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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

In celebration of our family from NY arriving tomorrow, I will be taking the week off from blogging to spend as much time with them as possible.  

I look forward to ringing in 2016 with all of you!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Quick Cardio Blast & Why I Gave Up the Gym

quick cardio circuit workout - no equipment needed

Time is valuable and time is what most of us busy moms lack.  You don't have to be a mom to lack time!  Particularly at the holidays, we just don't have the ability to get to the gym for an hour sweat sesh and quite honestly, who wants to do that anyway?!

So I put together some of my favorite moves that combine a lower body workout for maximum sweat (big muscles = big burns) and cardio.  If you do a 5 minute warm-up before and follow this with a 5 minute cool down, this will be a quick and effective workout for you.


If you like these workouts you can see more on my YouTube channel here or by following me on Facebook here.

I love being able to get my workout in at home.  Years ago I was a self-proclaimed gym rat, but these days I'm getting the results I want within a reasonable time frame from the comfort of my home.  I'm not going to lie - when I first considered at home workouts, I was extremely hesitant and felt that it wouldn't work for me.  But, I was at a point as a new mom where I couldn't find the time nor did I want to make the time to get to the gym.

So I jumped in head first and honestly - best decision ever in regards to my health and fitness.

Here's why...

No waiting.
I hated waiting for a treadmill to open up at the gym.  It never failed; I would get there and find something to do for 20 minutes before on became available.

My own sweat.
It grosses me out anytime I see someone in full-on workout mode sweating all over the machines and they get up to go to the next one without wiping it down.  Yuck!  I always sprayed everything and wiped it down before and after I used it because you just can't expect people to do it.

Time.
This is the biggest and baddest reason to give up the gym in my opinion.  I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to the gym and honestly, driving to and from it would impede on my workout time.  I also can't fathom giving up an hour of time with my son each evening because I don't have many hours with him while he's awake in the first place.

Also, the hours at the gym aren't exactly user friendly.  Most workouts and gyms don't start until 6 a.m.  For me, that wouldn't be enough time to get in a workout and get ready to head to work for 7:25 each morning.

My living room is my gym.
I need very little gym equipment therefore my living room can be my gym.  This means, I can literally roll out of bed and into my cross trainers and get my workout started in 5 minutes time.

Do you work out at home?  What is your favorite workout?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Stocking Stuffers for Everyone on Your List

I don't know what it is about the tiny little items that go inside stockings each year, but they are some of my favorite things to buy for gifts.  It's so easy to go overboard and spend a crazy amount on stocking stuffers so I always try to set a budget of $20-$25 per stocking.  Because...the best things come in small packages, right?

I've put together some stocking guides for everyone in your family this year:
dad stocking


I love surprising my husband with little things like funky socks and those unique cufflinks.  What a conversation piece at work!  The Sriracha keychain is pretty comical if you ask me, but a great gift for a hot sauce fiend.  Some other stand-bys include shaving gear, golf tees, and money clips.


mom stocking


Mom is a little easier in my opinion because there are soooo many cute little things that are out on the market targeted toward this niche.  I love Sweaty Bands and they are coming out with some really cute ones that aren't just for working out anymore.  You can't go wrong with hand sanitizer - especially this scent - or candles.  Some cute studs and lipgloss are every woman's favorite.  And when I saw this cute coin purse for less than $5 I knew it had to go on the list!


toddler stocking


Toddlers are going to love anything you put in their stocking.  Simply the act of removing things from it is exciting.  I tried to focus on needs more than anything for this stocking in an effort to avoid filling it full of unnecessary *junk* or sugar.  Which we already have enough of as toddlermoms.  My son loves these Z bars and they are a healthier alternative to the traditional granola bar.  We are starting to talk about the potty and sit on it a few times a week so I think it's probably time to read about it and I like how this book is specific for boy and girls.  Tub time toys are always a good choice as well as straw cups.  Toddlers love straw cups!  I snagged some of these socks the other day to throw in since the dryer loves to eat socks and I absolutely adore these slippers.


dog stocking


I know there are other pets out there, but we just have dogs so I made a dog stocking stuffer list.  Honestly, I would never buy our dogs these adorable donut chew toys because they would be torn apart in minutes, but if your dog isn't as destructive as ours, these are too cute not to buy.  A new brush and some of their favorite treats make great stocking stuffers.  We love rope toys because our dogs love to play tug of war, but also because they aren't as easily destroyed.  Lastly, these treat toys are wonderful - they keep the dogs busy forever.

