Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Healthy Chocolate! Wait...What????

Hey all!  It's been a little while, but I have an awesome recipe I wanted to share with you.  If you are anything like me, then even when you are trying to eat healthy CHOCOLATE is definitely one of the major food groups.
I generally spend some time on Pinterest looking for different recipes, but I also tend to browse the Web when looking for healthy desserts.  And I have found one that I think is the ultimate healthy dessert!

Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies!!!

So I found the original recipe on this great site called "Living Healthy with Chocolate."  The woman who runs that page has a ton of great recipes that incorporate chocolate into a healthier lifestyle, but this one is my absolute favorite so far.
I tinkered with this recipe a little bit because I like the brownie part on the bottom to be a little more chocolatey, and I also made my own chocolate to use as chips.  I also doubled the recipe to fit in a normal brownie pan.

Here's how I make it...
  • 2/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 9 tbs raw cacao powder
  • 11 pitted medjool dates (if you are short on dates you can add 1 tsp of raw honey per date, but this only works if you are short by 1-2.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
Cookie Dough:
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 tbs coconut milk
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs + 2 tsp raw honey
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 6 oz chocolate chips, add more or less as desired (I use Enjoy Life brand chips or make my own)
1.  Line the bottom and sides of a brownie pan with parchment or plastic wrap.  
2.  Using a food processor or a blender grind the pecans into medium/course meal. (Sometimes I grind it finer, but just don't let it turn into nut butter!) 
3.  Remove pits from dates, add to the food processor, and process it into a paste with the nuts.
4.  Add almond flour, cacao powder, vanilla extract and coconut oil.  Mix on medium.  (You may have to stop periodically to scrape the sides back into the middle.)
5.  Pour brownie mixture into the brownie pan and press evenly.
6.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract and honey.
7.  Add almond flour and mix just until all ingredients are combined.
8.  Add in chocolate chips and mix gently.
9.  Pour mixture over the brownie and spread evenly.  You can even sprinkle a few chip over the top to make it look pretty! 
10.  Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until the top layer is firm to the touch.
11.  Cut into squares and EAT!  Ok, but seriously don't eat the whole thing at once.  And if there is any left, keep that in a closed container in the fridge.
So because I am trying to sugar detox right now, those Enjoy Life chips just won't work for me.  But I was determined to find a way to make chocolate that I can eat.  And here's what I found on a site called "Chocolate Covered Kate."  An easy peasy recipe for home-made chocolate.  I used the Agave nectar version and it came out awesome!
 1/4 cup cocoa powder
 1/4 cup coconut oil
 1 tbsp of Agave Nectar

Melt coconut oil and combine with agave nectar.  Stir, then add the cacao powder. Stir...a lot.  According to the original recipe you are supposed to stir until it gets thick, but mine never did.  So just stir until you can tell that it is all evenly mixed.  Pour into any flat container lined with parchment or plastic wrap. Freeze until solid, and store in the freezer. Once hardened, you can also store it in the fridge.  DO NOT STORE AT ROOM TEMP - it will get soft.

If you'd like to make these into chocolate chips later, you can melt it slightly in a zip lock baggie (or a chocolate bag if you are fancy - and yes, I'm fancy!)  Just melt it until mushy, not liquid.  Snip the bottom corner of the bag and dole out on a cold cookie sheet lined with parchment to make chips.
Sorry, no pic of the chips cuz they went into my brownies right away!  But it tastes super yum!

Also, if you want a sugar free version of the chocolate, you can use liquid Stevia instead, but the ratios are different: 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cacao or cocoa powder, 4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (melted), vanilla stevia drops to taste (yes you get to taste it!)

You can also just make this to eat.  And feel free to play with it by adding extra flavors or textural ingredients!  It's so good!

EXTRA TIP!  If you choose to use these chips in the brownie recipe use them straight out of the freezer, and make sure you let the cookie dough part cool a little before mixing in the chips.  Since the chips are not so stable at room temp, if you aren't careful they will just melt into the cookie dough before you can even pour it onto the brownie.  (Yes, that is what happened to me the first time.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these recipes.  Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!

Ok, so I said I was going to get back on the horse with my blogging and then showed you some yummy foods that I was going to give you recipes for.  Well, LIFE strikes again.  I'm not going to go through all that has been going on, but with the end of the school year, camp starting, my own personal epiphany, and bunch of other stuff (including no air-conditioning for 5 days), I am finally attempting to make my way back to blogging.
So here is my BIG APOLOGY to those of you who are followers. 

Isn't there always some "thing" in the way?  LOL!

Ok, now let's move past that.  I am going to write this blog when I can and when I think there is something worth sharing.  I am still working on "Balancing" my time and right now a lot of it is spent with my kids.  It's summer, we go outside to play, a lot.  We work on the yard, a lot.  AND most importantly, I realized I really need to work on giving myself some "ME" time, a lot!
I tend to put a lot of thought, time and energy into all my posts here and on FB, and I really want to help people by motivating them to make healthy changes in their lives.  But I REALLY want to lead by example, and when I don't spend enough time on myself, I have a tendency to slip.
So no more slipping for me.  No more taking backwards steps.  And no more putting pressure on myself to post as often as I can.  I know this is what I need to do right now to take care of ME, so that I can be a better mom, wife, friend, and health motivator.  Cuz if you can SEE that I'm making the changes and that they are working for me, it might just give you that extra push you need to make the same kinds of healthy changes.

