4 Favorite Fitness Finds

A short time ago, I worked an exhausting full-time job, only to come home and work more grueling hours taking care of my home and family. This made it extremely difficult to focus on my health because I was simply surviving each day, each hour, each moment. Since those super stressful days are in the past for now, I have been able to focus on my fitness and nutrition goals once again. Not only is this rewarding for myself, it is also hugely rewarding for my family because I can serve healthy foods, plan healthy activities, and overall I can promote and model healthy habits.

While I absolutely love a lot of what my local gym has to offer, over the past few months I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering some beneficial resources on the web. Allow me to share 4 Favorite Fitness Finds:

1. Calorie Counting App – I read on countless health websites the importance of logging the specific types and amounts of food you eat if you hope to lose weight. Indeed, I have had the most success in my weight-loss journey when I faithfully log my daily calories (in and out through diet and exercise). I highly recommend trying this out, at the very least you learn a lot about what you are putting into your body. I started out using the app called My Diet Diary, but through some recommendations from friends I switched to MyFitnessPal. So far, I am very pleased with the features of MyFitnessPal and I use it with ease on both my phone and laptop.

2. Strength Running Website & Newsletter – This is a great running resource offered by an experienced runner and running coach. His motto is: get stronger, stay healthy, run faster. I particularly appreciate his focus on injury prevention. If you sign-up for the newsletter you receive a ton of free electronic resources. And bonus, I have loved the content of each e-newsletter so far. Check out this interesting video on the Principle of Progression (this was an unfamiliar concept to me):

3. DoYogaWithMe.Com – I love, love, love doing yoga. When I can’t make it to a yoga class at the gym, I really enjoy yoga at home (while my boys are napping or after they are in bed for the night, of course). This website offers specific and accurate video descriptions and high quality yoga sequences. The videos range from 20 minutes to over an hour. Personally, I choose to watch on their YouTube channel. Here is one of their more gentle and relaxing videos:

4. 7 Weeks To Fitness – Admittedly, I have not yet tried one of these 7 week plans, I have only tried out the fitness tests. With that said, from what I can tell, this is such a great fitness option for people who don’t have a gym membership. Some options include: 7 Weeks To 100 Push-Ups, 7 Weeks To 300 Sit-ups, or 7 Weeks To A Triathlon. I am really looking forward to trying out 7 Weeks To Getting Ripped when I put my gym membership on hold in a couple months.

I hope you enjoyed my Favorite Fitness Finds. If you have some favorites of your own, please share them in the comments section.


Incredible Years (Part 2)

Imagine who you want your kids to become. Be that.


Ever since I became a stay-at-home mom, I have made it my job to gain the resources and support to become the best damn mom I can be. I just completed the 7th week of the Incredible Years course. With only 3 weeks left in the class, allow me to give you an update on the tools I have added to my parenting tool belt. In a previous post, Incredible Years (Part 1), I talk about intentionally playing with my kids.

So, besides playing, what have I been up to? Here are 4 key parenting strategies I have been working on:

  1. Praise, encouragement and positive attention – This comes fairly naturally to me (as long as I’m in a good mood). Because of the class, I am trying to work on praising and encouraging even more. This works on adults too my friends. My class instructor mentioned something that continues to resonate with me, “What gets you more positive behavior? Praise and encouragement. What get’s you more negative behavior? Lack of praise and encouragement.” We often fail to recognize our children when they play quietly or do things without complaining. Those things deserve A LOT of praise because we want them to keep up the good work. We cannot praise and encourage our children too much, so dish it out parents!
  2. Tangible rewards, incentives and celebrations – Prior to the class, the only time we tried out rewards was for potty training, and it was fairly successful. Now, I have implemented a rewards system for other behaviors and I am seeing even better results than before. When getting started, I tried to have this process be led by my kids. We went to the store and they got to pick out their favorite stickers and a small notebook to put them in. I involved them in the process of choosing which behaviors would be rewarded. We award a sticker for a few specific behaviors (i.e. staying in bed at night, obeying the first time, etc). Once they get really good at those behaviors, we phase them out and start rewarding new behaviors. During the first round of the rewards program, they did really well and I felt they deserved an extra reward. I told them how great they had been doing and said they could cash in all their stickers for a trip to the pool, yippee! Another incentive we added was a kindness jarkindness jar. When one of the boys is nice to the other or they are playing really well together without fighting, they get to add a cotton-ball to the kindness jar. When it fills up they get a trip to the zoo or a museum. Who doesn’t love receiving a favorite reward for a job well done?
  3. Limit setting – For some reason this one is a challenge for me. It feels like I have to strike a delicate, somewhat perfect balance between me taking control and giving my child some control. The main “take away” lessons I’ve learned on setting limits are: don’t give too many commands, give clear realistic commands one at a time, and lastly, follow through with praise or consequences. Despite the challenge, I think the effort will be worth it. But in the mean time, I must dedicate my obsessive and anal self to careful and intentional limit setting for my wild and crazy boys…that won’t be hard at all!
  4. Ignoring – Did you know it’s OK to intentionally ignore your child at times? I let my children know in advance that I am not going to pay attention to them if they continue a certain misbehavior. So far I have ignored whining, arguing, and temper tantrums. Like many other strategies mentioned in this curriculum, ignoring is to be combined with praise for positive behaviors. The main reason I like this method is because you don’t give attention to certain negative behaviors and thereby inadvertently increase that negative attention-seeking behavior down the road.

