Tag Archives: kids

The Good, The Bad and The Change

So…here’s the deal…I’m going through some changes right now – some major and some not so major…

Big Change Numero Uno,  is, of course, moving to another country.  That, in and of itself, has been more stressful than I expected it to be.   And, on top of that, I am often left alone to take care of my three small children (did I mention I was in a foreign country and have only been in that country for 3 months?) while my husband travels regularly.


The emotional upheaval of it all has been so much more than I bargained for.  However, here I am, still standing (or sitting as the case may be).  I’m alive.  I’m breathing.  I’m healthy.  My family is healthy.

Really and truly – there is nothing more important in the entire world.

When change occurs – and if you are alive, there’s no avoiding it – you have two options:

  1.  Embrace it
  2. Run like hell

I’m not going to lie – option number 2 is often much more appealing-but over the years, as I’ve progressed through this health and fitness journey, I’ve come to realize that change is NECESSARY.

Change is what PUSHES you.  It’s what CHALLENGES you.  It’s what makes you BETTER.

It is NOT easy.  No.

It’s NEVER easy.

BUT…if you can be strong enough to endure the storm (and I know YOU are), then the wind and the rain will eventually dry up and the sun will shine above you – a bright, golden orb in the clear, blue sky.

To be honest, right now, I am in the midst of the storm.  The waves are thrashing.  The wind is howling and I can’t see five feet in front of me.  The things we take for granted back home – like grocery shopping, buying lights for the Christmas tree, recycling and getting gas – can be some of the most frustrating processes here.

I had breakfast (at Ikea- quite the hip thing to do here it seems) with a group of other moms and one mom put it best when she said:

“There is nothing more humbling than moving to a foreign country.”

Will things get better?


Do things suck right now?

Kind of.

Do I have faith and hope that eventually, some day, I will like it here?


So…along with these personal changes that I’m going through…I am going to be making some changes to this blog.

I am SUPER excited about these…

Here’s what you can expect:

  • A Day in the Life posts
  • More recipes that are easy, healthy (of course) and family friendly
  • More health and fitness tips
  • A new travel section – filled with funny stories plus tips on how to stay on track while traveling plus lessons learned when traveling with kids and so much more
  • Ideas for activities to do with the kids during the winter months
  • Motivational pieces
  • Inspiration and self-esteem building
  • My workouts

Basically, the bottom line is this: I will be sharing more of my day to day life with you so you can get ideas on how to live a healthy, well-rounded life yourself.  Sure, I can sit here and TELL you what to do and give you a step-by-step list…or…I can SHOW you.

When, you might ask, will these changes take place?

January 2018!!!!

New year.  New blog.  New me.  New you.

And, in honor of all of these changes, here is a new recipe I tried that my whole entire family loved (including my in-laws)!

Almond Butter Blossoms

Almond Butter Blossom Cookies

Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 20 small cookies



Chocolate drops:

  • 2 oz 4 TBS unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 TBS pure raw cocoa butter grated
  • 2 TBS pure maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt


Make Chocolate Drops:

  1. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper, set aside.
  2. Melt together chocolate and cocoa butter and stir until smooth.
  3. Add maple syrup and sea salt (optional) and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer chocolate mixture to a piping bag fit with a circular tip and pipe onto your prepared baking sheet into the shapes you want.
  5. Transfer to the freezer to set. Keep frozen until they are added to the cookies.

Make the cookies:

  1. Preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together almond flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and coconut sugar. Set aside.
  3. Add almond butter, coconut oil and maple syrup to a large microwave safe bowl or medium saucepan.
  4. Melt ingredients in the microwave or on the stovetop, then stir until completely combined.
  5. Add almond milk and vanilla and stir until combined.
  6. Add dry ingredients and mix until combine and there are no lumps in the batter.
  7. Scoop the dough into 1 TBS portions, roll into balls and place on your prepared baking sheets. These cookies do not change shape much in the oven, so be sure to form them into the shapes you want.
  8. Bake in your preheated oven for 6-8 minutes or until the cookies look set and just began to crackle.

