Balance + Strength Workout

I’ve mentioned on here before how the teachers at the school where I teach workout in the mornings twice a week for fifteen minutes.  The incentive is to build community among the staff, encourage healthy habits, and lead by example.  We talk to the students about moving their bodies, so it’s important that we do, too.  Plus, if you workout in the morning, you get to wear workout clothes for the day which is a pretty sweet perk.  Especially if you’re someone like me who prefers to live in yoga pants.

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The idea between the fifteen minute workout is that it’s enough time to get moving, but not enough time to get completely drenched in sweat.  Though if the ac isn’t on in the gym like yesterday morning, the sweat thing is a different story.  Anyway, usually our PE teacher leads the workouts, but I fill in when he’s unavailable.  I love planning them, and have one to share with you all.  I think it’s great because all you need is a light set of dumbbells and it focuses a lot on balance.  Balance, like endurance and strength, is a fundamental concept and should not be neglected when working out.  Here’s the Balance + Strength Workout:

balance strength workout

For more information on each exercise, please click below:

Seriously, fifteen minutes makes a difference.  It’s much better than nothing, it’s enough time to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing, and it’s all about what you can when you can!

Photo of my teammates and I from last week:

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On Wednesdays we workout!  And we wear pink! 😉

You’ve got fifteen minutes to workout – which exercises will you do?

A Hand Painted Pot

This little one turned 13 months yesterday…

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But he’s not looking so little anymore!  Doesn’t he look so old and big there?  Ok, not that old, but still!  Anyway, I’m not going to do his monthly updates anymore (maybe just every few months?), but here’s what he’s up to these days in a nutshell: The biggest change for baby William is that he started taking steps!  One week ago is when it started, and every day since he’s taken a few.  He’s definitely getting a bit more balanced and comfortable and has put several steps in a row.  He’s standing independently longer, too.  We still have leftover balloons from his birthday party, and he LOVES playing with them!  William also loves being outside, looking out the window, climbing on things, playing catch, and making music.  He’s been talking up a storm lately!  Tons and tons of babbling all the time.  He also knows how to use his voice if he doesn’t like something, particularly if an object is being taken away or he is being moved from somewhere.  If he’s not happy about it, he will let you know!  Baby William is such a happy baby, and his smiles and giggles are contagious.  He loves people, he loves our family, and he loves to move!  And he’ll always be my baby William.

At school, he painted me a pot for Mother’s Day.

hand painted pot of flowers

I never knew how much I’d love a hand painted pot until I received this.  I know there’s many more art projects to come, but this is one of his firsts, so it holds a special place!

Speaking of Mother’s Day, I hope all you fabulous mommas had a well-deserved wonderful day!  My parents hosted a lovely brunch at their home.

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We spent the majority of the day there, stuffed our bellies with the abundance of food, laughed, enjoyed each other’s company, watched the kids feed the fish and dig for worms, and my new favorite thing: played with dubsmash.  Is anyone familiar with this?  It’s a free app where you lip sync a short clip of a song, a commercial, a tv show, etc. and then you play it back.  It’s seriously hilarious!  Everyone got in on the fun from the babies to my grandma!  Then, my brother, sister, mom, my nephew, and I made one together for Party in the USA and I Gotta Feeling.  If I have your phone number, you were most likely texted these videos.  And if not, I’m happy to send them.  Download the app.  Go play.  Thank me later.

Linking up with Katie and Erin!

A photo of just some of the crew soaking up the sunshine:

mothers day2015

(William was napping.)

My wonderful grandparents Mama and Papa:

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Mama has carried on the tradition of being an incredible matriarch for our family, just as her mom, my Great Grandma Rose was.  My mom and my sister also play the role well.  I have a lot of inspiration and big shoes to fill!  I’m glad they’re by my side, guiding me every step of the way!

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All in all, it was a wonderful day.  It was a good reminder of what life should be about: love, laughter, happiness, family, and friends!

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Somebody was more interested in watching the fish swim in the pond than smiling for a picture, but thank you, little baby, for being the best Mother’s Day gift I could ever imagine!

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Food Fitness Fashion Fun Focus – Baby Edition

I have some ridiculously cute pictures of baby William to share with you, and instead of this being a total photo dump, I figured I would link up with Clare for five things Friday and organize the post into five categories: Food Fitness Fashion Fun Focus – Baby Edition.  The star of today:

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My precious baby.  I snapped that last night during bath time, and it didn’t really fit into the categories for today, but I had to share.  His little banana curls in the back are exactly how mine used to be, and he has lashes for days!  Such a beautiful baby (biased, I know, but still true!), and he just gets more fun everyday as he continues to learn new things.  Alright, onto our five categories for today.


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I gave William a pouch about a week ago for the first time, and he LOVED it!  I don’t want to get in the habit of feeding him pouches on a regular basis, but in a pinch and when he didn’t seem interested in other food, it totally worked.  I do feel good about giving him Earth’s Best pouches because they are organic and have nothing but real food in them.  William loves the few he’s had!  I’d like to make my own pouches at some point.. when I can find time.



Ok, maybe calling it fitness for a baby is a bit of a stretch, but……… WILLIAM STARTED TAKING STEPS!!!!!!  Clearly this isn’t even a picture of him taking steps, but that’s because my arms are usually reaching for him or I’m clapping and cheering wildly.  Doesn’t he look so old here, too?  Ahh, I can’t believe he’s almost walking!  Each day he takes a couple teeny tiny steps, and I know just know he will take off soon!


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All little dudes should wear headbands, am I right, or am I right?  Maybe not all the time, but William’s hair in front is so long that sometimes it goes into his eyes.  I try to tame the curls up so they are out of his face, but when that doesn’t work I throw on this headband.  Actually it’s called a “warrior band;” I ordered it from Kindred Oak.


carly school

Playtime with his girlfriend Carly!  Their teacher sent us several pictures from school on  Thursday, and I just love them together!  They’re happy and playing, then William is telling Carly not to cry, then he’s trying to make her feel better by holding her hand, and she’s not quite so sure about it.  They love each other.  Future boyfriend girlfriend!


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This picture is from my mom, William’s “Yaya.”  Here, he is learning about numbers and colors on this toy that’s over thirty years old!  This was the first time he sat at the “big kid” table, and my mom said he didn’t want to leave!  I’m ok with him having lessons from Yaya everyday there!  Teach him everything you know, Mom!

Share something from one of the categories: Food Fitness Fashion Fun Focus.

White Chocolate Raspberry Jelly Bean Bark

When I get asked to create a recipe, I generally come up with something fairly quickly.  It may take a couple attempts to get it right, but I usually have a pretty good idea of which direction I want to go.  When I got asked to create a recipe with jelly beans, I was stumped at first.  Some candy is easy to incorporate into recipes.  Jelly beans?  Not so much.  First, I made Chocolate Pretzel Jelly Bean Bites.  They were good alright, but after staring at the six leftover bags of jelly beans on my kitchen table, I wanted to try something new.  I present to you…

white chocolate raspberry jelly bean bark

White Chocolate Raspberry Jelly Bean Bark.  This is for the ultimate dessert lover.  Someone who has a crazy, raging sweet tooth.  It’s super sweet, super delicious, super colorful, and a good way to use up jelly beans if you so happen to have some.

White Chocolate Raspberry Jelly Bean Bark

-1 pound white chocolate
-Brach’s jelly beans
-1 single serving packet drink mix, raspberry flavored
1.  Melt white chocolate.  Pour half on greased pan and spread.
2.  Add drink mix to remaining white chocolate and stir.
3.  Spread new mixture on top using a knife to swirl the two together.
4.  Press Brach’s jelly beans into white chocolate.
5.  Let harden in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
6.  Remove and break into pieces.
white chocolate raspberry jellybean bark
This recipe was developed for on behalf of Brach’s.  Simple Recipes not only has tons of free… simple recipes… but also daily coupons!
You could definitely use any flavor drink mix to swirl into the white chocolate.  For me, I love white chocolate and raspberry together, so it was a no brainer; and the fruit flavored jelly beans add a delicious chewy component to the sweetness.
white chocolate raspberry jelly bean bark recipe
Do you have an easy or hard time coming up with new recipes? Other ideas for ways to use jelly beans?

Chocolate Pretzel Jelly Bean Bites

What’s sweet and salty and crunchy and chewy and chocolatey?

Chocolate Pretzel Jelly Bean Bites!

chocolate pretzel jelly bean bites

These are crazy easy to make.  It’s literally just four ingredients that take a little assembling, a little heating, and a little cooling.  Bam!  These nuggets of deliciousness are perfect to set out for guests, wrap in a box for a gift, or merely enjoy for yourself.  They’re like a party in your mouth as they’re bursting with flavor.  So I didn’t eat all of them at once, I brought them to school and set them out in our teacher’s lounge.  I think my co-workers liked them as they were gone by the end of the day.  That’s always a good sign.

chocolate pretzel jelly bean bites recipe

This recipe was developed for on behalf of Brach’s.  Simple Recipes not only has tons of free… simple recipes… but also daily coupons!

  • pretzels
  • Hershey kisses
  • Brach’s jelly beans
  • white chocolate, melted,
  1. Arrange pretzels on cookie sheet. Place one Hershey kiss on top of each pretzel.
  2. Place in oven under broiler for one minute or just enough to slightly soften the chocolate.
  3. Push one large Brach’s jelly bean or three small jelly beans into the melted chocolate.
  4. Drizzle with white chocolate.
  5. Let harden in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

chocolate pretzel jellybean bites recipe

Now go make yourself some.

What’s your favorite color / flavor jelly bean? Pink or red for me!

What You Can When You Can #wycwyc

There’s a new movement taking over the world.  Ok, maybe not the world (yet), but the healthy living community, and there’s no better time but NOW to get involved.  It’s the What You Can When You Can (#wycwyc) movement.  The idea is simple.  You do #wycwyc in terms of living a healthy life.  You don’t feel bad about anything.  You do your best.  That’s that.  And it’s pretty awesome.  Just like you.  And me.

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The other weekend I went out for a run.  Long run?  No.  Two miles with some walking in between as I stopped at my friend’s house to see her baby and ask her to snap a photo (or five).  Two miles may not be much, but it sure is better than nothing!  #wycwyc

Where did the #wycwyc movement come from?  Two geniuses, Carla and Roni.

Carla is a wise, wise woman who writes posts that constantly resonate with me.  She’s real, she’s smart, she’s funny, and she has a magnificent outlook on life.  Carla is a momma, part of the “tribe,” and a kind soul whom I hope to meet someday as we’ve already connected through the blogosphere.  I look up to Carla and she inspires me in many ways. Roni, I’m not as familiar with, but she’s accomplished a lot and has a large following, so she must know what she’s doing. :)

Their book, What You Can When You Can, is available to order NOW… on Amazon and other retailers.  No matter where you are in your healthy living journey, whether you’re just starting, thinking about starting, or doing pretty well, you should get a copy of this book in your hands (or on your Kindle).  The gist?

What You Can When You Can (#wycwyc) is a book, a movement, a mindset, and a lifestyle – one that harnesses the power of small steps to let you achieve your health and fitness goals on YOUR terms.  The #wycwyc (pronounced “wickwick”) philosophy applies to anything and everything that contributes to a healthy, happy life: nutrition, exercise, physical and mental rejuvenation, and so much more!

Some additional recent #wycwyc moments for me:

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Spending time with family and eating pizza for dinner.  Healthy pizza?  No, cheesy thin crust (St. Louis style!) Imo’s pizza of absolute deliciousness.  Stressing that it’s not healthy?  Nope!  #wycwyc!  Knowing I started my day with my greens and making mostly other healthy choices throughout the day, having pizza for dinner occasionally is no big deal.  And neither is the cookie.  Or any of the other desserts that followed.

Not fitting in an hour-long workout on a regular basis because of this:

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As much as I love working out, I love my baby more.  After not being with him all day long, I can’t put him in gym day care or leave him at school longer so I can workout.  Instead, I do #wycwyc.  This may mean a set of lunges here, a few push-ups there, or maybe “nothing” at all.  This face is more important.  This is not to say I don’t place any emphasis on working out.  I do want to be a strong and healthy role model for baby William.  It’s all about finding that balance, and it’s all about #wycwyc.

Which brings me to my next #wycwyc…

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While I may not have time to go to the gym for an hour a day, I do what I can when I can.  Twice a week my school hosts morning workouts before the kids come.  They are quick fifteen minute workouts.  One incentive is to wear workout clothes all day, and another promotes community among our staff.  I love both reasons, but I also love that it is a chance for me to workout, even if it is just for fifteen minutes.  #wycwyc and it’s fifteen more minutes than I would do otherwise!  Better than nothing!

Are you getting in on the movement? Tell me a #wycwyc moment for you!

call me maybe

When I was thinking about writing this post on Sunday, I wondered what exactly it would entail since I felt like I hadn’t taken many pictures over the weekend. However, as I scrolled through the photos on my phone, I realized, as always, I took way more pictures than I remembered.  So here are just some snapshots of our weekend:

Audrey spent the day with us on Saturday.

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She literally will do anything for her baby William.  They’re more like brother and sister than cousins.  Audrey protects him, teaches him things, scolds him, laughs with him, is proud of him, gets excited with him, and sometimes gets mad at him.  The funniest is when she says things like, “I’m getting very frustrated with you, William!” or “Don’t be dramatic, William!”  Hmm, wonder where she has heard those phrases?

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I love her.  Even when she acts like a total threenager.

We also had a play date with William’s girlfriend Carly.

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It is not easy to get two one+ year olds to sit still, sit together, and smile for a picture.  At least we got them sitting.  We’ve already begun planning their wedding…

Linking up with Katie and Erin.

After William went to sleep on Saturday night, a babysitter came over and I went out with my good friend Heather.

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It felt good to get out, catch up, and hang out.  Though going to sleep much later than usual made William’s 6 a.m. wake up feel way too early!  I survived and napped while he did to catch up.  We went to a birthday party, I did some baking, and we all enjoyed the sunshine during several walks this weekend.

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Yes, Zoey has the longest tongue ever.

We have a couple different toy phones at our house, and William’s new thing is holding them up to his ears and “talking.”  It’s the cutest thing ever.  He loves talking to his momma then passing me the phone to talk.  He’s all like…

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call me maybe!

What were you up to this weekend?

Healthy Banana Coconut Milkshake

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Banana is such a versatile food.  It pairs perfectly with many options.  Banana and peanut butter.  Banana and chocolate.  Banana and coconut.  Oh so many options with bananas.  When I was sent a carton of Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend, I instantly knew what I would make.  Especially with hot weather fast approaching, a cold, creamy, and refreshing beverage sounded absolutely perfect.

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Healthy Banana Coconut Milkshake


  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Original

Blend until smooth.

Add whatever other nutrient-rich ingredients you’d like.  Some ideas that I’ve been loving are chia seeds, flax seed, hemp seeds, cinnamon, vanilla or banana protein powder, spinach, cottage cheese, etc.  The banana and coconut flavors are pretty strong, so bulking up the milkshake to add more protein or fiber doesn’t affect the taste.

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Benefits of Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk include:

  • only 45 calories per 1 cup serving
  • made from REAL almonds & coconut
  • 50% more calcium than milk
  • contains no cholesterol
  • soy free
  • lactose free
  • contains no added sweeteners

Also, the carton can sit in your pantry until you’re ready to use it.  I hate, I mean hate running out of milk.  I always keep a carton in my pantry just in case.

This banana coconut milkshake is fantastic any time of day.  Breakfast, snack, dessert, you name it.  The only thing to make it better would be to be drinking it on a beach, in a swimsuit, under the sun, in front of the ocean…

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Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Besides banana, what pairs well with coconut?

Chipotle again

Ok so I know I said last week that I needed to be better at food prep, but I failed once again.  Life is busy, and yes that’s totally an excuse, but sometimes I just don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen.  It definitely doesn’t mean that eating mostly healthy has to go out the window though.  Here are a few of my meals from this week:

// breakfast //

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Love Grown Foods blueberry banana walnut hot oats.  Add water and microwave.  So easy, so delicious, so nutritious.  A side of homemade banana bread with Essentially Coconut sweet almond coconut butter on top.  And yes, I actually made the banana bread.  Despite me not wanting to do any food prep this week, I did make a batch of banana bread.  In fact, I usually make banana bread every week with my leftover bananas.  It hardly takes any time, and I love it.  A glass of A-Game greens on the side always makes me feel much healthier since it contains ten servings of vegetables, probiotics, antioxidants, and more healthy goodness.

// lunch //


Chipotle again.  I picked it up Sunday for Monday’s lunch which completely justified my lack of meal prep.  Chipotle is healthy fast food.  I almost always order a bowl with chicken, brown rice, black beans, corn salsa, cheese, and lettuce.  Occasionally steak, but mostly chicken.  And tonight William and I have a Chipotle play date with our friends.  Chipotle addict over here, no shame!

Linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!

// snack //

detour bar

Detour just sent me some of their Chocolate Chip Caramel simple protein bars.  They now have a snack size which is just perfect for a protein bar.  And as always, Detour’s simple bars contain clean ingredients, are gluten-free, and non-gmo.  Good flavors, too!

// dinner //


This dinner was from my parents’ house.  Mini sliders with ketchup, roasted asparagus, and salad.  Simple and easy, my kind of meal.

What’s your go-to order at Chipotle?  I know everyone has one because I have literally never met anyone that doesn’t like Chipotle!

Crochet Moms Nursing Necklace

William is a very alert baby, as you know if you know baby William.  He’s always moving, always grabbing things, always into everything.  And I wouldn’t change that for the world.  This little alert baby of mine love to have his hands everywhere in everything.  Anytime I’m holding him, his hands are busy.  Oh, plus he’s constantly teething as he has a whole mouth to fill with teeth, so everything goes in his mouth.  Since he’s so strong (#futureathlete), he’s broken a couple of my necklaces from pulling too hard.

I discovered Moms Necklace and I knew I had to have one!

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You may have heard of “nursing necklaces” before.  Moms Necklaces are the best, in my opinion.  They are crochet organic nursing and babywearing jewelry.  They are made from 100% organic cotton and natural wood beads.  The woman who makes them, Tamara, has a very large variety on her website with beautiful colors.  I chose blues and natural colors for baby William, and I’m absolutely in love with it.

William loves holding it, chewing on it, and playing with it, and it really is a beautiful accessory to any outfit.

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When I first received the necklace, I noticed how good it smelled!  Tamara informed me that that it has juniper wooden beads.  It’s wonderful!  The scent has worn off a bit, so if you’re concerned about that, don’t be.  I’ve received several compliments on it, especially by other mommas!  Moms have said they have tried nursing necklaces before, but since they were silicone they got stuck in their hair and were uncomfortable.  Not the case with Moms Necklaces!  And you tie the necklace on, so you can make it as long or short as you wish.

When William and I traveled to Arizona over spring break, I wore the necklace on the plane to help keep him busy.  It was PERFECT!  It grosses me out how dirty and germy planes are, so I was thrilled to have something clean that William could chew on.

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Not only does Tamara have beautiful nursing necklaces, but she also has hats, bands, jewelry, earrings, toys, and clips.  Her Etsy shop is another place you can shop. (I love Etsy! Hello, PayPal!) Something from her shop would be absolutely perfect as a Mother’s Day gift, baby shower gift, new mom gift, or a treat for yourself.   The prices are so reasonable, too.

Follow @MomsNecklace on Instagram, too!

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I snapped this photo the other day when William was nursing.  I loved how his cute little belly is peeking through!

Moms: do you have/use a nursing necklace?

Disclaimer: I received a Moms Necklace in exchange for my honest review.