Writing practice with 1st grader.

Living the happiest life possible, means you spend time doing things that truly make your heart smile.  I’m not a hippie and super easy going all of the time, and too serious most of the time, and I recognize I need to have a lot more fun in my life.

Yet, around my kiddos – it’s so easy to have fun!  This morning I was driving my daughter to school, and she says, “Mommy, I love you so much.” She’s honestly the sweetest girl in the world, also the most stubborn, and I love her so much.  I told her that she makes my heart smile, and that’s a really good way to go after life.

Does this make my heart smile?  No.  Okay, not doing that again.

Or

Does this make my heart smile?  Does this person make my heart smile?  Good.  Let’s do more of that!

Something that brings me a lot of pleasure and happiness to my heart is working with my little son and doing schoolwork with him, after school.  He’s turning seven in a little bit over one month.

It’s not actual school work that he receives from school, but school work I make up for him to do!  He’s in 1st grade, and his kindergarten teacher instilled a great reading habit in us all last year.  We had to write down the name of the book we read each night, and we are still going.  This year, we don’t have to report on the books we read, but each evening, most evenings, he reads before bedtime.  Most weekend mornings, he reads when he gets up.  Unless of course other life things happen – like a football game first thing on a Saturday morning.

Most of the time, after he gets home from school, we do math problems.  We always do six, because he’s six.  When he turns seven, we are moving that number up to seven.

But yesterday I decided to switch it up!  I walked into his room, and told him we’re going to play a game and mommy was going to time him doing some fun things!  I made it a game, even though it’s not a game at all.  He had site words I wrote out on index cards from the previous year, and even though he can read them all, now I want him to be able to spell them all correctly – if I read them out to him.

He took a marker, and went up to the white board.

I started the stopwatch on the iPhone, and said go.  Then I gave him word after word to write out our whiteboard.  There were 100 site words, and he misspelled 14 of them:

which – missed the h

write – forgot the

who – wrote how

been – wrote bin

some – missed the e

use – wrote yse

their – missed the i

people – wrote peopel

said – wrote siad

each – got it wrong

would – wrote woudl

water – wrote watr

called – forgot what he got wrong

were – misspelled the word completely

The good news, is that he was able to get the other 86 right.  It took us exactly 16 minutes to get them on the board.  He loved the timing aspect of this exercise.

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It wasn’t a ridiculous amount of time, but it was a nice to see what he knew and what we needed to work on.  Tomorrow and going forward, we’ll work on the words he missed, and perfect them.

Making this a game, and my son thinking it was a timed activity made him want to participate.  And it was nice to see that it didn’t have to take that long.  We did have to erase the whiteboard several times, so the total time we spent doing this exercise was a bit closer to 20 minutes, but still not too long.

Whenever I’m working with him, the hardest part can be actually getting him to want to do the work with me.  Forcing him to do something is too exhausting for me, but when he’s leading the effort, it’s a win win for us all.  He enjoys he work, he learns, he grows confident, he knows it’s good for him, it breaks up his afternoon a bit, and at the same time, he knows it makes me extra proud and happy.

The longer I am a parent, the more I realize I don’t think any of us know what we are doing.  Each child is so different, and each one reacts differently to the parenting methods.

I want my children to realize they are able to make certain decisions that help them steer their lives in the directions that will make them happiest.  I want them to know that they have to put in work, to get the rewards, and I want them to be able to easily take a different path if another one doesn’t suit them as well.

And this is my WHY for math practice, reading practice and writing practice.  Certainty, I know, after having suffered through math in high school and limited math classes in college, I know that there is nothing I need outside of my iPhone calculator that will make or break me in the business world, BUT my ability to figure out what I need to know is the difference. I know if I don’t know something I can learn it.  I can ask for help, I can research it, I can google it, I can think about it, I can have a positive attitude about it.

That’s what education and knowledge help us do.  They help us help ourselves.  So the fact that my boy is reading each night isn’t about him being able to read, but about being able to eventually solve a lot of his own challenges, problems, and more important pose his own important life questions – and then create his own solutions.

The same way he learns the correct spelling of the 14 words he did not know how to spell yesterday, is the same way he can learn the rules or theories or strategies or terms of whatever business, industry and craft in life he pursues.

If you want to work with your own kiddos, or want to better yourself, take the same approach.  Figure out what they/you do know, what you want to know, what you don’t know yet, and get to it.  Practice, and slowly elevate.  By teaching my children that there is always more to learn, and learning is an active activity that takes practice, I am learning the same lessons for myself.  Each day, I have the ability to set goals, and pursue them.  I don’t know it all.  I haven’t figured it all out yet, and I know I never will.  BUT, when I focus and get excited about the learning, happiness grows.

Cheers to you, and your children, and learning, and living the absolute best life, one day at a time!

 

 

 

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240 Daily Workouts – so far in 2018!

240 days of morning workouts, and we are still going stronger.  Maybe stronger than day 1.

December 31, 2017, I decided to wake up on my birthday, just as I had every birthday since I can remember, and go out for a run.  Since it was my 35th birthday, I went out and ran for 35 minutes.  It felt great to get moving, and I knew it would feel great to move each and every morning, first thing in the morning, every day of 2018.

Since that day, I haven’t missed a workout.  At first, I just ran.  Then I added the Schwinn bike rides, and biked in my garage many mornings.  Then I added weight training, and some circuit sessions, then walking, then biking on a real bike – outside, then even yoga, and many times the elliptical in my bedroom, and I even timed myself scrubbing my floors as a workout session one morning. 20 minutes at least, and usually not much longer than that!

I haven’t stopped, and I won’t stop.  It’s certainty a part of my daily routine, and it’s not anything that is difficult for me to do anymore.  Instead, it’s just a way to wake up, get my body moving, and a way to say THANK YOU to my bod and mind for being able to move easily, without pain, and with purpose.  I also haven’t missed a single shower this year.  Because there is nothing more rewarding then getting a shower when one is sweaty and has put in some body work!

I started off this workout streak because I wanted to get fit, and stay fit, and now it’s just LIFE.  It’s a way to stay strong, stay healthy, age well, and get stronger each day.  Fitness comes and goes, and some days I can sprint for 20 minutes, and other days, a walk with walking lunges gets my heart pumping harder than required, but so what!  I’m out there for mental health and mental happiness!

I can’t even begin to put into words what a nice way it is to start off each day when you move your body!  It’s freeing to wake up, breath heavy, and enjoy these 20 minutes of alone time.  I sometimes take the dog for a run, and when it’s the weekend, I most certainly go for a walk with my daughter and husband, or we do a lot of heavy lifting together.  She lifts the cans, and I lift the 25 pound dumbbells.

At first, I was extremely particular about my exercise, about not missing my alarm clock, about being exact in my 20 minutes, about getting it down right.  Now, I’m cool, calm and collected.

