Thursday 30 June 2011

THE break up

If you are looking for the great giveaway, here it is! Don't forget to leave your comments on that post - yeah for contests!

I have been unexpectedly afforded much too much free time this weekend. When it came time to pack up our bags and head on home, Darius opted to stay with his Grandparents, play with cousins, and have an absolute blast. Honestly, I can't blame the kid for choosing to stay when going home meant Dad going back to work, and hanging out with Mama and Eli...really it's no contest. And have found myself with extra time - a precious thing I didn't realize I had lost - that has facilitated great bonding time with my wee little man. Eli and I headed outdoors after his immunization appointment this morning [tell me I'm not the only one extremely behind on these, simply because I hate to hear my baby cry] to go for a fresh air workout. Secure in his BabyBorjn, Eli slept on my chest as I climbed endless flights of stairs, then went for a walk in a beautiful park. Seriously good sweaty workout - and just what I needed this morning.

You see, when my sweet boy decided to stay behind, my anxiety slowly began to build, until it spiked yesterday evening. As I inhaled nibbled on coconut chocolate popcorn, and licorice babies, I realized that all I was trying to do was shove the anxiety back down with sugar, instead of working through my feelings, and resolving the anxiety. Sugar has often been my go to 'shoulder to cry on' so to speak. When something in my life has me feeling out of sorts, chocolate is a great band aid...or so I convince myself as I'm eating it, instead of savoring it.

As I walked I reflected on the night before, the panic that I felt rise in my throat as Darius' bedtime neared, and the numbness and stomach ache that my self soothing technique brought. The anxiety was still there, it was simply waiting for me to lay in bed [with no distraction insight] so it could creep back up on me.

Well, I worked through my anxiety, and then decided 'enough is enough' with my relationship with sugar. We've had a long run sugar and I, and simply this relationship is not giving me what I have been trying to get from it. I wanted comfort, pleasure, or a sweet treat [depending on the moment] - and it gave me stomach aches, sugar crashes, and excess calories. Sugar, you really are a horrible companion. [There are so many more reasons, from a health perspective, to give up my sugar habit that I will delve into in another post.]

And so, in the classic line that many teenage girls have heard at one time or another,

"Sugar, it's not me, it's you. This is just not working. I'm sorry, [not really] but we're through."

Do you have a bad habit you're ready to break?

Tuesday 28 June 2011

[twirling] tutus

Darius attended his first non-family birthday party on Saturday [with mom, dad, and Eli towing along for the fun of course!] It was so sweet to listen to him debate about what to give to his little friend Taya, and then to help him bring his idea to fruition. I showed him lots of pictures of items little girls love [Taya was celebrating her first birthday after all] and guess what he picked...

A Tutu!! He specified that it needed to be pink - the prevailing color of the items I showed him during his decision making process - and that we needed to make it now! Yes, we made it together, and yes, Darius is the loveliest little man helper indeed.  So lovely in fact, that when he and Eli slept in one morning, I took the chance to make another one while they were snoozing.

The little white one will fit a newborn, all the way up to six months [elastic waistbands really are a wonderful creation] and the fluffy pink one will go from one to four years old. If you'd like to make you're own, head on over to Ashley's site for instruction.  Since I am blessed with two beautiful boys, I needed a little model to sport one of these cutie pie little dress up/dream making/fairytale come true creations for me.

Look at that delicious little tummy! Love it!
 Tutus belong to the special "make believe" category of children's toys/accessories, that drive the imagination to create bigger, more grandiose games to play. I love toys like this! These are the items that should fill your child's/nieces/grandchild's toy box to keep them moving, and playing long enough to forget about TV, DS, and all the other mind numbing games kids entertain themselves with these days. SOOOO, to help kids everywhere get up and going how about Marathon Mama's FIRST ever giveaway!

Up for grabs: One tutu with matching no-slip hair clips [yeah, I make those too...I'm practicing for when I do have a girl I guess haha] for one lucky little lady!

