F is for Family

Fitness & Fun Fridays: How to Stick to a Fitness Plan

Friday, January 29, 2016

It’s almost February…FEBRUARY! The first month of 2016 has whizzed by in a blink. Now is the time to look at those resolutions and assess the situation. Are you still on track? Have you fallen off the bandwagon? How can you get re-motivated? If you have completely fallen off track and need to get back on the wagon, these are my tips for getting back into high gear.


1)    What are your obstacles? The hardest part of making a big life change is keeping up the motivation. January is the big month to “start new things”, it’s also the peak of cold and flu season and the kick off to new work projects, the weather is dreary and cold. If you think about it, it’s a huge recipe for nope-I-will-stay-lazy! You may have started out with a bang and already fizzled. Identify all the things in your way. The only way to solve for those issues is to acknowledge they exist.

2)    Bust out that new planner! It was so fun filling in those first few dates in January. The planner was all sparkly and new. If you were like me, you carried that thing with everyday those first few weeks. It’s now probably collecting dust in your office or the back of your car. Go find it! Mark on the calendar your fitness plan and your meal plan. Schedule your health like you do important appointments. This is just as important. Planners aren’t your thing? Put it on your work calendar. Write it in code with outlook reminders. Don’t let “time” get the best of you. A 30 minute workout, which is all that a program like, 21 Day Fix calls for daily is 2% of your day. Find a program that works for you. You spend more time checkingSocial Media trust me.

3)    Make it fun! Do you kind of dread going to gym or are you dripping with kiddos and can’t seem to find the “time”? Make it a game. Take your kids bikes out, take the dog out for a walk or start out solo and turn it into interval training. Use an app that times intervals or a playlist that you love and make a goal to jog for half a song, walk half a song or do lunges from one mailbox to the next. If you have kids, they will love it and they may be begging you to for a “workout walk”. Don’t underestimate the impact new inspiration can have on you! I’ve personally been stalkingJill Conyers health and fitness blog and love all her tips and recipes.

4)    Make it convenient. Hi pot, I’m kettle! This is me, writing myself advice. I love sleep. I hate cold. These are two amazing January excuses for me to hit the snooze button. And boy have I taken full advantage of this in the last two weeks. It’s a good thing I live in Florida or I may be in full on hibernation mode by this point. This is what is on my list of things to incorporate into my routine to get me motivated. Layout everything the night before. Get your water bottle together, clothes and even your gym bag set and ready to go. Take away as much excuse as you can. If you workout at home, like me, set up your weight, towel and everything so that all you have to do is get dressed and hit play. Shoot, go to bed in your workout gear…we won’t judge!

5)    Don’t give up and don’t judge yourself. So, you blew the last week. You didn’t work out; you ate 3 days worth of cheat meals, whatever it is, give yourself a break. Making a huge change is tough and taking a few steps back is part of the process. Don’t look at it as a failure or that you have to start from scratch. You just have worry about today, yesterday already happened. Get back into the swing and move forward.

I’m on round, I’ve lost count, with 21 Day Fix and I still have to keep working at staying on track. If I slack on workouts, I tighten up my diet. I can honestly say the program has taught me to maintain and I haven’t put on any weight even though I haven’t followed everything perfectly this past month. I have goals I’d still like to reach and I’m trying to keep in mind that this is a journey and a personal one. I’m “training” to feel better about myself, not to win an Olympic medal so, perfection isn’t needed but determination is.


If you want more info on joining my next 21 Day Fix accountability group, email me! I love adding new challengers to keep me motivated. If you have tips that keep you moving, let me know I love getting new fitness inspiration!