The other day I completely overslept, and I took a quick shower, went to a work conference, came home, took my daughter to a soccer clinic, and then while she played in the park, I timed myself walking fast around the playground.  If it was January, I would have been a mess, not knowing what to do with myself, completely thrown off by an obstacle.  But now, 240 days in, and 2/3rds of the year behind us – I trust myself, I trust my time, and my schedule, and my desire to move myself – and know I will get it all done, regardless of any hiccups.

Every Monday morning, I always get up at 5am.  If my alarm has it’s way, it’s 5am.  If my own body clock wakes me up it’s 430am.  Today, it was 431am, and I read my novel until 531am, and then I biked hard for 20 minutes.  I took a hot shower, made lunches, watched the news and I took my baby girl to school — and I just loved my morning.

Exercise, and getting it done with grace and coolness, and without anxiety and worry and stress and pressure – has allowed me to feel like my life is abundant af. It has allowed me to trust myself a lot more. It has allowed me to enjoy the beauty of every morning, the time we have with those we love, and allowed me to integrate everything together.  For a while, I kept my working out separate from life.

Not anymore. It’s all one!

If I’m running alone or with my dog, working out solo or doing a circuit session with my neighbors, pushing the stroller on the weekend, or sprinting down the beach with my kids – exercise is life. It’s an easy way to ENJOY, APPRECIATE and VALUE the time we have here on earth, because we are able to see and feel a lot – when we are heavy breathing!  Our emotional states are awakened, and it feels good to be alive!  It’s good to FEEL and it’s good to feel good – and that’s what exercise allows us to do.

I track my workouts, partly because I’m super proud of them, regardless of the intensity, but also because of the commitment.  It really does feel like self-care when you do something that is good for your mind, your body, your family, and your life.

I am more proud of the fact I haven’t overdone it, than anything else.  I’m not out here to set or break personal records, or impress anyone or myself – I’m just out here, taking 20 minutes per day and dedicating it to moving.  Because those short minutes, make the day.  They set the tone, they allow me to deal with the challenges and frustrations in a better manner than I would have, if I didn’t lift heavy weights that morning.  Those 20 minutes also allow the good times to shine.

I can appreciate an awesome day, and I certainty realize that REGARDLESS of what happens or doesn’t happen – it was already a pretty – rad – amazing and super day – because I’m here, breathing in fresh air, and just living and moving.  Exercise also shows me that I choose how my day goes, how I feel about it, and how I frame any and all events.