But don't worry, if you've been waiting for those recipes from the last post, they are coming soon...just not today.  I need to go exercise.  :)

Friday, May 31, 2013


I just wanted to write to all my fans and let you know that I missed you so much!  I have been really busy with Mother's Day and then my daughter's dance recital, and now the end of the school year.  It has left me with having to prioritize my time into other things, but I wanted to let you know that:


I have a lot of stories and some great recipes to share with you.  I will start posting about them tomorrow, but just to give you a preview...

Mowing the lawn

New Sandwich ideas!
And some yummy Mother's Day recipes:
Sweet potato fries
Veggie Burgers
And Chocolate cookie dough brownies
So stay tuned for all the blogging to come!  I can't wait to play catch up with you!
What have you been up to lately?

Friday, May 3, 2013

No Time! No Time! No Time!

So things have been super crazilicious around here lately.  I feel like I have absolutely no time to get anything done, and I have so much to get done!  In fact the last few days have felt kind of like a big blur!  Do you ever have days like that?

Lately, if I'm not online checking in with groups, or on Team Beachbody, or reading other blogs, I'm cleaning up my house (it has gotten quite messy over the last few months), working out, making food to eat later or RIGHT NOW CUZ I'M HUNGRY, taking kids to classes and concerts and open house, cleaning up dead fish and shopping for new ones, looking into getting either a hamster or guinea pig for my daughter (BIG MAYBE ON THAT - AND WE ALREADY HAVE 2 DOGS AND 2 CATS), squeezing in time to catch up with friends, and trying to plan Mother's Day lunch at my house.

Let me give you an example of what this week has been like.
-Get up
-Get kids dressed
-Feed kids
-Chug water
-Eat breakfast
-Take kids to school (although my awesome husband usually does that)
-Check in on my FB groups and post on my FB page
-Workout (lately with hubby)
-Chug more water
-Eat a mid morning snack
-Check in on FB again and check Team Beachbody, all my emails, and read some blogs, and comment on some blogs,
-Walk the dogs (this is a real walk, not some sissy take them out to do their thing kind of walk)
-Chug more water
-Pick up kids from school
-Make a late lunch for me
-Have kids do their homework
-Have son take a shower (they had a school thing that night)
-Get daughter ready for tap and ballet
-Chug some water
-Take daughter to dance classes
-Come home and shower
-Get dressed and start make-up
-Chug some more water
-Go back and pick up daughter with wet hair and almost no make-up on
-Get both children dressed for their Open House/Spring Concert thing
-Blow-dry my hair and finish make-up
-Go downstairs and wait while husband comes home lets out the dogs, feeds them and locks them up, then leave for the Open House/Concert
-Find seats in the gym, and then take daughter to her classroom
-Watch daughter's class sing (and during the last song my husband takes my son to his classroom and then waits to pick up my daughter from hers)
-Watch son's class sing (oh and I videotaped all of this with my phone - my arms were very tired)
-Go pick up son in his room, say hello to the teacher, look at all the stuff there is to see in his room and take a picture of him with his teacher
-Head back down to my daughter's classroom to say hello to the teacher, look at all the stuff there is to see in her room and take a picture of her with her teacher
-Finally go home
-Take the kids up to get them ready for bed (pajamas, tooth-brushing, washing hands, and snuggles)
-Change into pajamas
-Come back downstairs and eat something and collapse on the couch!
-Enjoy some decaf green tea, a very small and healthy treat, and some TV time with my hubby
-Chug some more water
-Go to bed.

You will notice that while I was this busy, I still took time to exercise, eat regularly and drink plenty of water.  Although I left out all the times I peed.  I didn't think you needed to know each and every time that happened (but it was a lot).
And all I have to show for this are some videos on my phone and these great pictures of my kids.  :)

So this is why I haven't been blogging as much lately, but I will continue to make the effort to be here more often for those of you who like to read what I have to say...even when it's crazy!  But after Mother's day I plan on being much more consistent.  And I'll have a much cleaner house too!  LOL!

Do you have a good story about a crazy week?  Or even just a super crazy day?  I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Shopping Therapy

So I meant to post this last Friday, but life got in the way...again.  What else is new?  LOL! 

ANYWAY...  I was having a real slump of a day last week and I just couldn't seem to get over the hump.  I woke up with a really bad headache.  One of those that is all over your head.  Bleh.  I took some meds and that seemed to help, but I was still kind of blah.  So I did my workout, I showered, I read part of a book, but nothing seemed to be helping.  I even cleaned up part of my kitchen hoping that the accomplishment would make me feel better.  Nope!

