All about the kids!

This weekend I slacked on my workouts big time. In fact, I even missed my workout this morning. I was supposed to have a rest day on Friday and then get back to exercising on Saturday, but life got in the way and I didn’t do it. I made excuses to sleep in and negotiated myself out of my workouts. While I’m disappointed, it was a learning point for me because I learned when my weakest moments are when it comes to my workouts. That being said I was not inactive this weekend. I still did two rounds of mini golf, bounced with my kids on the bounce houses at a kid’s birthday party and played with my kids at the park. This morning I chose to try something new by getting completely ready before my kids. Again, I slept in about 20 minutes too late, so I didn’t have to time to fit in my strength training and attempt my new feat of being ready first. Life is about changing and adapting and I think that getting up and ready before my kids wake up really does give us more peace in our mornings. Now the next step is to figure out what time I need to be up in order to fit in exercise as well. I also need to work on ways to stop myself from the “5 more minutes” trap, I’ve had that problem since I was in high school, if not earlier!

This weekend my kids were with me so I wanted to take full advantage. With our crazy busy weeks and splitting time between mom and dad, my kids really do seem to miss the quality time that we had before I went back to work. So, this Sunday was date day. My mom came over for the day (I am so blessed to have her nearby!) and I rotated children, taking them each on a “date” of their choosing. My son got breakfast and a round of mini golf, my littlest girl got her first mani/pedi and time at the park, and my oldest daughter got lunch, a round of mini golf and some additional time together while we meandered around town running some errands. I think that each one enjoyed that time alone and I hope to continue this tradition throughout the year…maybe not all in one day though, because I was tired by the end! I read a great article the other day about setting aside the child’s birthdate each month as a special night where they get to stay up for an extra 20 minutes or so and have a little alone quality time. I am going to try that out because with three little ones it’s difficult to squeeze it all in and I know how important undivided attention is to them. We also had some great family time on Friday night and Saturday. We had friends over Friday, went to the park Saturday and then attended a birthday party for my sons classmate in the evening. It was a fun and full weekend. (and no, I did not clean my house or get any laundry done, but that was not important to me and because of my good weekday routines, I know I am not behind!)

I had one more exciting thing happen this morning. (okay…it was exciting to me) My son, who I love dearly, freaks out if a vegetable even touches his plate. This morning I made a green smoothie (with spinach, banana, pear, avocado, and kiwi). He watched me make it. My youngest asked to try some, I gave her some, and of course she liked it. My oldest daughter was hesitant but when I offered her a dollar (hey a dollar for trying something green is fair to me) she tried it, didn’t like it but that’s fine by me. I didn’t even offer it to my son, but he asked if he tried it could he have a dollar? Heck yeah! Not only did he try it…he LIKED it! I’m beyond thrilled, there is hope! My son likes something green!!! Sometimes in life, it really is about the small victories!

Cardio and the crockpot

My kids spent the night with me last night but are back with their dad tonight. I took advantage of the kid free time and headed over to the gym after work. I have to work later when I drop the kids off at school in the morning which means when I got to the gym I only had about 30 minutes to work out. I know I am supposed to do 30+ minutes of cardio today, but simple math tells me it’s not going to happen. So, I did 2 miles in 20 minutes plus a 5 minute warm up/cool down walk and will do a 15 minute yoga DVD before I head to bed. My muscles are feeling tight anyway, so yoga will be good for me. I contemplated jumping rope outside for 10 minutes…but I just got done eating dinner, and I don’t think that would end well.

baconandtomatosoupThis bowl of deliciousness is what I had for dinner tonight. I am always looking for new, healthy recipes that can cook all day while I’m at work. Oxygen Magazine happened to publish this one in their January 2015 issue, it’s called Bacon+Tomato Red Lentil Soup. It felt great knowing that the second I got home, I would have dinner waiting instead of having to cook. Since my kids aren’t here, it’s the perfect time to experiment with new food. I pulled in the garage and all I could smell was the onion and garlic. It was like someone was in the kitchen making my dinner for me. I followed the scent inside and immediately served myself a bowl. It tasted as wonderful as it smelled! And just like that I have a new recipe to add to my single mom cookbook. (with a little note to get up a little early to make it…it didn’t work out so well trying to get out the door on time while preparing an extra meal in the morning)
I am trying to get to bed on time tonight too (by 10). I’m really starting to enjoy getting a full night’s sleep. I notice that when two of my kids woke up at two different times…it wasn’t as hard on me as it is when I’m running myself down. Time to go clean up, do my yoga, take a short bath and head to bed!