Schwinn Monday 240 8/27/2018
Walk Sunday 239 8/26/2018
Walk Saturday 238 8/25/2018
Bike Friday 237 8/24/2018
WT Thursday 236 8/23/2018
WT Wednesday 235 8/22/2018
Walk Tuesday 234 8/21/2018
Schwinn Monday 233 8/20/2018
Walk Sunday 232 8/19/2018
Walk Saturday 231 8/18/2018
Run+ Friday 230 8/17/2018
WT Thursday 229 8/16/2018
Walk/Run Wednesday 228 8/15/2018
WT + Bike Tuesday 227 8/14/2018
Schwinn Monday 226 8/13/2018
Walk Sunday 225 8/12/2018
WT Saturday 224 8/11/2018
Cleaning Friday 223 8/10/2018
Run Thursday 222 8/9/2018
WT Wednesday 221 8/8/2018
Cleaning Tuesday 220 8/7/2018
Elliptical Monday 219 8/6/2018
Walk Sunday 218 8/5/2018
Walk Saturday 217 8/4/2018
Walk Friday 216 8/3/2018
Walk Thursday 215 8/2/2018
WT Wednesday 214 8/1/2018
Floors Tuesday 213 7/31/2018
Elliptical Monday 212 7/30/2018
WT Sunday 211 7/29/2018
Walk Saturday 210 7/28/2018
WT Friday 209 7/27/2018
Run Thursday 208 7/26/2018
Walk Wednesday 207 7/25/2018
WT Tuesday 206 7/24/2018
Schwinn Monday 205 7/23/2018
Elliptical Sunday 204 7/22/2018
Bike Saturday 203 7/21/2018
Bike Friday 202 7/20/2018
WT Thursday 201 7/19/2018
Run Wednesday 200 7/18/2018
Bike Tuesday 199 7/17/2018
Schwinn Monday 198 7/16/2018
WT Sunday 197 7/15/2018
Bike Saturday 196 7/14/2018
Schwinn Friday 195 7/13/2018
Bike Thursday 194 7/12/2018
Circuit Wednesday 193 7/11/2018
Yoga Tuesday 192 7/10/2018
Elliptical Monday 191 7/9/2018
Elliptical/WT Sunday 190 7/8/2018
WT Saturday 189 7/7/2018
Bike Friday 188 7/6/2018
Schwinn Thursday 187 7/5/2018
Run/W Wednesday 186 7/4/2018
Bike Tuesday 185 7/3/2018
Schwinn Monday 184 7/2/2018
Elliptical Sunday 183 7/1/2018
Elliptical Saturday 182 6/30/2018
Bike Friday 181 6/29/2018
Schwinn Thursday 180 6/28/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 179 6/27/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 178 6/26/2018
Schwinn Monday 177 6/25/2018
Elliptical Sunday 176 6/24/2018
Elliptical Saturday 175 6/23/2018
Bike Friday 174 6/22/2018
Schwinn Thursday 173 6/21/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 172 6/20/2018
Elliptical Tuesday 171 6/19/2018
Schwinn Monday 170 6/18/2018
Circuit Sunday 169 6/17/2018
Run/W Saturday 168 6/16/2018
Bike Friday 167 6/15/2018
WT Thursday 166 6/14/2018
Run Wednesday 165 6/13/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 164 6/12/2018
Schwinn Monday 163 6/11/2018
Elliptical Sunday 162 6/10/2018
Elliptical Saturday 161 6/9/2010
WT Friday 160 6/8/2018
Schwinn Thursday 159 6/7/2018
Elliptical Wednesday 158 6/6/2018
WT Tuesday 157 6/5/2018
Schwinn Monday 156 6/4/2018
Run Sunday 155 6/3/2018
Bike Saturday 154 6/2/2018
Elliptical Friday 153 6/1/2018
Run Thursday 152 5/31/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 151 5/30/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 150 5/29/2018
Bike Monday 149 5/28/2018
Elliptical Sunday 148 5/27/2018
Bike Saturday 147 5/26/2018
Bike Friday 146 5/25/2018
WT Thursday 145 5/24/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 144 5/23/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 143 5/22/2018
Schwinn Monday 142 5/21/2018
Walk Sunday 141 5/20/2018
Walk Saturday 140 5/18/2018
Run Friday 139 5/18/2018
Schwinn Thursday 138 5/17/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 137 5/16/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 136 5/15/2018
Schwinn Monday 135 5/14/2018
Schwinn Sunday 134 5/13/2018
Walk Saturday 133 5/12/2018
Schwinn Friday 132 5/11/2018
Circuit Thursday 131 5/10/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 130 5/9/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 129 5/8/2018
Schwinn Monday 128 5/7/2018
Run Sunday 127 5/6/2018
Schwinn Saturday 126 5/5/2018
Circuit Friday 125 5/4/2018
Schwinn Thursday 124 5/3/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 123 5/2/2018
Run Tuesday 122 5/1/2018
Schwinn Monday 121 4/30/2018
Schwinn Sunday 120 4/29/2018
Schwinn Saturday 119 4/28/2018
Circuit Friday 118 4/27/2018
Schwinn Thursday 117 4/26/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 116 4/25/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 115 4/24/2018
Schwinn Monday 114 4/23/2018
Run Sunday 113 4/22/2018
Schwinn Saturday 112 4/21/2018
Schwinn Friday 111 4/20/2018
Circuit Thursday 110 4/19/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 109 4/18/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 108 4/17/2018
Schwinn Monday 107 4/16/2018
Circuit Sunday 106 4/15/2018
Run Saturday 105 4/14/2018
Schwinn Friday 104 4/13/2018
Schwinn Thursday 103 4/12/2018
Run Wednesday 102 4/11/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 101 4/10/2018
Schwinn Monday 100 4/9/2018
Schwinn Sunday 99 4/8/2018
Schwinn Saturday 98 4/7/2018
Schwinn Friday 97 4/6/2018
Schwinn Thursday 96 4/5/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 95 4/4/2018
Run Tuesday 94 4/3/2018
Schwinn Monday 93 4/2/2018
Run Sunday 92 4/1/2018
Schwinn Saturday 91 3/31/2018
Schwinn Friday 90 3/30/2018
Schwinn Thursday 89 3/29/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 88 3/28/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 87 3/27/2018
Schwinn Monday 86 3/26/2018
Schwinn Sunday 85 3/25/2018
Schwinn Saturday 84 3/24/2018
Treadmill Friday 83 3/23/2018
Schwinn Thursday 82 3/22/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 81 3/21/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 80 3/20/2018
Schwinn Monday 79 3/19/2018
Run Sunday 78 3/18/2018
Schwinn Saturday 77 3/17/2018
Schwinn Friday 76 3/16/2018
Schwinn Thursday 75 3/15/2018
Treadmill Wednesday 74 3/14/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 73 3/13/2018
Elliptical Monday 72 3/12/2018
Walk Sunday 71 3/11/2018
Run Sunday 71 3/11/2018
Elliptical Saturday 70 3/10/2018
Schwinn Friday 69 3/9/2018
Elliptical Thursday 68 3/8/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 67 3/7/2018
Elliptical Tuesday 66 3/6/2018
Schwinn Monday 65 3/5/2018
Schwinn Sunday 64 3/4/2018
Run Saturday 63 3/3/2018
Schwinn Friday 62 3/2/2018
Elliptical Thursday 61 3/1/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 60 2/28/2018
Elliptical Tuesday 59 2/27/2018
Elliptical Monday 58 2/26/2018
Elliptical Sunday 57 2/25/2018
Elliptical Saturday 56 2/24/2018
Schwinn Friday 55 2/23/2018
Schwinn Thursday 54 2/22/2018
Schwinn Wednesday 53 2/21/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 52 2/20/2018
Schwinn Monday 51 2/19/2018
Schwinn Sunday 50 2/18/2018
Schwinn Saturday 49 2/17/2018
Schwinn Friday 48 2/16/2018
Schwinn Thursday 47 2/15/2018
Elliptical Wednesday 46 2/14/2018
Schwinn Tuesday 45 2/13/2018
Schwinn Monday 44 2/12/2018
Schwinn Sunday 43 2/11/2018
Schwinn Saturday 42 2/10/2018
Schwinn Friday 41 2/9/2018
Run Thursday 40 2/8/2018
Run Wednesday 39 2/7/2018
Run Tuesday 38 2/6/2018
Run Monday 37 2/5/2018
Run Sunday 36 2/4/2018
Run Sunday 29 1/28/2018
Run Monday 30 1/29/2018
Run Tuesday 31 1/30/2018
Run Wednesday 32 1/31/2018
Run Thursday 33 2/1/2018
Run Friday 34 2/2/2018
Run Saturday 35 2/3/2018
Run Sunday 22 1/21/2018
Run Monday 23 1/22/2018
Run Tuesday 24 1/23/2018
Run Wednesday 25 1/24/2018
Run Thursday 26 1/25/2018
Run Friday 27 1/26/2018
Run Saturday 28 1/27/2018
Run Sunday 15 1/14/2018
Run Monday 16 1/15/2018
Run Tuesday 17 1/16/2018
Run Wednesday 18 1/17/2018
Run Thursday 19 1/18/2018
Run Friday 20 1/19/2018
Run Saturday 21 1/20/2018
Run Sunday 8 1/7/2018
Run Monday 9 1/8/2018
Run Tuesday 10 1/9/2018
Run Wednesday 11 1/10/2018
Run Thursday 12 1/11/2018
Run Friday 13 1/12/2018
Run Saturday 14 1/13/2018
Run Sunday 1 12/31/2017
Run Monday 2 1/1/2018
Run Tuesday 3 1/2/2018
Run Wednesday 4 1/3/2018
Run Thursday 5 1/4/2018
Run Friday 6 1/5/2018
Run Saturday 7 1/6/2018

Cheers to you.  Cheers to your own movement – regardless of your how and why.  Cheers to feeling really good, really strong!  Extra cheers to moving that hot bod each and every day!  Sizzle out there, but not only because of the humidity, but because you are fire!

Keto, Carnivore Diet, Intermittent Fasting

It’s been so many months since I last posted a blog post, and even longer since I wrote about diet or my diet.   Many times I found a diet or “lifestyle change” that made my cravings go away, and then weeks would go by, and I felt amazing and fine, and sometimes even months, and then boom, slowly, old bad habits, and old bad cravings would creep back in and bring me back to the same and uncomfortable starting line.

BACK STORY & BINGE EATING

I’m here to say, that I haven’t found the holy grail to a perfect diet, or a perfect way of eating that is without error but I have spent the last several months (and years…) learning more about what is best for me.

I always found it extremely tough and frustrating to KNOW that I need to eat WELL to feel well, and be physically, mentally, emotionally UNABLE to do it.  I found myself starting a “healthy” diet over and over and over again every Monday or every first day of the month, only to find myself getting a bit lax on my “diet rules” and then falling off, and then just digging so deep in the hole of shitty eating that eventually that Monday or 1st of the month would roll back around, and I felt hopeful again.

Only to find myself repeat this cycle over and over again, again.