What do you put in your Christmas stockings?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

3 Ways to Prep for Santa


Christmas can be overwhelming.  Weekends are jam-packed with family functions, parties, travel, and little ones get wrapped up in it all.  Shoot.  Adults get wrapped up in it!  Sometimes I need Monday to come so I can rest from my weekend during holiday time.

As it gets closer to time for Santa to arrive I try to prep my home, my son, myself for the big day.

1. De-clutter

Almost every week this month I've brought a bag (or 2) full of items we no longer need or use to the thrift store.  It's nice to take the toys that kids no longer play with to someone who might use them to make room for anything new Santa may bring.

As I decorate for Christmas, I go through my decorations and decide whether not items still fit my vision for my holiday scheme.  I've found that many things can be donated, given to friends and family, or even trashed due to wear and tear.  Since we moved this summer I decided if it wasn't being used in the new home, it would probably never be used so it was either trashed, donated, or give away.

2. Schedule Rest

I know this seems silly and close to impossible especially as a parent, but it's really important to schedule a few days of family relaxation time during the holiday season.  Lay around in your pjs, drinking cocoa, and watching Christmas movies.  Or spend an afternoon baking cookies and decorating them.

You simply can't enjoy yourself when you're exhausted and this time of year can exhaust you.  In order to truly experience the holiday season, schedule some R&R for you and your family.

3. Introduce kids to Santa

This is probably the hardest part for littles.  They are so excited about Santa and they know who he is, what he does, and all that he means to the season, but when it comes time to sit on his lap they freak out.  There is no right or wrong way to introduce them to Santa and it may work one year and fail miserably the next, but here are a few things we've done to try to ease the creepiness for our little guy.

Read lots of books.  Each night before bed we read several books; one is always about Santa.  We make sure to point him out.  Talk about him and practice saying, "Ho, ho, ho!"

Watch holiday movies. Let them see Santa being friendly and doing what he does in action.

Visit him from afar.  Go to the mall a few times and see Santa from afar before going for pictures.  Let your littles see other children getting on his lap to talk to him, let them ask questions, etc.

Get excited about him together.  Really talk Santa up.  I know he's not the reason for the season, but he has a major presence this time of year so it's important for kids to be comfortable around him.  If kids know that you love Santa, it will naturally rub off on them.

How do you prep for Santa?

Monday, December 14, 2015

DIY Gingerbread Birthday Party

diy gingerbread man birthday party

I thought I was being so smart when I set out to throw my son a Gingerbread Boy themed birthday party.   His birthday is December 12th and I just knew there would be plenty of gingerbread decor out with the holidays around the corner.

Not so much the case...

So, that meant I had to get creative!  Which actually turned out to be pretty fun since I hadn't waited until the last minute.  Had I waited, I would have totally caved and gone with something else because it was not easy finding items that fit the look I was going for.


I ended up stretching the gingerbread theme a tad and incorporating a lot of red, white, and green candy that would be on a gingerbread house since those items were easier to find for utensils, plates, etc.  I think it all tied in pretty nicely and the kids all enjoyed the treats and decorations.

I didn't serve a meal since the party was at 2:00 in the afternoon, but we had plenty of sweet and savory snacks on hand for the guests.  I really went with the green and red theme since it was so easy and honestly, I know this is the last year I get to choose the theme so I rolled with it.  Next year it will probably be Blaze or Ninja Turtles or something the little man requests.


I printed the cupcake markers from this shop on Etsy.   I was able to instantly download them and print them myself.  I found some cake pop sticks in the clearance bin at my local grocery store and just cut them in half.  I attached the cupcake topper to the stick with festive washi tape.


One of my Beachbody teammates has a little dessert business on the side and she makes incredible cookies.  I ordered these gingerbread men as favors for each child that attended the party.


