Thanksgiving 2015

As expected, Thanksgiving 2015 was awesome!  It’s 9:30 on Sunday evening and I’m hoping to get to bed relatively soon, so this is going to be more like a photo dump post with a few comments.  The long weekend was magnificent.  It was a nice break to be off of school, and it was even better to spend so much time with family and friends – the people who matter most and what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about!  Without further ado, here’s what’s been up the last five days:

My family went out to dinner at Bricktops on Wednesday evening.  All but my momma came as she was at home busily preparing to host 30+ people for Thanksgiving!

justin steph nov15

No family photo that evening, but Stephanie and I were just so happy our baby brother was in town!

There weren’t many candid snapshots taken on Thanksgiving.  I guess that’s what happens when you have so many little ones running around!  Stephanie did set up a Thanksgiving photo booth again this year, so I’ll be sure to post those fun pictures once they’re available.  We tried to take one whole family photo, but that wasn’t until 9:15 in the evening when some of the kiddos <<cough cough William>> were more than ready for bed.  Next year we’ll be sure to do that FIRST! (Right, Mom?! #notecard)

In my family’s true fashion, my siblings and I met at an Orangetheory Fitness bright and early on Friday morning to burn off some of that turkey!  The class was challenging, and we had a great time sweating together!

family orangetheory workout

We hung out at my parents’ house for a good chunk of Friday, ate leftovers at least a couple more times, and the kids cuddled up with Stephanie for story time.

steph reading

Kids always gravitate towards her and there’s always room for everyone on her lap – just how our own mom is!

linking up with katie and erin

Jacob and William’s new thing is piggyback rides.  Even when I tell them that’s enough, William literally crawls on to Jacob and demands “uppy!”  Jacob more than happily obliges and whizzes him around the house!

jacob piggyback

As if we didn’t eat enough on Thanksgiving or the days following, on Friday evening we went to Crown Candy for the first time.  Crown Candy appeared on The Food Network for their BLT (there’s seriously a pound of bacon on it!), but their milkshakes made with real ice cream is what stole the show for me!

crown candy

I really don’t give William sweets (like, at all. I just see no reason to.  He will have his whole life ahead of him to make those decisions on his own!), but very occasionally I’ll give him a bite or drink of something extra delicious.  This chocolate marshmallow milkshake was one of those times, and we both approved!

Saturday was a day to recover (holy cow was I sore from Orangetheory!) and relax, although I didn’t really relax as I got a good chunk of my holiday shopping done.  Chanukah comes early this year… like in six days to be exact, so shopping and wrapping was needed!  It was a productive day, that’s for sure!  I ended the night early by watching a movie in bed – something I haven’t done in years, literally!

Sunday was the perfect day to end the marvelous weekend.  We took William to the St. Louis Science Center for the first time ever, and it was unbelievable!  I think this is where we’re going to spend our winter weekends since there is so much to do!

human hamster wheel

Human hamster wheel?  Yeah, I had just as much fun on that thing as he did!

William loves fish, mainly because he gets to feed the fish in Yaya and Pops’ pond.  However, I think all kids are captivated by fish.  I’d get some for our home if I didn’t have to change their water and clean their tank so frequently, haha.


The weekend concluded with a big family dinner at my parents’ house to celebrate one of my grandfather’s birthdays.  We had such a good time with my family.  William was in an especially good mood.  He loves loves LOVES being with his cousins.  He even got to sit at the kid table (which worked out perfectly since most days he boycotts his high chair).

thanksgiving kidstable

Clearly they had more fun than we did.

thanksgiving kids table

I know I say it all the time, and other parents certainly know what I’m talking about, but he is growing up so fast!  He had on the cutest outfit, too, with a denim button down shirt, navy slacks, and slip on boat shoes.  Ah, can’t handle the cuteness!  Oh, and he even brought his plate to the sink when he was finished.  What?!

Naturally, Stephanie and I had to snap a sister selfie:

steph nov15

Couldn’t ask for a more unbelievable sister!

