treat yourself to a workout

~ treat yourself to a workout ~

What do you think of that phrase?  What would you treat yourself to?  A workout?  Can a workout be a treat?  Let me explain my thoughts.  Simply put: YES!

My time is limited.  I work full-time and I have a very active ten month old baby.  When do I have time to workout?  When he sleeps?  In the morning?  In the evening?  What about all of my other obligations?  The house, laundry, cooking, cleaning, the list goes on.  You get my point.  I’m busy.  I’m not trying to toot my own horn; I know a lot of you out there are crazy busy, too.  Even if you’re not slammed every minute of every day, you can still treat yourself to a workout.

I used to workout on an almost daily basis.  I loved it.  I loved everything about it.  I loved challenging myself, getting stronger, improving my flexibility, running faster.  I loved how it made me feel, both during my workout and after.  While working out is not as big of a priority now as it once was, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have the desire.  The desire is there, the time is not.

Most weekends are pretty laid back.  However, if and when I do have someone watch William for just a couple of hours, I treat myself to a workout.

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Most recently, I attended another Bar Method class.  Since it’s a rarity that I actually do have a couple of hours to myself, I choose my activity wisely.  Sure, there are tasks I could get caught up on, and there are some things that I would like to do (get a manicure, pedicure, and massage, specifically).  However, treating myself to a workout provides numerous benefits.

Long term, it’s better for my health.  It makes me happy.  (Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Name that movie!)  While I do short workouts at home, nothing can compare to a solid sweat session.

Thanks to Class Pass, I am having fun trying new studios and different workout classes.  This weekend, I’m signed up for a yoga class in a heated room.  Recap to follow.

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My workout essentials for the day included my aluminum Class Pass water bottle, which I actually love a lot more than I thought I would.  I normally drink out of plastic water bottles (which I don’t ever love using plastic), but aluminum keeps the water so cold!  The new Detour Simple Salted Caramel Cookie Dough protein bar is fantastic.  With 20 grams of protein, it’s an awesome post-workout snack.  And I’m actually using my MizzFit socks as they’re intended instead of just bumming around the house!

Class Pass has it right with their motto:

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// be active // be happy // be you //

So true.

How do you treat yourself?

d’Lish GIVEAWAY (closed)

Oh hey there!  Missed ya yesterday because some handsome little man decided to take an hour and a half to get to sleep on Monday evening.  By the time he finally went down, this momma headed to bed herself.  Sleep > blogging.  True story.  Last night was considerably shorter (yay!), which I’m happy about because it means I get to come here and tell you about some tasty food I’ve been eating lately.  So here we go:

Breakfast: Heart-Shaped Pancake in Honor of Valentine’s Day 

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In the mix for the pancake: Love Grown Foods super oats with quinoa and chia, two eggs, flax seed, cinnamon, milk, and baking powder.  For the topping I microwaved frozen strawberries with a little water, mashed them up, mixed in Mamma Chia seeds, and let it sit to thicken up.  I slathered coconut oil on my pancake, topped it with this strawberry mixture, and then drizzled syrup on top.  It was fantastic.

Lunch: Chicken, Sugar Snap Peas, Orange, and Babybel Cheese

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My mom made the chicken and sent me home with a couple.  She makes the best baked breaded chicken.  I steamed a bag of sugar snap peas, and every time I do, I am reminded just how much I love them.  I think they are a very underrated vegetable.  I seriously love them.  I made them in the morning as I was getting my lunch together, and kept eating them.  It was seven o’clock in the morning, and I hadn’t even had breakfast yet!  I literally eat the whole bag in one sitting.  My grandma gave me a few Babybel cheeses, and the white cheddar flavor definitely doesn’t disappoint.

Yes, my family always gives me a lot of food.  I guess they know how much I like to eat. :)  Dinner was courtesy of my sister.

Dinner: Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches and Asparagus

bbq chicken

There is a little dollar roll underneath all that meat.  I went back for seconds.  Jacob, my nephew, couldn’t believe how much he liked the sandwiches, too.  I feel like everyone loves barbecue chicken sandwiches.