Later in the day I'd finally had it.  I had promised my daughter we would go get her new shoes after we took her brother to his class.  We went to the store, and not only did she get shoes, but she got a new wallet and a hat to boot!  Now shopping with my daughter is always fun because she is such a fashionista (and I could kind of care less)!  But once we were done with her, we wandered into the women's section and it occurred to me that maybe what I need is something to look forward to, like maybe some new workout clothes!  Oh yeah, that was totally what I needed!  Here's what I got:

I know it may seem boring to buy new workout clothes, but when you also need to get them in a smaller size, then it's extra fun!

So that was pretty much all I would have told you about if I had posted this last Friday.  But I'm happy to say there is now more to the story.  :)

This weekend I had a chance to spend time with some dear friends.  And believe it or not, we went shopping!  I don't know if you know this, but I am also pretty crafty.  I like to make a lot of my own stuff.  I don't mean clothes, but jewelry, purses, etc.  That kind of stuff.  Anyway, my friends have some projects they wanted to work on and they wanted my help.  So I went down to the city (Chicago) to visit and we ended up running over to Michael's Craft Store while I was there.  Now, this can be very dangerous for me.  Every time I go there I find more stuff that I HAVE to have.  And NO!  It can not wait.  I must have it now!  (And if you saw all the stuff I already have, you'd wonder what the heck is wrong with me. I think it's an addiction.) 
So we went to get them some extra beads and some stuff to string them on, and of course I ended up with some beads of my own, some new string, earring hooks, and a few other things to make said earrings.
We went back to their apartment and since they needed so much help I ended up not making anything!  LOL!  (Guess I didn't NEED to buy that stuff after all, huh?)  But it was still so much fun.  And I DID end up making something this morning before I posted this, and I'm really excited about it.  It's not much, but, well, you'll see in a minute.

So this week I am trying very hard to be aware of my water intake.  I mean I usually get my 64 oz. minimum, but this week I want to make sure I get MORE!  I'm holding water again and I really want to flush it out.  So this is what I made this morning as a constant reminder to keep drinking the H2O!

I plan to wear this everyday for the next week or 2.  And I am not alone in this either.  I'm having a bunch of my friends track their daily water with me.
Anyway, all I can say is that by doing some shopping therapy, and getting out my normal rut, I was able to find my mojo again and keep going.

So what do you do when you find yourself in a slump?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Milk and Cookies! Oh Yeah!

Well, I took a week off of blogging.  Oops!  It happens.  Last week was rough, so this just dropped lower on my priority list.  But I'm back and as a thanks for still being a follower I've got a sweet treat for you!  And it's all clean!  (ok, well mostly  =D  )

So I've decided that it is more economical to make my own Almond Milk since I am using it every day now.  There are a TON of different recipes out there for this, but I kind of found a few and then adjusted to my own liking.

1/2 cup of plain almonds
16 oz hot water
24 oz filtered water (cold)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Take the almonds and soak them overnight in the hot water.  You can leave them out or throw them in the fridge once the water cools.  (If you are in a serious rush, you CAN soak them for only an hour-it comes out almost the same.)  Once you are done soaking, rinse the almonds well and place in a blender with 24 oz filtered water, vanilla, and cinnamon (in reality I probably shake the cinnamon in and use about 3-4 shakes, but thought you'd like an actual measurement.)

Blend on the highest setting for about 2-3 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or use a nut bag (I need to get one of these!)  Make sure to press or squeeze out all the moisture.  And "Ta-Da!"  You now have almond milk.  Just pour it into a container and store it in the refrigerator.
By the way, you can make it plain too or add any other seasonings to it when mixing to create different flavors.

Now before you throw away all that great nut pulp, here are some things you can do with it so you don't waste it!  You can toast it and use it as a topping on yogurt, you can mix it in with granola or cereal, you can dry it out and grind it up more and use it as almond flour, or you can store it in the fridge or freezer as is and use it in this next recipe...for COOKIES!

A friend of mine recently posted about finding some easy and quick to make cookies that were totally clean and healthy for you.  So of course I had to try them... I LOVE COOKIES!!!!  They really are totally easy, and they are pretty good too.

The basic recipe is:
2 ripe bananas
1 cup quick oats
(and then add anything you want, I used cinnamon, raisins, and some vanilla extract).

The second time I made these I changed it a little because I thought my first batch was a little too gooey.  So here is my revamped version of this easy cookie.  And of course this time I made them chocolate chip!

2 ripe bananas
1 1/4 cups quick oats
2 tbsp. flax seeds
almond pulp (from making almond milk - it's around 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 cup Enjoy Life brand semi-sweet mini chips (depends how much chocolate you want!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mash the bananas until they are basically like baby food.  (I just mash them up with a fork - I get a good arm workout that way - LOL!)  Add in oats, vanilla, flax seeds, and almond pulp.  Stir all ingredients together by hand until well blended.  Add in the chocolate chips (or whatever you decide to use).  Spoon mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet (I make them about 1 1/2 inch diameter).  I usually get about 8 on each sheet.  Bake for 15-17 minutes.  Let cool on the sheet for about 1-2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
Then EAT!  Just don't eat the whole batch!
I seriously have to watch how many of these I eat each day.  When someone tells you that there is a cookie out there that you can eat while staying healthy, it can be pretty hard to stop.  But I limit myself to 3 max per day (if I can!)  I also added dried cherries to part of this batch, but the plain chocolate chip ones were my favorite.  Kind of like chocolate chip banana bread...YUM!  But there is so much you can do with this recipe.  That's one of the reasons I love it.  I think next time I'm going to try them with chopped up apple.  Maybe I'll be able to control myself better that way!  LOL!