2015 Resolutions: New routines for better health


I have been working on finding routines and systems to help me get closer to living a healthy, balanced and peaceful life. I’m still in the beginning stages of trying some of these out, but I am already noticing the difference.
For my health, one of the first things I have focused on is getting enough sleep. Instead of sleeping in this weekend, I made a conscious effort to go to bed early and still get up at a decent time. I didn’t go out late or stay up catching up on movies or tv. It was lights out by 10 pm every day. I woke up between 6 and 7:30, felt refreshed from the extra couple hours of sleep and didn’t feel like I had wasted half a day sleeping in. I have continued this into the work week. Instead of trying to get one last thing done at night. I pick one thing I need to do, get it done and then go to bed at a decent hour. It’s nice to not be yawning the second I wake up. I’ve also noticed the dark circles that were forming under my eyes are starting to go away. Yay!
After completing a 6 mile run on Sunday, I was enjoying the runner’s high and started thinking about how I miss my regular work outs. Between kid 2 and kid 3 I was either running, strength training or doing yoga almost every single day. I was starting to see the stomach definition and had a ton of energy. Then one morning I went for my usual run, felt nauseous and bam, with kid #3 on the way, the workouts dwindled and it’s been a struggle to get back on track since. Back then, I was married and not working at a corporate job, so I had someone to watch the kids and more time to fit the workouts in. Now, I am determined to find a way to get back my strength and endurance on a much busier schedule and as a single mom. I happened to be reading my January 2015 Oxygen magazine when I stumbled across the first month of their 3 month workout plan. I don’t believe in coincidences, everything happens for a reason. So, I tore it out, decided on what adaptations I would have to make to work with my schedule and I am already on Day 3. I feel sore, in a good way and am excited to see what I can do just with this plan. I like that it is simple and only requires a chair, a resistance band and some running shoes. I had all three!
Since the middle of December I have been slowly revamping my pantry and refrigerator. I noticed that more and more junk/processed food had been appearing in my cabinets and fridge. I stopped purchasing the processed (except for a few little treats that the kids like) and changed how I shop. I no longer go to my main stream grocery store. I go to Trader Joes, where I find it easier to hold back on junky indulgences. I also have been participating in a weekly CSA delivery service for my main produce. My fridge is now stocked with much tastier and healthier eats. I love to open it and see all the fresh, natural foods. All this fresh foods means I have to find ways to include them in my meals. I made a green smoothie this morning that was delicious (I posted the picture on Instagram). Instead of adding pasta, I pick another veggie to cook (my kids still get the pasta). I’ve also been experimenting with new recipes, especially for the veggies I’ve never eaten before. This is a baby step towards clean eating, but I already feel better and my energy levels are higher just from increasing the amount of fresh produce in my diet.
I will keep you posted on my progress. I took some “before” pictures that I will post once I get some good “after” ones to go with it. I’m hoping this will motivate me to stay on track!

Changing habits: How to Lose Weight and Keep it off

I have never been a big fan of diets or miracle weight loss programs. Whether it’s a magic pill or a DVD that will get you in tip top shape in 60 days, I just don’t get it.

Some people may say I’ve never been overweight so I can’t possibly understand. Well, technically I have. I had 3 kids in 4 years and gain and lost between 60-80 pounds each time. With my third child I even got a red flashing screen when they entered my weight gain for the month because I gained way more than allowed. Ummm, hello! It was the holidays, I’m going to enjoy those baked goodies! But no, I’ve never had a weight “problem” and yes I’ve “always been skinny”. And while good genes may have played some role in this, I attribute the main reason for this to be the healthy habits I have established in my life.

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to lose weight. Read my tips below and see if they can help you lose and keep those extra pounds off. And remember that slow, easy changes will have a better long term result that quick dramatic ones that you quit doing in 3 months.

  1. Change your goal! Yes, that’s right. STOP FOCUSING ON THE WEIGHT! It drives me nuts hearing about how someone gained 5 pounds or needs to lose 10. I hate the number, in fact, I don’t even own a scale! Set a goal to live a healthier life and choose goals that support that healthier life. Focus on how you feel, increasing energy levels, being able to run a mile, touching your toes…whatever sounds fun and achievable to you. Guess what? You will still lose the weight…but hitting that magic number will not be the be all end all of your healthier lifestyle. If you set a goal to lose 30 pounds, and you lose it, then what? Do you go back to your old habits because you met your goal? In my experience, yes! Instead, work on forming HABITS that will change your weight forever.
  2. Get enough sleep. It’s so much easier to make healthy choices when you are well rested. I find that if I get enough sleep I have more energy and less excuses to skip a workout and I tend to reach for healthier food choices.
  3. Hydrate! Drink more water. If you drink sodas, juices or coffee all day now, start by replacing one soda with water. Begin and end your day with a glass of water. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Even if you don’t get “enough” right away, gradually including more water in your beverage intake will reduce the sugary drinks you consume (yay) and you will feel better with some good ol’ water in your body.
  4. Change your diet gradually. How your body looks is 80% based on what you put into it. Drastic dietary changes though are harder to stick to. Instead of doing a huge diet overhaul. Ask yourself what you could do to eat healthier than you did yesterday. If you eat out every night, could you cook one meal at home. Not eating your fruits and veggies? Change one snack to a piece of fruit or add a piece of fruit or a veggie to every dinner (or lunch or breakfast). Do you eat fast food? I do, sometimes it’s just easy and I’m tired, but I always order water instead of a soda and try to make a healthy meal choice. Switch your regular pasta for whole grain. Everything is about moderation, it’s OK to indulge every now and then just not every day. When you eat the right foods, you also tend to stay full longer which will benefit you as well. Oh, and don’t count calories, just choose real foods and lots of them. When it comes to health…I am not a big number person, can you tell?
  5. Get moving! One of the most important habits you can create is the one of moving. If you sit all day at a job and then come home and sit in a front of a tv…you won’t burn up much energy. My habit that I am working on right now is 15 minutes of activity every day. I might do a 3 mile run (not in 15 minutes!), go to the gym, go for a hike or do my boot camp DVD. On the days where I miss ALL of that, I at least make sure I do 15 minutes of yoga before I go to bed. It’s about creating the habit of moving in the beginning, not burning yourself out or making yourself so sore you quit in the first month. The intense DVDs out there are great and promise great results and I am sure deliver on those results, but I get bored, sore, or busy and cannot stick with them. So, I have my favorite one and I do it on the mornings I have my kids (when I wake up in time), but I can’t do it every day. Variety helps me stay motivated. And I believe I will still see results. I have only be doing this since the first of the year and I feel stronger already.
  6. Celebrate the small wins. Set yourself up for success. Make small goals (not weight related) and when you reach them celebrate them! Running a mile in under 10 minutes is your goal? How about a pedicure as a reward. Go on a 6 mile hike and reward yourself with a bubble bath or favorite tv show. Eat 5 pieces of fruit/veggie this week? On top of the rewards of feeling better, treat yourself to a little something…a phone call with a friend or a “night off”. You may just be excited to do those little things you didn’t think you could or be so happy with how you feel that a reward isn’t even necessary. Find what will motivate you and keep you on track to a healthier life.

Staying Present

One of the things I am working on this year is staying present. It is so easy to slip into patterns of dwelling on the past or to get so focused on where I want to be that I forget to enjoy where I am and find peace in the journey I am on.

As I was driving home from my friend’s house the other day, I got to thinking about how life is like driving down the road or walking down a path. If you turn to look at what is behind you for too long you will veer off the road or crash into something. If you look too far ahead you could miss something going on right next to you. When I go hiking I take my time and just enjoy my surroundings, but there have been times where my only goal has been to get to the end and I have missed out on the true beauty of the moment.


If you spend all of your time thinking about what has gone wrong in the past, people who have wronged you, and chances you didn’t take, then it’s really hard to enjoy what is going on right now. You cannot truly be in two places physically or mentally. It’s time to turn that switch off and let it go. Focus instead on the joy your children bring, the sound of their laughter, the taste of your morning cup of coffee, the feel of a cool winter breeze as you walk outside, the smell of fresh baked cookies or a home cooked meal, all of the simple things that we often overlook as our mind wanders elsewhere.

When it comes to the future, we have to watch ourselves too. It’s okay to have dreams and be working towards where we want to be. But we do have to be careful that we do not become so obsessed with where we want to be and what we want to do and have that we no longer appreciate where we are and what we already have. You may want a bigger house, a nicer car, a better job, but be grateful that you have a house, a car, and a job. They may not be ideal, but you have them and they will lead to something better down the road.

Today, I am grateful I have a roof over my head, a safe car to drive to and from work, healthy food to eat, a job to keep my bills paid and three beautiful children who I cannot wait to hug when I get home! I hope you will join me on my adventure of appreciating the small every day joys in life.

Achieving Goals in 2015

blogging-goals (2)As 2014 draws to a close, I am looking forward to the New Year with a fresh calendar to be filled in. Another year of infinite possibilities is just around the corner. I like to use the last week of the year to clean up my home from the Christmas celebration, reflect about what I have achieved in the past year and start putting the wheels in motion for what I would like to achieve in the coming year.

But, like most people, I want to make sure I actually achieve my goals and am not just putting dreams on paper to be forgotten by February 1st. What makes less than 10% of people successful in reaching their resolutions? How can we be one of those that reflects on the year and smiles at all we have achieved? Here are some tips for making 2015 your best year yet:

  1. Set realistic goals – It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement and want to do too much in too short of time and without the right resources in place. Go ahead and dream big, get everything on paper. Then look over everything and see what you can really do in the next year. Getting out of $50,000 worth of debt would be amazing, but is it realistic? Assess where you are before deciding. It may be a more long term goal, but you could pay off a portion by next New Year’s Eve and work on getting habits in place to ensure you stay on the right track.
  2. Set up a plan – Once you have figured out what you want to do in the next year, you have to figure out where you are and how you will get there. For example, I have dreamed about scuba diving for almost a decade and this year I want to make it happen. I’ve researched dive schools, looked at clubs I could join, know how much I need to save to get certified and can set up a plan, with dates, to make it happen. A goal with no plan is like trying to go somewhere new without directions or a map…good luck!
  3. Have small wins – Once you know your big goal, it helps to set up shorter term goals to help encourage you along the way. I set a resolution to run a half marathon for about 4 years in a row…and failed miserably every time. In January, I could barely run half a mile and would get discouraged at the thought of making it 13.1. This year I set small goals. My first was to run 2 days a week, no matter what. Then, to run a 5k (I ran 2 and a 4.2 miler). A 10k didn’t seem so daunting at that point, so I ran…actually I ended up running two. That scary goal of running a half marathon this year? Did that too! It was definitely a lot easier after seeing how I could accomplish the smaller milestones.
  4. Be accountable – One of the biggest reasons I stuck with my running goal this year was I had friends doing it with me. Whether you find someone who shares your interest and can push you, or you just get the support of a family member or friend, having someone hold you accountable makes you a lot more likely to achieve your goal. You can’t just pretend you never had the goal if you’ve shared it with someone (or everyone on social media…whatever will keep that fire lit!)
  5. Journal – Writing your accomplishments in a journal is about holding yourself accountable and also tracking your progress. By recording what you are doing you can look back and see how far you have come, the obstacles you have overcome and keep your goals fresh in your mind. I love going back and seeing where I was six months ago and how much I have grown and achieved.
  6. Review your progress – I find it helpful to sit down and review my goals at least once a quarter. Sometimes we can get caught up in the day to day and forget about where we were trying to go. By scheduling a quarterly review, I am able to reassess my goals and whether they are achievable and to adjust my plan as needed to account for everything going on in my life.

I know I plan on using all of these tips in the upcoming year and I am so excited to see where it will take me. What will you being doing to make 2015 amazing?

How do you find balance as a mom?

I thought it was a simple answer. Finding balance must have a magic formula. And the more I’ve thought about it and researched it, the more I have realized there really is not one answer. Just google it…You will get hundreds of different answers on what the perfect balance is and how to achieve it.

Here’s the truth: you determine what the right balance is for you. I’ve been reading a lot of stuff on working v. staying home and other parenting related issues and here is what I have found – we all have different opinions on what should be done and how it should be done and we all like to tell others what the “right” way is to do it. We are all in different stages with our children, our marriages and our lives. We all have different children with different temperaments and likes and dislikes. So, guess what ladies? You are ALL right!

You determine how clean your house should be, what type of foods your kids should eat, where you will live, whether they go to public or private school, whether you nurse or give your babies formula, whether you work or stay home or some combination of the two, how fit you should be, how much time you spend with your children, how you discipline them and the list goes on and on. And while you may listen to different advice from friends, family and the internet, the bottom line is your situation is unique and only you can determine what is best for you, your children, your family and your life. So take the information you read and then listen to your heart.

I’m guilty of not following my heart to find MY balance and it has caused me so much unnecessary stress. Let’s face it, the one thing we all really want is for our kids to grow up in a loving happy home and for them (and us) to be happy, successful and healthy. Other than that, our worlds could be night and day, and that doesn’t mean any one person is better than the other.

When I first started this blog, I wanted to help moms everywhere achieve that perfect peaceful balance in their lives. I wrote for a while on different things, but was struggling because none of it seemed to really be what I was looking to say. I also felt that I was lacking that balance in my life – going through a divorce, trying to raise three kids, struggling financially, not exercising regularly or sleeping enough, and working a full time job while trying to pursue my passions. So I took a break to regroup. I’ve decided that I need to find my perfect balance and in doing so, I hope that I can help you find yours. So, from now on, this will be a journal of sorts, not for you to follow but to inspire you to ask the same questions in your life.

What is YOUR perfect balance? If today was a perfect day for you, how would it unfold (and I don’t mean spending the day on the beach with a drink in hand and butlers by your side with (insert hottie here)…I think we all have some sort of dream like that… a true fantasy… I mean, in living your life that you are meant to live and want to live, how would you spend your day? What would make you content, fulfilled? What would you work on? Who would you spend time with? What would you do for yourself? What would you eat? Where would you go? Start thinking about these things…because the older I get, the more I realize that we only have today to live our perfect day…we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from creating that perfect day, every day!