In lieu of party bags I gave each child the gingerbread cookies above as well as a gingerbread man cookie cutter with a gingerbread play-dough recipe to make at home.  The play-dough is incredible!  It smells just like gingerbread.


CT was super excited about the cupcakes...obviously.  


I made the fabric bunting using gingerbread and candy themed fabric following this tutorial.


I had a really cute gingerbread man shirt made for CT, but it was uncharacteristically HOT so we had to resort to this t-shirt for the party.  His shirt was long-sleeve and it was entirely too hot for that.

Who would have thought it would be 75 degrees on December 12th?!

Leggings from JCPenney
He loved opening his gifts and wanted each one "out" as soon as it was opened.  


The next morning he woke up and played with his new toys for hours!  It makes me so excited to see what Christmas morning is like.

Friday, December 11, 2015

2 years



To my baby boy,

It's so hard to believe that you've already been here for 2 years and in the same breath it's so hard to believe it's only been that long.  You are the one who has really given life to my life.

Your daddy and I often watch you play and we look at eachother and laugh wondering what we did before you were here.  Lately, you've been pretty amazed by our Roomba and we often find cans of tuna fish in our living room that you've been pushing around like little vacuums.  Your favorite books are "Meet Jack Truck" and "Thomas the Train Looks Up."  Neither of which are much for the storyline, but regardless each night you come to me with "Jack" and "Choo-choo" and ask me to read them.  Most nights you take them to daddy after we finish and he has to read them to you as well.

I think this past year has gone even fast than the first one.  You have grown leaps and bounds in so many ways.  Your vocabulary is impressive to say the least.  Every color and crayon is "yellow."  You look saying good night to things often yellowing "Good night, cow!" or "Good night, moon!" the whole way home from school as though if you're loud enough they might really hear you.

You've even said your first cuss word thanks to me.  You were helping me unload the dishwasher (you love this task) when you pulled the entire bottom rack full of clean dishes out onto the floor.  In my haste, I said "oh, sh#t" and you excitedly repeated it over and over and over and over...

Daddy thought that was quite funny by the way.

You have a few special friends at school and you really like to play in the kitchen area with the pots and pans.  Maybe one day you will be a world renowned chef.  You make incredible motor sounds as you drive your trucks all over the place.  Maybe one day you will be a race car driver.  We love watching you grow and how your interests develop as you go.

You've become quite independent, but you're really good at holding hands.  It's so sweet how you hang onto 2-3 fingers and you sometimes stop to check to make sure your grip is good before we go somewhere.  I love that you don't mind holding my hand.  You really love pushing your own grocery cart at the store.  The scary part is your reaction when its time to take things out and put them on the belt.  The first time we did this, you put on quite a show for the shoppers :)

I can't express how awesome these 2 years have been.  You truly are the best thing in the whole world.  And I know I'm your mom and I'm supposed to say that, but it's true.  You're bright and funny and strong and brave.  And I love being your mom more than life itself.

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How to Have Patience as a Parent

how to have patience as a parent

One of the biggest fears I had as I embarked on motherhood *almost* 2 years ago was whether or not I would have enough patience for it.  It's funny...you don't realize how selfish and self-absorbed you are until you no longer have that option.

I had all the fears I think every new mom has of if I had enough time, would I really be able to stop spending money on me and start spending it elsewhere, but most of all would I have enough patience?

For me, patience may very well be the single most significant characteristic of a good mother.

And as I've been a mom now for 2 years (practically a pro, right?) I've reflected on moments when I had patience and admittedly some when I didn't.  

This is what I've learned...

Embrace the moment.
Let them play in mud, splash in the dog's dish, eat a cupcake before dinner because we only live once and they're only small for so long and all the other cliches.  Really though, does it truly matter if they have mud under their fingernails or eat dessert first?  Not in the grand scheme of things.

Next time there is a huge puddle, go grab their mud boots and snap a video as they plunge through it.  Worry about hosing them off after the moment has passed.

Laugh at all the things.
Seriously.  Everything is funny.  And laughter is truly the best medicine.  Did you know that laughter therapy is a real thing?  People literally use laughter and humor to promote health and wellness and relieve stress or discomfort.