What would you put in them?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In memoriam - 26.2

I may not be the fastest
or better than the rest
But I'm going to try my hardest
I'm going to do my best
For those that have been harmed
and those that have been lost
I'm putting on my shoes and running
no matter what the cost
I'm tying up my laces
making sure they're tight
I have no swag or shirt or colors
but I still think this is right
In support of those in Boston
Twenty-six point two I run
I may have to walk, or only go minutes
but I won't stop until I'm done
For runners are a community
who hold each other dear
They laugh and cry, rejoice and hurt
and for each other always cheer
So today I head out on the path
to do the best I can
because although I'm not a runner
Today I surely am.

~Erica Miller

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Well, I'm happy to say that I am doing really well with staying on track with my nutrition.  Ever since this past weekend when I cleaned all the sugar out of my system, I can honestly say that I have not even been craving anything sweet.  Even CHOCOLATE!  Ok, maybe a little, but I just use my Shake for that.  :)

I'm taking more time to cook meals for myself and my family.  I'm including more vegetables and fruits in all of our meals.  Woo HOO!  Here are some of the things I've been eating this past week.

Scrambled eggs with mixed peppers (red, yellow, green, and orange), spinach, onions and a little cheese on top!  So yum!

Caesar-style wrap!  Pre-roasted chicken, sliced.  Romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, a little mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and some light Caesar dressing all wrapped in a whole grain Flat Out wrap.  I know you don't normally add carrots to something like this, but I like them and I wanted the extra veggies!

Stir-fried veggies - broccoli, onion, shredded zucchini, and shredded carrots.  Then I added some chicken, a little whole grain pasta, ad some light soy sauce for flavor.  I don't usually shred my veggies for this, but I was starving and didn't want to wait for them to cook.  I discovered something really funny about this dish when I ate it - it tasted really sweet to me!  And there was NO sugar of any kind added.  I think my taste buds were actually tasting the natural sugars in the pasta and the carrots.  It was weird to realize this, but kind of cool too.

And this has been my Go-To snack all week.  one whole sliced apple with 2 tbsp. of all natural peanut butter with flaxseeds.  It has definitely satisfied what used to be my major sweet tooth!

I hope that some of these meals have inspired you.  I'm planning on making a ground turkey spaghetti sauce next to eat with spaghetti squash.  That will have to wait until tomorrow though.  :)

If you have any great recipes to share please feel free to post them in the comments below.  I love new recipes!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Go Outside and PLAY!

I haven't posted for a few days because I have been trying to keep myself busy and out of the house.  I've been doing this Shakeology Cleanse with my Nutrition bootcamp group for the past 3 days and it can be hard to be around other people's food when you are trying to get clean.  So I spent a lot of time outside with and without my family.
Friday I made sure to take a casual walk with the dogs and my kids after they got home from school to get out of the house.  It was 30 minutes of pure joy because my kids almost never go with me anymore!
I even let them try to walk these crazy dogs.  And I was surprised at how well it went!
Then later in the day my husband and I took the kids to the playground and chased them around on the equipment.  We had so much fun together just playing and laughing!

It was a really great distraction for me so I didn't have to think about FOOD!  Although, don't get me wrong.  Doing the cleanse is not a practice in starving yourself, but you drink a lot of shakes, a few pieces of fruit, and only have one real meal each day.

The first few times I've done this cleanse I used to only eat a light salad with some grilled chicken breast, but I wanted to get a little more adventurous this time around.  So I gave up on the salad and made some cooked broccoli slaw and real broccoli instead.  Cooked in a pan with a little olive oil and some onion powder, garlic powder and dried basil and I was all set to go.  And this was way better than a salad!

Now I'm down 6 more pounds and over my sugar cravings!  And I am so thankful to my friends in my nutrition group for going through this with me.  Next up on my list is to start an actual program again and stick to it all the way through.

This is what I'm starting today.  Power 90 with Tony Horton.  It's kind of a precursor to P90X which I don't think I'm quite ready for.

If you'd like to join me, let me know!  :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Time Management

Well, you didn't see me yesterday due in part to time management issues.  While I was actually doing really well with my day, I didn't leave time for unexpected appointments. 