Dessert: Hot Chocolate and Special K Brownies

special k brownies

The Special K brownies are supposed to be a healthy snack because they are pre-portioned in reasonable 80 calorie sizes.  However, after taking so long to get William to sleep, I needed a major chocolate fix.  So I had two.  And some hot cocoa.

Snacks: NuGo Fiber d’Lish Apple Cobbler Bar

fiber dlish

You might have seen that Gnu Foods FiberLove was recently acquired by NuGo Nutrition, and renamed NuGo Fiber d’Lish.  Same great bars, same great taste, same great flavors, same great fiber, just a new name.  These are honestly the best fiber bars I’ve ever had.  They’re so soft and chewy and the flavors are amazing.  Quick facts:

  • Entirely natural
  • Heart healthy
  • Promotes natural regularity with 12 grams of fiber per bar (48% of your daily needs!)
  • Only 140 calories per bar
  • Contains 6 grains and seeds
  • No trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils
  • Soy free
  • Vegan friendly
  • Flavors: Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Raisin, Banana Walnut, Blueberry Cobbler, Orange Cranberry, Blondie Bar, Apple Cobbler, Coconut Macaroon, and Carrot Cake

And now, to help spread the word about their new name, NuGo Fiber d’Lish wants to send TWO of you a box with 16 bars of your favorite flavor!

nugo fiber dlish

To enter the giveaway, visit NuGo Fiber d’Lish and comment on this post with which flavor sounds best to you (mandatory).  For additional optional entries:

Be sure to leave a separate comment on this blog post for each entry. This giveaway will be open until Thursday, February 19th, 2015 at 8:00 pm CST. A winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, February 20th, 2015.  CLOSED!

Congratulations to #14 Maggie and #46 Sabrina @ Nutritiously Sweet! We will be in touch to get your flavor of choice shipped out! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: NuGo Fiber d’Lish sent me a box of bars, free of charge.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Valentines

This guy.

valentines day 2015

I mean seriously, right?!  I may have texted this picture with the words, “be mine!” to a few of his girlfriends on Valentine’s Day.  Such a stud!

Sadly, he became pretty congested over the weekend. That plus his active gag reflex made for some pretty nasty scenes.  Like throwing up in his crib, all over his room, in the kitchen, in his car seat, repeat several different times.  He has a lot of drainage going on which is hitting his gag reflex and causing him to cough and vomit. We had to cancel a play date today just in case he’s contagious because I definitely don’t want to be that mom that brings her sick baby around other babies.

I’m so thankful for my amazing family who is always there to lend a helping hand.  My grandma did my laundry (yes, did my laundry) and helped me put clean bed sheets on yesterday.  We had dinner at my parents’ last night, and just a few minutes into the car ride home, I could hear William throwing up.  I pulled over, made sure he was ok, and then turned around back to my parents’ house.  My dad cleaned his car seat (those are so annoying and so gross to clean!) while my mom bathed William and changed his clothes.  Seriously, best family ever.  Could I have done it all?  Of course, but it sure is nice to take a break when you’re used to doing it all, all the time.  And so very much appreciated.

Before William started feeling ill, I went on a very special shopping trip.

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Audrey, my niece, my mini-me – we were totally digging the fake glasses!

My sister, mom, and I (and baby William!) took Audrey to get her ears pierced!  She’s been asking for awhile now, and Valentine’s Day was the lucky day!  They pierced both at the same time, thank goodness, because she was screaming crying after, and my sister and I both shed some tears, too, at the sight.  My mom does what she always does, and came to the rescue.  Carousal rides and cookies were the perfect fix.

Other than that, it was a pretty low-key weekend.  Flowers were delivered, chocolate was eaten, and we actually got some sleep!  I have the day off today, too, which is great!

What did you do on Valentine’s Day?  How old were you when you got your ears pierced?  I was five for my first hole, and seven for my second.

Linking up with Katie and Erin.

How to Get Children to Eat Beans

How do you get children to eat beans?  Better yet, how do you get children to eat beans for breakfast?  Seriously!  I did it, and I’ll share the secret with you.  Are you ready?

TRICK ‘EM!

For real.

Children are very easily influenced, for better or for worse.  I see it with my students and I see it with my niece and nephew all the time.  Let me explain how to positively influence kids (aka trick ‘em), so they eat beans for breakfast.