Years from now you will look back and laugh at the things your child did - why not enjoy them today?

Invest in yourself.
It's so important for you to be more than "momma" or "papa."  You need to have something to call your own.  Obviously you will not be able to do all the things you did before child, but you should hang onto one or two of them in order to keep your sense of self.

When you lose yourself, you start to hold negative feelings toward the things you believe caused that to happen whether you realize it or not.

Stop making time lines.
When I first had my son and I would take him places my husband would ask when we would be home.  My answer was always, "That depends."  And it does!  It depends on so many things from feeding to diapers to naps, etc.

Stop packing so many activities into each day.  I know we all want to make amazing memories with our children, but it's not fun for anyone (including us) if we are trying to do too much.

Remember what it was like to be a kid.
I remember my dad laying on the floor and coloring with me.  I remember my mom baking cookies with me and leaving a huge mess in the kitchen.  Those are the things I remember.  And those are the things I need to do with my son because more than likely, he will remember them, too.

Little things mean a lot in the eyes of a child.  Don't let that slip away from you as the world attempts to jade you.

Monday, December 7, 2015

3 Apps I Use to Save Me Money at Christmas


If you know me, you know I'm a frugal (my brother says this is a nice way of saying cheap) spender when it comes to money.  I like the high quality name brand just as much as the next person, I just don't like to pay for it.

Particularly at Christmas time, I always want to get the perfect gift, but I have a budget in mind for each person on my list meaning I can't always get them the best gift ever.  Unless I find a way to save on it.

I use a multitude of apps to save money throughout the year, but this season there are 3 that I've used most often to save money on Christmas gifts and I think you would find them handy as well.


eBates

I use eBates every time I purchase something online.  It's a cash back program that earns you a percentage of the money you're spending back each time you make a purchase through your account.  It's simple, you log in, search for the store you are wanting to shop from through their search engine and then make your purchase!  Stores have anywhere from 2%-10% cash back most days of the week.


You don't have to put in a code or do anything "hard" or "time consuming" to make your money back so don't worry about that!  Just create an account and start saving.  You can see in the upper right hand of this image that I've almost earned another $20 since starting my holiday shopping.

RetailMeNot

I love this app!  Any time I find myself waiting in line at a store to check out, I pull this up so that I can save an extra buck or two on my purchase.  I'm a big couponer in regards to groceries so anytime I can get a $10 off a $25 purchase from JCPenney or 20% off at Kohl's on this app, I get excited.

It has coupons for shops both, online and in store, and even has coupons to certain restaurants.

If you create an account, you can upload coupons you find to share with others, but you can use the app regardless of whether or not you have one.

Zulily

I would say about 85% of my Christmas shopping was done on this app (the shopping that didn't benefit a small business/entrepreneur).  It is so nice to shop put things in my cart and have them sent to my house.  Items like Little Tykes, Saucony, Stride Rite, and other brands run weekly deals on this site and you can find items for a significant percentage off.


If you create an account using my link you get a discount on your first purchase.  Then share your link with friends/family and earn some free money for yourself!

Bonus: when you make a purchase, you get free shipping and handling on all other purchases made within 48 hours.

What are your favorite apps to use?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

5 New Traditions to Start this Season

5 new traditions to start this season

Elf Someone

I stole this idea from the "boo-ing your neighbor" trend that came out a few years ago around Halloween time.  I like the idea of boo-ing your neighbor, but for some reason, I've never really gotten into it.  Christmas, however, I get into.

I will share a few ways to do this later this month, but essentially you just put together a little goody basket/bag of fun Christmas-y things for your neighbors, leave it on the porch (extremely non-sketchy) and don't attach your name - just tell them to pass it on!

Give Back

There are sooo many ways to do this.  I will be sharing a few of my favorites later this month, but really just volunteering time, making a little craft, or handing out bags of toiletries to the homeless are easy ways to be gracious this season.

Christmas Cookie Baking Day

I've been doing this with my friends for a while now and we've done it several different ways.  Originally we each brought ingredients to make our favorite cookies together and it was a blast.  We ended up becoming too large of a group and running out of room (and time) to do that so we started making our cookies ahead of time and getting together to cook brunch and enjoy one another.

