Tag Archives: motivation

The Story in my Salad Bowl

There is a store here in Germany called Globus.  It’s equivalent to a U.S. Wal Mart, only much nicer.

It’s huge.  It’s intimidating.  Everything is written in German (of course) so most of the time I’m not totally sure of what I am buying.  It was the very first German grocery store I went to and the whole experience was terrifying.  (Seriously.  No joke.)

BUT, I will say they have a fabulous salad bar.  When my MIL said she wanted to go to Globus to get some authentic German Christmas decorations and ornaments – I immediately thought- salad bar!  Let’s go!

At Globus, I filled a plastic container with all kinds of colorful, fresh veggies – tri-colored bell peppers, jade green lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, sprouts and tuna fish.

Then, I made my way to the other side of the salad bar where there was antipasto- stuffed olives, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed peppers, stuffed grape leaves, artichoke hearts and various kinds of  cheeses lying in a pool of olive oil and spices.

With some tongs, I plucked a few of each of these mouth-watering goodies and plopped them on top of my salad.

Then I weighed my container on the scale located at the end of the salad bar, printed out the sticker that said how much I owed and proceeded to the check out line.

As I got to the front of the kasse (checkout), I put all of my items on the black belt.  When the middle-aged lady behind the counter picked up my container of salad, she frowned, looking at me.

In German, she said, “This is not all salad.  Some of this is antipasto.  They are supposed to be separate.”  She shook her head.  “They are different prices.”  She kept shaking her head as she rang up the rest of my items.

And, of course, my daughter, who was standing right next to me, kept asking me questions like, “What’s going on?  What happened?   What is she saying?”

Suddenly, I lost my appetite for my beautiful salad.

I didn’t know those two things were different prices!  I didn’t know they needed to be separated into different containers.

And, yet again, I felt like a stupid American in a foreign country who doesn’t know the rules and just got put in her place by a serious-looking German woman.

(On a positive side note- I did understand everything she was saying in German so at least my German is getting better!)

After I checked out and met my husband in the play area where he was hanging out with our 2 boys, I told him what happened.

He just shook his head and smirked.

“And she didn’t give me any stickers for the kids.”  They typically give a packet of stickers out to the kids.  I put my hands on my hips.  “Why didn’t she give us any stickers?”

He kind of half-smiled and said, “Well, you did kind of piss her off…”

Now, this is just a little thing that happened.  No big deal, right?

But, the thing is, when little things like this start piling up (which they have been doing since we moved here 3 months ago), it starts to get VERY frustrating.  It starts to wear on you.

Will I ever figure this stuff out?  Will I ever be able to go to a German grocery store and just have a “normal” shopping experience?

The good news is, I am not the only one who has had experiences like this.  In fact, I’ve talked to many, many fellow military spouses and here is what they have said:

  • Globus IS super terrifying
  • it takes 6 months to a year to get adjusted to everything here
  • they ALL have stories like this

Here are some things that I know:

  • it will get easier
  • it’s not always going to be like this
  • I am strong enough to handle this

On top of the salad bar incident, there was the beer debacle.

I’ll have myself a German beer every now and then.  After all – they are delicious!

Globus has a getrankemarkt (basically a drink market) where there are rows and rows of different beers – dark, light, hoppy, bitter, sweet – and wine – red, white, rose, blush, sweet, dry – and champagne.

Having recovered from being put in my place by the lady at the checkout counter, I wanted to check and see if they had any pumpkin beer before we left (because that is my ABSOLUTE favorite).

I wandered the aisles, carrying my infamous salad container in my hand.  I didn’t see any pumpkin beer.

I proceeded to leave…and got stopped by the lady at the checkout area of the getrankemarkt (there was only one way out).

She said, in German, “Do you need to pay for that?”

I shook my head.  “No,” I replied.  “I already paid for it.”  (This, I said in broken German because I wasn’t totally sure how to say it.)

She raised her eyebrows.  “Do you have the receipt?”

“Nein.  Meine mann hat die rezept.”  (No.  My husband has it.)

And yet again, I got the “head shake” for the second time that day.

She let me go, however, and you can be sure I high-tailed it out of there!

Here’s the thing – I can give up OR I can keep trying.

I can hide in my house, only go shopping on the American base and pretend like we are not in a foreign country…OR…I can embrace this.