And Yaya.  Oh, Yaya.  Yaya has a way with kids.  (That’s an understatement.)  All kids ADORE her, William especially.  He asks for Yaya all the time at home.  If he’s upset, I’ll ask him if he wants to call Yaya. “YEAH!” he happily replies!  When asking him to say hi to Pops, often he will say, “Yaya?”  Last night was no different.  Yaya had William full of belly laughs multiple times.  In fact, it was so hard to capture a good photo of them because they were all blurry!  But I think I got one sweet one:

yaya nov15

Those belly laughs didn’t stop all night.  My Uncle Steve was pretending to drop a baby doll and William just thought it was the most hilarious thing EVER.

laughing nov15

What a wonderful weekend.  I hope you had a special Thanksgiving filled with delicious food, good health, and being surrounded with those you love.  I know I did.

What were some of your Thanksgiving weekend highlights?

lots to laugh about

Lately, William and I have had lots to laugh about over here!  People are funny, you know that?  Every day, you interact with people, whether it’s online or in person or over the phone, and you have the choice to how you will respond.  To decide if you’re going to be the bigger person or stoop to their level.  Always choose the high road, friends.  You never know what is going on in someone’s life, why they are so miserable or rude or mean.  I always try to lead by example, especially when it comes to William or my students, so that means being a kind, responsible, and respectful human being.  Not so difficult, eh?  For many of us, no.  For others, well, let’s just hope they don’t live a negative life every single day.  Because, poor them.

I’m a believer in karma and good things happen to good people.  Bad things happen to good people, too, but you (and I) can still be the best versions of yourself.  After all, there are little ears listening, little eyes watching, and little hearts following along.

mom nov15

me and my silly boy

Good things are happening over here.  We’re laughing a lot, smiling always (mostly), and having a grand ol’ time each and every day.  Even more so given this long holiday weekend we’re on now!  My little brother and his wife are in town, and this weekend will be filled with the most special people in our lives – our family and friends!

We’ll have plenty of time to just relax and play which, lately, involves racing cars down a new set I built.  William received this last Chanukah, but he was too young for it then, so I was saving it for the perfect time to open it.

racecars nov15

I texted my family saying that it came in 1,000 pieces, had 500 screws, and there were 100 steps of directions.  It may have been a slight exaggeration, but I was definitely happy once it was all put together!  William loves his tool set, so he was excited to use real screwdrivers putting it together.  In fact, once it was finished, he wanted to keep playing with the screwdriver.  I still need to put the decals on it, but William likes playing with it all the same.  He’s still learning to gently push the cars down as opposed to flying them halfway across the room.  Strong baby.

Cute baby. Happy baby. Clean baby.  My bath nov15

Alright, we’re off to seize the day!  Smile at people you see and just BE KIND!

What are you laughing about lately?

Nutrition Tips from PowerBar Athletes

This is my last day of work before a nice, long Thanksgiving break! I’ll try to contain my excitement!  Hopefully you will be getting at least a couple extra days off, too! :)

I know many readers of mine are athletes.  This means different things to different people.  To me, it means you move your body.  You don’t have to compete or do the latest fad workout to be considered an athlete.  If you actively exercise, anything from walking to running to CrossFit to yoga to swimming to Zumba, whatever, you are an athlete.  Hence, you need to fuel your body properly.  So here are some Nutrition Tips from PowerBar Athletes.

nutrition tips from athletes

Nutrition Tips from PowerBar Athletes

  • When training for a race or athletic event, having a proper nutrition plan is essential. In addition to fueling during a workout, it is important to replenish glycogen and protein stores within 30 minutes after exercise. If you can’t sit down for a meal, pack a PowerBar, some fresh fruit or a pre-mixed water bottle with protein powder.
  • Make sure to eat every three hours. Staying hydrated with fresh water also plays a vital role in both cell function and weight loss.
  • The majority of your diet should be from fresh vegetables, fruit, lean meats and fish. Do your best to stay away from farm-raised animal meats and eat local organic food.
  • During a long training run, re-energize with a PowerGel Energy Gels to provide you with some energy and help boost your performance.
  • In advance of a big race, keep meals fairly bland and simple with a gradual increase in carb intake (i.e. pasta and rice) over the week prior to the race. If you’re struggling, try grazing as opposed to large meals.
  • Post-race nutrition is key. A good ice bath and massage never hurts either! Immediately get calories in after you finish a race. If you are not ready for a big meal, grab a banana and have a protein shake or PowerBar ProteinPlus bar with some fruit.

