Monday, May 18, 2015

It's the End of the YEAR as we know it! year, that is

Holy moly! It's May! Our baby is growing, the flowers are blooming, and our biggest boy is graduating Kindergarten this week!

I'm glad, don't get me wrong, but I just can't believe it! On top of all he has learned, the awesome reader he has become, the way he has soaked up spelling and math concepts, this kid is smarter, taller, and he amazes me everyday!

So I know this is going to be a busy week, for a lot of reasons, and my thoughts are (perhaps a little bit later than they should be) on "end of the school year" fun like kindergarten graduation gifts and teacher appreciation ideas. We are pretty new at this, since O is the first one we have in school, so naturally this Momma turns to Pinterest for some ideas!

Enter my "end of the year as we know it" round up! There are so many fun ideas, but I'm not looking for class treats or candy. To me, these are solid projects and gifts that range from thoughtful and useful to memorable and fun! Great ways to save a little sentimental piece of this special time and share with your little one's teacher how incredible they are and how much you appreciate the job they did guiding the class through letter-land, journals, personal space and appropriate behavior lessons. High five, Teach, it's not an easy job, but we totally appreciate it!

#1: The Questionnaire 
I love this idea, and it's something that, now that O can write himself, I hope he will do every year. What a fun thing to keep together and look at in 10 years! Can you imagine? Ok, so I'm a sap, but in order to make sure I don't forget, maybe I'll find one for each year and print them off to save a step in upcoming years (and so I'm less likely to forget)

#2: The "Last Day Of School" picture

So cute. Must do. Nuff said.

#3: The "What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?" Picture

Ok, so I know this idea is a teacher gift if you do it for the class, but how cute to do it for your kids each year and make a collage later, like for graduation? Call me crazy, but I think it would be cool! Keep it all B&W, what a fun way to remember all the things your little one aspired to be, and how it changes, over the years!

#4: Fun Mug-And-Treat Idea

Simple as it sounds, I love this one - easy peasy and what teacher doesn't love a coffee? If yours doesn't, you can swap any kind of gift card!

#5: Potted herb printable gift

I thought this was cute :) Thyme is one of my favorite herbs, not just to use but to grow! It's so fragrant and pretty, but there are printable a for other herbs, too:

#6: 5 Teacher Appreciation Ideas

I like these, I do! They are a little "cutesy", but I can see it, maybe with a meaningful card, or even a gift card. I love useful gifts that can be used, or used up, and don't just sit and take up space. Hear me out, I like cute stuff, but I don't like the thought of cluttering up someone's desk or making them feel obligated to keep the gift for 20 years and become a hoarder because if every student gives them something, it adds up ;)

I also like to steer clear of most candy gifts. Sometimes a little chocolate is ok, but otherwise I like to stick to healthy or non-food gifts. But that's just me :)

#7: Keep Calm Tee!

Ok, I know that "Keep Calm" and "XYZ" is all over the place, but if I were a Kindergarten teacher, I'd love this! Because how true, right?!

#8: Silly Books For Kids!

"Oh The Places You'll Go" is nice, but let's face it, there are so many FUN books out there! We absolutely LOVE books by Sandra Boynton! They are funny, well written, easy to read and my kids love them. Write a little note about how proud you are inside the front cover and it's something your child can remember each time they read it <3 I know, I'm sappy like that!

Want a list of books by age? Something that might match their skills and interests? Try this:

#9: Math and Logic Games

Think dominoes and dice games! How simple, right? Easy enough that a little one can do it, fun enough that you'll want to join in, too! A great way to keep their minds sharp over the summer, too!

My guy LOVES trivia type flash cards, we have some about dinosaurs and animals, he reads them in the car and quizzes me at home. So often I can find them in the Dollar Spot at Target or even the Dollar Tree. I'm sure if you head to a nice you store you can find some great trivia cards, too. Just check the age, for my kids, even if they are for a year or 2 older, often times they enjoy the challenge and don't mind at all!

#10: Something Thoughtful!

Pin after pin, top choice by teachers is a handwritten note of appreciation. Simple, from the heart, and not fancy and extravagant. Go for meaningful, but be honest. 

What about your child? Just offering honest, encouraging words about how proud you are can mean a lot, too. 

Hope you like this list! Drop a comment and tell me your fave thing - or if you have a fun idea I left out, I'd love to know!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Clean Eating Fave: Decadent Egg & Oat Fried Pancake

Ok, so seriously, this is one of my FAVE weekday breakfasts. My kiddos love it too. We even eat it on weekends, but don't be fooled: weekends or weekdays, this is a super simple, fast and TASTY meal!