I can learn the lessons.  And not repeat the same mistakes.

And, I am happy to say, that I did go to Globus again after this incident and I DID put the salad in a separate container from the anti-pasto and I did NOT have any issues!

My message, to you today than, is this:  Live your life.  Make mistakes.  Laugh at yourself.  Learn.  And move on.

Lastly, I wanted to share some GREAT recipes for winter salads with you!

Roasted Yam and Kale Salad

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/217266/roasted-yam-and-kale-salad/?internalSource=streams&referringId=17229&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&clickId=st_recipes_mades

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

 

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/230055/warm-brussels-sprout-salad-with-hazelnuts-and-cranberries/?internalSource=streams&referringId=17229&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&clickId=st_trending_s

I hope you enjoy!!!!

And don’t forget – share this post on your social media sites and with all of your friends!

 

 

 

 

 

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?

Absolutely.

Do things suck right now?

Kind of.

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

Yes.

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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)

 

Hello, World

I know I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks and here’s why – we just moved to Germany!  And let me tell you, it’s been a RIDE.

For those of you who don’t know, my husband is in the Army.   Several months ago we got orders to go to Germany, and now…well…here we are.

germany 4

I’m going to be real with you.  My exercise routine is shit right now.  I’ve been eating a lot of crap (partly because I wanted to try some of the authentically German treats and partly because the first 2 weeks we were here the jet lag was so bad it was like I was in my first trimester of pregnancy).

 

I’m homesick.  I miss my family.  I miss the familiarity of everything back in the states.  And the driving here – whoa!  It takes some getting used to.  I have not ventured out very far unless my husband has been sitting in the passenger seat.  It’s like I’m a teenager all over again with my learner’s permit.

The first day we got here, my daughter and I couldn’t even figure out how to flush the toilets.  And the shopping carts here – you can’t just take one.  They are all locked together and you have to put a coin in the slot to release one.  When you return it, you get your coin back.  Well, before someone took pity on us and told us that, my husband was quite a sight trying to figure out how to get a shopping cart.  He was yanking.  He was pulling.  He was muttering to himself.

I’ve gotten lost several times already walking around on base.  I’ve thrown my kids in the back of a stranger’s car (a soldier’s at least), sans car seat, and gotten a ride to my daughter’s school to go pick her up because I was 20 minutes late.  I’ve been stranded at the grocery store, with my baby and a cart full of groceries, for over an hour, because the taxi stood us up.  And yet again, I sat my kid on my lap and got into the backseat of a stranger’s car, with my groceries in the trunk, and got a ride to our hotel.

We bought a car off the “lemon lot” and I’m afraid to say we may have actually gotten a lemon.  I only had it 2 weeks before it had to go in the shop…It needs a new muffler…which they have to order from the states…

It has, literally, been one thing after another.  I have gotten a few workouts in here and there.  I’ve had a few healthy meals and a few not-so-healthy meals.

Wah, wah, wah, right?

I mean, here we are, in Germany, in this beautiful country, in Europe, where we have the chance to experience other cultures, try new foods, learn other languages and travel…and here I am…bitching…

So, now, here’s where the cool part comes in:

The OLD me would have continued to focus on the negative and the fact that our lives right now, every day, have been a true comedy of errors.  I would have decided that this is going to be the worst three years of my life.  I would have cried.  I would have spiraled into a depression.  I would have dug my heels in and begged my husband to take us back to the states.

germany 5

BUT…now…being in this particular situation of just moving to another country with three children in tow…I can truly see how far I have come.

There are times that it really sucks right now.  I’m not going to sugar coat it.  My nerves are frayed.  I have very little patience for my children’s shenanigans.  My husband is stressed.  I’m stressed.  There are tons of partially unpacked boxes in our house.  There is a TON of trash piling up in the garage (not to mention bags and bags of dirty diapers) because we have yet to receive the trash cans our landlord ordered for us.  Our dishwasher doesn’t work.  We have an ant problem in our dining room…and yet….

Despite all of this, (this is the cool part), I KNOW it’s all going to be okay.  I know that once we get settled, we are going to love it here.  I can see beyond all the shit (and I do mean, literally, all the shit in the diapers in our garage) that this is going to be a once in a life time opportunity to travel and explore and learn and grow and make many wonderful memories with our family.