Here are the rules:

You MUST be a follower of Marathon Mama to enter this contest. If you already follow [yeah for you!] just leave a comment saying you do. And if you do not, simply click that "Follow" button on the right hand side of the page, and join in the fun!

For extra entries, [you must first be a follower of the blog,] you can do one of the following. PLEASE leave separate comments for each of your bonus entries to count.

1) You will receive one extra entry for posting about this give way on your blog.

2) You will receive one extra entry for posting about this on Facebook.

3) You will receive one extra entry for EVERY person you get to follow the blog (make sure they mention you in the comment they leave on this page.)

PLEASE remember to leave your email address in each of your comments so that I can contact you if you're the lucky winner!

Ready to win? Get going, cause this giveaway will close when Marathon Mama blog reaches 50 followers! And believe me, there is ANOTHER great giveaway planned for when we hit 75 followers... lets get this party started!

Monday 27 June 2011


I've been reminded lately how simple things, like the ability to choose, can take us down such a variety of paths. On a much deeper level, choice is the deciding factor in where we end up in life. However, even very simple things, like whether we choose an apple or a handful of jellybeans, is a choice that we carry with us (just in a softer way, such as the spare tire sported by many.) A choice made repeatedly becomes a pattern, which morphs into a habit. We are a sum total of the habits we perpetuate, and so my hot hubby of mine and I are trying to live lives full of healthy and virtuous habits that we would be happy to see emulated in our sweet little boys.

We are currently on vacation, sun shining, wind blowing. and out exploring. Eli straps nicely to my chest, and Darius loves a good stroller to resting when tired, but walked and climbed A LOT today. We are a family full of healthy happy people - and whether that is because we are active, or we are active because we are happy and healthy (another chicken and egg circle) matters not. The simple - and important - thing is we keep the rhythm going.

What habits are you passing on? Are there habits you're ready to shake? Or ones you're ready to commit to?

Sunday 26 June 2011

Summer Salad

Despite my Dad's healthy lifestyle, he recently was diagnosed with high (I mean REALLY high) cholesterol. So, when I was assigned the salad for our recent get together, I scoured the Internet for a recipe that would not only be really tasty, but would make strides towards lowering his cholesterol (and my siblings and my cholesterol since this is a hereditary concern). Enter the Summer Salad. With black beans (fiber is great for lowering cholesterol), quinoa (a whole grain and complete protein), red and orange bell peppers (high in Vitamin C) and many other yummy nutritious ingredients. The version I found had hot peppers, and a heavier dressing than the one I used. My lighter version is delicious, and was such a hit that I'm sharing it with you! Enjoy.

Summer Salad (adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen)

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 bell peppers (I used red and orange), diced
2 1/2 vine ripped tomatoes, diced
1 c. green onions, diced
1/2 c. cilantro chopped
1 c. cooked qunioa

Mix the following dressing in a separate bowl before adding to the salad mix:

1/4 - 1/3c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 -2/3 c. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin

Let this salad rest in the fridge, covered with saran wrap, to allow the flavors to meld. Even my cilantro knocking hot husband loved this one - so try it out on your tough critics, for a potluck, picnic, or any  occasion really.

What are your favorite summer salads?

Thursday 23 June 2011

Oh My GF Bars!?!

GF (Gluten Free) is a big topic these days, with everyone and their dog being diagnosed with the condition, or trying the diet just for fun. While I'm not in either camp, I know quite a few people whom are celiac - or at least sensitive enough to gluten to steer clear of it - and so when I saw a recipe that I could convert to be GF without sacrificing deliciousness, I couldn't resist making it, then trying it [insert moan here], and loving them. Count yourself lucky if you ever get to try these babies, because they are an instant favorite! Oh, and did I mention that these are "no bake, store in your freezer, good forever [okay, a few months - if you don't eat them that is!], ready for when you have surprise company, or a potluck", bars? Try them. Seriously. Oh, and they have coconut. Yeah, that was my idea.