Because it's easy, I usually use natural peanut butter, but when I'm avoiding peanuts, it's equally tasty with almond butter. I'm sure cashew butter would be great, too. Plus, it fits into my meal plans for the week, too, since it's easily the within 21 Day Fix nutritional plan ;)

One other bonus: this is totally flexible! Sometimes I like to put a half of sliced banana on top, sometimes berries, and other times, just straight up peanut butter. The clean protein in our eggs and whole organic oats fuel my body for the day ahead - great to eat post workout, too!

Ok: super simple, flexible, easy and tasty! Here you go!

Decadent Egg & Oat Fried Pancake

What You Need
1 or 2 large eggs, farm fresh or free range if you have them
1/3 - 1/2 cup old fashioned or regular organic rolled oats
Cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp - 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
2-4 tsp natural peanut butter, almond butter or your favorite nut butter
1/2 banana, 1/2 cup berries or other fave fruit (optional)

Put It Together
Heat oil in non-stick or other skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, beat eggs until combined. Add oats and cinnamon. Stir well and pour into heated, oiled pan. Fry until crisp enough to flip, then turn your pancake and fry the other side a few seconds until done. Slide onto your plate, top with nut butter, drizzle the remainder of your hot coconut oil over the top (lots of goodness in that oil, don't waste it!). If topping with banana or fruit, pile that up on top and dig in!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Big Things - Now You Can "Stream" Your Workouts with Beachbody "On Demand"

Oh goodness! Talk about shakin' up my workouts! Maybe it's just that itch I get in the spring for C H A N G E - and I really enjoy the 21 Day Fix, but I've been anxious to mix up my fitness a bit lately. I also want to start running again, but that will require a little more planning and reworking my daily routine ;) one way that I've found to "spice it up" NOW is using the new streaming workouts offered to Beachbody Club members!

This newest “stream” feature simply adds to the list of Team Beachbody Club membership benefits, allowing you complete instant access to the following programs from anywhere at anytime. All you need is a device with an Internet connection…how cool is that?!  So for me, I get a little bored from doing the same program for too long. Having the variety of all these different programs and being able to use them when I'm traveling or on the go is so convenient!  
So what do you get as a Team Beachbody Club Member that you don’t get with the free membership?
Here is a list of the current programs being offered on Beachbody On Demand:
  • Insanity (the original)
  • P90X
  • P90X One-on-One
  • P90X2
  • P90X3
  • 10 Minute Trainer
  • Brazil Butt Lift
  • Hip Hop Abs
  • Chalene Extreme
  • Turbo Fire
  • Insanity: the Asylum
AND: any program you have purchased from Your Team Beachbody account (like 21 Day Fix, PiYo, etc)!

Streaming Workouts and SO much more... you get EVERYTHING!

All of the materials that come with each of the individual programs listed above are available to download, view, and/or print from the Beachbody On Demand center. I spent FOREVER looking for my Ab Ripper X workout dvd the other day to no avail...but now I have it back for good, and SO many more tools than I had before!!!


What Do You Need to Make it Work?

You will need a device with an Internet connection & web browser, such as your smartphone or laptop, and you’re ready to go! So far, I’ve streamed workouts to my laptop & Smartphone, and have customers using their television via their game consoles or connecting to their TV from their computer. I LOVED to be able to do Turbofire and T25 without waiting for an order to ship. So nice to give a program a "test run" an find out if it's right for me first :) Team Beachbody members automatically have unlimited access to stream these workouts. Once logged into, Club members will select the Start Streaming tab from the home page, choose any fitness program in the streaming library, and stream any workout from the program!
Here’s exactly what the requirements are:
  1. You’ll need a broadband connection download speed of 3Mbps or better, which means you’ll need DSL, Cable Internet, 3G or faster.
  2. A web browser. If you use the Internet, you should be fine: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari any modern browser should all be okay.
  3. Adobe Flash player installed and enabled. This feature is pretty standard, and if you don’t have it, no worries – you’ll get a pop-up asking if you would like to allow it.

On Demand is a Club Upgrade

Like I mentioned above, Beachbody On Demand, while entirely new, is being added as a Team Beachbody Club membership benefit. The other benefits of Club membership include:
  • Extra 10% off any Beachbody program
  • Access to live trainer chats
  • Meal plan customizer with recipes
  • And more, but the above three are the goodies

By Popular Demand!