Putting it together:

  1. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press one chocolate drop into the middle of each one.
  2. Let cookies with chocolate in the center sit on the baking pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool!
  3. Eat and enjoy!

Source: https://joyfoodsunshine.com/almond-butter-blossom-cookies/

*Recipe notes*

  • I used Hershey’s kisses (definitely makes the cookies less healthy BUT it’s 10 x easier)
  • You could also melt some dark chocolate and put dollops in the center of the cookies – a slightly healthier option
  • You could use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips also – Much healthier and cleaner (but I can’t find any here and they are super expensive on Amazon)
  • I used peanut butter instead of almond butter (because I didn’t have any)


Perspective is Everything

It all started with a Facebook post…a Facebook memory, actually, that a woman shared on her Timeline recently.


It was a picture of her daughter, 2 years ago, sitting poolside, in a tankini, eating a sandwich.  It was summer.  The sky was a crystal clear blue.   The sun was glistening off the gentle waves in the water.

The caption she wrote with the picture reads:  Really missing our pool days this year.

See, her daughter, who is 7, is fighting cancer for a  second time.  And instead of spending the summer outside, drinking up the sun and swimming, she and her daughter are spending their time rotating between the children’s hospital and The Ronald McDonald House.

Here is where the perspective part comes in…

I have three, healthy children but they have been driving me crazy this summer.  There’s been a lot of bickering and not listening and acting out because Daddy is away at school.

I have found SEVERAL gray hairs that were not there a few months ago.  I have had more wine in the past couple of months than I have had in the past year.

It takes 2 hours, literally, for us to get ready to go to the pool.  There’s the packing of the pool bag (which is often interrupted by breaking up fights between my children) – change of clothes for 4 people, snacks, water bottles, extra swim diapers, baby wipes.

Then there’s the part where I have to get all the kids changed into their swimsuits.  I have to fight with my toddler to put it on because everything is “no” these days.

Then there’s the part where I have to get them into the car.  This, as many of you Mamas know, is like herding cats.  All of the sudden they can’t find their shoes that I have been asking them to put on for the last 30 minutes.  And then the baby makes a dirty diaper and I have to change him.  And then my daughter decides she needs to bring 5 books, 3 dolls and a pen and paper so she can writer her own book.

“Can you carry these, Mommy?”  She asks me as she thrusts her superfluous items into my hands, which are already full with a  pool bag, diaper bag and a baby in a car seat.

By the time I get everyone strapped into their seats – I’m exhausted.

There were days this summer that I found myself hoping it would rain so that going to the pool wasn’t an option.  Sometimes I would find excuses as to why we couldn’t go.  Sometimes I found myself rolling my eyes and losing my patience as I tried to get everything ready while they yelled at each other about whose turn it was to play with the little red car.

And then…that post popped up in my Newsfeed…and I thought – Well, shit.

Those two, that Mama and her daughter, would give anything to be able to go to the pool every single day, no matter how long it took them to get ready.

This weekend, I took the kids to the pool every day.  And as I wrestled my toddler into his bathing suit, stopped to feed the baby and packed the millions of things into the pool bag, I was grateful.


So grateful that I could take my kids to the pool…that we could spend the afternoon there and play Sharks and Minnows and eat watermelon.

Life is ALL about what you make of it.

There are some things you can’t control, of course.  BUT – there are some things you most definitely can – like your thoughts and perspective.

If you change your perspective, does that change everything?

My answer:  YES.  (Case and point:  I happily packed up the pool bag this afternoon PLUS packed dinner for all the kiddos and the whole time I was thinking – even as my toddler, in nothing but his swim diaper, ran away from me as I tried to get him changed – this is going to be fun)

NEVER lose sight of what is TRULY important.

We live in a busy world.  It’s easy to take things for granted.

I will continue to try to do better.  I hope you do, too.