Oh My GF! Bars
adapted from "Loves Veggies and Yoga"

For the bars:
1 c butter,  melted
1/3 c demerra [brown] sugar
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c toasted shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 c Nutella
2/3 c natural peanut butter
For the chocolate frosting:
1 1/2 c chocolate chips
1/4 c butter
1/4 c 1% milk
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Toast the coconut in the oven at 500F broil for roughly ten minutes. Stir every three to four minutes, and DON'T FORGET ABOUT IT! You'll smell the deliciousness when it's toasted perfectly! 
2) In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.  Then add the brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and stir by hand until combined (will look lumpy and strange).  Then add the toasted coconut and stir until combined.  Finally, add the Nutella and peanut butter and stir until combined.  
3) Press the mixture into a foil lined 9 x 13.  Place in freezer.
4) While the bars are cooling, make the chocolate frosting by melting the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, taking care not to scorch them and checking every 15-30 seconds or so.  
5) After the chocolate chips are melted add in butter and milk and stir to incorporate.  Then add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and stir to incorporate.  If mixture becomes too thick to work with and the chocolate begins to set up, microwaving it again for 15 seconds will soften it.
6) When the frosting is ready, remove the bars from the freezer, frost them, and put bars back into the freezer to set up for a half hour before slicing them.
7) Store sliced bars in the freezer or fridge in an airtight container and take them out about 20 minutes prior to eating.  As they come up to room temperature, the flavor intensifies and they are more delicious and creamy but they will keep for weeks/months in the freezer as a make-ahead dessert.

Have you found any moan-worth recipes lately? Do your kids love them just as much? Darius thought this one was a DEFINITE keeper!

Oh, and here's a little picture for Grandma Juli to enjoy on her travels...

post bath Eli was playing with his toys happily. When my camera came out, he paused to pose -  what a sweetie!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

PoppaSeed 'Cupcakes'

How was your Father's Day? Mine was great, spent with wonderful men, including my awesome hubby, and my very own dad aka PapaAquaman. Darius made both of them a little something special (which I forgot to get photos of! Oh the shame!) that you may remember from Mother's Day. The directions can be found here, and here's a little looky look at the final project:

cute huh? Darius customized the tags, with the one for his Daddy reading: "You're Cray!" and for PapaAquaman it read,"I'm funny about you", both followed up by the sweetest little "Happy Father's Day" any Dad could ask for.

I made the supper, keeping Dad's high cholesterol in mind, and created a delicious chicken coconut curry. Adding in a variety of vegetables, cooking the chicken in coconut oil, and serving it over brown rice, made this traditional dish much more health conscious, without sacrificing taste! Not a bad creation. However, that is not the recipe I'm sharing with you today. [Yes, I know it's been a while since I've given you a new workout to try, but seeing as I have a wicked cold, I am just working on breathing, and being able to make it through the night without a coughing fit right now. Sorry. Back to workouts when I can breath freely - I promise.] Do you want to see the recipe?

             PoppaSeed* 'Cupcakes'
                         created by me!

1 tbsp 1% milk
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup grape seed oil
2/3 cup Greek yogurt mixed with 1tsp-1tbsp lemon juice
1 egg
1/4 cup honey

1 3/4 cup flour
2 tbsp poppyseed
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp lemon extract
2 1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 24 mini muffin tin,
2. beat milk, oil, lemony yogurt, egg, and honey together. Stir in flour, poppyseeds, lemon zest, lemon extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined. Spoon into muffin tins, filling roughly 3/4 of the way.
3. In  a separate bowl, mix together fresh lemon juice and confectioners sugar. This is your glaze.
3. Bake at 375F for 8 minutes, or until just golden. Drizzle with glaze immediately and let cool on rack.

These are soooo good! Very lemony, so if you like your poppyseed with only a hint of lemon adjust accordingly. I call them 'cupcake' because really they're muffins, but the glaze makes them taste like dessert. Definitely a plus! The amazing thing is, with honey instead of white sugar, and no butter, these muffins are great if you're on a cholesterol lowering diet, and you won't feel deprived!