I told my class of fourth graders that I had a special Valentine’s Day treat for them, but I wanted to take a survey on which flavor they liked better: strawberry or chocolate.  Right away, they already started thinking about their flavor preference. They weren’t thinking about if they would like the food or not.  Because of how I had phrased the question, they were assuming they would like the food, and would have to decide which flavor they liked the best.

So they tasted the strawberry…

poweros strawberry

And then the chocolate…

poweros chocolate

The marked their vote on our SMARTboard, and kept cheering for “their flavor” to “win.”  (Strawberry won.  My fav, too!  Smart kids.)  After the voting, I spilled the beans.  (<– see what I did there? haha)  I told them that the cereal was made with BEANS!  Navy, lentil, and garbanzo beans, to be exact.

BEANS FOR BREAKFAST?!  Beans for breakfast, friends.

You see, Love Grown Foods is very passionate about educating kids how to properly fuel their bodies with healthy foods.  They focus on:

  • Why breakfast is so important;
  • Why you should be able to pronounce every ingredient in your food;
  • Why whole grains, fiber, and good fats are essential to a healthy diet

They even have some great printables to “exercise your brain!”  Earlier in the week, students completed the Love Grown Foods word search.  Later in the day, we did the crossword puzzle together.  It prompted a discussion on many topics related to healthy eating, and it echoed what I tell them all the time: Breakfast is the most important meal.

Fast forward to yesterday, the day where we passed out Valentines.  As a Love Grown Foods LOVE Ambassador, I reached out to Maddy, the founder of LGF, and asked if they could help me distribute a different kind of Valentine this year.  Instead of the typical chocolate or candy (the kids get enough of that from their peers), the each received a special box of LOVE.

lgf poweros

LGF also sent “beans for breakfast” pins which my students thought were the coolest things ever.  And because I’m a teacher, I gave them heart-themed pencils.

That is how you get kids to eat beans for breakfast!

Big thanks to Love Grown Foods for spreading LOVE to my students!

How did you decorate your box to collect Valentine’s Day cards in school?  My mom is very creative and always helped us making elaborate containers!

10 month old baby William

Somebody turned ten months old on Tuesday…

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Baby’s got style!  Tank top and tube socks?  Oh, yes!

Here’s baby William’s ten month update:

Height & Weight: 20 pounds 0.5 ounces and not sure about his height.

Eating: Loving Earth’s Best foods, especially their oatmeal that he still gets twice a day.  Other favorites include carrots, sweet potatoes, avocado, banana, turkey, and yogurt.  William eats puffs, and I try to give him finger food to practice feeding himself. However, he still doesn’t really chew because he’s used to purees, so sometimes chunks of food get caught in his throat and he ends up throwing up a lot thanks to his active gag reflex.  I have learned to let him practice feeding himself before his oatmeal and fruit / vegetable because if he does throw up, at least it’s a bit less than after his full meal.

Sleeping (naps): Same as last month –> Our goal is to have three 45-minute naps a day (or three sleep cycles).  Ideally, he would take one 45-minute nap and one hour and a half nap (two sleep cycles back to back), but that rarely happens at day care – usually three naps which is fine.

Check out my Beginning to Sleep Train a Baby post where I explain in more detail about sleep cycles and naps.

Sleeping (at night): The last week has not been so great, honestly.  I think William’s teething (again), and he’s a little bit congested, so the combination has been rough on both of us. He’s been having more difficulty going to sleep. I’ve always rocked him to sleep (I know, I know…) but usually transferring him to the crib is fine.  Lately, not so much.  He screams when I put him down, even if he was asleep.  Then sometimes he’s wide awake after.  A couple of nights ago he went through multiple cycles of this and I could not keep him asleep in his crib at all.  Literally, over an hour later, I needed a breather, so I safely left him in his crib and stood outside his door taking deep breaths just for two minutes. Well, sure enough, because he was fussing…. he threw up all over his crib.  Oy.  Big thanks to my momma for coming to my rescue, washing the sheets and bumpers, and letting me get some much-needed sleep!

Clothing: Mostly twelve month clothing, but he can still fit into some nine month items.

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Clothes?!  What clothes?!