If you would like to learn more about this little girl’s story or how you can help through monetary donations, then go here:


Example is Power

Famous child psychiatrist Fritz Redl used to say to groups of parents: “Get out your paper and pencils. I am going to tell you the three most important things you will ever need to know about raising children.” Then he would say, “Example, example, example.”

If you’re a parent, I’ve bet you said “These kids should come with an instruction manual!”

I’ve definitely said that a time or two (or three, or four…).

hands for example article

But here’s the thing: If you SHOW them how to behave, if you SHOW them what’s important through YOUR actions, if you SHOW them how to treat others, if you SHOW them how to respect themselves by respecting YOURSELF, they will emulate you.

I can talk to my daughter all day, until I’m blue in the face, about how I expect her to act and treat others BUT I’ll bet you every single penny in my bank account (sorry Patrick) that what is MORE powerful than giving her lectures is SHOWING her how to be.

They are ALWAYS watching, ALWAYS listening, ALWAYS judging…look at the baby, look at the baby…(sorry, that’s from Old School…I digress).

But seriously, they will copy you. They want to be just like you!

back of my kids

It amazes me sometimes, the things my 4 ½ year old daughter picks up from me when I’m not even paying attention. The other day I came downstairs and found her lifting her little pink, 1 lb weights up in the air and she said to me, “Mommy, I’m doing my workout right now and then I can play.”

Another example – She said, “Mommy, I want apples and honey for a snack because I want to eat healthy like you and grow. I know it’s important to take care of my body.”  (She seriously talks like that.  She’s 4.  It’s ridiculous).

And one more example – “A boy in my class was sad today because he missed his mommy. I went over to him, patted him on the back and told him that it’s okay because grownups come back.”

Being a parent is the most DIFFICULT and most REWARDING job I have ever had. One of my friends, who recently became a mom, said it best when she told me, “No one tells you how f—–g hard this is!”

And she’s right! They don’t.  Because they can’t.

Because there are no words to describe how energy-draining, soul-sucking and exhausting it is! BUT there are also no words to describe how beautiful, wonderful, fulfilling and amazing it is to watch this little person that you created learn and grow.

Even though they most likely won’t remember them, the first 3-4 years of their life are the MOST important! Kind of crazy, huh – that the years they won’t even recall when they are adults are the most important?

But their first few years of life are the foundation of everything…of how they relate to others, of how they can expect to be treated, of how they learn to be in society, of how they form relationships.

How do they learn all that stuff? From you!

Just like me, I’m sure you want the absolute BEST for your children! You want them to be the BEST version of themselves they can be.

So, how do you achieve that? You lead by EXAMPLE!  You LOVE yourself!  You show love for OTHERS!  You treat yourself – your mind and body- with respect.  You show them that you are WORTH it.

Do I make mistakes when it comes to my kids (or any other aspect of my life)? Of course I do!  I’m not perfect!  I’m not a robot!  I’m human!  I get frustrated.  I feel overwhelmed.  I don’t always know the right answer.

me for example blog post

But, I can say, with the utmost confidence, that today, I am the BEST version of myself. Tomorrow, I will be even better because I work at it.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.

And in turn, not only am I giving a gift to myself, but almost more importantly, I am giving a gift to my children. The gift of example.  The gift of showing them that they can be ANYTHING they want to be and they can do ANYTHING they want to do.


Here are some excellent resources for your reading pleasure:





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Photo Source:https://www.flickr.com/photos/comedynose/8130545680/in/photolist-dotaY5-tQ32Bb-6SMGjb-akdqU3-of27YN-ocAxJZ-5gbGVQ-4TaG6n-4WWVdZ-C5iw3y-ouVyo9-x8WMwW-xGakiE-68gryp-DLGBJX-ejHJar-sjEsHT-zLvEm1-w7TRrg-osPXNU-zKGxP9-rmERCe-ovTqeJ-oetb87-oepqh6-D4wFpn-oetoXA-rT3bh9-dW4iES-vWJQHT-LYs6y-ovBYMP-uRkbaG-ou27Sg-owvewF-dKGQYu-hQwxsE-kRQV8X-oeM17i-owmhni-ouHFcH-y2gxS3-bA2gYK-oeWq8C-oepNss-xiiTkS-yxyVpG-oyfbqM-ptzks9-ougsxb


License: Public Doman Mark 1.0



Weekly Recipe Round (4) Up



Here is another week of dinners for you…all planned out…all you have to do is go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients and cook them. Come on now, I can’t do everything for you!