*if you're wondering about the alternate spelling for poppyseed, it comes from my sweet Darius, who had a Poppa that LOVES poppyseed muffins.
Have you been cooking it up lately? Are there any health concerns you want to address in the kitchen?

Friday 17 June 2011


Two nights ago I laid my little Sweet Cheeks Eli down in his crib to sleep for the first time. I've been super resistant to the idea of moving him out of my bedroom, and in with his super big brother Darius - even though I knew it was a good idea. Does that make sense? Anyways, it seems that a little distance from the parentals was all this baby needed to start sleeping through the night again! Who knew besides all the baby experts, my doctor, and my mom in law ?!? The first night I was awake off and on from 3am on, but last night was only interrupted by Darius' screams oh the joys of night terrors! but that was short lived. The funny thing is, now that my nights are sorting out, and no longer sprinkled with interruptions, my days are MORE hectic and crazy. It could be that there is just too much to be done these days, but either way, I'm looking forward to our family vacation in July even more now!

Today's workout has started, but in no way has it been completed. I'm 10 minutes into interval training, which I plan to follow up with a run. I may be breaking this up into many 10 minute segments - but I really hope I am granted a chunk of time to get it all done at once during afternoon naps that is if the boys decide sleeping is a good idea today.

Do you have the time to fit in a workout today? Or are you finding chunks of time to be active like me? Oh, and how are your Father's Day gifts/crafts coming along? Darius finished his up this morning - just wait until you see what hes decided to give his Daddy - it's hilarious and soooo cute!

Thursday 16 June 2011


Have you ever seen the movie Australia with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman? Well, I happen to love like the scene where Hugh dumps a bucket of water on his head (a real outback shower of sorts.) Whenever I think of the Australian continent, that scene is the first to pop into my head, and I don't mind one bit, but for the last six months my second thought has been of my little brother on his adventure. Dallin has been exploring Australia and Bali with a friend since Christmas Day 2010, and he gets home TODAY ! Dallin hasn't met Elias yet, and will be shocked at the growth six months brings in a three year old, so I'm excited for him to see them - but mostly I'm just excited to have him back safe and sound. The boys and I are heading to the airport tonight to welcome Dallin home with fanfare, but first we have a day PACKED with errands. So, what do you do when you'll be leaving the house at noon, and won't be home until 9pm? Squeeze in a workout first thing!

Incline: 2%
Warm up: 5 minutes
Cool down: 5 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Total distance: 3.05 miles
Speed range: 6.5-8.3mph

I followed my treadmill session with ab roll ups (so good for stretching your back too) and stretching!
Now, onto the shower, stitching the laundry, and packing up a picnic to enjoy with the boys between errands. Oh the day we will have!

What are you looking forward to today? We're halfway through the sweat challenge - are you pumped about completing the month?

Wednesday 15 June 2011


Have you ever tried pylometrics? When I was in high school, I did 'jump training' to increase my vertical for volleyball and basketball. It was a series of moves, that increased in sets and reps over the course of fifteen weeks. Each move focused on jumping, either out or up, or in bounding leaps. It was rough! Little did I know that I had tapped into a source of muscle blasting that I'd be calling on later in life.
My little sister Marin came into town, as we have a habit of pushing each other as we're both highly competitive hard. When we're together we fit in at least one workout, and we really set the bar high today! Together we designed a circuit that incorporates pylometric, strength, and cardio building moves. If you want to sweat - and I mean drip sweat while you're trying not to heave your Wheaties - then give this one a whirl!

40 second timer for each move, 3 sets:

Burpee Box Jumps
Bicycle Crunch
Alternating Leg Lunges
Push Up
Side Bench Jump
Sit Up Ball Toss (partner move)
Crab Toe Touch
Jump Squats
Side Plank

As a cool down we ran for another 5 minutes straight, then did a one minute wall sit (reminiscent of our basketball days - oh the memories!), various yoga moves, then stretched it out! All in all, it was 45 minutes used VERY wisely.

