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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Perfect Meal

Sometimes I think as women we beat ourselves up so much, and we hold ourselves to such high standards. I know that I never hold anyone to the standards that I hold myself to, and when I don't meet those standards I beat myself up for not having reached those unattainable goals. The other night I found myself really struggling with this.

I want our family to have a family dinner every night. What I find is that what one child will eat, the other will not. Shockingly, my children don't want to eat vegetables. I don't want to subsist on grilled cheese every night in order to appease my children. So trying to find something that works for everyone is unbelievably difficulty. Trying to make dinner a peaceful event is so hard - and it's so much harder when you have picky eaters.

Today I decided that I was going to come up with a plan. No more standing around in the kitchen, flipping through a cookbook trying to figure out what I could possibly feed my family that wouldn't result in tears from someone.

I headed to my local library and checked out a copy of The Family Dinner by Laurie David.


One of the suggestions that really resonated with me was setting up a weekly dinner schedule. With two small children who crave routine and a family schedule that is often quite hectic, this seemed like just the answer for us. I enlisted my partner in crime, my darling husband, to help me come up with a game plan. We drafted a menu that afforded us some flexibility, but also appeased the kids.


On Sundays we always have dinner with my parents - usually at a restaurant. Nothing to plan for there. Mondays will be pasta night. In a pinch that will mean simply spaghetti with marinara or frozen ravioli,  but on nights when we have more time (or Sunday's when we plan ahead) we'll have lasagna, stuffed shells, or some other Italian inspired fare. Tuesdays are dance lesson night at our house which means we need something quick and easy. A simple soup and sandwich night makes that easy for us. Time to put our panini press to work! Wednesday nights we'll be trying out stir fry night. This will be our hardest night, but one that we hope will inspire the girls to experiment a bit. My new rice cooker has my oldest loving brown rice with soy sauce on it. Over time I hope she'll be willing to add some veggies in, but we'll at least get her to eat a few on the side. Mix them up and we'll add them to my youngest's plate and ours. Thursdays were met with enthusiasm from the girls. Taco night has always been a hit, and for some reason I just don't do it very often. But with Thursday night taco night, we'll get the girls eating tacos, enchiladas, chips and guacamole, and a whole host of Mexican-inspired fare. Friday night has always been Family Fun night at our house. We typically order pizza and watch a movie or play board games. In the summer we sometimes eat that pizza at the park while the kids play on the playground. No reason to stop a good thing - so Friday nights will remain pizza night! I love to try out new recipes and experiment in the kitchen. Saturdays will be my time to do that, and hopefully make trying new recipes and foods a family affair. The girls love to cook, so we'll don our aprons and try out whatever sounds good.

With a plan in place, I already feel like the pressure has lessened. I sense a number of perfect meals in our future!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Enter to Win a BOD Coffee system by BodyBrew

It's no secret how much I love coffee. And today I learned about a new giveaway that really spoke to my heart... A coffee system that wouldn't result in stains on my teeth? I'm willing to give it a try! How about you? Enter to win 1 of 100 BOD Coffee systems by BodyBrew being given away by Bloggy Moms!



Enter to win here!

(FYI - I am in no way affiliated with BodyBrew and am in no way endorsing this product. Just sharing a giveaway opportunity with you!)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing says winter food quite like a nice bowl of hot soup. One of my new go-to recipes has been my roasted butternut squash soup. It's so nutritious and will warm you from the inside out.


Ingredients:
- 2 butternut squash
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 32 oz. vegetable broth
- 1 T. dried thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Place cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour.
- Cool squash. Then scrape flesh of squash into a bowl.
- Heat soup pot on stove over medium heat. Add olive oil to pot.
- Cook onion and garlic for about 3 minutes.
- Add cooled butternut squash and vegetable stock.
- Blend soup with immersion blender or in batches in food processor or blender. 
- Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
- Cook until warmed through.
- Serve hot and enjoy!

What is your favorite soup? Link up your best recipe!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pinterest Inspired Valentine's Day

Cupid has been to our house and the girls are full of love. They've been crafting away... with the help of Pinterest! Here's a look at how some of the girls' Pinterest creations have panned out.

Lorelai's Rapunzel's Tower Valentine's Box



You can find the original Pin here:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/221872719118129142/


Logan's Kitty Cat Valentine's Box 



You can find the original Pin here:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/221872719118129073/


Lorelai's Heart Penguin



You can find the original Pin here:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/221872719118172219/


Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day that's filled with love!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tracking My Progress

One of the best tools that I've found to help me along the way has been my Fitbit Flex. You can configure it in a lot of different ways. I currently have it set up to track my steps, my active minutes, my water intake, and my sleep. These are four of my daily goals, so it helps keep me on track. 


It's no coincidence that these are the four goals that I'm consistently doing well at achieving!

The Fitbit Flex retails for $99 and honestly, was SO worth the investment. Six lbs down the first month that I've been working on it! I want to note that I have made NO changes to my eating (even though that was a goal of mine). All hail the power of physical activity. It works perfectly with my Leslie Sansone workouts too!



And I found it on Amazon for about $8 off!


Finding an accurate way to track myself has been the best accountability. It's helping me stick to my goals and watch the progress to my more authentic self. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Greening Your Beauty Routine

Taking care of my skin had become a real priority for me since I've entered my thirties. I've gotten into a great skin care routine that I love, but I've noticed how awful it can be for the environment. How many cotton rounds do I go through a year? Usually I'm using at least 2 a day (toning day and night) and maybe more if I use them to remove some stubborn eye makeup... so I'm looking at at least 730 cotton rounds heading into a landfill each year. And that's probably more like 800+. How many of us are there out there doing that? The numbers must be staggering. 

NO MORE!

I have found a fabulous Etsy shop that makes flannel rounds that you just throw in the laundry and REUSE! I love when I find earth-happy treasures - especially when they are beautiful!




Head over to GreenLittleNest.esty.com and get a set for yourself. You'll be taking care of yourself and the planet. How great is that?

(I have no affiliation with Green Little Nest and am not being compensated for this. I just LOVE her products!)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Did I mention the Midwest is freezing in the winter?

Yes, I live in the Midwest. And yes, it's freezing here. Which means there is no way that I'm heading outside to exercise. I've never been a fan of gyms. I don't like an audience. Nothing like bouncing along on the treadmill while your butt bounces along behind you. No need for anyone else to join in that fun with me. You're welcome. Not to mention I hate taking the time to drive somewhere to exercise and then the time to drive back. I don't have that much time on my hands. Which means that I must figure out a way to workout at home. So today I give you my top three workout videos to help you make it through the winter.

1) Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds Ultimate Collection. Really anything by this woman is fabulous - particularly for those of us who are lacking in the coordination department. This is a staple for me when I travel for work. I pack it in my suitcase and all I need are my sneakers.


2) Valerie Bertinelli Losing It and Keeping Fit. I'll be honest and say that I've only done the first workout, but it's a good one. It's only 20 minutes long and does a really nice job of helping me work in some toning exercises. Plus who doesn't love Valerie Bertinelli? 


3) The 30 Day Yoga Challenge with Erin Motz. This is such a great resource for people new to yoga. It gives you a taste of a bunch of different yoga poses from the easiest to some that I will never be able to pull off. But, the practices are only about 20 minutes or less in length which makes them the perfect way for you to work in some daily yoga into your world - all from the comfort of your own home and for FREE online!

http://www.doyouyoga.com/course/the-30-day-yoga-challenge/
Try out one of my favorites and let me know what your go-to-workout videos are as well.