Family Advent Activities

The holiday season is upon us and I’m sure you’re busy prepping to make it special for your loved ones.  This year our family will be utilizing a beautiful Advent calendar that was gifted to us two years ago from my husband’s parents. So, I took to Pinterest and utilized my early childhood background and came up with some fun family traditions to implement this year.

Having a toddler and an infant means that we have to be strategic with our activities.  Doing bigger activities such as bake cookies or watch a Christmas movie have to be planned for the weekend.  Since I am a full time working mom and my wonderful husband works quite a far distance from home, I will be leaving some activities for my mom to do with the kids.

So, here goes.  These are the memories we will be making this year.

Dec. 1- Decorate the Christmas tree.  This will become an annual kick off to the advent season. Such a fun way to go through ornaments and remember the stories behind them.

Dec. 2- Felt Christmas tree (like this one). I’ve done this with my classroom and the kids love it!

Dec. 3- See Santa Claus at the Bountiful Gifts Pancake breakfast to support the Christmas program.

Dec. 4- Color Christmas cards for the troops

Dec. 5- Color melt ornaments with crayons.  Found here. Instead of fish, I am going to cut out stars.

Dec. 6- Snow dough

Dec. 7- Read 3 books at bedtime.  Our daughter LOVES to read and the only time we have to limit books is at bedtime.  Otherwise, we would be reading for hours.  Normally we only read 2 books, so this will be a little treat.

Dec. 8- Make a bird feeder.  We will put this outside the playroom so the kids can watch the birds!

Dec. 9- Watch a Christmas movie

Dec. 10- Special donut breakfast.  My husband and I both have fond memories of visiting a local bakery that makes amazing donuts.  However, our local store closed.  But, alas, I found the original location when I was pregnant.  I stopped once and quickly fell in love again.

Dec. 11- Have hot chocolate

Dec. 12- Applesauce Cinnamon Ornaments. Recipe here

Dec. 13- Ribbon and Bow painting

Dec. 14- Have a special snack after nap

Dec. 15- Do a Christmas puzzle.  This could be hard to find.  So, my plan is to print off Christmas pictures or use book jackets and glue them onto cardboard.  Then use scissors to cut into puzzle pieces.

Dec. 16- Drive around and see Christmas lights

Dec. 17- Make Christmas cookies and deliver them to friends

Dec. 18- Make Christmas pancakes

Dec. 19- Snow paint. I got this idea from our SPARK program, but here is the recipe.

Dec. 20- Make bead candy canes (Awesome fine motor activity)

Dec. 21-Read a book about the birth of Jesus

Dec. 22- Make ice cream cone Christmas trees

Dec. 23- Read The Night Before Christmas

Dec. 24- Attend Christmas Eve mass

I’m looking forward to beginning this tradition and teaching our children to be giving and kind.  I will say that it is important to provide opportunities for children to help others or show love to others throughout the year and not just at Christmas time.  What plans do you have for your family this holiday season?  Or, what is your favorite pastime?

 

 

 

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The dreaded 4 letter word

D I E T.

This may be the most over used word in the English dictionary. I personally have a lot of problems with the four letter word previously mentioned.  People in our society use food as punishment, rewards, stress relief, and boredom.  None of these uses are appropriate for people.  We need better solutions.  We need better support.  We need to stop using that disgusting word.

A healthy lifestyle does not come in the form of a magic weight loss pill, magic drink, or even in starvation plans.  A healthy lifestyle comes in the form of green vegetables, lean proteins, healthy carbs and fats and a steady workout regime.

If you didn’t see the results you wanted for January, then reevaluate your goals and consult your doctor if necessary.  If you were unsuccessful last month, that does not mean you will fail again this month.  Take that determination and drive to have a goal focused February.

Some helpful tips:
1. Stop buying pop, chips, ice cream, candy, etc.
2. Start planning your meals and prepping if you can or if that is the way you can hold yourself accountable.
3. Write your workouts on a calendar.  If you’ve scheduled them into your life, you will more than likely take the time to complete them.
4. Find a friend that you can rely on to kick you in the badonkadonk if you aren’t willing to do it for yourself.  You need to hold yourself to the highest standard because YOU ARE WORTH IT!

What will your goals be for the month of February?

As always, be confident, be fit, be you!

Another meatless meal!