What did you do to strengthen yourself today? Do you have a goal you're working towards? Are you working on the Sweat Challenge with me?

I just found this picture of Eli's first bath - I know it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with today's workout post, but I HAD to share it. Look how tiny he was!!! And now, at almost 16lbs, I really would be stretching the truth to say my little four month old baby is tiny. Way to grow baby!

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Short and Sweet

I'm in a rush this morning, but seeing as the day is not going to slow down one bit, I needed to fit in a fast and effective workout. Enter the world of high intensity training! I created a circuit that alternates high impact pylometrics and low impact weight bearing exercises. Give it a try - you may just be hooked!

Warm up: 5 minutes walking at 4.3mph

Do 7 reps of the following moves, repeating for a total of 5 sets

jump squats
push ups
burpee box jumps
bicycle crunch
alternating high knees
kettlebell swings (16.5lb kettlebell)

Cool down: 5 minutes walking slowing down from 7.5mph down to 4.0mph

To up the intensity, do the circuit as FAST as you can - time yourself. I completed it in 10:55 and I already want to do it again tomorrow to see how much faster I can go. Racing yourself is a great motivator!

Do you have a favorite fast workout your busy schedule relies on?

Monday 13 June 2011

Coconut Chocolate Popcorn

Yes, you read that right.

Coconut + Chocolate + air popped crunchy Popcorn = an addictive and highly satisfying treat!

Now that I have your full attention, why don't I explain how you can get your hands on a GIANT bowl of this delectable concoction.

First, you'll need the following:

 - a full bowl of air popped popcorn (roughly three pops, or 1/2 cup un-popped)
- 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 3 cups dark chocolate (55-70% dark is great)
- 1 cup toasted coconut shavings (unsweetened)

Let's get started:

Place the coconut oil and chocolate in a glass bowl. Get this baby into the microwave, and set the timer to 3 minutes. Stop the microwave every twenty seconds or so, give it a stir, and pop it back in. Mine only tool 2:40 in the end, so watch yours carefully!

When it's completely melted it will look like this:

I wish you could smell this! Sooo good!

Please leave your air popped popcorn naked - no salt, no butter. Simply scoop it out of the bowl with you hands, and place on a rimmed cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil or wax paper. As you scoop it onto the pan, make sure you are sifting out all the unpopped seeds - these teeth breakers are not welcome in any popcorn dessert of mine!

Toasted coconut is fragrant, and very delicious. To toast your own, simply preheat your over to 500F (or 450F if using convection) and place your coconut in an even layer in a shallow baking dish. Toast on the top rack of the oven for roughly 3 minutes.

Golden brown is your goal when toasting the coconut
All the yumminess ready to be combined!

Simply pour the chocolate over the popcorn, and use a spoon to fully incorporate. Spread the popcorn out on the pan as evenly as possible once the chocolate is poured so that the popcorn can set. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

to speed the chocolate setting, place the pan in a cool room (like your cold room). DON'T put in the freezer as popcorn does not freeze well - it turns mushy when thawed.

Once the popcorn has set, break it into chunks and place in a bowl {for immediate enjoyment!}, Ziploc bags, or containers to give it away.

If you're looking for a Father's Day gift, here's one way to wrap up this popcorn for the amazing Daddy's in your life!

Do you have a favorite popcorn treat?

Sunday 12 June 2011

{Happy Father's Day!}

Have you planned any little treats for the most special men in your (or your children's) life? Well, Darius and I have been discussing this very special day, and talking about what he wanted to make for his amazing Daddy and his two wonderful Papa's. We did a trial run on one of the ideas, and I have to say, it is a smashing success! What's not to like about a savory, crunchy treat, all wrapped up in a pretty I mean handsome package?