CRON

My first success came with CRON, or calorie restriction optional nutrition.  In 2009-2010 the goal was to EAT LESS, but ONLY quality foods – lots of greens, raw foods, low calorie but nutritionally dense food. This was pretty awesome.  And it makes sense.  When you eat REAL FOOD, WHOLE FOODS, you get full, you stay full, because your nutrient requirements are filled and it leaves little room for your body and mind wanting more!  (Almost like a love tank, when your love partner fills up your tank, it’s almost impossible to have or want a wondering eye.)

ADIPEX

Laters, for a few weeks I used a pill called Adipex which suppresses appetite.  And that thing worked.  It worked quickly.  It was truly amazing to NOT feel hunger, or not feel cravings.  I was totally in awe of the feeling of satisfaction!  But, your hear rate speeds up and it’s almost impossible to sleep.  Today, I would never take a pill, but back then (about 6 years ago), I did because perhaps I wasn’t the brightest bulb on the porch but as soon as I couldn’t sleep a full night a few nights in a row, I was OUT!  I knew better than to think this was a long term (or even a short term) way to weight loss.

WHOLE30

Then I did really well with the Whole30.  Again, a diet that is full of real foods, whole foods, foods that are not meant to spike insulin and therefore prevented food cravings and such.   I’m not sure why I stopped following the Whole30, but I did.  Perhaps I got bored, or perhaps the holidays came, and eating Christmas cookies was much more important to me than feeling well.

ISAGENIX

Then I found Isagenix.  It was and still is an incredible meal replacement program.  It’s a network marketing company – and more of a lifestyle company.  I learned soooooo much with Isa, and I would still recommend it to everyone and anyone who wants to get healthy, quickly.  Some of the concepts and beliefs Isa puts in their products (like intermittent fasting, and great amount of quality animal protein) are things I still believe today more than ever – even though I wasn’t awed by them when I first learned about Isa.  It’s a company that is truly ahead of it’s time!  I’m no longer involved with Isa as a consultant, but I am a customer.  My kids drink the shakes, and I personally love their 1 carb whey protein.  I’m waiting on their free shipping day to order a boat load! 🙂 🙂 🙂

KETO

Last September (so almost a year ago), I was on YouTube, and feeling quite lost.  Why do my food cravings always come back?  Why do I binge eat?  Why is this my way of life?  Why can’t I just eat normal?

Several different videos kept popping up about keto.  I have briefly heard about keto before, but I always thought it was impossible to do, and also unhealthy to do.  But this time, because perhaps I was so lost and would give anything and everything a try, I learned more.  Keto is about eating a larger amount of real fat, along with a moderate amount of protein, and less than 20 net carbs per day.  So high fat, high protein, low carb.  When insulin isn’t spiked because you don’t ingest a high amount of carbs/sugar, hunger and food cravings go away or don’t appear.

I gave it a try, and fo sure.  It’s a diet that is full of real foods – and it works.  Some people get extremely technical with it – measuring out their macros and calories, and tracking it all, and other people just count their carbs (and stay below 20-30 net carbs), and others just eat foods that don’t have high carb counts.

Lots of doctors when they talk about keto, talk about how keto helps to regulate hormones, and I had a inkling that my hormones (and the fact that they were mostly unregulated) had a lot to do with it.  Two things brought me to this conclusion:

1 – When I was pregnant with both of my pregnancies, I felt great.  I had no cravings or binge eating episodes.  I was able to eat “normal” and felt great.  I gained 30 and 35 pounds with each pregnancy and as soon as the pregnancies ended, I lost the pregnancy weight because of breast feeding, but my binge eating and cravings came back.  And supposedly, when the bod is growing a baby, hormones do most of the work, and therefore have to be at almost perfection for this type of hustle.

2 – When not pregnant, my cycles were always extra long, and especially extra long when I wasn’t eating “low carb.”  I have tracked my cycle for years, and 56 days, 75 days, 49 days was the norm, which is neither normal or healthy.  When I started Whole30, my cycles went to 36 days, 39 days, 34 days.  For the first time in my life I was like WOAH!  This is what my body likes!  My bod likes a diet of little or no sugar!  As soon as I stopped with Whole30, they went back to being 50-70 days apart.  When I started keto, my cycles kept shortening, and my best cycle in my adult life so far has been 31 days, which is like Victory Royale to me!!!

Keto is great for me, but it was hard for me to consistently stay on it.  If a party came up, or another event arose, it was easy for me to jump off, indulge in sweets, and then it would take me a week or so of shitty eating to get back on keto.  I knew this cycle very well, and just didn’t love it!

I always felt like I was working so hard to eat well, do well, feel well, and then boom, I would tumble backwards, and all of my success and results went with the tumble, only to start back at the starting point again.

HOPE

Yet, I was hopeful for the first time in my life.  I liked a lot of things about this “diet” or lifestyle of eating.  First, it was just real foods and foods I really loved.  Organic grass fed ground beef, chicken, eggs, cheese, most veggies, salads – everything delicious.  There was nothing offensive, or nothing that disagreed with my body about keto.  I was never bloated or uncomfortable, I stopped eating when I was almost full, it was almost like my bod and I were well in tune with one another – perhaps for one of the first and few times in my life (outside of the months I was preggo.)

Yet, the challenge I had with keto, was – how do I always stay on keto? I don’t want to jump off and on the keto wagon!

CARNIVORE DIET

And the answer came in the form of the carnivore diet.  People are transforming their bods, and health, by simply eating steak.  Of course some people just eat steak, and other people eat eggs, all red meat, all white meat, cheeses – and a various of zero carb foods, or a combo of any of the above.

But the results for whatever carnivore diet you follow – are pretty amazing.  Depression, anxiety, fat, cravings – can all melt away.  What’s pretty cool is that following a carnivore diet, has actually helped me eat keto consistently!  I had to actually commit to carnivore, to eat keto well!  Funny how that works, but it’s almost like the saying: “If you reach for the moon, you’ll grab a star.”  Reach for carnivore and you keto hard!

And this has made me feel like a rock star.  I was telling my husband that THIS is what everyone else must feel like when they aren’t always overeating and feeling like crap and under-eating and feeling better, and then overeating and feeling like crap and under-eating to feel better, and re-cycle.  It feels pretty rad to just feel normal because I’m eating “normal”.

I’m not saying that my diet is perfect, and that I got a 100% perfect hold on eating well all the time, but I’m getting there.  It’s certainly a journey, and a journey I refuse to quit.  It’s much better than being on a roller coaster, and it doesn’t feel like I’m on a tightrope anymore.   I feel solid, I feel like I’m on solid foundation.  I feel like I’m not holding my breath anymore.

For many years, and now for probably two decades I always wondered WHY.  Why the heck am I the one who has to deal with these food cravings, while everyone else doesn’t!  Why did binge eating and overeating have to affect me, and why am I the one who has to grapple and suffer with this?  It was and is exhausting and frustrating and my best attempts at eating well would never last. Whyyyy meeee???