Another week of Lent has passed us by.  I hope that you have stuck to your Lenten promise, whatever it may have been, to bring you closer to God.  Since my child is teething, I’m struggling slightly but really reaching out in prayer.  Other than that, things are going well on the healthy meal front.

So, I took the idea from here (of course found on pinterest).  I originally didn’t have any plans on modifying the recipe, but I didn’t have complete control of the meal.  We were using the peppers as a portion of our pasta dinner and none of the peppers were saved from being on the chopping block.  Therefore, I slightly changed the meal.

Here is my version of “Stuffed” quinoa peppers.

It was actually pretty yummy, despite how it looks!

It was actually pretty yummy, despite how it looks!

I took 2 cups of cooked quinoa and put it in a skillet.  Then I added 1/2 cup of kale chopped, 1 cup of peppers, 1/4 cup of onion, and 1/4 cup of homemade tomato sauce.  Topped it all with some mozzarella cheese and put it in the oven.  Let it cook for about 15 minutes (I was afraid of melting the handle on the skillet since it wasn’t my own).  After letting it cool, we divided it three ways.  It was extremely filling.  I would recommend cooking it slightly longer to soften the peppers just a bit more.  Overall, this was extremely easy to throw together and definitely something I will be trying with my family.  The roll was an added bonus! They are homemade by my mother and extremely delicious!

Hopefully the weather in your area is getting better as Spring approaches! Here’s to warmer weather and getting outside to work towards the end goal, healthy and happy families!

Be confident! Be fit! Be you!

Third Lenten Meal

Well, pasta dinners at our church are a little more busy this year, thus not allowing for much down time in the second hour to whip up my desired dinner dish. Although, I will not complain that I had to eat pasta this past week.  The pasta dinners raise money for the Kentucky Mission Trip that our high school youth group participates in every year.  I did manage to create my dinner the following day for lunch.

Here’s how it went! The original recipe was obtained via pinterest here. I decided to modify the recipe because I felt like there was some unnecessary ingredients that just had calories.  My fritters came out pretty yummy and definitely something easy to whip up. The entire meal took about 30 minutes to put together from start to finish (and I mean the absolute start). I apologize, I am not the best photographer, especially when it comes to food.

Sweet potato, kale and quinoa fritter

Sweet potato, kale and quinoa fritter

Sweet potato, kale and quinoa fritters:
1 Large sweet potato
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups chopped up kale
paprika
ginger
pepper

Cook the sweet potato in the microwave until soft (make sure you have it wrapped in a wet cloth).  At the same time, cook the quinoa according to the directions.  You will need about 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa to obtain the desired amount of cooked.  Finally, as that is cooking, finely chop the kale.

Once all of the ingredients are ready to go, put in one bowl and mix together.  You should be able to form patties that stay together without the use of an egg or bread crumbs (this is were my recipe varies).  Then add in a few dashes of paprika, ginger and pepper.  In a skillet, add coconut oil to cook the fritters.  Once the patty is brown on the bottom, flip and cook the other side.  If you are doing multiple in the same pan, make sure there is enough oil.  Also, add oil before starting the next batch.

I was able to make 6 fritters with my scaled back version.  They were yummy and extremely easy to make.  This is a nice protein packed version of a potato pancake!

I hope you enjoy the recipe!  The weather is supposed to be fairly nice this week, hoping to get out and run!!!  As always, be confident! Be fit! Be you!

First no meat Friday of Lent 2015

As I previously mentioned, I would be trying new foods (found on pinterest or food network) during this Lenten season.  I am trying to avoid the constant pizza and pasta on Fridays, just because it is convenient.

Well, this first Friday I completely failed.  I had pizza at lunch because of my head cold.  It was a convenience and I wanted to get back to napping.  At dinner, I had no desire to cook.  I had a tuna sandwich (100 calorie pack sandwich ready from Starkist) and some tomato soup.

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Although it wasn’t the greatest day for eating, I managed to get up and get something and that is a plus.  I already have this coming Friday planned and I am definitely looking forward to the meal!  I am going to attempt a sweet potato, kale, and quinoa dish that looks amazing!

Also, I hope you had a moment to check out the race schedule and will be joining me this season! If not, here it is again: http://ohiochallengeseries.com/client_images/files/28_news_6128.pdf

Sorry this was a short post.  But as always, be confident! Be fit! Be you!