I continue to be grateful to be a part of such a great parenting class. If you have a child between the ages of 2 and 8 years old, I highly encourage you to check out The Incredible Years Website and find out if there are classes offered in your area. Also, check out my page on Parenting and let me know if you recommend additional parenting resources.

Grady craftI’ll close with a few thoughts on play. The importance of daily one-on-one play has become very apparent to me as I continue with the Incredible Years curriculum. Playing with my boys has been lot of fun, I am bonding deeply with both of them, and they are expanding their creative minds. But, oh man, it’s easy to put play-time on the back burner. I have to remind myself that I have an extra 10 minutes in my day to play with my kids…10 minutes, that’s all it takes! I know it’s oh-so-good for many reasons, so I will continue to strive to play with my kids. Every. Single. Day.

We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.

~Charles Schaefer



Clutter Free Zone?

We live in a small house. Lately I have been trying to find ways to get a bit more organized at home. Here are a couple things that have helped me become a bit more clutter-free.

Artwork Clothesline

Artwork Clothesline (I plan to hang several around the house)

Found a Scarf Solution on Pinterest.

Found a Scarf Solution on Pinterest.

Please feel free to share ideas for de-cluttering small spaces!


When Being a Working Mom Crushes You

While perusing Facebook yesterday I ran across, Recline, don’t ‘Lean In’ (Why I hate Sheryl Sandberg), an article by Rosa Brooks criticizing Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’.

Now, I have NOT read Sandberg’s book so I can not speak about it’s content. But, as for the article, Brooks makes some great points. She says:

Work has expanded to require employees’ round-the-clock attention [and] being a good mom has also started requiring ubiquity…It’s hard enough managing one 24/7 job. No one can survive two of them.

This article reminded me of my time as a working mom. After my second son was born and I went back to full-time employment, my life soon became the most challenging, stressful, and unhappy time in my life. And while there were certainly some good things going on, the hardships far out-weighed any benefits my family and I were experiencing. Ah, my family. I think back and feel sad about how forgetful I was and how I neglected them. I was certainly putting my career first and was blinded by my need to do a good job and be perceived as a hard, competent worker. Brooks says it so well:

Rocks balancingIt’s little wonder that many of the gifted young female staffers who enter these workplaces hit a wall at some point, and come to the painful realization that work and family obligations aren’t always things you can simply “balance.” Often, these weights become too heavy. They can crush you.

I certainly felt crushed, and I felt like I harmed my family and our precious relationships with each other in the process. As it turns out, my attempts to be competent at both work and home became a battle I couldn’t win. Eventually I lost my desire to work and gained a huge desire to give staying at home a try. I became gradually more excited to create space for myself to actually get to know my kids, actually pay attention to my own needs and those of my family (including my poor neglected husband). Check out a previous post Why I stay at home to learn a bit more about when I hit my breaking point and quit my job to hang out with preschoolers 24/7.

Whether it’s one more meeting, one more memo, one more conference, one more play date, one more soccer game or one more flute lesson for the kids, sometimes we need to say, “Enough!”

I took it a few steps further than Brooks suggests. I chose to say ‘Enough!’ to working outside of the home all together. It has been a great choice. I have no regrets.

I realize that Rosa Brooks wrote her article not to encourage working moms to quit their jobs, but to encourage them to find balance between the workplace and family life. Many working moms have found a balance that works for them. If both parents are working, I think it’s largely important that tasks be shared between both caregivers or if you’re a single parent that you get help from your family or community. As I observe most of my mommy friends, it seems that working and stay-at-home moms alike do the bulk of housework and child-rearing. As nurturers we take on caring for everybody and often we neglect caring for ourselves. It is so important for moms everywhere to voice their needs and prioritize self-care. But of course that is easier said than done.