Fitness and Fun Friday

Friday, January 15, 2016

My life is not singular, it’s just not. I’m a Mom and a Wife and a business woman. I love to write and I love to be healthy. I also spend a lot of time thinking about what’s best for my kids to learn and grow. Over the years, I’ve kept my blog running while working full time and being a Mom/Wife. A few months ago I started selling Discovery Toys and I started a fitness journey that was inspired by a friend who was a BeachBody Coach. It worked and I was hooked. So now, I’m a BeachBody Coach as well!
I’ve had some people say I’m crazy or say “you do both?” and my response is heck yeah! They really aren’t that different. My time is limited and the reason that BeachBody, specifically 21 Day Fix has worked so well for me is because it’s only 30 minutes of exercise a day. It keeps me active and moving and I’m learning to make this a habit. I’m learning to make taking care of myself a habit. I’m teaching my kids that taking care of yourself is important.
Discovery Toys is about fun and play and learning. This is something that is missing in the early education space these days and for me, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to blend it into our very busy lives. It’s so easy to turn on the TV or hand over a device. Trust me, I do it…more often than I’d like! But I try to remember to not let that become my habit.
Fridays around here will be about Fitness or Fun because, well because it’s important for everyone. This will be a series that runs through the end of February that will off fitness tips for busy families, women, men, anyone and sometimes it will be about how to include more fun in the little bit of downtime you may have.
The first week in February, I will be giving away a Happy Planner. I received one recently in a Bloggers Get Social giveaway and I’ve fallen in love. So, I’m paying it forward! 
Since it's January, let's start with fitness! I'll give you the run down on my fitness journey. I started my journey back in July of last year. I originally went to a gym for a bit, I tried killing it with hour long workouts 4-5 days a week and tracked everything I ate on My Fitness Pal. Results, nothing. So, I worked out with a personal trainer for a month, 3 days a week and went to the gym on my own 2 days a week and I lost a grand total of 1 pound! Can we say annoying?

I had already talk to Coach Lindsey who has guest blogged for me in the past and she shared her amazing results. I figured it was time to jump on board. 

I finally commited to the whole 21 Day Fix and Shakeology program and saw great results in round 1 by losing 7 pounds in 21 days! I felt great and went on to complete another round and lost 3 more pounds before I became a coach myself. 

What do I love about it? It's easy to follow, cut and dry and it doesn't take much time away from family. The workouts are only 30 minutes a day and sometimes I get them done with my kids cheering me on. It's a win-win. 

But it's so expensive! Ok, true, it's on the pricier side but I needed to have some skin in the game to stay dedicated. Having that money on the line guaranteed I stuck with it for the full 21 days. And it gives me one less meal that I have to think about. I drink the shake and I know it's "21 day approved", I know it's healthy, it has vitamins and it tastes good. 

What's the catch? It's not magic. You get out what you put into it. It's a learning experience on how to eat clean and really learn to fuel your body. You have to do the workouts. It's not a magic pill, it's about creating a healthy habit. 

How do I start? Find a coach!!! Of course, I'm always up for grabs but seriously, find someone you trust and someone who inspires you. They are there to cheer you on to the finish line and help answer your questions. 

Over the next few weeks, I'll give tips on incoorperating fitness into your life and how I overcome bumps in the road and hopefully it will help you reach your fitness goals for 2016! 

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Monday Motivation: Free Printable Blog Planner

Monday, January 4, 2016

I’m currently working on my planner for 2016! I just won a new Create 365 Happy Planner by Me & My Big Ideas through a Bloggers Get Social giveaway. Bloggers Get Social is such a great resource for bloggers and I’ve been following them for almost a year. So far, I love the planner. It’s got plenty of room for filling out weekly and monthly agenda items. The only thing that I felt wasn’t really “covered” the way I wanted, was a good blogging planner.

So, I researched a bunch on Pinterest and recreated my own printable for a monthly blog planner that had everything that I felt that I needed. My focus was to have a space for planning out each monthly post, tracking results, have a space for future post ideas and having overview of the whole month. My goal for the blog in 2016 is to become more consistent and organized on my blog.
I’d like to share with you the free printable I created. Click on the photo and download the free printable! Also, let me know your thoughts. What categories are important to you for blog planning and staying organized?

5 Tips for Getting Organized in 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My life is crazy and it’s not going to get any easier. I have 2 kids, a husband, a full-time job, two small businesses and a blog to run. I’ve considered cutting something out but my kids, I kind of love them both and my husband is pretty awesome so, I just can’t seem to cut anything loose right now. The best I can do it try to streamline and get organized.

I’m also a Pinterest addict, who isn’t…am I right?! So, here is my quick and easy 5 steps to getting organized in 2016. Subscribe below for a printable for a blog planner and the launch of my new newsletter!