I've gotten a new tool to help me stay focused on what I have to get done, and I've tried to get realistic about what I can accomplish in one day.  I used to make a list of what had to get done and it would be 2 pages long because I would list every single thing I had to do and stay on top of doing to get my house and self exactly where I wanted them to be.  Now I am being more realistic and just trying to get done what I think I can each day.  I tried using a calendar, and I tried using a planner - one that even went hour by hour.  But I'm realizing that I am a very visual person and if I don't walk by it and see it all day long, I will forget to look at it.  So I got myself a dry-erase board at the dollar store and hung it up right where I will see it all day.
(This is actually today's list)
So far it's helping a lot.  And I was feeling really good yesterday when I realized I got everything I needed to done early in the day.  However, I got a call from my son's orthodontist office and there had been a problem with a recent impression that they took and they needed us to come in and do it again.  Unfortunately this was when I had planned on working out.  But now I had to pick up the kids, help them with homework and then go to the ortho.  By the time we got home it was time to plan and make dinner.  After that it was bedtime and then I had a webinar that I had registered to watch last night that was really loooooonnnnggggg.  So yesterday ended up being a rest day, but I'm still going to workout today.
I'm learning that I need to really plan on getting in my workouts earlier in the day, so that they can't get waylaid by the unexpected.
(If you'd like to see what I wrote for my Team Athena Blogpost you can go HERE)

When do you get your workouts in?
What do you use to help you stay on track?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Get the hell off the COUCH!

So I told you that I would be posting more and letting you know how things are going.  Well today's battle was with actually getting my ass off the couch and getting moving.  It was really hard.  It shouldn't be so hard, but I have been spending so much time lately telling myself why I have to do other things first and why I don't have time for exercise that it was really hard to overcome the negative inner dialogue.  I mean, I know I spent the last few days crazily running all over my house cleaning and such, but actually having to put on those shoes and face the fact that I have to move this body that is no longer the body it was a few months ago was not easy. 
So I gave myself a time limit.  If I didn't get all of my "excuses" done by a certain time, I was throwing on those damn shoes and at least going for a walk outside.  My dogs need it, I need it, and the Vitamin D is a BONUS.
Guess what?  I DID IT!  And I was so happy that I did it, that I took some pictures of our path and the nice scenery we get to walk through.

There was one picture that I was really sorry I missed though...and this is way of topic, but I swear every spring I get to see nature in action and I really did not need to see those 2 squirrels going about their business on the side a tree.  No thank you!  Ok, it was kind of funny, but still...

At least the dogs had fun!  Ok, me too.  :)
See you tomorrow to talk about more moving and maybe some food too.  Now I need to go shower!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Plummet :(

So I haven't blogged in a few weeks.  Basically it's because I've been afraid to come here and admit that I have fallen...so far off course.  I've been blowing off my workouts and basically eating all sorts of stuff that I know I should not eat.

I have mentioned before that I suffer from depression, and that I get SAD in the late winter and early Spring.  For some reason, this year it was just really tough.  And it's been really hard for me to come to terms with it.  I mean, I'm a health and fitness coach, I'm supposed to be the one who knows what to do to get healthy.  I'm supposed to be an example of what I am teaching all the people I work with.  And I was really afraid that if I admitted to what's been going on, that my friends and clients would be disappointed in me.  But Dammit, I am a good coach, I'm just not always good at working on myself.

So this is my confession.  I have not been practicing what I preach.  But that is going to end here and now.  I am starting over from the beginning.  And as I pass each hurdle along the way, I'm going to post about them here on my blog.
The first one I managed to get control over the last few days has actually been my house.  When I fall apart, everything falls apart.  My house has been messy beyond control.  So I spent the last 2 days putting things away where they belong, catching up on laundry, and cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, and washing EVERYTHING.  And I know that a less cluttered home is going to make it easier to feel less cluttered in my head.
I am going to start a new workout program this week, and I am getting back on track with eating.  But really this is where I am for now.

And I apologize if this post seems to kind of ramble from one place to another.  Obviously I haven't cleared all the cobwebs out of my brain yet.  But I'm working on it.  So stay tuned...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Paddy's Fun!

Just a quicky post today!  I made something that I thought you could have fun with today!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I hope you enjoy this challenge!

Let me know how many you had to do!  :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On Special - March Only!!!!

Hey, I know you've heard me talk about Shakeology before.  But this month I'm offering a special deal because I really think it's worth it for you to try it.  I'm willing to give anyone who places an "HD" order of healthy, delicious awesomeness a $25 GIFT CARD.  Why would I give you back pretty much everything I make on selling it?  Because I think it's worth losing the profit to get you to try this and see what it does for your body!  I'm even willing to take a picture of myself with NO MAKE-UP on and a crazy Shakeology mustache just to get you to smile a little while you think about taking me up on my offer.
And why do I tell you to order it "HD?"  Because I also don't think you should have to pay the shipping on it.  When you order Shakeology HD you pay no shipping, and now you get a Gift Card too.  If you don't want Shakeology to show up on your doorstep the next month, just send an email to customer service and cancel the HD.  That's it!
If you want more info on Shakeology or you are ready to place your order just go HERE!
(Keep reading for more specials under the silly picture!)

Now, for even more special deals!  These deals come straight from Team Beachbody.  In the picture below you will see some amazing deals on Challenge packs!  What is a challenge pack?  It's a Beachbody program and Shakeology all bundled together with a reduced price just so you can save money when you buy them together.  However, this month Team Beachbody has dropped the prices on some of our BEST Packs!