New this month: William has figured out where his milk comes from… He literally lunges at my chest when he’s hungry… or just wants to play lol.  He waves and claps all the time and just started giving high fives.  He especially loves to clap when we say, “Yaaaay!”  William has been pulling up more and more, especially in his crib. New this month has been crawling while holding items.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s just an accident that he’s still holding it while he’s crawling or if he really wants to move the toy there.  He also loves banging things together and opening and closing his hands.

William likes: Chasing our dog Zoey though she wants nothing to do with him. Opening cabinets.  Smiling and laughing.  Watching people throw things in the air.  Playing with his cousins Jackson, Jacob, and Audrey. They have him in stitches belly laughing! Trying to grab the water during bath time.  Singing.  So much singing. Throwing his binkies, toys, or food and then looking down to find it. Music.

William dislikes: Teething and getting the snot sucked out of him when he’s congested, though I suppose nobody would really like either of those things.

But mostly…

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…happiest baby ever!

Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food

I had all these great plans to exclusively breastfeed and make all of William’s baby food. Breastfeeding is going great (despite the rough beginning), but the making all of his baby food is not going so great.  Actually, I’ve never made his food.  My mom and Stephanie made all of it at the beginning.  And then I resorted to jars.  It’s funny (well, not really) that I feel the need to say I “resorted” to jars.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with jarred food, but for some reason it makes me feel like less of a super-mom. I assume it’s similar to how moms feel if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for them and they supplement with formula.  My motto has always been, “As long as you’re feeding your baby, you’re a good mom.”  I need to listen to my own words because they really are true.

Anyway, since making all of William’s baby food just was not practical for me as I’m an incredibly busy, working full-time mom, I needed to buy jars.  I wanted to feel good about what William was eating, so I made the decision to do all organic.  I, myself, don’t eat all organic, but while William is a baby, I want him eating organically (just my opinion).  When I bought fruits and vegetables for my mom and my sister to make the food, I bought organic fruits and vegetables.  At six months old, I introduced oatmeal mixed with my breast milk for William’s first food, I chose Earth’s Best whole grain oatmeal.

eating6

such a cute little guy at six months old!

William did so well and still continues to do well with and enjoy the oatmeal, that I reached out to Earth’s Best to tell them just that.  Especially when he wasn’t tolerating food so great, he always did fine with oatmeal.  Earth’s Best kindly sent me a package to review of various items.

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Puffs!  William loves these organic yogurt puffs!  I’ve bought one other kind of puffs, but he really does prefer these. They are a bit “puffier,” if you will, than other puffs which I’ve found to be on the flatter side. Earth’s Best also sent me Pop Snax Veggie Crisps, but we haven’t tried them yet since they’re a bit harder. The puffs melt in your mouth which make them perfect for little babies!

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When I first introduce a new food, I always mix it with oatmeal since William is familiar with that taste.  He does really enjoy apples and pears.  Even though these are labeled as “first foods,” I still give them to William as he likes the purees.

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Something else I really like about Earth’s Best is that their products are available pretty much everywhere.  Local groceries, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, and Babies R Us, just to name a few.  And while organic foods can be more expensive, if you buy in bulk, they’re much more reasonable. For example, a twelve-pack of the first apples at Target are just $8.99.  That’s less than a dollar a jar!

Earth’s Best also sent a package of wipes.  Made with a soft, gentle texture that is gentler on babies’ bottoms and the environment and with natural aloe vera and vitamin E formula, the Earth’s Best Chlorine Free Diapers are part of the new #EBSpecialDelivery campaign, where you can win a year’s supply of diapers and wipes! Hypoallergenic, unscented, and alcohol-free. Tushie-approved!

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Does this look like a baby who loves Earth’s Best foods or what?! I couldn’t get the carrots in his mouth fast enough! He was literally coming toward me as I brought the spoon to his mouth!

I’ve already bought several more jars of Earth’s Best food.  Oh, that’s another thing: jars. I love that their food comes in jars versus plastic. I try to minimize my plastic usage, especially with William. The glass jars are perfect to reuse, as well.  All in all, I’m very happy and would highly recommend Earth’s Best products for all babies! They have some a wide array of products that William will be able to eat their food for a long time. I feel confident in feeding him their food, and that’s important for little tummies!