Desiree Linden is a US Olympian, 2:22 marathoner and was the top American woman at the 2014 New York City Marathon and 2015 Boston Marathon. This summer she earned the Silver Medal in the Pan-Am Games 10,000 m in Toronto.


Josh Cox is a four-time Olympic Trials Qualifier, three-time National Team Member and the American Record Holder in the 50K. In 2009 and 2011 his 50K race times were the fastest in the world. 


My absolute favorite PowerBar is the protein plus in the vanilla flavor. I love a good vanilla protein bar, and PowerBar’s vanilla is dense, chewy, and so unbelievably delicious.  Not to mention, it’s loaded with protein – 20 grams per bar!


What is a nutrition tip that you would add to this list?

~Disclaimer: While this post is supported by PowerBar, it is not sponsored. I received PowerBar sampled, but no other compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Hello, short week!

Hello, short week!  It’s a two-day work week for me, and the rest will be filled with tons of time spent with family, friends, and the best food ever.  Thanksgiving is my family’s favorite holiday, so to say I’m excited about it is an understatement.  I’m sure there will be plenty of turkey talk later this week.  For now, I’ll share a bit about my weekend, though few photos were taken.  The highlight photo was definitely William and Pops jammin’ out on their guitars on Sunday night.

pops guitar nov15

My dad used to be in a band, and one of William’s absolute favorite things to do is listen to Pops sing, watch him play, and jam out on the mini guitar right alongside with him.  Pops has been playing the guitar to William ever since he was born, and the photos just keep getting cuter and cuter.  William gets so excited!  I don’t have a musical bone in my body, so I’m very grateful he gets this time with Pops!

Let’s back up and I’ll recap the weekend with the few photos I did take.  It was completely low key sprinkled with a few times with family and friends.  Friday night was spent at home, in bed early, catching up on sleep.  Saturday morning included a breakfast date with William’s two girlfriends, Carly and Emily.  With all three little ones it was a bit chaotic, though they all did great, so unfortunately we did not get a picture with them at the restaurant.  We went to First Watch which is one of my favorite places to eat.  Fun fact: First Watch was my first real job as I was a hostess then a server!

A few errands were run on Saturday, followed by an impromptu play date with William’s bud Wolf.

wolf nov15

They were fighting about who got to push the grocery cart, so I suggested one of them get in it.  When I Instagrammed this photo, one of my friends commented, “This is like baby MTV Ridiculousness!”  LOL.  These two will definitely be trouble as they get older!

Saturday night was another night in complete with Thai food carry-out for dinner.  We’ve totally been digging this one place in particular.  I want to try to make some Thai food.  Anyone have any good recipes?  Their red curry seafood dish is my favorite!

linking up with katie and erin

On Sunday morning, we headed to Wolf’s birthday party which was located at Toy Tyme.  It’s basically a big play room for kids with tons of different toys.  It has everything from trains and cars to kitchen accessories to dress up clothes to a trampoline to chalk and crayons and markers.  I thought it was a great place for a birthday party!  We had only been once before for a play date in the summer.  William loved the kitchen area.  That’s his favorite pretend play right now.  My parents are getting William a kitchen set for Chanukah which will be the most perfect gift ever!  I need to look into getting some of the accessories for his other gifts!  Maybe a shopping cart, too?

grocery cart

And Sunday ended with a lovely family dinner.  On my last post someone asked how I always captured pictures of William smiling that aren’t blurry.  Ha!  I responded by saying I literally take 100 (usually), but there are instances where William is too busy or has no interest in stopping playing for a photo.  Last night was one of those times.


Silly gooses.  So much love between those three.  We missed Jason and Jackson last night, especially because it was Jason’s birthday yesterday!  Happy birthday, Big Brother!  We will celebrate this week, for sure! Love you!

Besides his momma of course, the other two people that William absolutely adores and makes him SO HAPPY ALL THE TIME is his Yaya and Pops.

yaya pops nov15

They are really and truly the most amazing people ever.  If you know them, then you know what I’m talking about.  Literally, in every way possible.  I’m so grateful for them, for everything they do, and for their constant love and support.  There’s nobody like them in this world.  They are one of a kind.

Have a good (and hopefully short!) work week and get excited for Thanksgiving!  Clearly, I am!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

catching up

I really don’t mean to blog so sporadically like that.  The last couple of weeks, blogging has definitely been kept a minimum, not intentionally though.  I want and need to get in more of a routine, but such is the life of a single mom to an active toddler.  William goes to sleep around seven each evening, and then I need to shower, clean up around the house, and eat.  And relax?  Ha, forget it!   Some nights I cook dinner when he goes to sleep, so I don’t eat and clean up until much later.  Once that is all done, it’s close to nine o’clock and I’m ready for bed!

Two nights ago was the perfect example.  I made an awesome dinner – chipotle cheddar burgers (using Laura’s Lean Beef – recipe coming next week!) with caramelized onions, baked sweet potatoes, and roasted squash.  Last night was better since I was able to eat leftovers, I had some time to blog, which I thoroughly enjoy.  So… let’s catch up, shall we?  How about over the infamous Starbucks red cup?

starbucks redcup

This was a surprise delivery to school earlier this week and was such a treat!  Getting a text stating, “I’m turning on your street.  I have a sweet treat for you!” was a great way to start the day!  I’m lucky.

Hmm, so what to share from this week?  Some monkeying around happened with Jacob and Audrey.  They’re always down for some tandem family yoga.

jacob audrey yoga

William always wants to get in on the fun, but right now we’re sticking to downward dog with him.  Soon enough, little one!

Speaking of working out (well, kind of), my little CrossFit baby was practicing his moves.

baby crossfit

He’s so funny.  He takes the PVC, puts it over his shoulders, and squats down.

Me, on the other hand, did lunges during a before school workout this week and my legs and booty are on FIRE!  I love that burn!

linking up with heather and katie

William is so silly and so happy.  His laugh is contagious and puts me in the best mood.

laugh nov15

He thought it was hilarious to roll around on our new blanket on my bed.

You know black and white bath time photos are always a favorite of mine.

bath nov15

I said, “Say cheese!” and he totally hammed it up!

Post bath was a good representation of our evenings.

post bath nov15

Me a mess and him happy and clean.  I’ll tell you what, this single mom business is no easy feat nor is it always pretty, but that smile, that little guy, my baby… he makes it all worth it.  I said it in my last post, but really and truly, thank you from the bottom of my heart from the outpouring support I’ve received this week.  I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that this community brings me, in addition to my amazing family and friends.  Every comment, email, text, and phone call means so much.

Mornings can be… errr…. a tad challenging.  My little baby wants all my attention, which I love giving him, but in the morning I need to wash up, get dressed, make / eat breakfast, and get him ready, as well.  We play hard in between it all which means he passes out on the way to school.  He’s just too sweet for words.

sleep car nov15

I love this picture.  All his features look beautiful, especially his curls, eyelashes, cheeks, and lips.  I’ve been spraying Ava Anderson Non Toxic detangler spray in his hair in the morning, and it’s amazing.  It allows me to comb through his curls more easily and it reduces frizz.  Obviously it’s safe, which is really important to me, and William loves it.  He will go in our bathroom cabinet, grab it, and bring me his brush.

Let’s catch up.  Tell me about your week!

fresh cranberry bread recipe

Wow! I am blown away by all the heartfelt comments from yesterday’s post on being a single mom.  Thank you for your constant support, your understanding, and for the kindest words I’ve read in quite some time.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Switching to a much lighter, and a much more delicious subject, let’s talk about a super easy recipe that’s perfect for fall / winter / Thanksgiving / the holidays / you name it.  Perfect for entertaining, let’s just say that.  You can make it ahead of time or have it in the oven cooking to give your house a wonderful aroma when guests are arriving.  But I will say, if you make it ahead of time, make sure you keep any grubby fingers (your own or others!) out of it, so it doesn’t look like this just thirty minutes after removing it from the oven…

cran bread loaf

Yeah, that loaf didn’t stand a chance.  I made a second one the day after and that, too, was demolished very quickly.  Cranberries are a funny thing for being such a seasonal food.  I feel like people either love them or hate them; there’s no in between.  Of course many people are fond of dried cranberries.  I mean, they’re loaded with sugar, what’s not to love?  But fresh cranberries?  I’ve got to admit I had never bought fresh cranberries before last season.  I wanted to try out a cranberry sauce recipe and I became obsessed!  I think I made a batch almost every week and put it on everything from sandwiches to oatmeal.


This year, I’ve been branching out a bit, and when someone suggested baking cranberry bread, I knew that’s what I had to do!  After the first couple loaves with some minor tweaks, I think I’ve nailed it.  It’s soft and moist and sweet and tart and most delicious when warm, though I don’t discriminate.  It’s loaded with cranberries in every single bite.  And did I mention it’s perfect for this time of year?


Whether I’m making eggs for breakfast or baking a sweet treat, like this fresh cranberry bread, I always, always, always use Eggland’s Best.  William and I eat eggs daily; they’re such a food powerhouse, just packed with nutrition.  And did you know that compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs stay fresher longer, have ten times more Vitamin E, 25% less saturated fat, have more than DOUBLE the Omega-3s, have four times more Vitamin D, three times more Vitamin B12, and 38% more Lutein?  Why would you ever buy any other eggs?!  It’s a no brainer! [source]

Check out Eggland’s Best eCookbook!

fresh cranberry bread recipe

Fresh Cranberry Bread Recipe

~makes one loaf, or double the recipe, so you don’t run out as quickly!


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Eggland’s Best egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries, rinsed


  1. Mix wet ingredients.  Add dry ingredients.  Gently stir in cranberries.
  2. Pour mixture in greased bread pan.  Bake at 350 for 65 minutes.
  3. Let cool (at least slightly) before enjoying!

cranberry bread

Are you a cranberry fan?  What’s your favorite way to eat them?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Eggland’s Best.

Being a single mom is HARD

Here it is.  The post so many of you have been waiting for.  The answer to many comments and emails I’ve been receiving for over a year now.  Yes, I’m divorced.  No, it was not my choice.  I chose to keep it private for so long for a variety of reasons, which I’m sure you can imagine.  As I’m moving forward with my life, I do want to be open and honest with you.  I know I’ve alluded to many challenges over the past year or so, and obviously this is what it is.  When William was just five months old, his dad left us.  I won’t go into details, but it was a heartbreaking experience.  It’s neither here nor there anymore, as there was and is nothing I could do to stop it.  But you know what?  I’m still a believer of everything happens for a reason.

My life now is very different and it will be very different than it was… in a good way.  While I didn’t want it to happen and tried everything in my power to stop it, now I’m grateful for it.  It’s made me a stronger woman and a stronger mother.  It’s certainly not all sunshine and rainbows, that’s for sure.  Being a single mom is HARD.

pumpkin-patch 2015

I’m not getting into the details of “why” it happened and what was “wrong” (apparently?) with our marriage, but I’ll share some of my feelings I’ve experienced over the last year and a half in hopes it can possibly help someone else out there struggling, to feel not so alone, and to shed a little light on a topic that’s rarely talked about.  Not to mention, it is therapeutic for me to write, as well.

When he first announced it, I was devastated.  My family was being torn apart, and there was nothing I could do about it.  I did not come from a divorced home, and my biggest fear was William being raised with divorced parents.  The first couple of months were definitely the hardest.  I was with my family nonstop.  Almost every night I went to my parents’ house, my sister’s, or my grandparents’ house.  Their constant support gave me the power to get through each day, even when it felt unbearable.  I stayed incredibly busy, with work, with family, and with friends.

The hardest part was going home at night.  As amazing as the support was that I received, I still went home to an empty house with William each night.  It was hard, it was quiet, and it was lonely.  Once I got William to bed, I would blog (some nights), and go to bed myself.  Just thinking of these nights brings tears to my eyes.  It was hard.  I’m in a much better place now.

It was a couple of weeks before I even told my close friends.  They, like my family, were so supportive.  Daily phone calls, texts, and frequent visits were very much appreciated.  They listened when I wanted to talk and never pried for information.

While it’s easy to dwell on the many negatives of my situation, I try not to.  I was burned.  Bad.  Time and time again, I was hurt during this process.  Things were done by a family who I once called my own.  I’m still shocked at some of the events that occurred.  Unfortunately, people change and it’s not always for the better.  But I’m moving on, and I’m moving forward.  All I want William to know, is how much his momma loves him.

The reality of being a single mom is harder than anything I’ve ever experienced.  Luckily for me, I’m with William most of the time.  That’s also challenging though, as anyone with a toddler knows, it’s pretty difficult to accomplish everyday tasks.  Getting ready in the morning, preparing meals, doing laundry, keeping up with the housework.  I’ve had to prioritize and be content with knowing I’m giving it my best.  My house is never perfectly tidy (though let’s be real, it never was to begin with), but you know what?  My baby and I are healthy, and now, we’re happy.  Health and happiness.  We’ve got it, so what more can we ask for?

birthday kisses

While I’m still worried about raising William as a single mom, I know it won’t always be this way.  I also know that, no matter what the situation, it takes a village to raise a child.  My village is my family, and William has more than enough positive role models to take after and learn from.  Everyone in my family, my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, and my niece and nephews play a very important role in both of our lives.

I’ve been asked on several occasions, how do I get through it?  I stay very, very busy.  Sometimes when I reflect on my situation, I realize I literally don’t have time to stop and think about things or sulk.  In some regard, that may not be the healthiest thing as I’m constantly go go go.  I have a very hard time relaxing.  Like, I don’t.  I can’t tell you the last time I sat down to watch a movie or a show.  There’s always something to be done, and if there’s not, then I need to be sleeping.  Some days I feel absolutely exhausted.  Other days I feel like a super mom when I think about how much I do.  I know there are single moms all over the world, and I just never knew how hard it was to do literally EVERYTHING on your own.  Cooking, cleaning, errands, working full time, taking care of myself, not to mention RAISING A BABY!  Being a single mom is HARD!  I definitely don’t have it all figured out right now, but I can honestly say I’m in a good place.

Everything happens for a reason.  That’s a thought I’ve always believed in, though we may not always know what that reason is.  Life has a funny way of working out.  Good things happen to good people.  Bad things happen, too, but the good definitely outweigh the bad.  Everyday, I try to be the best version of myself, for me and for William.

So that’s that.  I think I’ve gotten out the bulk of what I wanted to share.  I’m moving on, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for me and William.  It’s hard, but there are bigger and better things in store for us.  This may just be a blessing in disguise!

No question today, but feel free to leave a comment if you have any wise words of wisdom.  Much love and power to all the single mommas out there – you rock!

Have you heard of…

I was scrolling through my phone and found a few random photos of some new-to-me products that I thought were worth sharing.  Some are brands I was previously unfamiliar with and others are brands I currently use, but new items.  So let’s play a game today called: Have you heard of…

Have you heard of… fresh & co goji berry protein bar?

goji berry protein bar

I received this in my MizzFit Quarterly Co box and ate it yesterday.  It is AMAZING!  I love that there are just a few ingredients, and recognizable ones at that.  Plus, goji berries are known to be “super foods” as they deliver many benefits.  It kind of reminds me of a Larabar because it’s chewy and naturally sweet.  I’m going to have to find out where I can purchase more of these bad boys!

Have you heard of… Halo Top protein ice cream?

halo top

I’m not going to lie… I did not have high expectations for this ice cream.  Real ice cream is pretty much the best thing in the world, so a “healthier” version didn’t sound too promising.  The verdict? I was thoroughly impressed!  It wasn’t protein-y at all and the nutritional stats rock as there’s 240 calories, 24 grams of protein, 20 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of fat.  And that’s for the WHOLE pint.  I wish my grocery store carried their birthday cake flavor, but since that’s a newer flavor they don’t.  I’ll keep looking.

Have you heard of… Skoop performance beet blend?

skoop beet blend

This healthy Skoop Ignite berry beet Performance Beet Blend is to be taken 30 minutes prior to working out by mixing it with water.  The benefits include:

  • Endurance: Increased blood flow means you can run longer, swim with fewer breaths, cycle further, you name it.
  • Resilience: Helps reduce recovery times DURING your workout–so you can bounce back quicker from bursts of activity, like sprints.
  • Energy: D-Ribose provides lasting, sustained energy throughout your workout.

How’s the taste?  Well… it does taste like beets.  I like beets, but combining it with just water does not taste like the best thing.  However, I usually take it in the morning, so I mix it in with my oatmeal or smoothie so other flavors take over.  If I want to take it in the afternoon or later in the day when I’m not eating right before, I gulp it down pretty quickly.  I do like the benefits and the slight jolt it gives me without the caffeine.  I like how it’s a “natural” product.

Have you heard of… goodness knows peach & cherry almond dark chocolate bar?

goodness knows

The cherries sweetened this bar perfectly!  It was harder than the other bar, but I still enjoyed it as a crunchy snack.  This was another new-to-me brand and I was a big fan of this flavor!

Have you heard of… Ava Anderson Non Toxic Body Scrub?

body scrub

Ava Anderson Non Toxic has the safest products around.  I originally started purchasing them for baby William as I was concerned with the ingredients in typical baby products, but quickly fell in love with all of their lines.  My current obsession is their body scrub.  It is the most moisturizing scrub I’ve ever used.  I use it right before I shave my legs and I don’t even need shaving cream, not to mention it exfoliates perfectly.  The new candy cane is PERFECT for this upcoming holiday season.  I will be gifting lots of these to my girl friends.  Ava Anderson Non Toxic also has a new peppermint candle which will pair nicely for a gift.  I love holiday scents!

~Use code 111759 when placing your order.  E-mail me to receive free shipping.

Which of these brands / products have you heard of? What’s something new to you that’s worth sharing?

*This post contains affiliate links.

perfect fall weekend

It was the perfect fall weekend. It was cool enough to where you knew it was fall with winter right around the corner, yet it was warm enough to where you could be outside all day without a jacket… or many clothes at all, according to my niece Audrey who demanded to wear her SWIM SUIT to play in the sand.

sand innsbrook

A bikini in November in Missouri.  Interesting.  Hey, whatever works.  The kids had an absolute blast as we spent most of the weekend at Innsbrook.  It was the first time we’ve been since the Fourth of July, and it was just as awesome as it always is.  We arrived and Jacob and Audrey were already in the sand, so William wasn’t far behind.  This was his first time playing in the sand, and he just loved it!

William also had his very first fishing lesson, given to him by his cousin Jacob.  Jacob is basically an expert.  He caught three fish in the first five minutes of fishing!

first fishing lesson nov15

Everyone loves being on my parents’ deck at Innsbrook.  It’s such a beautiful view of the lake, it’s so peaceful, and the changing color of the leaves confirms that fall is here.  There are always many, many hours spent out there.

Another popular place is around the fire pit.  William and Audrey enjoyed sitting in the over-sized chairs, while the adults enjoyed the warm fire once the kids were in bed.

aud innsbrook nov15

They’re just best buds.  They loved playing in Pops’ mule and telling each other secrets.

aud mule

Then I took everyone for a ride as we explored the neighborhood.

linking up with katie and erin

Even the dogs joined us.  William loves Zoey and she… tolerates him.  Ellie, my sister’s dog, is SO good with kids.  William showed her lots of love by hugging and kissing her and Ellie just sat there the whole time. So stinkin’ sweet.

ellie nov15

I’m always hesitant when kids want to hug dogs.  Even the best and most well-trained dogs are still dogs.  They are animals which means you should always be a little cautious around them.  However, William was so gentle the entire time and I was right there just to be safe and ensure he didn’t squeeze too hard.

We ended the weekend with a ton of errands and a fun family dinner.  It was a busy yet restful weekend that ended on the most peaceful note.

sleep nov15

Now that’s a sign of a good weekend!

Time to start the week off on a healthy note.  Move your body everyday.  Nourish yourself with mostly healthy foods.  Hydrate with plenty of water.  Get plenty of rest.  Reduce stress.  And surround yourself with those you love.  That’s all there is to it, folks!  Genius, I know! 😉

What were you up to this weekend?

when working out is not working out

Argh! I’m beyond frustrated right now!  I have really good intentions and really good plans.  As you know, being a full-time working mom does not lend itself to working out whenever I want to very easily.  I have to plan ahead, but I also don’t want to take time away from William.  I’m still getting my 10,000 steps a day (most days), but I’m craving long runs and weight lifting sessions that I used to do so regularly.  Let me back up.

A couple months ago, I took eight introductory classes at CrossFit 26.  If you’re a long time reader, you may remember that I did these same introductory classes at the same location back in 2012.  (HERE is my post from it.)  However, I was trying to get pregnant during that time, so I never took a “real” CrossFit class after that.  Fast forward to now.  I didn’t want to jump into a real class without the training again since it had been three years and CrossFit is SO technical with the movements.

So for four weeks, my mom and I went to CrossFit 26 twice a week for the introductory classes.  Yes, my MOM and I went together – she’s awesome!  I loved the classes as much as I did a few years ago.  The coaches were phenomenal and the class size was small, so we got a lot of attention.  Once I finished the introductory classes, I was nervous to take a real class, but definitely wanted to start.  Here’s where the frustration happened.

On THREE different occasions, yes, THREE, I tried to go to class, and it just didn’t happen.  The introductory classes were later in the evening.  The regular classes were right in the middle of rush hour which left me sitting in my car for 45 minutes and not even arriving on time.  I didn’t want to go late, especially since it would have been my first time, so I never made it.  After the third attempt, I decided it was not going to work out due to the time and location.  There may be a class here and there where I’m able to go, but unfortunately it’s just not going to work out during this time.  I’m frustrated because I was really excited to start a workout routine and knew CrossFit would have been awesome.

I guess I could look for a CrossFit box closer to my house, but I’m apprehensive to do that since I don’t want to just go to any box.  At CrossFit 26, I knew all the coaches were well knowledgeable and made sure everyone stayed safe.  I’m sure that’s the intent of other boxes, but I’m not sure if it actually happens. I suppose I shouldn’t judge anything before I give it a chance, but I knew 26 was a good place.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sitting on my butt doing nothing. No, William wouldn’t let me do that even if I wanted to!  I’m still doing those quick 15 minute workouts twice a week before school with my coworkers.  I’m still taking lots of walks when the weather allows.  And I’m still doing a tiny bit here and there at my house.  Just not nearly as much as I’d like.  (My Polar is definitely helping to hold me accountable!)

I literally have no pictures to put in this post.  I’m pretty sure that’s a first!  Alright, I’m done complaining now.  I’ll just need to figure out a new plan of action for working out!

Has working out ever not worked out for you?  What’d you do instead?