You'll need:

canning jars with lids
scrapbook paper
computer and printer for the labels
a little artist with their crayons
and a yummy treat!

Here's what we're making:

You can put anything inside of this cute little jar, but if you want to put in this yummy, delicious, "I want to eat it all day!" treat, stay tuned for the recipe!

Start with the labels. I printed out three phrases," I'm CRAZY about you - Happy Father's Day!", "You're one 'Top Pop' - Happy Father's Day!", and "I love you! Happy Father's Day" Guess which one Darius came up with*??

Once the labels have been printed, hand them over to your little artist(s) for decoration. Once they're all beautified, cut them out.

Now take those wonderful jars, wrapped in decorative paper (I glued my paper on the jar before pasting the label on the paper. It's up to you, but I find it easier to center the label once the paper is already secured on the jar.) and glue on your decorated labels.

Use the canning lid as a guide, and trace around it to get a perfect circle of patterned paper for the top. Cut this out and glue it on the top side of the lid, so it will be visible when secured to the top.

Now fill those jars with your treat! Anything will do really, from mini chocolate bars, to trail mix, to this delicious popcorn concoction that Darius and I made! (I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow!)

And lastly, secure the lids, tie with a ribbon, and voila! You've got yourself a handy-dandy Father's Day treat!

* Darius' phrase for the labels is " I'm CRAZY about you - Happy Father's Day!"

Saturday 11 June 2011


How's your Saturday? It's raining cats and dogs in good ol' cowtown today, so I'm checking items off my to do list. My awesome hubby is sleeping the day away, Eli is snoozing too, and Darius and I are chillin'. While he watched "Gnomeo and Juliet" (with Daddy before he went back to bed) I snuck in a run - nothing like a run to kick off a weekend! While on the treadmill yesterday I decided to work on my speed. I mean, I've got the endurance going for me (hello half marathon training!) but I really want to cut down my time on all my distances. Do you want to know the secret to a faster race time? It's quite simple: run faster. Genius right?! But seriously, that is the way to a faster time,and there are many ways to approach this (interval training, hill sprints, cadence drills, etc) so I've been increasing my speed in intervals, which slowly raises my 'easy' pace. I don't know if that describes what I'm doing so well, so let me give you an example:
after completing a warm up, increase your speed to a comfortable pace. Now, slowly raise your speed, maintaining each pace for at least thirty seconds before increasing again. When you feel a need for a break (I don't set a time on this, as the goal is to just keep raising the speed the entire run) lower you pace by 0.3-0.5mph (i.e. from 7.5mph down to 7.0-7.2mph) and maintain for a minute before resuming your slowly climbing speed. By using this method yesterday I reached 9.0mph (a 6:38min/mile pace!) and today I reached 9.2mph. Here's the breakdown for my workout:

Incline: 1.5%
Warm up: 3 minutes
Cool down: 3 minutes
Total time: 23:00 minutes
Total distance: 2.34 miles
Speed range: 6.6-9.2mph

Followed by: 1-2-3-4-5 Burpee Bow Jumps
           15-15-15-15-15 Bicycle Crunch

and stretching!

Another day down on my sweat challenge - and I feel great! Have you been sweating out in June? Are there any obstacles you've had to overcome to keep up with the challenge? What has been your favorite part so far?

Friday 10 June 2011

Sunny Skies

Thanks for the boost out of yesterday's blah day - friends are awesome. Turns out that what I really needed was some sleep (why a mother of two small children would need rest is beyond me...)and so after passing out on the couch with Darius while watching a movie in the afternoon, I went to bed relatively early, and woke up feeling MUCH better. Add to that tackling some nagging items on my to-do list, running (yeah for endorphins!), making two different cookie dough bites, taking my boys for a walk, and playing toys and you have one happy Momma - with two pooped out and napping boys. So, while the boys nap, why don't I catch you up to speed on some summer 'must do' activities?