Here is some additional information about the benefits of Earth’s Best foods:

  • Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Oatmeal Cereal with Bananas:  With 30% of the daily value of iron, 25% of the daily value of 6 B Vitamins, this infant cereal is perfect for starting babies on solids.  Rich in Iron and Zinc for infants’ healthy growth and development, and free of artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, this cereal is made with whole grains for a great start to the morning.
  • Earth’s Best Organic 1st Pears: Filled with Vitamin C and easy for little babies as they start fruits and vegetables, the 1st Pears jar is USDA organic and free of additives.
  • Earth’s Best Organic 1st Apples: An excellent source of Vitamin C and free of additives, the 1st Apples jar is perfect for babies to explore new flavors. Vegan and kosher certified, this jar is a great way to provide babies with healthy first foods.
  • Earth’s Best Organic 1st Bananas: Kosher, vegan, and filled with Vitamin C, the 1st Bananas jar is a favorite for beginning the little ones on fruits. Free of additives.
  • Earth’s Best Organic Stage 2 Banana Peach Raspberry: With USDA organic bananas, and raspberries, this jar provides Vitamins A & C for babies 6 months and older. Kosher and free of artificial ingredients.
  • Earth’s Best Organic Stage 2 Sweet Potatoes: With 90% of the daily value of Vitamin A, this single-vegetable puree is great for hungry, healthy little eaters.
  • Earth’s Best Organic Peach Yogurt Puffs: A good source of Vitamins A, E, six B vitamins, iron, zinc, and calcium, these snacks have 7g of whole grains per serving with a delicious meltaway texture. USDA organic, these snax are great for toddlers when on-the-go or to pack for daycare.
  • Earth’s Best Organic Veggie Pop Snax: A nutritional on-the-go snack with Vitamins A, E, Zinc, and six B vitamins, the Veggie Pop Snax are rice and potato crisps with carrot, spinach, and potato flavors.

And now, since I’m linking up with Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday, how about some of my own food I’ve been eating, because I’ve been eating good stuff, too.

food

  • Breakfast: Cinnamon banana nut pancake made with Love Grown Foods chia and quinoa super oats topped with coconut oil, bananas, and syrup.
  • Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, and fig balsamic dressing.  Not going to lie… I was hungry right after, so I made a bowl of oatmeal.  At school, I keep those individual oatmeal packages in my closet for emergency hunger situations. As good as my salad was, yesterday was one of those times.
  • Dinner: Salad, roasted asparagus, grilled zucchini and squash, hamburger with mushrooms, french fries, and garlic bread. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
  • Snack: Detour’s new Salted Caramel Cookie Dough whey protein bars! Made with clean ingredients, each bar contains 20 grams protein, 7 grams sugar, 6 grams fiber, and are gluten-free, non-GMO, and have nothing artificial!  And taste great. Win win.

What have you been eating lately?  Moms, did/do you make all your baby’s food?

The Bar Method Workout

Have you ever thought you didn’t like something only to find that when you tried it again you actually did like it?  That’s happened to me lots of times.  With yoga.  With running.  With The Bar Method workout.  Lesson learned?  Don’t be too quick to judge and always give something more than once chance.

I have been given the opportunity to try ClassPass.  I’ll elaborate on that in another post, but long story short, I decided to try The Bar Method.  I thought I didn’t like The Bar Method, but turns out I was wrong.  Actually, I thought The Bar Method was a barre workout, and while I think there are some similarities, I like The Bar Method way better.

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A little bit about The Bar Method from their website:

The Bar Method boosts results by placing its exercises in a specific order. First, it organizes the sections of the class so that they alternate between the front and the back sides of the body, enabling students to tone one side of their body while they elongate the side they just worked. Then it slims down students’ bodies by placing the most aerobic exercises in the second half of class when students are very warmed up and are burning away body fat. These design elements give exceptional results by multiplying the benefits students’ get from each exercise. (source)

 

In other words?  It’s a great workout that totally works every muscle in your body!  Three-pound dumbbells never felt so heavy!  When I tried a barre class in the past, I quickly became very bored and thought the exercises were annoying (just being honest!).  The Bar Method was faster paced, and we were constantly changing exercises.  The Bar Method still does focus on small movements, but, baby, it burns! My arms really felt it later that day and the following couple of days!