But now, I take a lot more breaths, and am starting to get thankful and grateful for this “issue”.  I am learning so much about health, and food and nutrition, and the amount of science behind the carnivore and keto foods, lifestyle and nutrition is pretty amazing.  I’m not a scientist, and no need for me to attempt to share the info that is out there, because there are a ton of people on YouTube (High Intensity Health) and Instagram (Shawn Baker) who do an incredible job at that!  But the science + real life results mean a ton. It’s fun to eat food, and feel good and go after the exact results you want, and then boom – actually get the results you want.

The idea and shared science behind eating a carnivore diet is that you fill your body with real fat, real protein that fills up your cells with everything that your body needs and craves and little waste.  It’s perhaps one of the least complicated diets out there.

INTERMITTENT FASTING

Intermittent Fasting is a result of eating a low carb diet.  When low carb or no carb, your body starts using fat (your own bodyfat and the fat you eat) as fuel.  And when you do use fat for fuel, you are a lot less hungry – and can go longer between meals.  I eat my last meal around dinner time, and then don’t eat usually until 11 or 12 the next day.

Low carb or not, the amount of science behind giving our bods that 14-16 hours of food rest is amazing.  It gives our bodies a chance to use up what’s already in our system for fuel and energy, instead of waking up first thing in the morning and stuffing it up again.  This though, works best when you do eat low carb.

If you have a pasta meal or a mixed meal (carbs, fat, protein) for din din, and then wake up, you will be hungry pretty quickly.

But if you have a steak din din and avocado as your last meal, you will wake up and not be as hungry as if you ate the carbs the night before.

And you can also use Intermittent Fasting if you did party the day before.  Perhaps you had a birthday or your child did, and you had a good time ALL DAY LONG.  Eating and overeating, drinking, a high sugar and high fat, and high carb day.  Well, when you wake up, skip breakfast.  Give your body a chance to use up all that grub from the day before as energy, and as a way to clear out what you did ingest, instead of loading it up with more calories.

I’m not a doctor, and I’m not a scientist.  I don’t publish scientific articles, but I do love to learn about everything, and especially nutrition, and the science behind it all and then test it out on myself.  One doctor I listen to, says it best when he says:

“Our bodies are like a fridge & freezer.  The food we eat daily goes into the fridge, and it’s full of food.  We also have a freezer full of food, food we ate before and stored.  If we never empty out the fridge, we will never get to the freezer, we will always have a full freezer and be full of fat.”

But intermittent fasting allows us to get to that freezer, so we can start using that stored up grub as fuel!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

If you have gotten to the end of this post, I wish you the absolute best in your food journey.  Perhaps you too struggle, perhaps you too are curious how you can improve your mood, and health, and body and life.  Know that the answers are out there, and we don’t have to settle for being sick or feeling unwell.  We don’t have to have a miserable mind, an unhappy mind full of erratic emotions only because we’re on the wrong diet plan.

Stay strong, and keep pushing forward, and do well for yourself!

 

 

 

 

Our One Year Florida Life Anniversary

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, my two year old daughter and five year old son, and I, took an Uber to Newark airport!  We were closing on our home in Florida that Monday, June 12th, and it was time to go.  The movers were coming in a few hours, and our entire home, was going to be heading south.  My husband and bonus child were staying back for a week to finish work commitments and last week of school.  It was just my two musketeers and I, breaking new ground.

I get anxiety about pretty much nothing.  I just push through, and nervousness catches me at times, but it’s rare, and the older I get, I know how to prepare better.  I rarely find myself in what feels like completely uncharted waters, and therefore I live in as calm and peaceful world as possible (at least in my head and day to day life).

But that entire weekend, just THINKING back to what was going on, I still get completely teary eye.  We get out the Uber, we get on the plane, we have a mostly uneventful ride, except for the fact that my daughter doesn’t want to sit through the two hour plane ride, but instead she wants to walk the aisles.  Kind strangers entertain her, hold an iPhone with videos up for her, and help this mama out in a huge way.  We get off the plane, and our bag did not make it with us.  The airline lets us know the bag will be here in a couple hours.  It is taking the “next” flight down.

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Washing our hands in JAX Airport as soon as we arrived!

I rent a car, and we head over to the hotel I rented for us for the next two days.  I wanted to make sure it had a pool, so that the kids really start to feel like this is an awesome vacation, and any anxiety I may have from now until we get into our new home, is completely unbeknownst to them.  I don’t like using that word anxiety, because I believe it is really a true debilitating condition, so maybe I should say nerves.  I was smiling, but my stomach was in knots and I was just pushing ahead for these two little humans looking up at me.  My son just finished a year at Catholic school, and he colored this beautiful photo of Mary.  I folded up that paper and I took her with me.  The entire weekend, I kept opening up this photo of her, and just kept asking her to take care of us and this entire process.  I would not consider myself a religious person, but it felt right to speak with her and ask her for help.  I now framed this paper and it’s hanging in my office, still watching over us.

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We head over to CVS to get some little snacks and water for our hotel room.  I want these kids to have anything and everything they need!  I notice that my son isn’t looking good or feeling well.  He’s a bit lethargic and not the energetic boy he usually is.  His forehead is hot, and my mama instincts kick in and I know I have to take him to an urgent care.  Thank G that these things exist and are everywhere in Jacksonville.  We first head to the airport to pick up our lone bag (and swimmies), and head straight to an urgent care spot.  At this point, I haven’t figured out if they take our insurance or what the dilly is, but I do know I need to get him checked out. He’s not complaining, but I know that a burning forehead is not a good sign.  An hour later, he has an ear infection and strep throat.  Even though this wasn’t how we wanted to start off our new life here, my experience at this urgent care space was wonderful.  Kind people, and quickly taken care of (as quickly as I could fill out the paperwork).  We then forged BACK to CVS pharmacy and filled up the prescription.

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Sunday, I needed a ton of fresh air and new life breathed into me, so we went to Hanna State Park. It’s a beautiful area, that was close to our hotel, with natural beaches, and a splash park, and a zip-line for the kiddos.  As soon as we walked into the ocean, and it was warm and inviting, it was home.  It was my aha moment, that we’re here, we made it, and life was good, and that all was going to go according to plan.

 

The morning of our closing, I was waiting for the mortgage people to give me the go ahead for the closing appointment. If you ever closed on a mortgage, it’s pretty much the worst experience of one’s life.  And I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but as our family kept expanding, we have closed on a few homes in the last decade, and each experience was worst than the previous one.  Perhaps, because of the bubble bursting, new rules and regulations went into place to protect the market from being able to receive mortgages without enough positive financial evidence, but needless to say – it is four to six weeks of torture, and only gets worst the closer you get to your closing date.