 Puddle Jumping

Poor kid doesn't have a rain jacket - but his winter jacket layered over a sweater kept him warm and dry.
Rainy days need not be spent indoors! Darius and I recruited my hot hubby to play with Sweet Cheeks inside while we went exploring the great wet outdoors. In the process of becoming soaked to the bone, Darius acquired his first last and only pet - a worm he appropriately named "Wormy."

 Lawn Mowing

Notice the boomerang he's clutching even in his sleep!
Yard work is always more fun when it's completed as a family. After weeding in the garden with me, Darius climbed up onto the lawn mower with his awesome daddy, and went to work manicuring a winters worth of unruly lawn. It was absolutely EXHAUSTING work!

 Bike Riding

Pure joy on wheels.
Just yesterday Darius climbed up onto this TWO WHEELER and started peddling forwards and backwards, with ease. Sure the bike has training wheels, but this big boy is a pro! He has his daddy's self assured athletic ability - a wonderful quality  that will serve him well I'm sure.

 Chariot Cruising

Darius nursed his slurpee through the whole twenty minute ride, and Eli smiled almost the whole time
Today was Eli (Sweet Cheeks) first ride in the Chariot. With the little man turning four (months that is) tomorrow, we thought it was time to try out the double stroller with TWO kids in it. Both boys loved the ride, and it turned running a errand (mailing a letter) into a fun family activity.

There are so many ways we can get outside and be active with our kids through the summer months; so take advantage of the warmer weather and crawl out of hibernation!

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in the summer?

Thursday 9 June 2011

If I'm being honest...

I really don't want to do ANYTHING today. Earlier while Elias slept, I talked Darius into going outside (or rather I started to say 'outside' and he was out the door before I had fully articulated) and Eli woke up only ten minutes into our gardening. After rescuing my sweet baby from his bassinet (I know, I need to move him to his's just so nice to hear his soft breathing at night,) we lasted another ten minutes before the wind reduced Elias to tears, and we headed back indoors.
While Darius watched cartoons and Eli slept (again - he's such a great little sleeper!) I made No Bake Coconut and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (I'll post the recipe below) in an attempt to lift my blah mood. They are delicious but no amount of coconut and chocolate seemed to return the sunshine to my soul today. Being tired is probably contributing, or maybe its my massive 'to do' list hanging over my head...either way, today's just one of those humbling days that makes me grateful for my usual sunny disposition.
As a teenager I really struggled with depression, and have since formed a list of activities to do when I need a pick me up. Here's a little peep into my "down in the dumps" survival guide:

1. make a gratitude list

2. do something you love to do that's also creative - like baking, sewing, blogging, etc

3. run!

4. anything active (going for a walk, practicing yoga, working in the garden, etc)

5. watch a hilarious movie

6. get Darius to tell me a story (he's more entertaining than most comedians)

7. Sun! As Darius will tell anyone,"the Sun gives me vitamin D. Vitamin D makes me happy, and helps me to grow big and strong."

I've given a few of these a go already, which is why I'm thinking that I am just too tired today, but I will keep on ticking each trick off until a smile is plastered to my face.
If you find yourself in need of a lift today (or any day really) give this recipe a try that I found over at Love Veggies and Yoga. Averie has some REALLY delicious ideas!


No Bake Coconut & Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites (courtesy of Averie at Love Veggies and Yoga)

2/3 c cashews (unsalted, and raw if possible)
1/4 c coconut flakes (unsweetened or sweetened)
2 tbsp oats (whole, rolled not quick cook)
3 tbsp agave or maple syrup (or combination)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut oil (optional, and if using it and batter gets too wet after adding, add a pinch more dried coconut flakes, oats, or cashews and re-blend)

1/4 to 1/3 c chocolate chips or chunks
Yields: approximately 16-18 bites
First add cashews, coconut flakes, and oats to Vita-Mix or food processor and grind into a fine powder. Then, add the agave, vanilla extract, and coconut oil, and blend again. Finally, the chocolate chips and either stir in by hand or barely blend/pulse until incorporated. Retain some texture to the chips or chunks.
Remove the dough and form into cookie bites. If dough is soft or hard to work with, refrigerate/freeze for 20 minutes prior to forming into bites.