Pasta and Rolls

Ok, so that really isn’t what you should be eating every day, but it is a downfall of mine during Lent.  If you are like me and fast from meat on Fridays during the Lenten season, then you understand that it is easiest to make pasta or get pizza for dinner.  This is even more true if you have to worry about feeding younger children.

Yes, I can eat fish, but I don’t like fish at all.  My lunch every Friday until Easter will be a tuna sandwich (one of the 100 calorie packets) with some vegetables on the side.  However, when it comes to dinner, my go to is usually pasta or pizza.  It is an even easier decision since I assist with a Pasta dinner at our church every single Friday to benefit the youth mission trip to Beattyville, KY.  My mom makes the most incredible rolls (only during this time of year) and I can easily devour 4-5 of them in a evening.  They are an old style recipe with mashed potatoes and seriously the most savory roll I’ve ever experienced.  Now that you are salivating, I’m going to mention that they are not even remotely healthy and shouldn’t be in anyones diet.  However, in moderation, they would make a nice treat for dinner!

Ok, so I actually started this post to mention that I am going to try and refrain from pizza and pasta as a main portion of my meals on Fridays.  I’m going to attempt to replace those heavy carb items with a much healthier vegetable or dinner option.  I love spaghetti squash and will definitely be enjoying that once or twice, but I need a few more options.

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I’ve picked out a few recipes to try (things that my mom can eat as well since she is gluten free).  I will be making these over the next few Fridays and will share with you the results, adaptations, ease of preparation, and of course the taste.  I will be making these dishes at our pasta dinners so that mom has some healthy and awesome food to enjoy as well!

If you are going meat free on Fridays or even throughout Lent, let me know what foods you like to enjoy!  As always, be confident! Be Fit! Be you!

Pinterest Vortex

If you have a pinterest account, you can’t deny you’ve been sucked into a crazy different world.  There is anything you could possibly want on that site and I mean ANYTHING.  After just checking my account, I have 944 pins ranging from food, craft ideas, school activities, and of course fitness.  However, what happens with the pins after you add them to your board?  Do you go back frequently and remind yourself what you’ve pinned?  Thank goodness pinterest added the “you already pinned this” feature, because I’m sure I’ve got some recipes double pinned.

First of all, if you are trying to be healthy and stay on track, create a new food board that is for junk food or high fat items.  This way, you can use them for special events or cheat days, but they aren’t constantly staring you in the face.  Then create a second food board that contains healthy dinners or food tips and ideas that you can refer to frequently. (The fluffy egg white oatmeal I posted about a few weeks ago was from that board!)

Here’s another great recipe for the kiddos! http://undressedskeleton.tumblr.com/post/42764785751

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Now that you’ve spent hours reorganizing your food boards, time to move on to the fitness/health board you’ve created.  I’m assuming that you have pinned workouts ranging from sculpted abs, tone your butt and thighs, and 50 body weight exercises you can do anywhere!  I have a plethora of workouts on my board that I have never even looked at or considered doing.  Why did I pin them?  I was assuming I would work up the motivation to pull one up and stick with it for a month.  However, I quickly realized that I had no real accountability.  No one was there to report to on my success, no one cared if I didn’t get up and work out, no one even knew I was doing it.  That’s when I’d give up and just pretend like I completed the workouts.  This is why your accountability partner is SOOOOO important.

There are amazing quotes on pinterest for motivation and encouragement.  But, once again, if you don’t go back to them, then what’s the point of leaving them in cyber space?  My suggestion is to take those motivational quotes and print them out.  Then put them in places that you will see throughout the day.  If you are a snacker, put them all over your snack cabinet (on the inside if you don’t want your kitchen to look tacky) and your fridge.  That way, when you reach for a snack, you will see one of the quotes and remember all your hard work.  You may still get a snack out of the cupboard, but I’m guessing it might be something a bit healthier than what you originally went after.

Although pinterest can be extremely addicting, make sure you use what you’ve pinned.  Just like Facebook friends and emails, every once in a while you need to go through and delete things that are toxic.  I am going to be spending some time this weekend deleting some of the junk food items that are on my food board.  It will feel good to not see them every time I log on!

Here’s a few of my favorite quotes (found on pinterest)

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Let pinterest work for you, not sabotage all the hard work you’ve been doing! Remember to always be confident! Be fit! Be you!

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