-called "celebration" after the recent LA Lakers victory. This partying quickly turned into a full blown riot complete with fires, overturning cars and other scenes of violence.

Really, don't people know how to behave these days? This wasn't one or two isolated incidents, this was a huge crowd, just acting like untamed animals rather than some sports fans happy about a victory.

Not only is it sad that people don't know how to behave in a civilized way, but the amount of attention given to them is ridiculous. The whole newscast that night was live coverage of this! I didn't hear any local or world news beyond my weather report as this was hogging the whole news show! Is this really what people want to see? I am not sure what is more sad, those acting this way, or those who take some sick pleasure in watching them? I was thankful for re-runs of Roseanne that night! Not my usual pick of what to watch, but even her loud shrilly voice and lack of good taste was far better than this "reality" garbage we were all subjected to that night.

Also concerning is what sports and sports stars have turned into. It's almost idol worship, and most of these "stars" certainly in my opinion fall short of being worthy of such worship. It used to be the sports stars who did noble acts such as dedicate their awards to friends or family battling life threatening illnesses or those who worked and trained hard were worthy of being our heroes, these days it seems the more vulgar and vile and outrageous one is, the more worthy he is of such idol worship. What does that say about us?

What does it also say that these "stars" make an obscene amount of money? They make far more than those responsible for educating our children, our true heroes. They make way more than our true heroes do, such as our fire fighters, military, the leaders of our country.

We certainly have our priorities wrong when we applaud sickening behaviour like what we often get from these stars and reward it with such large sums of money, and our teachers, firefighters and soldiers hardly get a thank you for all their hard work, and many of them don't earn enough to make ends meet.

When these sports stars who abuse animals, spouses and others are our heroes, should we really expect more from their fans and worshippers than what we saw the other night?

It makes me think of this song by Casting Crowns:
"Slow Fade"

Be careful little eyes what you seeIt's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the stringsBe careful little feet where you goFor it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself awayIt's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paidWhen you give yourself awayPeople never crumble in a dayIt's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hearWhen flattery leads to compromise, the end is always nearBe careful little lips what you sayFor empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray
It's a slow fade when you give yourself awayIt's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paidWhen you give yourself awayPeople never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your handsIs shorter than you're thinkingBe careful if you think you standYou just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself awayIt's a slow fade when black and white have turned to grayThoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paidWhen you give yourself awayPeople never crumble in a dayDaddies never crumble in a dayFamilies never crumble in a day
Oh be careful little eyes what seeOh be careful little eyes what you seeFor the Father up above is looking down in loveOh be careful little eyes what you see

Parents, be careful about who your children look up to as their heroes, as they will usually try to emulate who they look up to.

Bathing Beauty

Here are the latest photos of my granddaughter(little SamuraiGirl) getting ready for her first swim.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Good Book?

SamuraiBoy4 is often found by his book basket "reading." This evening we found him asleep by the book basket with the book he was reading in his lap! If he would only fall asleep so easily in his new "big boy" bed.

A Warning and Some Changes

I am sure you like me have heard of all the warnings about sharing personal information on the web. I thought I had been being relatively cautious, and really thought I didn't have much to worry about and certainly those warnings didn't apply to me. WRONG!!

Between this blog, Facebook, MySpace, and several other online social groups there is tons of personal info on me and my family, that would have been better left personal rather than public. I am a pretty open person, both in real life and on the web, so I never have tried to hide much about our lives, who we are, what we do, believe, etc.. But unfortunately, this information is to easy for anybody to access, and in my case it fell into the wrong hands.

Due to someone close to me who has been involved in illegal and immoral activities, lots of other people involved in such things use my family to try and get to this person. One of these called the other day knowing way too much about my family. Whether this person will use that in a way that could bring us danger, I don't know. But, this sadly is only one of many people who may in the future try and look us up.

I really don't know for sure how this person found all of this out, but my wise son suggested this person just googled my name, as when he did the same to make his point nearly three pages of ME popped up! Anybody with access to a computer, even a street bum with library access could get this information.

So, I have cancelled my Facebook account, am trying to cancel my Myspace, and have opted out of alot of social groups and closed blogs not here at Blogger. I have debated long and hard about whether to keep this blog going or not, as here is where alot of that information can be had.

For now, I intend on keeping it up, but will slowly over the next few days as time allows, will be going through and deleting and editing past posts to limit the amount of personal information given. I will also be going through and changing our names and use pseudo names. Most likely using my screen name SamuraiMom, making my husband SamuraiDad, and the boys from oldest to youngest SamuraiBoy 1,2,3,4....

If for some reason I can't edit my profile and account information to not include my real name, I may have to delete this blog and start fresh. I am hoping to avoid that.

Meanwhile, if you were my "friend" on any social group here on the web and find yourself de-friended by me, you weren't defriended, I've just closed all accounts.

And use this as a warning for not only you, but your children who if like many probably share a bit too much personal information on the web. I had no reason to believe I had anything to hide or would be stalked by anybody, and due to someone else, I find myself in that very situation. You never know. Just be very selective about what you share.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Own Little Beethoven?

SamuraiBoy4 LOVES to play at the piano, funny thing is some of it is actually starting to sound pretty good! Even my brother commented on it the other day. He's got the Jaws movie music down pat.

Another Winner!

I just got Tae Bo Cardio Circuit 1 in the mail this weekend from DVD Swap. I gave it a try this morning, and like all the other Tae Bo tapes I've tried, this one too is a winner for sure!

It is very similar to Billy's Favorite Moves which I reviewed here last week, only this one is only 35 or so minutes verses 45 and seems to move just a little faster, with a little more emphasis on standing ab work.

Out of the two I prefer Billy's Favorite Moves, only because Billy seemed to be having a little more fun and I liked the music much better. While this one is a little more intense, I may recommend it for someone newer to Tae Bo because I really felt Billy's instruction was much better than any of the others I tried. He explained how you should be positioned or what you should be feeling if doing it correctly, and what you may be doing wrong if you're feeling it somewhere else.

Like all the other Tae Bo workouts I've reviewed, I'll give this one too, four out of five stars, even though it's not my favorite of the Tae Bo workouts.

Fast, Frugal Fix!!

I've noticed the past few days while washing my face that by the time I'm done the sink is full and was taking an awful long time to drain. No worries! I remembered a quick fix. No need for harsh and quite expensive chemicals like drain cleaners, no need for a trip to the hardware store, I only needed to open my pantry.

One cup of baking soda followed by an ample amount of vinegar and in a few minutes, my drain is running just fine!

I just let the vinegar and baking soda sit for a few minutes(it will fizz ALOT!) then run some hot water. I swear this works just as well as expensive yucky drain cleaners.

This same mixture is great poured in your toilet as well, it will fizz up and you can brush as usual and when you flush, the bowl is sparkling white!

There are so many great uses for both of these common household items it's unbelievable! Vinegar is a great de-greaser to use on your stove top and also cuts soap scum in your shower.

I like to fill up my Downey ball with some vinegar while washing clothes, and it makes a great fabric softener!(I also add some lavender essential oil for a nice scent!)

With just these two items, you will find you don't need to buy any cleaners at the store any longer. You can mix up a bottle of one or both of these for just about any household need! A Google search will give you lots of ideas! Happy house cleaning!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ultimate Tae Bo

I Picked up the Ultimate Tae Bo from my library this week, and just now got around to trying it. I've been wanting to try it all week, but at an hour and a half long, I chose to wait until today when I had no other workout planned.

At first I wasn't too sure as it moved alot slower than some of the other Tae Bo workouts I've done. The moves were all quite familiar with some new to me ones as well, but it was just slow. I figured this was so you can maintain the stamina you would need to complete an hour and a half verses the usual forty-five minutes or so.