Although many working moms do strike necessary balance, in some cases, I think that balance can only be found by leaving the job that is crushing you. Leaving that job to find a less stressful job perhaps, or leaving to stay at home if financially possible. After observing the benefits my family has reaped over the past seven months I have been home, I realize that this choice was crucial for us and frankly…I can’t afford to go back to work. 


What do I believe about myself?

My beliefs about myself vary from year to year, month to month, day to day, moment to moment. Most of what I believe about myself is good, but some of it is bad. Breathe deeply. Exhale. I believe I am…beliefs


I was prompted to write on this topic because I am participating in Women Who Write Rock, a writing retreat spearheaded by Helene Rose. Find out more about this amazing woman and the services she offers at her website Be Brilliant Network.


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My Beautiful Child-Self

I bring my beautiful child-self outside to play. We…

go to the beach

stick our feet in the wet sandKids at the beach

wiggle our toes in the sand and water

build a huge castle with a moat

hop and run in the shallow water

dive underneath the crashing waves

hop with the waves as they repeatedly hit us in the chest

body surf

                         toss balls and Frisbees

join beach games

                                        flop on our towels to bask in the sun

drink yummy fruity drinks

eat pizza

                                                 dance like crazy to the loud music

Beach Sunsetsing shamelessly till our voices are gone

head home as the sun starts setting

fall asleep as soon as our heads hit our pillows


I was prompted to write on this topic because I am participating in Women Who Write Rock, a writing retreat spearheaded by Helene Rose. Find out more about this amazing woman and the services she offers at her website Be Brilliant Network.


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Versatile Blogger and Liebster Awards

It’s award time! The Versatile Blogger and Liebster Awards are fun awards to celebrate fellow bloggers. I am honored to be noticed by a couple of my peers and in turn I am excited to nominate other fellow bloggers.

Versatile Blogger Award


A big thanks to Irene A. Waters, a writer and memoirist, for nominating me for this award. Check out her blog here!

In order to accept this award, I am to list 7 interesting things about myself and then choose 15 bloggers to nominate. You can read the official Versatile Blogger Award Rules here.

Seven interesting things about myself (please judge me in the comments section on whether these things are actually interesting):

  1. I’m a dog person. My childhood cat ruined any chance I had of being a cat person.
  2. I have lived in Colorado my entire 30 year existence.
  3. I am good at Ultimate Frisbee but terrible at disc golf.
  4. My great grandma had two girls 11 years apart, one was my grandma. My grandma had two girls 11 years apart, one was my mom. My mom had two girls 11 years apart, me and my sister. Each were the only two girls in their family.
  5. I used to speed walk everywhere in high school. I still find walking places to be a waste of time. I would run everywhere if it were socially acceptable.
  6. I like to go shopping but don’t go very often because I’m too cheap.
  7. Since having kids my memory has gotten 1000 times worse. This drives me nuts because I used to pride myself on my ability to remember many details.

I nominate the following EXCELLENT bloggers for this award (in no particular order):

  1. Running on Healthy – A blog for runners (or anyone who wants to be).
  2. Solo Mama – Single lesbian mom by choice.
  3. Wading Through The Illusion – Self proclaimed writer and ranter.
  4. Writing Between The Lines – Uplifting stories and beautiful pictures.
  5. Kelsey Munger – A highly fragment memoir.
  6. Laura’s Losing It… – Stay motivated with your fitness goals.
  7. My Own Mind – A homeschooling atheist mom.
  8. 52 Beautiful Things – Striving to find some good in the world.
  9. Perfection Pending – A mom on a journey to let go of being perfect.
  10. Mommy Man – Adventures of a gay superdad.
  11. Crazy Art – Creative and fun art.
  12. Kids Without Religion – Raising kids as independent, logical thinkers.
  13. Processing The Life – Organizer of The Happy Post Challenge.
  14. On The Upcycle – Reuse, repurpose, restyle.
  15. Big Jew on a Diet – Injecting fun into the not-so-enjoyable dieting.

Liebster Award

liebsterawardThanks to fellow newbie blogger, Lisa Caldwell, for nominating me for this second award! Her blog is insperata and there she states, “I like different, unexpected, unpredictable”. She took on the Zero to Hero challenge as well, it’s great to have buddies! Go check out her stuff.

The Rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:

  • The nominee must link back to the person who nominated them.
  • The nominee must answer the eleven questions given to them by the person who nominated them.
  • The nominee must choose eleven of their favorite bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers to nominate and provide them with eleven questions of their own to answer.
  • You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.