We arrived at the closing appointment, and had to wait another hour plus.  At this point, my father (who was moving us), was waiting outside our almost home, with a moving company.  He was hours late for where he had to be, and if there is anything that I dislike more than the mortgage process, it’s inconveniencing other people.

Finally, we were ready for signatures.  Because my husband was not in Florida just yet, and still in NJ, I had to sign for him.  And it was full names only and my full name and his full name are mighty long!  At this point, I didn’t care if my hand was going to fall off,  I was determined to get through this process, and FINALLY HEAD HOME!  Another two hours later, we were on our way!!!

It was pouring rain (June in North Florida, it rains almost daily for a few minutes each day, and then stops), we SPRINTED OUT OF THE MORTGAGE PLACE!  It was me and my two little people and we were going home!  They were excited to get out of a tiny room, and I was excited because I knew we did it!!!

We got into our car, were completely soaked, and had about 6 miles to go.  The longest 6 miles of my life. I ran 10Ks that went by quicker!

At last, we arrived, and I met and hugged my dad, and it was time to UNPACK!!!  The movers were amazing (because they waited for us for two hours), and through a lot of rain and sweat, we got everything into the home.  It was absolutely chaotic – but it was done and it was fun!   We owned the home (well the loan), and everything we worked for in the last few months (and perhaps years and years) got us to this point!

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I share our story, because knowing and remember the tough details now, I’m not sure I would have signed up for the same.  But looking back at this entire last year, every single annoyance, and ridiculousness, and nuance was completely and utterly worth it.  I would have done it again over and over again, with half the help, half the resources and triple the nerves if I had to.

Reminiscing back on each month since our move, we have done so many cool things.  Nothing exciting enough to re-tweet about, but really cool tiny little things that we are so proud of, and so happy about.

We had some amazing and wonderful and loving visitors from the north.  We adopted two new pets that have grown our family without growing our health insurance bill.  We purchased a golf cart, that we use on the daily and love it so much!  We love shopping at Publix, and this is pretty much the only shopping we do, because it’s so much damn fun going to a grocery store full of happy and helpful people!  We went to Vegas and even though this has nothing to do with Florida, it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I booked that trip while we were still living in NJ months before, so it was a little accomplishment for ME, to actually see a goal and a plan become a reality!  We made two of the rooms in our home our office spaces, so we remodeled already a bit.  My kiddos started three new schools, and a new camp – all that have brought us so much joy.  We have met so many awesome friends and neighbors and new colleagues.  This by far is so amazing, and feels so right.  We have gone to the beach each month this year.  We even experienced a cold and chilly winter!!!  This made me thrilled because I did bring down most of our coats, hats and gloves and we used them all!  We have officially celebrated every birthday in our new home, and every major holiday:  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter!  How cool is that!  We have gotten into plant life, and especially saving plants that others are tossing away!  We have used our amenities center so much: the pool, the water slide, the gym!

Overall, our goals for moving here were to increase our quality of life, by living more of that semi-outdoor life.  Our daughter loved being outside, and I wanted to give that to her, regardless of the month of year.  We wanted to reduce our tax bill a bit, and we wanted most days to be sunny.  Simple, easy, breezy goals, that weren’t too unrealistic, yet it took some planning to make it a reality.

 

I remember when we got off the plane, the warm humid air hitting me and it felt so good.  It felt so warm and freeing and happy and exactly what we were looking for.  It was my hello, and we were home.

Cheers to YOU, and your goals, and making them come true in the every possible way.

Should you move to Florida too?

And when I say Florida I mean YOUR destination of choice.  It may also be Florida, or it may be California for you.  Or perhaps somewhere in the mid-west, or maybe the north, or maybe Canada, or another country, or maybe Europe or Asia, or if you are already in Europe or Asia, maybe another country in Europe or Asia, or anywhere your heart desires, anywhere it feels really good to think about.  Anywhere that may feel like HOME to you.

Over a year ago, my husband and I were winding down one chilly Sunday night in December, and he told me his friend Pat, who lives in Florida was out on his paddle board, after seeing the same on FB.  I couldn’t fathom being out on the water!  We used to take our beach vacation the absolutely LAST week of August to guarantee warm water, and sometimes we had warm water, and sometimes not.

At the same time, my daughter, who was just two, wanted to be outside all the time.  We used to come home from school, and she would run out to the playground a few feet from our town home.  My husband would push her on the swing, and she was so happy, but also so frozen.  Her little nose was always running, and her hands were freezing, and finally I would beg her to come home, or just bring her in while she was crying because she wanted to “play more”.

She’s an outdoor baby.  She wants to be outside, in the sun, in the warmth, playing like the little wild and adventurous girl she is.  How could I deny her this?

Then, shortly after the Florida wheels began turning, it snowed.  We shared a walkway with our neighbor.  And she shoveled just her side.  A normal sidewalk, half shoveled.  That was our sign, and we needed to move.

We wanted more space, a slightly bigger home to house our family of five, and more outdoor time.  Once you decide, the Universe really does everything in it’s power to make it happen.

Coincidentally, we both started working from home instead in an office, which made moving and getting a mortgage possible and easier.  We already upgraded and remodeled and maintained our town home, so putting it on the market involved washing the curtains the day of our open house and quickly handling anything that needed fixed or managed.  It sold to the first people that walked through the door!

My husband and I took a trip to Florida in February of that year, to explore, and get familiar with the area (as this was my FIRST TIME EVER IN THIS STATE).  We chose to move to north Florida because we already had a connection here with my husband’s friend, and because the school district where we decided to live, is one of the best in the state.  We also got very lucky, because we didn’t give ourselves a lot of time or money to explore and research the WHOLE state, and instead decided on north Florida and just made it happen.

On my second trip to Florida, which I took in April, my best friend accompanied me.  I flew to Myrtle Beach, and together we drove 5 hours south to Florida.  We met with our realtor, and had a plan to see about 27 houses in two days.  We drove into a new development and we saw a really beautiful home!  But they could not guarantee it was going to be finished and ready for move in by June.  The site agent said:  “Well, I have a house with a really nice lot, but it has only 4 bedrooms, and a den, and it’s already all finished.”

And then I walked into our dream home. Our current home.  Our forever home for a very long time.

It had everything!  The right size, the right lot, the right layout, the right school district, the right street, the right neighborhood, the right community and enough palm trees in the neighborhood to make me feel right at home in my new home state.

We put an offer in, it was accepted, and we went into moving mode on high speed!

I won’t bore anyone with the details but moving is a pain.  Getting a mortgage is a pain.  Moving out of state is a tiny bigger pain, but I viewed everything as something that had to get done, and we just got it done.  Once we decided on the house, and we were under contract on both properties, I already saw myself living in FLORIDA!

I saw or imagined nothing else.  I used every ounce of positive energy and law of attraction and saw my babies running through the door of our new home, and checking out their bedrooms, almost on the daily.  I even booked tickets for an event we were attending later that summer, as if we were already THERE!