Now that I have a son, I intend to start this tradition with him and his friends.

Christmas Light Gander

As a child we would go pick up my Great-Grandparents one evening in December and drive all around town looking at Christmas lights.  I remember oooh-ing and aaahh-ing from the backseat as we went around from house to house.  It was  nice way to get my grandparents out and about and a wonderful way to get in the spirit as we listened to Christmas music along the way.

Movie Night

As I've started my own family, the holiday season has become busier and more hectic than I had imagined.  I make an effort to schedule a few weekends/evenings of nothing.  Those nights are for Christmas movies, popcorn, hot cocoa, and pajamas.  It's nice just to snuggle up, breath each other in, and remember the reason for the season.

Do you have any traditions for the holiday season?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Packing a Toddler Bag

When CT was a baby, I knew I pretty much had to cart around everything and the kitchen sink just in case.
Ya know?

My diaper bag weighed as much as he did if not more!

Now that he is a little older I've found some ways to make the load slightly lighter.

toddler bag



As he's grown, I don't necessarily need all the little things.  I can more or less get by with a few bare essentials and if I realize I'm lacking something while I'm out, I can pop into Target or CVS and pick it up.  I've also learned that backpacks are a momma's best friend.  I love this cute black one from SheIn because it's inexpensive (because toddlers mean spills) and fashionably functional.  Chasing a little one with a diaper bag hanging from your shoulder isn't easy!

1. Snack Cup: Don't leave home without it!  I also keep a bag of Goldfish or Bunny Grahams in the console of my Jeep because it never fails that we run our and have a meltdown on our way home.

2. Extra clothing: I made the mistake of thinking that I didn't need to have extra pants (just shirts) one day when we went to the mall and I ended up in Baby Gap making an impromptu pant purchase for my little guy.  Definitely have extra clothes on hand.

3. Toys: Whatever your child likes best than is small and portable.  Bring it!

4. Wipes & Diapers: I've also left the house without diapers before only to pop in somewhere to buy a pack after being gone longer than normal.

5. Sippy Cup: I didn't picture this because typically my son is carrying it and it's not in my bag, but as my son has gotten older I've found the value in having a sippy cup.  It's nice not to have to have bottles and breast milk and such with me because I can get milk or water practically anywhere to fill it up.

Do you have any other essentials you carry with you wherever you go?

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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
Directions:
  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.  

Enjoy!



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 it...do 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!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fall Favorites

I saw my girlfriend, Jen, do this Fall Favorites post and thought I would jump on the bandwagon.  I mean, I'm a basic girl who loves all things plaidpumpkinfallspice.  Who's with me?

Favorite Candle:
I'm burning this Spiced Pumpkin candle I bought on clearance last year at Kohl's.  (They have the best discount on candles after the holidays!)

Favorite Lip Color:
I'm not huge on lip color, but my cousin's wife started selling Mary Kay and I went to her party.  I fell in love with this gloss.  It goes on so smooth, doesn't feel sticky, and the color is perfect.

Favorite Drink:
I am not one to jump on the PSL bandwagon - I'm really just not a fan which is a shocker since I love pumpkin.  I'm also a tried and true Dunkin girl...I never see any cute posts about DD on Instagram though.  I really like the caramel latte or macchiato.  I'm also a fan of the white chocolate peppermint mocha from Starbucks when it comes around.

Favorite Blush:
I don't wear it.  My cheeks are rosy enough on their own.

Favorite Clothing Item:

My LulaRoe leggings and tops!  I'm hosting a party November 5th and I can't wait to buy all the things.  LulaRoe is a cool concept - a consultant comes and sets up a boutique in your living room while you and your friends drink wine and shop.  Plus for every 10 items purchased, the hostess gets 1 free and 90% of the items are made in America.

Favorite Fall Movie:
I love the Halloween specials.  We went to the movie in the park a few weeks ago and watched ET.
If you haven't seen my Charlie Brown It's the Great Pumpkin workout you might be interested in trying it while your littles watch it this week.