Linking up with Healthy Diva because The Bar Method is a marvelous workout!

There are two Bar Method locations in St. Louis: Brentwood and Town & Country.  I went to the Brentwood location and was very impressed.  First of all, the studio is gorgeous!  I wouldn’t call many studios or gyms gorgeous, but this one really was.  They have huge windows which allows tons of natural light to stream in.  Everything is white, which seems risky for a workout place, but it feels super clean. The entire studio is spotless.

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Wearing my Pointe Studio socks from MizzFit.

Our instructor, Amanda, was incredible!  She was clearly knowledgeable about the exercises and was great at cueing, which was very much appreciated by a newbie like myself. Her directions were precise and kept reminding us what body part to focus on, what to squeeze, what to flex, what to point, etc.  Amanda constantly circulated the room to ensure the safety of all students and helped everyone make changes to maintain proper alignment. She was with me a lot… Boy, do those small changes make a big difference!

The class contained eight parts: Arm Work, Thigh Work, Seat Work, Round Back, Flat Back, Curl, Back Dancing, and Final Stretch, and I believe this sequence remains the same no matter where you take Bar Method.  (More information on The Exercises HERE.)  As I looked around the room, I was really impressed with some of the ladies’ flexibility and strength!  It was motivating to see so many different women in one room all working towards a common goal: better health.  That’s one of the main reasons I love group fitness classes; the energy is [usually] awesome and contagious. This was definitely true with The Bar Method.

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The Bar Method definitely left me wanting more. I want to improve my strength and flexibility (my hips are so tight!). I want to get better at the poses and work on my posture.

Have you ever tried The Bar Method? Thoughts?

*Disclaimer: Thanks to ClassPass, I was able to try The Bar Method free of charge.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Power of 3 Workout

I’ve mentioned several times on here before, my biggest obstacle with fitness right now is finding the time.  I’m a full-time working momma to the most adorable baby boy, so at this point in my life, he is my priority. However, I still have the desire to workout and move my body. It makes me feel good, it helps alleviate stress, and it’s healthy!  So while Baby sleeps, Momma works out!  Not all the time, but that did happen this weekend.  It was a good one – it left my muscles burning – so I must share it with you!

power of 3 workout

Power of 3 Workout

~ an at-home workout that only requires a set of light dumbbells ~

~ three moves ~ three sets ~

  • 30 walking lunges with dumbbell shoulder press: Each time you step forward into your lunge, press up with your dumbbells. Alternate legs every step.
  • 20 plie squats with bicep curls: Point your toes out, so you plie when you squat. On your way down into your squat, curl your dumbbells up.
  • 20 rows with tricep kickbacks: Get into a plank position while holding your dumbbells.  With one arm, row back then move straight into a tricep kickback.

Let me tell you, I was shaking after each set!  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m out of shape or because the workout was really hard, or possibly a combination of both, but it was tough and I was huffing and puffing and needed to take more rest between sets than I anticipated! I completed a set of each before repeating, but for some variation, you could do three sets of each move before moving on.

It was the perfect workout for me.  It was quick, yet challenging, and worked my entire body.  Light dumbbells are best since the number of reps is high.  And the best part?  It can be done in the comfort of your own home…

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…in socks.  Because why wear shoes if you don’t have to?

Rocking my Pointe Studio socks from MizzFit.

How do you workout at home?

SUPER Special LIMITED Love O’s FLASH Giveaway (CLOSED)

You all know February is the LOVE month, right?

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I mean, how could you not.

But did you know that, for the first time ever, Love Grown Foods is debuting LOVE O’s — heart-shaped Power O’s in Chocolate AND Strawberry flavors?  Yes, you read that right! This is a super special limited edition cereal that will only be available in Kroger, King Soopers/City Market, Dillons, and Fry’s for the first few weeks of February!

limited lgf

I know, I know. It’s kind of a bummer it’s only available at those stores as none of them are in St. Louis. However, as a member of their LOVE club, they sent me a box.  And let me tell you: this cereal is awesome!  I mean, chocolate and strawberry?  Great flavor combination!  Do not fear – Love Grown Foods is giving away a box to one of YOU!