My husband is organized and can do those mentally challenging things I can’t do – like get things fixed, and get contractors to the house, and negotiate this and that.  We split up all tasks, and kept moving forward.  Thinking back, its hard to not tear up, because it really did feel like at times it took an army to get down here.  Between both sides of realtors, and my close friends who knew and were always supportive, and so caring and wanted nothing but the best for us, and our work, and families and everyone in between, we made it happen, but not without everyone else.  The whole thing was an experience, and the only way to get through something that is unfamiliar and often challenging, is to just keep going.

I moved with my family from Poland to NJ in 91, and then off to college at the University of Pittsburgh, and my husband went to the Army in Alaska, so neither of us were completely foreign to the idea of picking up and starting over, so the unfamiliar felt at times familiar, and exciting and exhilarating, and because we already knew what we wanted in our home, and in a neighborhood, and community and LIFE IN GENERAL, it made it easier.  We knew this was going to be our final and forever destination (at least for the next two decades, while the kids are students), and it all just felt right.

I remember the morning of our flight to Florida, I put my two babies in an Uber, and we headed to Newark Airport.  They were excited to get on an airplane, and I was excited to start our new adventure, but it almost felt at times, as if I was standing on a cliff, and I wasn’t sure how the jump out was going to turn out!

Would it be difficult, or really fun?  Or crazy or just completely weird?  I knew I wanted a great view, but was I going to see it and feel it and live it right away?

In these photos, we are in the Uber, and then int he airport in JAX.  I am a little bit dying of fear and excitement, but at the same time I had to be super strong for my little people.  I wanted them to experience this adventure with happiness, because when they get older, and they have to do hard and awesome things – it should be mostly FUN and little FEAR.

As soon as we landed, I rented a car, and realized we didn’t have our bags did not make it from NJ.  We drove to the hotel and checked in, and washed up the best way we could.  I realized my son had a massive fever, and we found an urgent care.  He had an ear infection, and we had to get antibiotics and thankfully, almost immediately he felt better.  We drove back to the airport to pick up our luggage, and back to the hotel.  We hung mostly at the hotel pool for those two days, and explored some beaches until Monday morning and our closing.

The pool and hotel was our home for the first two days, and the warmth and water and fun welcomed us in.  It breathed LIFE into me, exactly what I needed!  Seeing my babies jump in and out of the pool, with the humidity and warmth and weather love surrounding us – I knew we made the right decision.  I knew that going with our gut, and doing the work for this move was worth it more than I ever realized.

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My husband and bonus baby stayed back so she could finish her freshmen year!  My husband stayed back to finish his DJ commitments and to clean our home once the moving truck pulled away and finalize everything at the closing!  It was going to be just one week until we saw him again, and I couldn’t wait.  I’m also very used to doing everything together, so going to Florida with two of the youngest kiddos, and sans him was a tad bit scary!

The morning of our closing it was pouring rain.  Pouring hot rain so hard that once I had the keys in my hands, I could not see the road.  I was six miles away and it took me about 20 minutes to get here, but once I arrived, it was pure heaven.  My dear father was waiting for us, with everything from NJ in a big truck, and a moving company we hired were patiently waiting, and then it was go time.  In pouring rain and flip flops, I got to work.  We unloaded that truck, while the kids ran through the home happily screaming and checking out their bedrooms. It was my dream and vision and everything come true.

It felt like when you finally give birth, and the tears can’t stop coming!  So much work, and here is the sweet reward!

I will write more about our first year in Florida, which is coming up, in an upcoming post.

Cheers to any and EVERY adventure you can create and execute for yourself and those you love most.
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How to EAT IN!

The post about how to stop EATING OUT was quite popular.  Now, let’s figure out a plan on how to eat in, more often.  And most importantly, how to enjoy it 1000% more than we usually do.

A lot of times we go out to celebrate some fun events, but OFTEN it’s because “there’s nothing to eat here.” Or nothing FUN to eat at home.  Or we have nothing prepared, and we don’t want extra work in prepping food, and then having to clean it up.  Or perhaps we like to eat out, because it’s entertainment and “something to do” on top of the food.  If we ate out more often, it would be because everyone in our family can get something different to eat, without me having to prep five different dishes.

But these are all excuses, and if you really want to EAT IN more often, let’s get it done, and let’s put together some easy strategies to STAY in and enjoy it even more than a meal out.

Recognize that eating out may be eating at your health.  I have done plenty of eating out, and I am not here to hurt the restaurant industry (because I know that the billions of dollars we are all spending eating out is not going to stop), but know that staying in and eating your own food, is so much better for your body & mind.

Many restaurants (and more every single day) are amazing, and they do everything they can to source the best products, the best ingredients, from the most responsible vendors – but many do not.  The amount of high fructose corn syrup or antibiotics or hormones, or farm raised animal products are only on the rise.  If your sauce needed to be made with an egg, it’s very doubtful it’s an egg from a chicken that was pasture raised, and raised hormone free.  Most of the time, it was a chicken who has never seen the light of day.  We are what we eat, and the more we eat at home, the more control we have over what we put into our bodies.

If you make your very own spaghetti and meatballs, you may not be adding mass amounts of salt and sugar to this meal, but a restaurant, which wants everything to taste delicious might. Often, when eating out, we don’t even realize half of everything we are ingesting, just because we aren’t the ones preparing it.

If you make your own fries, you aren’t frying those fries in an oil that’s been out there for a few days frying other grub.  Usually, you are making fries for a single family serving, and that is it and usually using the least amount of oil and salt possible, or what you need to make it taste good.

Celebrate by eating in!  Because we work from home, eating out for us would not be convenient, but even so, every few days, we make a meal and celebrate something.  I know it’s corny, and hard to imagine how it can be special, but it’s fun!  Perhaps we’re celebrating something silly, or fun, or maybe we’re celebrating a FUN and cool meal we’re having.  The kids love TACOS, so TACOS are always a celebratory night.  Maybe it’s burgers, or maybe it’s a meal the kids helped create – boom, another reason to celebrate and make us all feel special, by eating it.

Leftovers  I love leftovers.  I’m part of the camp that believe food really does taste better the next day.  So even if you aren’t a fan of cooking and cleaning up EVERY single day or night, you can make a bit more and have for the next several days.  I don’t meal prep technically, since we are often home, but meal prepping is a great idea for so many.  Make a ton of grub on Sunday, and have a fridge or freezer full of options.  Then, during the week, you can eat what you’ve already made, or you can make limited foods, without giving yourself a ton of work.