I probably say this every time (there’s just something that really lights my fire when I’m able to share TASTY and HEALTHY meals) but I’m particularly excited about this week’s meals! There’s not only variety, and deliciousness, of course, but there is creativity and good nutrition!

I have something to say about each of these recipes…so before you get to the “meat” of this post, let’s talk first.

I did a babysitting swap with a friend of mine because, really, who wants to spend $15/hour on a babysitter (which is the going rate around here) on top of dinner, drinks and movie tickets? I made the mini meatloaf recipe for the four kids I was watching and I was particularly proud of myself because I thought – how cute- I have four little kids here and I am going to serve them each a little meat loaf. Perfect! This is a great recipe to use for a party, an appetizer-type dish or, like I did, for little kids!

The Mexican-inspired burgers are seriously delicious! I have made these for various people and they have all raved about them! My husband and I hosted an Iron Chef competition for a friend’s birthday party one year and these were our entry (We won. In case you were wondering). Plus, my mother-in-law asked for this recipe and she is a GREAT cook so that was a huge compliment! This recipe comes from Paleo OMG and if you haven’t checked out that website you need to do so immediately! Julie has great recipes on there!

So, moving on…I am of course excited about the butternut squash dish because… it’s vegetarian! Yay! (And yes, I will definitely have to add a chicken breast on the side for my meat-eating husband) Plus, it’s a perfect winter recipe for a cold day.

And finally, last but not least, the stuffed chicken recipe. I just want to keep it real here – especially for those of you who know me. I’m not going to pretend that I’m the one cooking this dish. Confession time: I don’t cook chicken. Raw chicken grosses me out. (It reminds me of a frog I had to dissect in middle school and after that I wouldn’t eat chicken for a month. At least I eat it now. I just don’t cook it.) Just writing about it makes me want to gag. The only way I will cook chicken is if it’s frozen and all I have to do is close my eyes and dump it in the crockpot. And of course, go figure, chicken is my husband’s favorite type of meat.

So…who cooks this dish? My husband!

Okay. Enough talking now. Let’s get down to business.


Mini Paleo Meatloaf

Source: http://www.paleonewbie.com/not-your-ordinary-meatloaf/

Makes about 18 mini meatloaf muffins


1 lb lean ground beef and 1lb ground turkey

1 egg

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 onion, chopped small

5 oz chopped spinach (I used frozen)

5 oz chopped kale (I used frozen)

½ can of diced tomatoes

1 tsp of chili powder

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp black pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 tsp of oregano

1 tsp of thyme

1/2 tsp of cayenne


  1. Add all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Prepare a muffin pan and liners
  3. Scoop out a heaping spoonful of the mixture and place into each muffin liner.
  4. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Make sure it’s cooked all the way through! (Internal temp should be around 155-160 degrees)
  5. Eat and enjoy!

Tip: Serve it with roasted vegetables (such as sliced potatoes, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash; place them on a baking pan, add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste; roast them at 400 degrees for at least 25 minutes) and a side salad!