Have you thought about trying the famous "P90X" or maybe you want to start with something a little less intense like "Slim in 6"  Both of these great programs are reduced, but only for this month.  What else do you get with this great deal?  This is the MOST IMPORTANT PART, so I hope you are paying attention.  You get your program, you get a bag of Shakeology, you get a Nutrition program designed to work with your workouts, you get a full-time Fitness Coach dedicated to helping you get through your program (that's ME!), and you get the support of others going through the experience with you in a group environment.  And you get access to the Team Beachbody website and all the fitness tips and support offered there too...for FREE!  Just think about how different your results can be when you have all this on your side helping you to achieve your goals.
Ready to get your Challenge Pack?  Just go HERE and then click on the Challenge Packs picture on the bottom right of the page.

I can honestly say that this has been what's made a difference for me, why not let make a difference for you too?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Holy Shoveling Batman!

This one is way late due to illness on my part and my kids.  :(  I mean who wants to post all about how they feel queasy for 3 days?!?!  Not me, but there you have it anyway.  And now that we got another 9 inches yesterday, it's still appropriate.  ;)

So last week we had a HUGE snowstorm.  I'm talking sideways-blowing, whiteout conditions here for about 4 hours!  After school activities were cancelled and even the Park District and Library closed early.  I got to school early to pick up my kids, but it still took over 20 minutes of waiting in the "parent car line" to get to my kids.  Must have been all those extra parents picking up that day.  But here's what it looked like outside from my car.

You may not be able to tell from the pictures, but the snow was coming down so fast, and the wind was blowing so hard that the snow was going sideways!

Anyway, why am I telling you all about the snowstorm?  Because it gave me a good excuse to change up my workouts!  I mean shoveling is a serious workout especially when it's the heavy stuff like this was.  You work your arms, back, abs, and even your glutes, quads and hamstrings if you do it right.  A lot of people tend to push the shovel under the snow, lift and throw it.  But if you squat before you lift you will actually protect your back from being strained, and you get a much better workout out of it.  So squat, lift, throw.  Whole body workout right there!  And yeah, I was way sore the next day from this.  But I guess 45 minutes of shoveling 5-6 inches of snow off your driveway (10 inches at the bottom after the plow comes by...) is a fantastic all-over body workout.  Should have had a recovery drink!  LOL!

So what kind of random workouts have you found yourself doing?

Monday, March 4, 2013



I just wanted to send out a quick apology to my loyal readers!  This last week has been absolutely crazy and I haven't made time to write.  You will see that in the next few posts I will catch you up on what has been going on, but I didn't want you to think I forgot about you! 
Illnesses, snowstorms, and a whole tankful of fish stories!  And let's not forget some health and fitness! 

I will start catching you up tomorrow!  Because I will have lots of time while I am trapped in the house all day - School was cancelled due to the impending storm!  WooHOO!  Say hello to LOTS OF SNOW!

See you tomorrow!

Anyone else home in the snow tomorrow?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Walking for Vitamins

So yesterday was a great day.  The sun was finally out and it was just warm enough (for me!) to actually take my dogs out for a good long walk.  They were thrilled, I was thrilled!  It felt so good to just get OUTSIDE and move.  I mean I workout at home usually, but I really like when I can just move and actually be going somewhere, ya know?
And if you've read some of my other posts, you know I've talked about depression before.  But this year I actually noticed that I do in fact suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as well.  Basically when you spend a lot of time indoors due to the cold and darkness of winter, your body is not exposed to the sun as much (if at all) and you lack your body's major source of Vitamin D.  It's one of the reasons more people get blah during the winter, but it can affect some people more deeply and I'm finding that I am one of those people.
Anyway, getting out into the sunshine was a huge mood booster!  I was a happy lady!  My dogs got so dirty and I didn't even care.  :)  Got some stuff done around the house, got some work done that I'd been putting off, and I ate all the way healthy for the rest of the day.  I even cooked!  Well not a lot, but I did make some healthy whole grain pasta for dinner and added in some veggies to make it even better.  A little olive oil, a sprinkle of garlic, onion powder, basil and a little Parmesan cheese and I was loving my dinner!
If you'd like to know more about why whole grains are so good for you, check out the post I did with my team blog here.  And I KNOW I don't need to tell you why veggies are so good!  LOL!
What is your favorite way to give yourself a little boost when you get the "blahs?"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nutrition Boot Camp Version 3.0

Starting March 18th!

Around here there is still snow on the ground, but Spring is just around the corner!  And you know what comes after Spring...Swimsuit weather!  Shorts, skirts, tank tops, short sleeves...none of us wants to spend another summer hiding behind long sleeves and pants!
Now exercise is great for helping you burn calories and to look more toned, but the single most important thing you can do to get healthier, lose weight and feel better is to...
So join me for my new and improved Nutrition Bootcamp.  This is version 3.0 and I have some great new challenges included!  We'll work on what to eat, how to eat it, and how to still get your favorites while eating them in a healthier way!  We'll work on nutrition, but also on those things that trigger our bad eating.