Favorite Fall TV Show:
Homeland.  Hands down favorite night of the week for tv is the night after it airs because hubs and I are too old to stay up that late and watch it.

Favorite Halloween Costume:

Last year my son was a pirate and he was adorable. This year he may have topped the cuteness charts as Yoda!


What are your fall favorites?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

30 Days of Movement, 30 Days of Recipes


I'm so excited for November's challenge group.  I've been compiling healthy recipes for each meal of the day and I have some special recipes to share just for Thanksgiving.

We are going to focus on moving every day for 30 days and substituting some of our favorite foods with healthier versions while still enjoying the things we love through this season.  One of the biggest fears I had as I embarked on a journey to be a healthier version of myself was that I would have to give up everything I loved in order to see results.

That is not the case!  (Cue the Hallelujah choir)

We have such an incredible team and our challenge groups are pretty much the bomb{dot}com so if you've been considering joining in, let me know!  I would love to hear what your goals are, your fears or concerns over accomplishing those goals, and how I can help you along the way!

If this sounds like something you are interested in just click here or leave me a comment so we can get started!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Non-Mom Post & "The Great Pumpkin Workout"

Ummmmm....just realized the last 3 posts I've written have been 100% tied to the fact that I'm a mom.  Yikes.  Didn't I put a lot of effort and energy into identifying myself as more than mom not that long ago?

In all honesty, mom is my favorite title and most important one so I don't mind it, but still...time to talk about other things!


Okay, I have to talk about the mom thing for just a little while longer...

You may have recently seen my Mickey Mouse Clubhouse workout.  It occurred to me while watching my son watch the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Monster Musical (pretty sure every single cartoon does holiday specials of their own now) that soooo many moms & dads will be watching "The Great Pumpkin" this week.

It's pretty much tradition to watch it in our house every Halloween so I thought, why not make a workout out of it?!  You know - like you use to do in college except it was a drinking game.  No?

Share this post and get your mommy and daddy friends to do it, too!

Linking up with Carly and Molly

Friday, October 23, 2015

Mommy Style Guide

mom's style guide



As a mom I've realized there are a few things that have become staples for my wardrobe.  I want to be cute, a tad trendy, but also versatile.  Because let's be honest even if I'm just carrying my son into daycare before heading to work, there is a 99% chance something will get on my clothing.

Weekends are an entirely different case: there is a 120% chance something will get on practically everything I'm wearing/touching/holding/standing next to.  So comfort, cuteness, and wash-ability are high on my priority list when I'm out shopping.

When I started health and fitness coaching, I sort of veered away from sharing my personal style on this blog and I miss it.  And since this blog is mine and it's a "lifetsyle" blog it pretty much means I can do what I want...right?

So, you will probably notice me stepping up my personal style game around these parts in the next days and weeks.  They will probably not be 100% blog-worthy pictures, they definitely won't be runway quality outfits, but they will be real, in the moment, lived in pieces that work for me and all the hats I wear.

I hope some of you may find them inspiring.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mombie


I'm in full on "mombie" today.  And quite honestly, I have been for several weeks now.  I've been struggling with a cold and I'm up a lot during the night coughing.  On top of that I think my cough is annoying Carson and waking him up throughout the night.

Last night we had 2 parties: one at 12 a.m. and another at 3:30 a.m.  Fun times.

Something about these parties isn't quite the same as when I was awake at those hours in college.  Perhaps it's that I have to adult all day the next day and that adulting starts pretty early in the morn.

Survival mode.


I'm not making excuses though.  I may be tired and I may look rough, but I will make it to my running club tonight.  And I may not go fast, but I will go.

What's your status?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mom Life

Mom life...
the glamorous, sticky, selfless ways of the momma bear.

CT is officially a big boy in a big boy bed.  A few weekends ago we woke up in the middle of the night to him screaming because he was hung up on his crib while trying to climb out.  Needless to say the next day the rail came off.


The other night was the second or third time since Carson was an itty bitty baby that he did not make it through the night in his bed.  Once he was able to start rolling onto his belly my nights got longer and I felt like supermom with 6 hours under my belt.  Now...I'm out of the up all night routine and one night like this completely throws me off my game.