14.Serve hot, eat and enjoy!

mx burgers

Paleo Mexican Inspired Burgers

Source: http://paleomg.com/mexican-inspired-burgers/


For the burgers:

  • 1.5 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 (6oz) can of green chiles
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle red pepper (or chili powder)


For the toppings:

  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ 14oz jar of roasted peppers, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle red pepper or chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste


For the Avocado Roasted Red Pepper sauce:

  • 2 avocados
  • ½ 14oz jar of roasted peppers, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced


  1. For the topping à Heat up the coconut oil in a pan. Add the red onion and cook until they soften. Next add the mushrooms, roasted red peppers and spices. Cook on low heat while you make the burgers.
  2. For the burgers à Now make the burgers! Mix all ingredients for the burgers in a bowl. Form patties. Either cook them in a skillet or the grill (or you could even broil them in the oven).
  3. While the burgers are cooking and the toppings are still simmering, make your avocado sauceà Put all of the ingredients for the avocado sauce, place in a blender or food processor, mix well. It needs to be smooth and silky.
  4. Okay, now it’s time to assemble this delicious, perfect burger! Place a burger on the plate (duh), add the toppings (on top of course), and pile the sauce on top of that or use it to dip the burger in.

Tip: Eat this burger with a knife and fork. No bun. WHY? Because it’s paleo!   Serve with a side of homemade sweet potato fries.

Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

butternut squash quinoa

Source: My January fitness and nutrition accountability group

Prep time: 8 mins

Cook time: 12 mins

Total time: 20 mins

Serves: 4


1 small/medium butternut squash, diced (I use frozen, already cut because have you ever tried to cut one of those suckers? It’s a pain!)

1 large leaf of kale, stem removed (could use frozen as well)

½ cup cranberries

¼ cup walnuts, toasted

¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

1 cup quinoa

2 cup chicken stock

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


  1. Prepare Quinoa according to package direction. Use

chicken stock instead of water to add flavor. Cool


  1. White quinoa is cooking, add a few drizzles of olive oil

to a sauté pan and place over medium heat. Add diced

butternut squash and sauté until tender, about 10-12

minutes. Remove from pan and let cool.

  1. In the same sauté pan add a little more olive oil and the

kale. Wilt slightly, 1-2 minutes, you want the kale to still be

slightly crunchy. Remove from pan and roughly chop. Set

aside to also cool.

  1. Again, in the same pan add walnuts, no olive oil is

necessary. Toast for a few minutes on low heat – careful

not to burn! Remove from pan and let cool.

  1. Add all of the cooled ingredients along with the

cranberries, goat cheese, a little salt and a little pepper,

and gently mix.

  1. Eat and enjoy!

Tip: You could easily serve this with grilled chicken breast and/or over a bed of greens. Yum!

Tomato, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

stuffed chicken pic

Source: http://www.yammiesnoshery.com/2015/05/sun-dried-tomato-spinach-and-cheese.html?m=1

Serves 2 (double the recipe to serve 4)


Two large chicken breasts

3/4 cup Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing & Marinade (salt and pepper and olive oil would also work fine – which is what I would use so I know exactly what’s going into my food)

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes

1/2 cup roughly chopped spinach (I use frozen – because it’s already chopped and it’s easy!)

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese


  1. Marinade the chicken breasts in the dressing for a few hours (or if you are short on time just dump it on before you start cooking)
  2. With a large sharp knife, carefully cut the chicken breasts like hot dog buns. Don’t cut all the way through. (My husband will definitely be doing this part…)
  3. Open the chicken breasts up where you cut them and layer on the remaining ingredients. It’s okay if you can’t fit all of it in, you can just leave some out. Just squish in as much as you can. Stick a couple of toothpicks in near the opening to keep it all together (My husband will also be doing this part…)
  4. Place chicken breasts on a baking pan and put it in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Make sure it is cooked all the way through!! We don’t need anybody getting sick!
  5. Eat and Enjoy!

Tip: Serve this with a salad and some paleo garlic bread.

Another tip: You could add additional toppings to this or stuff it with more ingredients such as mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, peperoni, etc and make it more like a pizza without the extra calories.

Which recipes did you make? Which ones did you like? Comment below!