Now, I am requiring that you get a bag of Shakeology to join this group.  However, I think it is so important that I am giving you a discount!  I really just want to help YOU!  And I KNOW that Shakeology is part of the answer.  We will use it as a meal everyday, but I will also give you bonus recipes for how to use it to make some pretty awesome desserts!  (think ice-cream, brownies, fudge, frosting, etc!)

So let's get down to the nitty gritty:
We start on March 18th!
This Nutrition group will be organized on Facebook in a private group. The goal of this group is to give you the tools you need to make better, healthier decisions when it comes to eating. You will learn what is good for your body and how to make the changes necessary to be healthy. I will be there with you through the entire process to offer support and guidance. All I ask is that you check in daily and be honest with yourself and the group. I can't really help you if I don't know what's going on.

The rules:
  1. You must have a Facebook account. This is where I will be creating the group. It has the easiest accessibility, and I will be making the group private, so no one other than group members will see the posts.
  2. You have to be willing to commit to this. It will last for 4 weeks, and will be a little more intense than my usual groups. Everyone in the group will be counting on each other for support, so we all need to be there.
  3. You need to check in with the group every day at least once. You can check in as often as you like, but let us know what is going on with YOU at least once a day. This is one of the ways that we will be able to support each other so it is important. It will also help keep everyone going.
  4. There will be times when taking a picture of what you are eating, how you made it, etc. and posting it in the group will be required.  So you need to be able to post pictures on Facebook.
  5. You will have to use Shakeology for this challenge. We will be using it in a few different ways: as a meal replacement, as a metabolism booster, and we will be doing a Shakeology cleanse at the end of the 3rd week. Now I know that this can be somewhat expensive, but when broken down, it is only $4.00 per serving (that's cheaper than a Starbucks! And I'm giving you a discount!) You need to consider this an investment in yourself. And you are worth it. I seriously wouldn't require this tool if I didn't believe in it myself. For me it has cut the cravings completely out, helped me lose more weight, and I seriously feel better when I have it nourishing my body.
    I would recommend getting the whole bag and not the single serving packets because you get more for your money. Also, you should order this "HD", which is an automatic monthly shipment. This way the shipping is FREE and if you like it, it will keep coming without you having to reorder. If you don't want another bag after the group is finished, you can always contact customer service to cancel the HD anytime no questions asked at customerservice@teambeachbody.com.
    To order your Shakeology go to: http://myshakeology.com/toughmommy
  6. You must have me as your assigned coach on Team Beachbody to do this challenge. If you don't have an account you can sign up on my website: http://beachbodycoach.com/toughmommy and click "Join." You can become a member for free. If you have an account already, you can set me as your coach by emailing coachrelations@teambeachbody.com and ask them to set your coach to ToughMommy, coach ID# 167517.
  7. There will be no negative talk in the group. Not about others or yourself. This is important. We are going to be going through a number of tough weeks, getting over our cravings, learning to eat clean, and we need to be there to SUPPORT each other. Lift each other up, so to speak. Part of this learning process will inevitably be to learn to be kind to yourself, and change your internal dialogue to be more positive. And that helps us to cut down on the emotional eating.
So if you'd like to join me on this amazing journey, please email me at toughmommy2012@gmail.com with the subject heading "Nutrition Group 3.0" and I will let you know how to join. The space is limited, so let me know soon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


So a month ago or so, I applied for an ambassadorship with Fit Approach which is a wonderful community of women who are out there blogging, posting, and working together to help people with their health and fitness.  And yesterday I finally heard back from the lovely ladies...and I got accepted to be a SWEAT PINK AMBASSADOR!
Fit Approach, LLC

I am so excited and honored to become an ambassador for them!  I'm still learning more about the community, but I have to say that it feels really good to know that this wonderful group thinks that I am worthy of joining them because of the work I am doing to help inspire others to get healthy!

I was so excited that I couldn't even wait for them to send me my pink shoelaces!  So I got some already.

I ordered a tank top and a bumper magnet for my car too!  I can't wait to share and learn more from this amazing group of women!  Anyway, that's my awesome news!  Now I just have to figure out how to actually make myself #sweat pink! LOL!  :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ok, I'm a slacker... :(

So after the incident with the sparrow, the rest of the week was just bleh.  Valentine's Day was busy and had a lot of ups and downs.  But I will say that I was very happy to find out that my hubby actually spent time getting me a pretty cute present.

I love puzzles and fun pens!
And we can all play with the Happy-Time Heart!
And then Friday was THERAPY DAY.  I've realized that unfortunately a good therapy session can be very emotionally draining.  Especially when you realize that sometimes you sell yourself short.  Like focusing on all the issues that crop up and affect your day, instead of seeing how well you handled them.  So from now on I'm going to try to focus more on the better side of the story!

Other than that, this week has been a mish-mosh of trying out different workouts when I felt I had the time to squeeze them in.  So no real consistency...I mean I'm glad I squeezed some in, but it wasn't as fulfilling as knowing that I'm following a program from beginning to end.  I thought that maybe if I changed things up a bit, I could find my workout mojo again, but that's not it.  I just felt blah this week and I let myself wallow in it.  And you can't FIND workout mojo, you have to MAKE it by being consistent.  At least that's what I learned this week.