Answers to my eleven questions:

1. Describe your computer ability in one word. Well-rounded

2. What is the worst job one can have? Cleaning out port-o-potties

3. What would your super power be? Teleporting

4. What fortune would you want to get from a fortune cookie? You will live a long, healthy, happy life.

5. What advice have you gotten that was the most rewarding? Think of ways to say “yes” to your kids.

6. What TV sitcom family would you want to be a member of? Modern Family

7. Name your favorite movie quote. “So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.” ~Noah, The Notebook

8. What celebrity annoys you the most? Lindsey Lohan

9. What one food would you never want to give up? Berries

10. What was the best grade you got in school and what was it for? I got mostly A’s, until college. The more memorable grade was the “C” I got in Anatomy and Physiology… devastating.

11. What have you done that you’re the most proud of? I had a drug-free VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)

I nominate the following “up and coming” bloggers (in no particular order):

  1. Sans Sacred – From Christian Minister to Atheist.
  2. Bring Coffee – A single mom doing something for herself.
  3. One Crazy Mom – Mom and fitness enthusiast.
  4. Girlwithadragonflytattoo – All things bright and beautiful.
  5. Father at 54 – First time father at age 54.
  6. Somuchandsomuch – So much about questions of faith and religion.
  7. The Not Alone Project – It’s wrong to think you are alone.
  8. Raising Skeptics – observations about life, religion, and kids.
  9. Susie Home-Re-Maker – The DIY homemaker of modern day.
  10. O My Designs – Inspirations & Designs, for life’s special occasions.
  11. Write to Live, Live to Write – Because I don’t have any other choice

And the eleven questions for my nominees:

What’s your FAVORITE…

  1. Holiday
  2. Color
  3. Food
  4. Vacation Spot
  5. Celebrity
  6. Movie Genre
  7. Book
  8. TV show
  9. Activity
  10. Article of Clothing
  11. Beverage

A big thanks to everyone who is putting their words out there for all to read. It’s worth it for so many reasons 🙂


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A Steadfast Companion

Toes tuck, hips float high

Mind wanders; breathing deeply

Body, mind release

yoga silhouette

Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I was prompted to write on this topic because I am participating in Women Who Write Rock, a writing retreat spearheaded by Helene Rose. Find out more about this amazing woman and the services she offers at her website Be Brilliant Network.


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Allowing myself to say “what if…”

What if…

  • We accepted others exactly how they are and for exactly who they are?
  • We gave that same gift of acceptance to ourselves?
  • We moved past stereotypes, hate, judgments?
  • We showed much compassion and care to those we encountered?
  • We didn’t feel the need to prove ourselves?
  • We let go of our fears?
  • We treated our mistakes and failures, not as deficiencies or inadequacies, but as tools for growth?
  • We simply chose to live our own free, empowered, beautiful lives?

Yeah…what if…?

I would…

  • Stop feeling anxious about any supposed incompetencies.
  • Ask for help when I need it.
  • Stop caring what other people think about my parenting skills and choices.
  • Stop caring about the negative things I think people are thinking about me. Period.
  • Share my own thoughts more openly even when my ideas differ from those around me.
  • Generously hand out genuine compliments and try to express compassion whenever possible.
  • Say “no” to things I’m not interested in and “yes” to things that I REALLY want to do.
  • Try more things and take more risks.
  • Embrace my mistakes and failures by learning from them instead of feeling down because of them.
  • Love fully, without fear of rejection.
  • Stop trying to be perfect.
  • Run free, or walk or roam or wander, and not feel guilty about wanting to go at my own pace.

Me running freely up a mountain in the rain


I was prompted to write on this topic because I am participating in Women Who Write Rock, a writing retreat spearheaded by Helene Rose. Find out more about this amazing woman and the services she offers at her website Be Brilliant Network.


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Ring of Fire

About twelve years ago, right after high school, was one of the hardest times in my life. Before this, I used to write poetry often as a way to express myself and process. Well, today, I wrote my first poem in over 12 years, wahoo!


Ring of fire
Pit of despair
Perpetual darkness
Life unfair

abstract ring of fireAs of late
I’m not “me”
Destructive acts
Not living free

Wounds and pain
Feeling helpless
Is it all in vain?

Strength and courage
I search and pray
Grant me the will
Or die, I may
Rescue Squad SignGod is it you?
Did you hear me shout
Do you care enough
To pull me out?

Suddenly climbing
I can see the light
My body emerges
By my own mightPit of DespairFree and empowered
No matter the cause
I’m certainly grateful
Can I get some applause?Applause


I was prompted to write on this topic because I just joined Women Who Write Rock, a writing retreat spearheaded by Helene Rose. Find out more about this amazing woman and the services she offers at her website Be Brilliant Network.