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The Curse of the Girl’s Trip – But Why I’m Grateful


I just recently got back from visiting my dear, dear friend in Colorado. She has a 4 month old baby girl and her husband deployed about 6 weeks ago.  I haven’t seen her in a year!  (Which is entirely too long, by the way).  It was time for a girl’s trip!  We had big plans – I mean, wild and crazy – you know, going to brunch (not late breakfast, as she likes to call it because for some reason she abhors brunch), seeing the garden of the gods, checking out Fort Carson Army base, going to the library, catching up with some old friends and maybe, just maybe, throwing a glass of wine or two in there at night IF we could get our kids to go to bed first.

I know, I know, a little too wild for your taste, right?

The first couple of days went just as planned (except for the kids going to bed part). But we still had our wine and our nightly chats which I have missed!

garden of the gods

Then, Saturday morning comes…about 2 AM and I wake up to my daughter throwing up all over herself and the bed. So I clean everything up, strip the bed, dunk her in the bath because she is, unfortunately, covered in vomit, and then proceed to wake up every couple of hours to the sound of my daughter vomiting in the trash can.

By the time 9 AM came around, she was still throwing up and I decided she needed to go to Urgent Care since she couldn’t even hold water down. So, while my friend stayed at her house, sanitizing every surface we may have touched (literally) with bleach, I took her car and went to the nearest Urgent Care where my daughter proceeded to throw up in the reception area into a cup my friend had given us.  (Which I later discarded as quickly as I could.)  The nurse at Urgent Care directed us to the ER since my daughter seemed to be totally dehydrated and they were not able to administer fluids to her there.

Needless to say, we spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon in the ER instead of with my friend. They gave my daughter some medicine (she didn’t need fluids luckily) and she started to feel better quickly.  Thank goodness!

girls want to have fun

Now, before I get to the grateful part of all this, I would just like to add the caveat that a couple of years ago, this same friend and I took my daughter to Disney Land.   Just the three of us.  Girl’s trip to Disney Land!  Woo-hoo!  Well, we had a grand old time for the day and a half we were there until my daughter started throwing up all over herself while she was sitting in the stroller.  Basically, it was the same story all over again.  She couldn’t keep anything down.  We ended up taking her to the ER in L.A. at midnight and let me tell you…there were some shady characters there, not to mention several people in hand cuffs being escorted around by police officers.  (No joke).  Six hours later, when we were released from the ER, we went back to the hotel, packed our bags and got on the next flight out of there, cutting our trip short by a day.

I mean, what are the odds? Seriously?  That’s why I say our Girl’s Trips are cursed.


BUT… let me tell you why I’m grateful.

When something like this happens, when one of my kids gets sick like this, or gets up several times at night because they are teething, or gets up several times at night because they are so congested they can’t breathe, or I have to push them around in the stroller in our living room in the wee hours of the morning because they can’t sleep for whatever reason, or I have to take them for a 2 AM drive around town because I can’t get them to sleep in their crib… I think about how lucky I am.

Say what?

No, really.

I am so grateful for how lucky I am – that I have two (mostly) healthy kids that I love endlessly. I know it could be so much worse.  I know there are children who have terminal illnesses, who spend their days in doctor’s offices or hospitals, who get poked and prodded all the time.  I know there are parents who have lost their children in some way, shape or form.

So when I have a rough night, or a disappointing situation such as the one that happened in Colorado, I remind myself of how lucky I am to have my perfect (well, not perfect, but perfect to me) children. I remind myself that a mother who has lost her child would give her right arm to have a miserable night with her kid as long as she could just have that kid back.

My heart truly goes out to all of those parents and families who have struggles like this.

And, because of this, because you never know what’s going to happen the next day or the next week, because you never know who is going to come in and out of your life in the blink of an eye, I remind myself of this – of how lucky I am and how grateful I am – even when they are crying and screaming in my face at 3 AM or puking all over me in the middle of the night – to have these two beautiful children in my life.


REMEMBER: Always look on the bright side because no matter how black the moment may seem, there will be always be a light when you come out of the dark.