 

 

Give Up Or Give In

We have two choices:  We can either give up OR we can give in…

You may be thinking, “Um, what’s the difference?”

Stick with me, kid, and I’ll let you in on a little secret.

When you think of “giving up”, what automatically comes to mind?

give

Maybe something along the lines of –

Failing…Losing…Less than…Without…

The official definition of “giving up” is: cease making an effort, resign oneself to failure.

What about “giving in”?  What words pop into your head now?

Back down…Submit…Quit…Concede…

Here is the official definition of “giving in”: cease fighting or arguing; yield; surrender.

Both of these phrases tend to have a negative connotation BUT…if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know we aren’t about the negativity here.

What if “giving in” meant something else?

What if “giving in” meant that you were giving in to your goals, to your dreams and desires…that you were in fact surrendering to them and letting them happen (and making them happen) INSTEAD OF “giving up”.

There are a plethora of reasons people “give up” before they even begin… because it seems too hard or you don’t think you can do it or others don’t think you can do it or you don’t have time or you don’t have the money or you have kids or you work too much or you have too many obligations or you are too tired or you don’t know where to start or…I could go on but I think you get the picture.

Giving up is easy.  It’s for amateurs.  It’s for the nay-sayers.  It’s for the weak.  For the faint of heart.

It is NOT for YOU.

Giving in…that’s what YOU need to FOCUS on.

they

GIVING in to your fear…letting it engulf you…envelope you…cocoon you…because you know that if it scares the hell out of you…than that is exactly what you should be going for.

Give in to your imagination.  Picture what it will be like when you fit into those jeans or write that novel or buy the house on the beach or have the job you want or the relationship you desire.

Give in to the BIG goals.  And I mean BIG- things that you think others were meant to accomplish instead of you.  Things that you are scared to even say out loud because you’re afraid others may laugh at you.

girl

Give in to what you want…to what you can’t stop thinking about…to what keeps you up at night…

Give in to THAT.

And…when you do…there is NOTHING you can’t do.

Fear is Fuel

me fearYou know that feeling you get as you contemplate doing something big?  Making a big change?  Making a huge leap?  Taking a chance?

 

Your stomach tightens.  Your heart beats like a hummingbird’s wings.  Maybe your hands shake.  A thousand thoughts race through your head simultaneously yet you are able to pinpoint what each one is trying to tell you – STOP –  they all say.

“Don’t do it.  Go back.  It’s too scary.  It’s not going to work.”

And then…the “what if’s” start…

What if people think it’s a dumb idea?

What if I fail?

What if I lose money?

What if I can’t figure it out?

What if people criticize me?

What if…what if…what if…

All of this…all of these counter-productive thoughts and jittery feelings can be summarized in one four-letter word…

FEAR.

People think “fear” is an ugly word – BUT – what if it weren’t?

191072-Everything-You-Want-Is-On-The-Other-Side-Of-Fear

When fear wells up inside of you, what if, instead of backing off, you embrace it?  What if you welcome it with open arms, knowing that when you feel that fear it means you are onto something…it means that you are heading in the right direction?

Kind of counter-intuitive, right?

But, think about it for a  minute.  If something is easy, is it scary?

No, of course not.  Because it’s easy.  If it’s easy, you know you won’t fail – you know the outcome.

The unknown can be down right terrifying.  The “what-if’s” are never scarce and the critics are constantly whispering in your ear.

If you are afraid…that is when you know you are CLOSE – close to something big.  Close to something life-changing.  Close to EXACTLY where you need to be.

Fear means…go for it!  Go for what makes you want to pee your pants.

If it’s easy, it’s not really worth having.  It has little value.

It’s safe to NOT try.  It’s safe to remain comfortable, to keep doing the same thing – day in and day out.  It’s safe to stay with the status-quo and do the ORDINARY things everyone else around you is doing.

BUT

If you want to be EXTRAordinary…then there is a different path for you.

If it’s HARD.  If it’s SCARY.  If you can’t imagine life without it (“it” refers to whatever your particular goals are) then it is PRICELESS.  All the hard work…the time…the effort…the energy…it will all be WORTH it.

Fire

Use that FEAR to FUEL your fire…to ignite your desires…to smoke the nay-sayers and to light up your life in ways you have only dreamed about.

 

 

 

 

 

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