Carson has also recently become very intrigued by our vacuum.  We have this one that goes around and vacuums for you while you are out on the town - hallelujah!  As soon as Carson wakes up in the morning he yells, "Boomba!"  Apparently, he dreams about this thing.  He has even started carrying around a little thing of my eye shadow that is shaped like a circle and calls it his "boomba" and runs it all over the place like a vacuum.

The other morning we were out to breakfast and the waitress looked at me funny when she noticed him pushing my eyeshadow around the table.  I said, "I know it looks funny, but he thinks it's a vacuum so he likes to play with it."  I immediately wanted to smack my face when I heard those words aloud.  Didn't make it any less awkward.


We are also in the stages of saying no, but really meaning yes.  He wants me to hold him, but not touch him.  He wants to sit at the table to eat, but he doesn't want me put him at the table.  He wants to eat a donut, but he doesn't want me to hand him the donut.  He's a wild and crazy kid and even though he doesn't know what he wants, he knows exactly what he wants.

I love being his mom more than life itself.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Workout

As a mom I often don't get to watch what I want to watch on tv.  I mean, it's probably best my son doesn't watch Real Housewives of Everywhere anyway, right?  Hashtag: mom of the year.

So, the other night while my son was watching Mickey before bed I got the idea to challenge myself.  Because, let's be honest, it's also not easy to get in a workout with a toddler running around the house and ain't nobody got time for a gym membership.


So, this is what I did.  I think this is a great idea for moms (or anyone) to do during their favorite tv shows or the ones that are always on for their littles.  It gave me some variety in my workout, I got it done while CT was entertained, and no equipment necessary!

A 30 minute workout, just like that.

If you are interested in more free, short circuit workouts follow me on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Brother Bear Comes to Town

It's funny when we're younger how we don't see siblings as a blessing.  We see them as the reason we have to take turns riding shotgun or someone we need to cart around when we just want to be with our friends.  I remember making my brother hop in the back seat when I picked up my best friend to go to school in the mornings.  It was so stupid because we literally had like a 5 minute drive from her house to school, but I made him get out and get back there so she could ride up front.  


I share that because it haunts me now.  That I ever treated my brother like he was in the backseat of my life.  He is one of my best friends.  If not the best one I have.  

So when he comes to visit now, it's a celebration.  Not to mention my sweet boy loves his Uncle Poo. It's quite honestly the best thing to see him climbing all over him, hugging him, and just genuinely loving his uncle.  



NC has the best zoo ever.  So we make it a point to go visit each time he comes.  Not to mention, CT loves it there.  It's like his second home.  (He fits right in with those monkeys)

It's awesome when your siblings become your friends, isn't it?


So, when I got a text message the other morning asking if we would mind if he came for Thanksgiving I pretty much laughed out loud.  Ummm....NEVER!

Super excited about our next adventure.

Monday, October 5, 2015

When is the right time?


 If you're dating, undoubtedly you get asked when you're getting married.  And if you're married, you're asked when you're having babies.  And if you have babies, people want to know when you're going to have more...

I'm not sure what question comes after that because the last one is the one I get...a lot.

Then I also have people telling me one is enough and having more is crazy.  I don't listen to those people because I know my heart and my heart says we will have more.  I'm just not sure when.

When exactly is the right time to add another life to our family?

I struggle with this not because I am nervous about how I will handle it, when I will shower, or whether or not we can afford it.  I realize those are reasonable concerns, but they aren't mine.  I know no matter what we will take care of those things (and I will invest in dry shampoo.)  I'm nervous about what this will mean for my boy and me.

On days when it's just the three of us, those are the best days of my life.  The days when we do nothing, but get CT's haircut or eat a gyro at the county fair.  The evenings when we drive the truck around the block before bedtime or swim in the pool staring at the moon.  They're pretty much perfect.


I know there is room in my heart for more and I know my love will only grow.  Right now, I just really love the times when my boy crawls onto my lap to snuggle or when he runs through the house yelling, "Moooooommmmmma!"  And I know adding another bambino will change that.

When do you know your family is ready to grow?