The really great thing about On Demand, is that with it's release, customers are able to take advantage of the Club Membership and all of it's benefits in a discounted “Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack“.  This is NOW AVAILABLE, and will give you unlimited access for an entire 3 months with your own 30 day supply of the nutrient dense Shakeology health shakes. 
Please contact me to subscribe to the Team Beachbody Club and get Shakeology HD for this month’s introductory rate of $140.

What is the Value?

Were you a previous Club Member, and felt the membership was lacking in value?  For me personally, the nutrition guides that accompany the workout programs are so comprehensive and complete, I didn't really use the meal planning tools with the Club. But now, I believe this membership is so innovative, user-friendly, offers the variety we all want, and the upgrade is almost a steal with this new inclusion!
Do you realize, if a person were to purchase ALL of the programs that are in the Beachbody On Demand streaming library, it would cost about $1500!?  A Team Beachbody Club membership costs just $2.99 a week, or $.43 per day, which is billed quarterly for a cost of $38.97 plus tax. The best part of all of this, is that If you try the Club membership and decide you don’t see the value, you can simply cancel your membership at any time within the first 30 days for a complete refund.  It's entirely risk free! 
You can join the Team Beachbody Club or upgrade your free Team Beachbody account - ask me how :)

What if there is another workout program you wanted, AND all the benefits of On Demand?

Great news!  With the purchase of anyChallenge Pack, you have unlimitedFREE access to On Demand as a 30 day free trial along with your challenge pack purchase!  Upon the completion of your challenge pack order, you will be sent an email from Beachbody with the instructions to activate your On Demand benefits and 30 day free trial

How I Have Been Using the New Feature

You may or may not know, I have lost over 20 pounds in the last 3 months following the 21 Day Fix. I've done two rounds and liked sticking to the plan. However, I'm just itching to try out some different programs to spice it up a bit. I still love the Fix workouts, but it's great to add a Turbofire or T25 workout for extra cardio and do doubles here and there! Now, instead of just having the workouts from the programs I am currently following or have purchased previously, I can just turn on Beachbody On Demand. For instance, our team is doing a 20 Day Ab Challenge, this has made working my core SO MUCH FUN with all the variety! From there, it’s super easy… our group members can simply select the given ab routine for each day from On Demand.  From 10 minutes to 20 minutes, there are such a nice variety, and they are all so different, that I am able to work my abs every day to accelerate my results, because of using a different routine each day. 

Additional Features

So you're wondering, what about all of those workouts you've already purchased?  You're in luck!  This feature allows for every program you ordered in the past and present to be available in your On Demand library. 

Added Benefits to You

So you're ready to test this out and get started today? You're in luck! Because you have zero wait time for products to ship out to you in the mail, this isavailable to you immediately upon purchase! And you have me as your coach to keep you on track and feeling supported every step of the way. I run free and ongoing online support and accountability groups all done in a friendly, fun community of others all working on their health and fitness - from beginners to intermediate to advanced, there's a group that's right for YOU!  To find out when my next group is starting (I begin a new group every 2 weeks) find me on Facebook ( and send me a message letting me know you're ready to get started today!  

Have you tested out the new Team Beachbody Club member feature, Beachbody On Demand? What do you think? Please share in the comments!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Avocadopalooza - We're Having Burrito Bowls!

So, sometimes taco night finds us without tortillas. I know, this isn't really a problem, I could just make my own...and I have. But sometimes a Mommy just doesn't feel like tortillas. Well, that's never actually happened, but sometimes it's nice to change it up a little :)

Enter "Burrito Bowls". I love them for the same reasons I love tacos - easy, flexible, tasty and always a kid-favorite! And obviously using rice instead if wheat tortillas makes this dish gluten free, too. Since we limit our grains and wheat, this is a nice alternative.

Today I used ground turkey, like tacos, and I threw some black beans in, too. I also made Spanish rice, but I've used regular brown rice and it was equally delicious.

We also prefer them with some chopped fresh tomato and a squeeze of lime, if you have it - yum!

Clean Eating Burrito Bowls
Serves 4-5

What You Need

1# ground turkey, venison or chicken; you can also use cooked, cubed chicken
Clean, organic or home-mixed taco seasoning
1 can organic black beans (opt)
1 cup organic brown rice, prepared; or Spanish rice
2-4 ripe organic avocados, or clean prepared guacamole or chunky avocado 
2-4 cups prepared salad greens of your choice, preferably organic or garden fresh
Fresh veggies to chop! Tomato, if available, sweet peppers, onion...the sky is the limit!
1c plain Greek yogurt (opt)
1c salsa, homemade or organic (opt)
1c frozen organic corn (opt)

Put It Together
Cook rice according to directions. As rice simmers, prepare ground meat or cook chicken. If you're a step ahead and are using leftover chicken, give yourself a high five and check out some of my other blog posts, you may have a few extra minutes while your rice cooks ;)

Assemble your bowls! Layer rice, meat and veggies. Top with avocado or guac, salsa, if you like, corn and a spot of Greek yogurt. Enjoy!