1.    Find A Favorite Calendar Or Organizer

Last year, I received the Kate Spade organizer for Christmas last year and I loved it! I carried it everywhere and it actually made it with me until September and then all hell broke loose and I dropped off the organization bandwagon…I was so close! The part that helped was that I really liked the organizer, it was a great size to throw in my purse and that made it easy to keep with me. Go search the organizer aisle at Target or Office Depot. Make sure it has what you need. Splurge on the “pretty one”, you’ll be more inclined to want to pick it up often if you really love it.

2.    Try An Organization App

I have 2 kids, I write this blog and I have 2 Direct Sales Companies that I’m running…oh, yea and a full-time job and a husband. I’m not always home, I’m in the office or at appointments. Sometimes I need things to ping my phone and remind me. I’ve used the Asana app for work and it’s actually really great. You can use it to remind yourself of follow-up items, create a task list, project and even collaborate with others. For example, say I have to plan a birthday and I need my husband on board to help. I can plan it out as a project, make him sign up and assign him “To-Do” items and it will send him reminders.

Running a direct sales business means I have a lot of things that I need to keep on top of there as well. So, this year I’m looking into 2 apps that can help me get organized and keep me on track. I read about Pocket Parties and myConsultant on the Beths Bagz and More blog and I can’t wait to take them for a test drive.

3.    Pick A Day To Get Everything Organized

Schedule your day/time to organize, make it a priority. I’m putting this in writing for my own accountability. I spend my work time keeping everything organized and in line but my personal time is never scheduled. Our personal time is just as important. Whether you run a household of schlepping kids around or a thriving business, everyone needs some “office” hours to keep everything in line. Put it on the calendar and it’s less likely that it will be pushed to the wayside.

4.    Declutter Your Main Work Area

Clear away the distraction. Give yourself a sanctuary to work in. Decorate it in your style, make it "you". When you have a space that is your calm-in-the-storm it gives you a place to go get centered.

5.    Schedule Monthly Check-Ins

Again, if it’s on the calendar it’s probably important. If it’s important, you’re less likely to skip it. Schedule monthly check-ins to see how you are doing. Is your calendar still up to date? Are you giving yourself realistic time frames to complete tasks? It’s important to set yourself up for success and checking in and getting a sense of how things are going is the best way to do this!

Before you go, subscribe! The 1st email will contain a free printable for a Blog Planning template. 

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Why I’m Happy My Children Are “Annoying” or 5 Reasons Busy Toddlers AreAwesome

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

If you Google "Why are toddlers so", the first thing that pops up is annoying. Because that's what comes to people's minds first when they are dealing with toddlers. They feel like a loud, busy toddler must be trying to be disruptive or they are being bad. 
I think every parent has had a moment where they have a screaming or epically busy toddler on their hand in either a public place or around other people who don’t have children. You’ve felt the “judging” looks and you may have even had the “wow, she/he’s a handful” with the inference that either your child is an out of control lunatic or you’re a bad parent. 
But here’s a secret…their not and you’re not.
That’s right, I said it. There isn’t a darn thing wrong with your loud, energetic, emotional, busy toddler. It is not a lack of disciplined parenting, it’s not because you are the world’s worst mother. It’s because they are LEARNING and you are still guiding them through their emotions and how to live in society. And you know what? It takes time, years even. I know grown adults who still have some learning to do in this particular arena.

Five reasons your “annoying” toddler is actually amazing! And some ways to help deal with those reasons.            

1.      Your Child Has Emotions
If you haven’t seen Inside Out yet, you should! If you have, you’ve enjoyed an animated peek into why emotions are pretty essential to growing up. All of them…Anger, Joy, Sadness. Well, our children are learning what those mean. Even adults have trouble communicating their emotions. That’s why we fight with one another, right? When Sofia was in Occupational Therapy they recommended avoiding timeouts early on. They said they wouldn’t help curb emotional outbursts. They recommended practicing emotions and talk about what that meant.

Making It More Awesome: 
What worked best for us was pretend play while “talking” about emotions. I used parenthesis because we started before Sofia was fully verbal. We would say, “Show me a mad” face. And say, “we feel mad when Mommy says ‘no’, right?” Sofia still loves playing this game. We use our Express It! Buddy and he comes with situational cards and now we talk about all the different emotions. It doesn’t eradicate all tantrums but boy does it help!