The second forty-five minutes though seemed to really pick up! I don't know if it really picked up or if I was just getting tired by that point, but by this time I was really feeling worked out!

Mid-way through there were some more of the silly "free-style" dance segments, but instead of being annoyed this time, I had fun! It was a nice break in between the harder stuff. Billy Blanks personality and motivation are great as well, I really like him as an instructor.

This workout is not meant to be done daily. He says several times on the DVD that they only do it once a week at the studio, and we should only do it when we are wanting to test ourselves. I plan on buying this and doing it on Saturdays when I don't have strength training or Yoga to worry about after.

I think an advanced beginner could do the first half of this, and work their way up. I am not sure I would advise a very beginner to start on this one!

It's a good workout, the music is fitting, his cues do seem to be a bit off sometimes though. He's saying go forward while moving to the side and vice-versa. Also either watch him or listen but don't try both, as when he says left, he means his left, which wont be yours, and it can throw you off until you get used to it. Unfortunately, this is an issue in all of his videos I've tried.

In this one, like "Billy's Favorite Moves", he does a much better job of cuing over all, and takes the time to show the moves and let you try them in slow motion before speeding it up. This is great for those who like me are incredibly uncoordinated.

Overall I am enjoying all of the Tae Bo videos I've been trying and have ended up ordering a few for myself. My husband is even working out with me on Saturdays now and his every other Friday that he takes off. These workouts are guy friendly just as much as girl, and husbands and wives can enjoy doing these together.

I think anyone who enjoys martial arts or has taken classes and for whatever reason can no longer do so, will enjoy these. They remind my husband and myself very much of our martial arts warm up drills. The one time I've never had to worry about my weight(other than keeping it on!) was while doing martial arts, so I am hoping I will have the same sort of results with these workouts as they are similar in nature, not only the moves, but the fast pace, then slower, and fast again.

I give this particular workout DVD four out of five stars and will be definitely adding it to my collection soon!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Biggest Loser Yoga

I have been wanting to try this one for a while. I considered purchasing it sight unseen, but am glad I waited for my library to get it instead.

As far as a YOGA video goes, I wouldn't give this very high ratings. As far as a workout video it gets higher marks.

This like many of the Biggest Loser workouts is divided into three levels with a warm up and cool down. I wasn't impressed with the warm up as I think there is no better way to prepare the body for Yoga than Sun Salutations, and this didn't have any.

Level One is the only level that had any resemblance of real yoga. It was very, very basic with Warrior I and Warrior II, Triangle pose, side angle bend and a few other variations. My only complaint here, other than how basic it was, which would actually be great for a very beginner wanting a introduction into yoga, was how much Bob talked, and talked, and talked. I must say he is the first male instructor that has ever irritated me with the amount of unnecessary talking. Yoga is suppose to be quiet, reflective and meditative, none of which could be attained with his non-stop talking.

The music too, while not a huge issue, could have been better. I prefer Asian flutes or Indian music, and this was more space age sound effects.

Levels Two and Three had very little resemblance to Yoga. He even says in Level Two that this is "Yoga-Pilate's Ab Work." It is a good ab workout without any crunches, but other than plank I've never seen any of these moves in any Yoga class or DVD I've ever done, and I've done alot of both!

Level Three was an attempt at Yoga with weights, which to me is a contradiction to begin with. Again, Yoga is about quieting the mind, focus, and stretch, NOT bodybuilding. But it was indeed a fairly good workout none the less!

My thoughts are that if you're looking for a good basic Yoga program, look elsewhere. If you search my "Fitness" label you will find many recommendations for such a program. If you're looking for a good strength training or toning workout, this fits the bill nicely. When I have a chance to pick this up free through DVD Swap or elsewhere I will do just that. I think there are better such workouts that I'd rather spend my husbands hard earned cash on, but I wouldn't mind having this in my collection for a little variety if I could get it free by trading.