And I know that I also slacked here with my Blog.  I just didn't think I had anything to write about.  But that was just the "BLAH" talking.  Sharing here is just like working out.  Gotta MAKE the time and just do it.  There's always something to share!

So thank you to those who are following my stories and believing that they are worth reading!  I will continue to share my journey with you!  And I'm planning on getting some of my favorite recipes up here this week.  So keep checking in!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Sparrow and the Spontaneous Workout

So I was sitting on the couch trying to decide what to write about today.  And then I heard a weird noise.  It kind of sounded like a pile of papers falling to the ground, but I didn't see anything like that.  I got up and looked in the powder room.  I thought maybe there was something in the exhaust vent, but nope.
Then I went into our laundry room, and found nothing there either.  But I did hear the noise again.
Hmmm.  The only other place I could think of to look was our small utility closet (which only has the furnace and the water heater in it).  I slid open the door....and out flies a frickin' sparrow. 
How in the hell did a sparrow end up in my utility closet?  And now it's loose in my house!!!!  I was on the phone with my friend and she said to call Animal Control.  I said, "Are you kidding?  I can get rid of this by myself.  Besides, if I can't find it, I have 2 dogs and 2 cats in the house who would probably love to chase it and catch it for me."  Yeah, right!  I'll just tell you now that during the rest of this crazy story, my pets were useless and annoying!

Anyway, now I have to find the stupid thing.  I looked on top of all the tall furniture downstairs, but I didn't see it anywhere.  So I went upstairs.  Thank goodness the doors to my kids' bedrooms were closed.  Less places for me to look, and less places for it to possibly POOP! 

As I entered my bedroom, there it was!  Just hanging out on the curtain rod as if it just belonged there.  This whole thing was so absurd that I broke down laughing and decided I had to go back downstairs to get my cell phone so I could take a picture.  I mean, who was going to believe that I had a random sparrow in my house???
I came back upstairs and as soon as I had the bird lined up for a picture, it decided to fly at me and out of the room.  I gave up on the picture and rushed to close my bedroom doors.  (Of course one of my dogs kept getting in the way...UGH!  I gave up and locked her in the bedroom.)  So now the bird is flying back and forth in the upstairs hallway trying to find a place to land or a way out.  It ended up moving around a lot.  In the meantime I was trying to figure out the best way to either catch it (in a pillow case?  a large towel or bed sheet?), or to shoo it out the front door (which was not yet open.)
Of course just then it flew down straight to the front door, and then came back up and settled on the frame of the bathroom door.  Then on the vent, and back to the door frame.  I finally got my pictures!

Can you believe this crazy bird? 
I actually felt kind of bad for it. 
It was obviously stressed out.

Anyway, to make a very long story short...after locking up both dogs and one cat in different bedrooms, chasing after the bird with a bed sheet, I decided that shooing out the front door was the best option.  I chased it downstairs, where it happily perched on a wall hanging, I opened the front door and tried to hold open the storm door so it would just leave.  Nope!  Had to prop the door open and chase it out.  Bye-Bye Birdie!
So after all of the hullabaloo, I realized that I had just spent 30 minutes straight running up and down my stairs, doing squats every time that damn bird tried to swoop over my head (which was a lot), and laughing pretty much the entire time (and for a good hour after as I related the story to various people).  I got in a serious workout!  I worked all my leg muscles, my glutes, and my abs!  How do you like that? 
I decided that Yoga was the way to go for workout #2!  I obviously needed to relax after all the craziness!
Do you have any funny, crazy animal stories?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Grrr...and cleanse results

Do you ever just wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  Oh boy did I do this today!  I really hate that feeling and while you are stuck in it, there's not a lot you can do, other than go hide away from the world until it goes away.  But most of us don't really have that choice.
So instead, I got up, helped get my kids up, got annoyed with them (for being slow), went downstairs, got annoyed with my husband (for putting something in the wrong place), and then realized just how grumpy I was. 
Obviously these were not legitimate reasons for getting mad at everyone, so I took a deep breath, told them all I was sorry I got up in a yucky mood, and then left the room.  (Thank goodness my husband is so awesome, and home today so that he could take the kids to school after making them breakfast and packing their lunches!  Like I said, awesome.)
By the time I came back everyone was gone and I had a little time to think about why I was so pissed off at the world.  I have a lot to do (the usual suspects, plus a few crafty projects and some sewing.)  I have a lot of people depending on me to be there for them (family friends clients, other coaches, etc.)  I wish my body was already where I want it to be (but at least I'm making progress here.)  And I'm tired (not getting to bed early enough.)
Once I was able to name what was bothering me, I was able to sort through it and put all these feelings where they belonged.  Ahhh...like a weight lifting.

Anyway, that's how I started my day.  On the plus side, I got on the scale and was down 2 more pounds today.  Woo HOO!  And I noticed that my hands were not even that swollen anymore.

I hope you can see the difference.  I can honestly say that they feel soooo much better!

Well I hope your day started better than mine.  What do you do when you wake up as a grumpy grump?