2.      Your Child Is Learning: 
I think if we read Richard Scarry’s “Building A New Road” one more time, my husband may lose his mind! But it’s actually a GOOD thing for Sofia and Jackson when things are done in repetition. This article on The Bump explains it best. We may be going crazy but these little minds are actually picking up on new things each and every time. Think about how much you love to watch your favorite movie on repeat!

Making It More Awesome: 
Like The Bump suggests, focus on the experience. Don’t think of it as a chore, think of it as a game. Reading the same story over and over, I let Sofia fill in the end of a sentence or purposely mess up the words so she corrects me. I’ll have her practice sounding words out or ask her to find things in the picture. Like my Mom says, “this too shall pass” and when it does we will miss it.

3.      One Day They'll Be Executives: 
If you work on a team with someone who is “persistent” or a “go-getter” that’s a good thing! It had to start somewhere. What we may see in a toddler as “hard headed” or “ornery” is actually a trait that will do well for them as they get older. So before you hang your head in shame over your “bossy” little tot, just remember they are just expressing they’re “Executive Level Decision Making Skills”!

Making It More Awesome: 
This article at BabyCenter’s website says to avoid labels like “stubborn” and “exhausting” and look at them from the positive. They are just being “persistent” and “energetic”. Try playing games where they can flex some of those “bossy” muscles and learn to control them. Play a game of Simon Says where they have to follow directions some times and where they can give directions on their turn.

4.      They Are Natural Born Explorers; 
Kids aren’t built to sit still. The Washington Post studied this on Middle Schoolers. That’s over the age of 10! If they aren’t supposed to do it, a three year old definitely isn’t! Shoot, even adults aren’t built to sit still. I can tell you my conference call attention span is about 20 minutes tops until I start to drift. Kids are no different. Your little tot might be a major wiggle worm but kids learn and explore with their whole body. They want to experience new things and old with their whole being. 

Making It More Awesome: Toddlers love to be given jobs. So when a super busy toddler just can’t seem to entertain themselves, set them up with a job. Make them a real life explorer withToddler Binoculars and ask them to hunt for missing game pieces or count the number of lizards they see or sort/collect leaves or Sofia’s favorite, clean rocks! They will think they have a purpose and you will get a little break from wrangling them.

5.      Toddlers Aren’t Big Yet: But whatever you do, don’t tell them that! This is more awesome for us than them but they really are more baby than the “big kid” they think they are. They have the rest of their life to be boring and respectful. Right now their job is to be silly and needy. They are learning to think for themselves, that’s why they question everything. It’s our time to teach them how to hone that skill to be independent and strong not to break that spirit. The world will have plenty of time to try to do that for us.

Making It More Awesome: 
Just remember, we don’t have to deal with big problems yet. No broken hearts, no waiting to be asked to prom. We don’t have to think about them behind the wheel. They are in a crazy stage but it’s just a moment.
 And no, I’m not some super Mom who is always calm and only speaks to my children Michelle Duggar style (you would know if you could see my house when I’m trying to get everyone out the door). This is a personal reminder just as much as it’s “advice” for other Moms. We see passing moments of other’s peoples lives on Social Media or in a grocery store. They are moments and they are fleeting. It’s not the big picture.
I don’t want the child who sits quietly just by my side and doesn’t make a peep. That child isn’t learning the way my TWO VERY BUSY children are. I was a shy child, my daughter is not. I hope she holds on to that confidence as long as she can. My son is determined when he gets his mind set on something! I hope that drive leads him to climb as high as he wants in life. To all those Moms who don’t have the perfectly behaved, quite, obedient children…you have the dreamers, the explorers and the leaders. We are the lucky ones. 

Discovery Toys Busy Farm Review

Friday, June 5, 2015

I made my announcement on Facebook but haven’t added the big news to the blog because I had some work in progress. I just recently joined the amazing Discovery Toys Team as a Educational Consultant and I’m beyond thrilled to share why with you on the bloggy blog!