Add dried coconut flakes to each bite by rolling them in coconut flakes at the end.

Store the dough bites in refrigerator or freezer.

What do you do to lift your mood? Do you have a list to pick and choose from (like mine above) or do you have one no-fail solution?

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Clearing the Clutter

Yesterday, instead of blogging, I was going through the house with Mom and her realtor, and getting the low down on what needs to stay, and how much still needs to go. In a house as huge as Mom's (think double that and you'll have a good idea of the square footage we're dealing with) clutter can build without noticing it, since everything still (essentially) can have a place. But, we need to get this house down to bare bones if its going to be in show stopping shape. Yesterday I tackled the library (which my little family also uses as a family room) and organized the bookshelves to my hearts content. Sure it was a few hours of hard work (and sweaty! Yeah for the sweat challenge! ) but I LOVE organizing, simplifying my surroundings, but most of all, realizing the beauty in ordinary things. Books really can be show stopping art, but not if they're too crammed into the shelves. I cleared away a few BIG boxes of books, then I chose my favorites that would be highlighted in one way or another. As an added bonus, once the shelves were no longer over flowing with books, the room seemingly doubled in size.

Monday 6 June 2011

Abs, Chest & Back

How's your 30 DAY challenge going? Haven't started yet? See this post to get going! If you're six days in like me, great work - let's keep it up!

As I was reading my June issue of Oxygen Magazine (if you haven't subscribed yet, do it now! You can get a great deal through amazon, but for some reason I'm not able to link it right now, so you'll have to just look it up) I found soooo many great workouts. Needless to say, I was excited! Today I tried out the ABS and Chest workouts (found separately in the issue) and I am sooo sore... especially since I followed up my workout with land clearing the likes of our ancestors settling in waist high grassed prairies weeding Mom's garden. I seriously don't think I needed an actual workout before heading out to the garden (in retrospect), but the one-two punch to my muscles definitely has me feelin' it!

Do three sets of the following:

8 reps of Stability Ball Roll-up with a Twist
(start in the position pictured above. Then, not moving anything but your hips, twist your hips to the left. Now roll the ball in towards your chest, keeping your hips twisted through the entire move. Return to neutral, and repeat on the left side. That's one rep.)

20 reps of Bicycle Crunch
(The lower your legs, the harder this move will be.)

12 reps of Stability Ball Leg Lift

 Do three sets of the following, completing each move before moving onto the next (rest 1 minute in between):

8 reps Barbell Bench Press with 20lbs 

8 reps Dumbbell Decline Flye with 10lbs

8 reps Machine Chest Press with 40lbs

10 reps Machine Pec Flye with 40lbs

8 reps Push-up

I intend to do these workouts at least twice a week for the next three to four weeks to get my base strength back up. It shocked me to find out that the sit ups in this workout were the most challenging part. I was seriously faster at the burpee box jumps - no joke. So, my abs are needing some lovin' - and that's just what I intend to give them!

Is there a chink in your armour?

Sunday 5 June 2011

Mango Goodness

As I thought about what to make for dinner tonight, I looked in the freezer and saw salmon. Mmmmm salmon. I love it! I prepared it simply with lemon juice and kosher salt, and laid it on celery stalks in a roasting pan.

 While this baked at 400F for 35 minutes, I racked my brain to figure out what to serve with the lemony delicious salmon. Enter mango. I made a simple mango salsa, which I served on top of the salmon with quinoa on the side. Simply delicious!

Simple Mango Salsa
serves 5

1 small mango, diced
1/2 c. chopped cilantro, stems removed
2"  long section of English cucumber, diced
2 green onions, diced
lime juice to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, set aside. When the salmon is plated and ready to serve, heap a generous serving of salsa onto the salmon. Enjoy!