This got glowing reviews on Amazon, I believe four to four and a half stars. Basing it on the fact it is calling itself a "yoga" DVD I'd give it two stars. As far as just being a good workout tape, I'd give it three, to maybe three and a half.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Homeschool Graduation!

I am so excited! Towards the end of this month we are graduating our oldest son from high school. Twelve years of hard work has paid off. He is now prepared to enter the military or go to college. The choice is his, but we feel we have given him the skills to do whatever he chooses in life.

Seeing as our graduating class is a class of one, we were left wondering about such things as where to get a diploma, transcript, how to have a ceremony, party, invites and more. At first it all seemed a little overwhelming, but luckily others have gone before us and prepared the way! There are so many great resources out there to homeschooling families that is is both amazing and a little overwhelming. I thought I would share a few of our favorites here, as I am sure there are others graduating this year with the same concerns we had.

First, the most important item your student will need, even more important than the actual diploma is a transcript. This item is what colleges and the military are interested in seeing, not necessarily the diploma itself. There are many great programs out there to help you with this, you can even generate one yourself, but I have found the easiest and most professional looking is put out by Transcript Pro. One of the great things about this program is that even if you didn't keep perfect records or if like me your computer crashed that held all those records, you can still create a great looking transcript. This program also adds up all the credits and alerts you to any possible shortcomings in required classes or credits. I had tried using other programs since losing my records, but found them difficult to impossible to add in everything at one time without exact dates, grades, etc... I HIGHLY recommend this program, and it is usable for the whole family with just one purchase.

So, now you have your transcript, what about that diploma? While not totally necessary, I think everyone likes to have a visible certificate of their accomplishments. Again, I am sure you can generate a decent one yourself, but I found Homeschool Diploma to carry the nicest ones around and at a fairly reasonable price as well. I ordered the standard one for our son. Let me give some advice here that I wish I had thought of earlier. Be VERY careful in selecting your school name. When I first filed my private school affidavit twelve years ago, I quickly picked a name on the spot to file my paperwork. It seemed okay at the time, but as time went on I realized that it wasn't the best name and intended to change it one year, but never did. Well as to not raise any questions about the validity of our transcript and diploma, I had to use the name I have filed under all of these years, and lets just say my son is a little embarrassed, and I don't blame him! I wont share here, as it is THAT embarrassing to us, but use this as a warning to yourself, be, very, very selective in choosing a name for your school. Our isn't as bad as Star Wars School or Legos Academy(yes, I've really heard of those being used!) but it isn't a whole lot better! What is cute when Jr. is five or six, isn't quite as cute when Jr. is a nearly grown man and has to present these documents to universities or military recruiters!

So, now you have your transcript and diploma and you're ready to start planning your ceremony and party! What about cap, gown and those invitations? Homeschool Diploma makes some rather nice caps and gowns as well as invites. If I were to order a cap and gown, it would be from here. While they have some of the nicer invites I've seen yet, they were a bit out of my price range. I did find some lovely ones at a much more reasonable price at HSLDA. I went with these as they were pretty quick in shipping as well as priced right. Vista Print has some really nice customizable ones, priced reasonably, but it was many weeks shipping. Had I had the time, I may have gone with these. If you plan enough in advance, this is a great way to go!

My son really insisted he doesn't want a ceremony, but I was able to talk him into a party. We are trying to do it on the dime, meaning I will be making all of the food myself. We are ordering a cake from Costco and supplies from Oriental Trading Company.

If you're looking for nice graduation gift for your grad our another in your life we found some great ones HERE, as well as HERE.

I am so thankful for all of these resources. There are many more out there, but these are the ones that have worked best for us with our budget and for our needs. After spending twelve years of our lives educating our son, we want to celebrate in a memorable way as well as make sure he has all the necessary tools he will need as he prepares for his future. With these great resources we are able to do just that!