I actually went looking for Discovery Toys after a talk with my Mom about a few toys that I just loved growing up. I wasn’t sure if they were still around but after a short Google search, I found them. I did a little research on what the company has been doing over the past 35 years and looked through the catalogs and I was hooked again.
Here’s why: yes, they are toys but they are learning…I’m constantly searching for great toys that Sofia and Jackson can use for play and exploration. I whole heartedly believe in learning through play, especially at this early age! As a matter of fact, did you know that 90% (9-0-%) of brain development happens by age 5! If that’s not proof of how important early education is, I don’t know what statistic would be. That blew my mind when I read it.
I was super excited about all the toys when my kit arrived but I wanted to get the true opinion of what the kids thought. So, I corralled Sofia into being my assistant. The very first toy we checked out was Busy Farm. I chose this one for Sofia because she loved sorting, she loved letters and putting them together with a little direction just makes sense.

I let her explore the set and work with as many of the direction cards as she wanted. Then, I let her sit back and play how she wanted. She sorted by color, by animal, in rainbow order. She talked about letters and practiced the sounds each word made all while she played for AN HOUR AND 15 MINUTES…straight!!! I cooked dinner, played with a puzzle with Jackson and she happily played close by telling me all about what was happening on her farm.

I’ll write this down of as a WIN! Check out our very first YouTube video and Sofia’s official review of Busy Farm and check out the learning games at Discovery Toys!

Working Mom Wednesday: Learning to Lean In

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I’ve debated hitting on this topic, it’s somewhat controversial, possibly, and definitely more taboo to speak about but marriage is tough. I know, you’ve heard that before. It’s even harder with kids. And if you work full time, the difficulty augments even more. You balance your children, your career, your home and oh yea, your marriage. It sadly seems to fall in that order.

A few months back, I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I highly recommend it to all the working Moms out there. Some of it seemed incredibly relatable right off the bat. She mentions that to be a successful business woman and mother, it’s necessary for husbands to be just as involved with children and house work as women. That makes sense; it’s exactly how life worked when Sofia was born, even before to honest. My husband is an amazing cook, he has no problem cleaning dishes or floors, he does bath time more often than I do, he even blow dries Sofia’s hair before bed!

Then we had Jackson and things were SOP when I went back to work. If I cooked, he did dishes, if he got dinner together, I cleaned dishes. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, we were just out of sync. I was breastfeeding the baby over night, the baby who never slept…EVER! And he seemed to sleep right through this even though we both had to be up for work the next day. I was getting frustrated and he was getting to sleep! Or so the imbalance seemed in my sleep deprived fog. The more I felt that I was taking on the load of childrearing, the more I seemed to silently take on more pick-ups, drop-offs, dinner planning, grocery shopping and this led to more frustration in our relationship.
I ended up overhearing someone quote Sandberg about being equal partners in the home and it dawned on me that we had gotten away from a philosophy that had worked so well for us even before kids. I also realized that I probably hadn’t even verbalized my issues. We had a lunch together where we were finally honest about what the issues truly were and I can say that after talking, we were much more “normal” (if you know us, there is no normal in this house) and back in sync. (I said *NSync..hehe )
A sorority sister and blogger friend at This Hard Calling, recently mentioned in a status update about her and her husbands’ anniversary, that they had been through so much over the years, good and bad and at times she questioned if she had married the “right” person. We are always told to be careful to choose "Mr. Right" as if, the alternative means he's"Mr. Wrong". She continued by admitting that she realized that, in fact, she had married someone just as human and flawed as herself. Her statement was raw, honest and open. It immediately made me stop and reflect on my relationship and the dynamics involved in being married with children. It has inspired me to be more aware of our marriage and take more responsibility for myself as a component of that relationship.
So, I have to give a big thank you to my husband for being a hard working man and father but for also being a kick ass laundry folder, an amazing cook, our household Chief Financial Officer, handling bath time like a boss and blow drying toddler hair, for letting me be crazy about car seats, holistic medicine options, Kombucha, occasionally cloth diapering, being relentless about early childhood education and being *semi* tolerant of my free range parenting even though you are a helicopter parent. But most of all thank you for being an equal partner inside the home and with our children.
Thank you for the patience of learning to "Lean In" to this crazy life along side of me.