First, let me give you just a few reasons why Love O’s rock.

  • Love O’s are made with beans: navy beans, lentils, and garbanzo beans.
  • Per 1 cup serving, Love O’s contain 120 calories, 1.5 gram of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.
  • Love O’s are HEALTHY!
  • Love O’s TASTE GREAT!

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You ready for this FLASH giveaway?! (It’s a fast one, so get your entries in now!)  Mandatory: Comment on this blog post with how you are going to spread the LOVE during the month of LOVE!  Additional optional entries include:

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry.  Open to US residents only. This giveaway will be open until Thursday, February 5th, 2015 at 8:00 pm CST. A winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, February 6th, 2015.  CLOSED!

Congrats to #23 Lisa @ RunWiki! Please email me so we can get your Love O’s shipped! Keep spreading the love, everyone, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Vanilla Blueberry Parfait and #28daysofKIND Challenge

Thanks for all of your KIND words on yesterday’s post.  I took William to the doctor, just to be safe, yesterday morning and they said he was fine. No ear infection, clear lungs, all good; just on the mend from the weekend.  Well, around 12:15 in the afternoon, I received a phone call from his school asking me to pick him up as he had thrown up again.  Poor baby. He slept a lot of the afternoon, and I’m hoping he does better today.

As you know, my life has been crazy busy lately. But, no matter how busy it is, I always make sure to eat a solid breakfast.  After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Trying to get myself and William ready for the day can be challenging some mornings, so breakfasts that are healthy, filling, and quick to put together are the best.

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My friends at KIND so kindly (<– see what I did there?) sent me a couple of bags of their Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds healthy grains.  Right away I knew it would pair perfectly with fruit and yogurt for a fast, easy, healthy, delicious breakfast.

This takes approximately twelve seconds to make and can be made the night before for an even faster morning.  I layered vanilla Greek yogurt (more protein than regular!), KIND healthy grains, blueberry yogurt, blueberries, more vanilla Greek yogurt, and topped it with additional KIND clusters.

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Let me tell you a little bit why KIND healthy grains are better than other granolas.  First of all, they only use ingredients you can see and pronounce (no funny business!).  You’re getting 28% of your daily value of fiber which helps maintain a healthy weight and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.  The clusters are low sodium, and research has shown that low sodium diets may reduce the risk of high blood pressure.  They include flax seeds which is a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that helps achieve a healthy immune system.  And the name: HEALTHY GRAINS include FIVE super grains – oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat – which provide essential nutrients, such as B vitamins and minerals. BAM!  Awesome.

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When you’re putting together a parfait, you don’t even have to get fancy with it if you don’t want to.  You could just slop some yogurt, healthy grains, and fruit in a bowl and call it a day.  There are so many ways to vary this simple breakfast, too.  Choose a different flavor(s) yogurt, mix up the fruit (fresh or frozen!), and KIND has several healthy grains to choose from aside from Vanilla Blueberry. Others include Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds, Oats & Honey Clusters with Toasted Coconut, Cinnamon Oat Clusters with Flax Seeds, Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters, Fruit & Nut Clusters, and Raspberry Clusters with Chia Seeds.  Amazing flavors, I tell ya.

And while you don’t have to make your parfait pretty, it sure is a lot more fun to eat out of a martini glass at six o’clock in the morning rather than a boring old bowl.

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But that’s just my opinion.

The world would be a much nicer place if everyone was a bit KINDer, agree? For some people, that’s difficult.  I’m not sure why, nor will I ever understand. The KIND people at KIND (ha) want to encourage everyone to be KIND during the month of February as Random Act of KINDness Day is on February 17th. They’ve suggested these small but powerful acts of kindness and encourage you to follow along with #28daysofKIND.

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Click HERE for a printable version of the calendar and additional details.

To sweeten the deal, KIND is offering one lucky reader a personal delivery of their Healthy Indulgence Variety Cube (20 delicious KIND bars!) every month for the remainder of 2015 – that’s 200 bars!

So go ahead and get started.  Be KIND to yourself by making this ridiculously easy and delicious vanilla blueberry parfait for breakfast (or snack or lunch or dessert).

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And be KIND to others.  Always.

How will YOU be KIND today?