Friday, March 13, 2015

It's A Miracle - My BEST Baked Tilapia Recipe

Ok, so I have been making baked fish for years. Cod, haddock, salmon - we've never need too adventurous with fish, but tilapia has always turned out rubbery or just not tasty for me. 

One thing that makes a big difference is thawing your fish. I'm not always ahead of the game - an living in Wisconsin, fresh  seafood is not really an option (or at least one that my family can afford). 

Another thing that has made a difference for me is that, since tilapia fillets are pretty thin, they cook quick. Like, super quick. When they are thawed, that is. 

That being said, even my Dad, who is not a fish lover, really liked this fish. Our kiddos really enjoyed it too, I kept the cayenne light, of course, so remember to use your personal taste preference, too. 

Other modification I used was Dijon mustard instead of dry mustard and no chili powder (we were out of both). I will try this again using both, but know that the recipe is pretty forgiving I you find yourself in a similar situation :)

What You Need:

1/4 cup organic olive oil
3 cloves organic garlic, minced or pressed (can use powder if necessary)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried mustard (or Dijon mustard)
1 tsp organic oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
4-6 tilapia filets, thawed 

What To Do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a pie pan or rimmed shallow bowl, combine olive oil, garlic and seasonings.

Dip/lay each filet into the seasoning and place it on the baking sheet.

Pour any remaining seasoning over the filets on the sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven.

Bake 10-12 minutes. 

Tip: You may broil for the last couple minutes if you like a more crisp top ;)

Recipe adapted from:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Vegan Chocolate Shakeology Review

This Tasty Tuesday adventure is a little bit of a "Special Edition" - Followin' up on my new Shakeology flavor, Vegan Chocolate! 

Dan actually tried it before I did, and while he questioned my decision to experiment with a "whole bag", he, to my complete surprise (and probably his, too), likes it better than non-vegan chocolate. That's not to say one is better than the other, just different. 

For instance, we both feel that the vegan formula tastes more like dark chocolate, a tiny bit less sweet than the other. And while non-vegan might be a little more smooth, I wouldn't call vegan gritty by any means, however there is a slight difference in texture.

Let's talk about how we usually enjoy our Shakeology. I'll describe us as "purists" - we love the flavor and the nutrition it has on it's own, so we add very little. Plus, we're lazy, and I love the convenience and speed at which I can have it shaken and be walking out the door in the morning.

Generally, we make it with LOTS of water (about 18 oz) and many times a splash of organic whole milk, maybe a couple ounces at most. Keeping that in mind, it's easy to compare one chocolate flavor to the other because it's changed very minimally and we make it pretty consistently the same. 


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sweeties - Flourless Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes, hold the frosting, this year "our team" didn't make it to the Super Bowl. It was close and I know some people are still sore about it, but it happened. And it's just football. Yep, I said it. It's. Just. Football.

Anyway, while we're not crazy football fans in our house, but any excuse to get together and have a little fun as a family is fine with us :) Since we try to make healthy choices and eat clean, we had a mix of foods and games and fun going on! Sure we had snacks like a clean, fresh spinach dip, but life is about balance, and we enjoyed hot spinach and artichoke dip, chex mix, cheese and sausage. And naturally a mix of goodies, too, like molasses cake, chocolate brownies and rhubarb bars. 

I wasn't sure if these flourless brownie cupcakes qualify as a sweet treat or an appetizer...I mean, hummus is made with chickpeas, right? Let's face it, you can't exactly dunk a carrot stick in a brownie. Either way, these cupcakes are moist, chocolatey and super easy to make. Oh, and they're delicious, too!

What You Need

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
3 large eggs, farm fresh if you have them
½ cup pure maple syrup, Mmmm!
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. organic extra virgin coconut oil (no need to melt)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Optional: handful of milk or dark chocolate chips

Put It Together

Toss all ingredients except chocolate chips into a 4 cup measuring cup OR your blender or food processor. If using a measuring cup, blend until pretty smooth with a hand/stick blender (if using a blender or processor, do the same).

Pour into lined cupcake pan, sprayed with organic olive oil if you have it. Garnish with 3-5 chips per cupcake, bake in preheated 400 degree oven 12-15 min or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Beachbody Blog: