Friday, November 20, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

chocolate chip pumpkin muffins

I may have shared this recipe here before; I can't remember.  But, this weekend some of our best friends introduced and brought home their sweet baby A and I couldn't think of anything better to bake and deliver them than some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

When I was pregnant I had cravings, but those cravings were nothing compared to the sweet tooth I had while nursing.  I remember eating 2-3 s'mores granola bars in a sitting while I was nursing.  It didn't hurt that they were easy to grab and consume while holding a newborn either.

Next time around I'll be healthier...promise.

So, when my friends brought their sweet babe home, I knew these would be the perfect snack for mama to grab on her way to the nursery while she nursed.  They are delicious, just sweet enough, nutritious, and quick.

When I make these I usually make a double batch because they freeze well and they are super yummy.  This time I had no choice because my toddler wouldn't accept me making them and not allowing him to have them.  I'm not complaining since they are so healthy!


  • 1 cup almond butter (when I double this recipe I use 1 cup almond butter and 1 cup peanut butter to save on cost)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine pumpkin and almond butter until smooth.
  3. Stir in eggs and honey.  Add dry spices.  Mix well.
  4. Add chocolate chips.
  5. Distribute batter evenly into 12 muffin cups
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes
  7. Allow to cool on rack before serving.
These make great gifts for coworkers, snacks for daycare, or treats for a birthday party.  Kids think they taste great while adults quietly sit back and chuckle at the gluten free, grain free goodness being consumed by sugar crazed littles.  


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What if my dreams really come true?

After the news of my National Boards I realized a few things.  One of which being that I allow fear to drive my decisions way more than I would like to admit.

For the record, I don't think that's the case here.  I think I genuinely didn't put enough of myself into it for lots of reasons none of which were fear-based.  But, as I reflect (isn't that what all good board-certified teachers do?) I realize this is something I've done in life and once in a while it catches up with me.

I know - it's as stupid as it sounds.  But, the closer I get to my dreams, the more fearful I am of them actually happening.  Quite honestly, what will I do if my dreams really come true?

Monday, November 16, 2015

How To Balance Work & Play

Balance is not something that has come easily for me.  I'm one of those uber passionate people who puts in 100% or 0% nothing in between.  So, when I started my online fitness coaching business on top of my teaching job, mothering, wifing, etc. I was forced to create a system of balance.

My husband will probably argue that I still struggle with this - and he's right.  (You didn't hear that, honey.) But, I think he would also agree that I've made significant progress in the way of balance.

I'm not perfect and would rather not be quite honestly.  There are days when I spend too much time on social media, too much money on advertising, and too much emphasis on the selfie stick.  However, in the beginning that was happening a lot more often than it is now.

Here are some ways I've learned to balance it all:

1. Plan and enjoy quality activities as a family.

Be sure to plan activities that focus on family togetherness.  These can be as small as a walk to the park, a trip to the zoo, or as elaborate as a night away at Great Wolf Lodge.  Whatever it is, be 100% present in the moment.  No work at all.

2. Create a "work space"

If you own your own business you know how easily the lines between work and home life can become blurred.  Especially if you don't have a home office set up.  Even if you don't have a designated room to use as your office, it is important to have a space where you do your work.  Don't allow yourself to bring the laptop to the couch or do work in an area where you might be distracted.

3. Power Hour

Set up a specific amount of time each day when you will solely work.  This should take place in your designated work space.  Set the timer for the amount of time you want to work and create a "to do" list to accomplish in that hour.  You may even turn your phone on airplane mode and definitely stay off social media during this time so you can focus exclusively on what you are doing.

4. Stop Stressing!

Stop stressing about the clothes in the hamper, the dust on the shelves, the dog hair on the couch.  More than likely what you clean up today will collect again tomorrow and there are things that won't be the same tomorrow that mean a whole lot more in the long haul.  Wait until your children are grown to have a spotless house.  No one is judging you on the cleanliness of your home (and if they are you don't want them around anyway!)

5. Schedule time for yourself.

This may seem impossible or unnecessary, but I'm telling you it could very well be the thing that makes a difference.  You must make time for yourself and invest in yourself in order for everything in life to balance.  Get up in the morning and work out, have quiet time, drink your tea in peace, whatever it is do something for you.  You deserve it and you need it in order to be the best mother/wife/daughter/friend/sister/etc. you can be.  Trust me when I say you will notice a difference.  It is not selfish to make time for yourself.

6. Reflect.

Each night as you lay in bed, reflect on the day and how you spent it.  Were you patient when you wanted to be patient?  Were you hard at work when you wanted to be hard at work?  Were you mama bear when you needed to be mama bear?  Reflect and adjust accordingly.  We are constantly growing, constantly evolving.

There are days when balance is completely out of the question and survival is of the essence.  However, most days I feel like life is equal parts fun and work.  I hope these tips help you to feel the same.

Friday, November 13, 2015

On failure and not reaching goals...

The other day I got the news that *yet again* I did not pass my National Boards.

I'm going to be honest here because I don't know how else to be and I feel like getting it all off my chest might make me feel a little better about it.  I apologize ahead of time if it comes off sounding whiny or like I'm throwing myself a pity party.  Perhaps I am.... I don't know.

I just feel like a failure.

Those words sting as I type them.  Badly.  There is one other time in my life that I felt this way; when I was a freshman in college and I didn't make the soccer team.  I busted my butt that year, played basketball instead, and joined the soccer team my sophomore year becoming a starter.  So, in a way, I redeemed myself.

But, for that first year, I felt like a failure.  My heart was broken.

After reflecting, I realized I really hadn't put in the effort necessary to make the team.  There were summer workouts that I had to do and I did them extremely nonchalantly.  My coach had never seen me play because my high school was so far away he didn't travel to see so he had no background knowledge of my skill before I showed up to preseason.  And I didn't prove myself that week.

I put in so much time, energy, money to get my boards.  I completed the first attempt while in grad school.  I completed my second attempt while caring for a premature baby.  And my third attempt while raising a toddler.  But all of those statements feel like excuses.

And I hate excuses.

There is all the "what if" stuff clogging my head and I just feel so discouraged by not passing.  I know I'm a good teacher.  I know I bust my butt in my classroom and I show up for my kids every. single. day.  Even when it's hard.  And there are a lot of hard days in a low income, high poverty, middle school in the middle of nowhere, NC.

I'm glad I can tell my son about this one day when something gets tough for him and he wants to throw in the towel; I can tell him about the time it took me 3 tries to get my National Boards and even though it was long, tedious, hard, and expensive, I did it anyway.  But, then I will also have to tell him that I tried 3 times and failed.  And I worry the story will lose all meaning.

A part of me wants to try again.  But a big part of me doesn't want to fork out another $2,000.  A part of me wishes I could have one more opportunity to write that portfolio and give it another go.  But a big part of me is so happy it's finally over regardless of the outcome.  A part of me has seen the growth and reflection this process has had on my career.  But a big part of me has dreams that don't involve the classroom and questions whether or not it's worth it.

I know it's just an accolade and a piece of paper (and let's be honest, a raise), but maybe it was more than that to me?  I didn't think so at first, but I just don't know...

I don't even know if I'll be in the classroom forever or if teaching is the career I will retire from, but I went for it and I didn't get it and that really just sucks.  No other word for it.

I thought I would be devastated and cry and really let it bring me down.  Surprisingly, there were no tears.  I'm proud to say I didn't let it ruin my day, but I can't say it's not a big deal.  I realize the certification in and of itself isn't that big of a deal, but the let down of 3+ years of work is one. big. deal. To me.

So, today, as my students complete an assessment, I find myself trolling the National Board website researching the newest changes to the process and considering giving it another go.  I'm sitting here questioning whether or not I'm sane or if I just enjoy throwing money at this thing?

Does it matter enough to go another round?  It is a pride thing?  Am I crazy?  Or just determined?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Greatest Thing

The greatest thing to come from my venture into health/fitness coaching has been the relationships I've established along the way.  I jokingly say I met my best friend online, but the fact of the matter is if I hadn't decided to join this team and sign up the way I did, I wouldn't have met Erica.

I realize this is all very melodramatic, but the point is, it's more than blessed me physically and financially.  Yes, it's been amazing to be able to surprise my husband with tickets to a Panthers game and schedule a midweek retreat to the Great Wolf Lodge for my family.  But, in all honesty, I would keep doing it even if I couldn't have those things.

When I first moved to North Carolina I really struggled to make friends the way I had all the years prior.  See, looking back on it now I've always been a teammate.

My friends in high school were my teammates (my best friend simply being my partner in crime - love you, Jess!).  I played soccer, basketball, softball. I was in band and I bowled and I down-hill skied.  In college, my friends were my soccer teammates and basketball teammates.

Then I stopped being a teammate because I had no team to play for and I struggled to establish those friendships that I was searching for.  My biggest weakness or strength? is that I give people my heart before they earn it.  I throw it out there and say, "Here is what you will with it.  I love you, just don't hurt me."  Then when I get hurt, I put walls up.  Or if I don't get hurt, I make one of the best friends you could ever ask for.

I didn't find that easy as Yankee adult moving to the south.

Then I joined Beachbody and suddenly I'm a teammate again.  Suddenly, I'm part of something bigger than me and I'm surrounded by people who all have so much in common with me.  The friendships I've established are incredible.    And every day I'm meeting new potential friends.

I've got these people in my corner rooting for me in all things, big and small.  Feels pretty awesome to have such an incredible team to lean on.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Any Given Saturday

Any given Saturday you will find me in a state of euphoric chaos.

It's typically laundry day hence the basket, unmade bed, piled with clothes in the picture.  I like to do it that day so the laundry doesn't sit in the dryer and I can just fold/put away.  Like that ever really happens, right?!

I prefer comfy clothes - hello tunics and all the leggings.  And, as you can see, my toddler prefers none.  He would run from me in his birthday suit if I let him.  But....the carpet...

We chase and play and scramble to get appropriately clothed for a public adventure.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.  

There is always so much discussion about whether or not social media is a lie and if we really give off a "perfect" image with what we share and I know we do.  I mean, Pinterest wouldn't exist if we were sharing our crafty failures, right?

Life is crazy beautiful wonderful and I want to share it that way so that when I look back at this space I created to capture memories 30 years from now when my children are all grown and out of the house, I can remember it all.  Not just the moments when things were perfect, but the moments when we decided to grow as a family and come together.

In reality, I think those moments are more meaningful even if they aren't Kodak moments.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

You're Invited to the first ever Gift Giving Party!

I know this time of year it can be hard to spend a single penny on yourself.  Everyone is gearing up for holiday shopping, Black Friday, and the hustle and bustle of the season.  Taking time for yourself and investing in a personal purchase is pretty much out of the question.

That's why we created the Holiday Health Gift Party!  It's taking place on Facebook November 16th-20th so you can shop and WIN prizes right from the comfort of your own home, by the fire place, in your cozies.  Isn't that the best way to shop?

If you're interested in participating, simply fill out this form with your Facebook information so that I can "friend" you and add you to the party before we get started.

It's important to note that you do not have to purchase in order to win prizes, however, if you do purchase there will be special offers to save even more money on those purchases!

Click here to join me!