As the days go on, I am starting to realized more and more about the importance of having a constant INFLUX of GREEN RAW GRUB into our bodies.  So, this means, that there is always a salad, or a big Tupperware full of cut up raw grub in the fridge.  Yesterday, for lunch I had the last bowl of my salad bowl which included:  romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli.  I took it out of the fridge, and put feta cheese on top (because Feta cheese is LIFE), and added some Cesar dressing.  I took my salad to our lanai, and started munching on this amazingness, that took 3 seconds to plate.  The best part about this was that my little peanut butter of a daughter, wanted all the bites.  She decided she wanted just the romaine lettuce, and ate everything I had in there, which was SOOO FREAKEN AWESOME.  I hope this is the START of her eating romaine lettuce and greens each and every day.  (Of course she woke up this morning and asked for a Starburst, so win some lose some.)

It’s fun eating IN, because that’s all she knows and hopefully something she will look forward to as she grows.

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Create super easy meals for yourself and family.  Because eating out is 99% of the time not an option for us, I have a ton of easy quick fast meals I can put together for the kids and I.  Whether it’s pierogies, or pasta, or we have frozen chicken, or I can quickly make a rice stir fry, or even waffles or eggs for breakfast OR dinner – having access and the ability to put together really fast meals is fun and makes eating in so possible.

Shakes.  My kiddos love the shakes, and they are SO EASY, and a nice change for the palate.  Whether they are having for breakfast (my son 90% of the time, and our 15 year old 100% of the time), or eating with dinner, shakes are a nice way to get a ton of nutrients, and protein, and good fat, and just vitamins in the body.  Everyone has at least one per day, which means 1 or 1/2 a meal is taken care of without any extra work!  Last night for dinner, my son had two of them, with his noodles and olive oil.  He was both thirty, and hungry, and it was awesome tat so quickly he could get quality protein into his body.

Buy those extra groceries.  So I’m the first one to preach about eating through our cabinets, and fridge, and freezer, but if you are committing to EATING IN and not EATING OUT, plan out some fun meals, and do buy those “extra” groceries you usually say no to.  This might mean that you will make an awesome burger night, or lasagna, or a grilled veggie evening, or maybe even some beautiful wild caught fish evening – – – whatever it may be – buy it from the grocery store, and assemble it yourself.

For us, if I’m going cray cray at the grocery store, it’s either an Indian meal I want to put together, or for my husband, it’s some sort of jerk chicken dish – or any meal that takes more than 5 minutes to put together.  But we then KNOW it’s special and rare, and a real TREAT.

This is my daughter making keto grass-fed & organic lamb & beef meatballs last weekend (a special treat, meat from Aldi) and here she is making bread (that we turned into cinna-buns) yesterday!

I’ve never subscribed to the Hello Fresh or any of those grocery delivery systems, BUT I have cooked plenty of those meals (because my neighbor would bring over Blue Apron and we would all cook together) and those are SO MUCH FUN.  It was always a learning process, and full of new ingredients, and a nice way to STAY IN, but with also that element of SURPRISE.  If you want to invest in such a system, especially when stating out – it’s a great idea.

If you and your kiddos are always on the run (which is legit the life for so many people), make a plan of how to create travel and food packs, and bring everything with you.  Between freezer bags, and lunch bags, we can pack whole day of grub, and make sure we bring with us, so that we aren’t utilizing those super convenient nacho stands.

BRING FUN FOOD TOO.  Eating in isn’t always about staying 100% on your diet plan, or never eating something you would consider an eating out meal.  Recreate some of your favorite plates from your favorite places.  This way you get to engage all of those senses of luxury, and fun, and food freedom, BUT still stay in!  When I travel, my favorite thing in the world is eating restaurant fries.  With a bit of mayo and ketchup, and I’m in heaven.  I haven’t traveled in a while, BUT if I’m really ready and craving some fries, I”ll make them myself and go all out.  It will be FUN to indulge, but still better than actually GOING OUT, and spending the cash on store bought and restaurant fried fries.

If you do want to go out, PLAN IT.  Often, many people end up eating out or driving through the drive through, but they didn’t plan on it.  It just happened, or it was late or easier, and boom, $75 later and a full fat/sugar/carb meal later, everyone feels a bit sick.  PLAN a nice meal out, at a special restaurant, and enjoy the WHOLE process.  Eating out is certainly convenient, but make eating IN MORE convenient than anything else, and eating out a REALLY SPECIAL treat.

If it’s too hard to make meals, make small meals.  I’m often and always assembling meals that restaurant wouldn’t have on their menu.  I’m mixing and matching and letting my children eat a variety of things.  Maybe it’s a bit of pasta, and some left over chicken, or a turkey roll up, and some pineapple, or a cut up apple, or maybe some banana over milk and cereal.  Don’t think you have to create super elaborate or luxurious meals.  So many of us already have ENOUGH on our plates, we have to keep it simple, and we should never complicate it further by eating out too often.

Make your own plan. You know what works best for you and your family,and you probably already know deep down in your heart what you WANT and NEED to do.  Create your own schedule and system, ones that work best for you – and then adjust from there.

Cheers to YOU beautiful people, and cheers to staying IN eating IN and making it the IN thing to do!

 

 

 

 

How & why we must always have a good day.

For a long time, I always thought that having a good day depended on how it went.  If everything at work went great, if everything aligned itself well, if I ate well, if I worked out, if I did everything right – I would have a great day.  If others treated me right, if everyone was fair, if business deals went well.  And then, I grew up a little, and realized that I can’t be dependent on external factors, for internal happiness and peace.

Certainly, it’s MUCH easier when all falls into place, but what if it doesn’t?  Does that mean that we have to walk around upset all day?  Does this mean we have to be gloomy, or grouchy, or think that we’re depressed?  What if it all falls apart, and nothing goes well for a long time?  Should we just give up and slide down into a deep hole, with no bright light in sight?

At times, awful things happen to us, to those we love.  We have challenging days, challenging times, and even really unfortunately years.  We can’t control it all.  We are unable to control the people in our lives, the ones we know well and those we don’t.  We can’t control much, except how we react, what we take in, and how we use everything that happens, to build our future and current emotions.

Everything that happens – is good.

But only when we use what happens, that doesn’t initially seem good, as motivation to grow.  We can take what we’ve been given, and go into a demise, or we can rise up!  How amazing is that?  But, this takes a lot of talking through, thinking through, and positive action – especially if it is not yet natural for you.

I had a former VP always tell me that he thought I was the most positive person he’s ever known.  And it seemed silly that he thought this about me, because for me, it’s just the EASIEST way to live.  I could complicate life, or blow small and big issues up, but then I had to deal with not only what truly did go wrong, but with the consequences of my emotions and frustration and disappointments.  And no one has time for that!

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Always have a good day.

If we surround ourselves with people who don’t have a bright, positive or grateful outlook on life – regardless of what’s going on in their lives – our lives start to get a bit morose.  If things are never good enough for those closest to us, or our family members or our coworkers, and it’s very tough to be around these types of people and stay happy and positive.  I wish nothing more than for others to always see everything with a glass full, and then use what isn’t perfect, and build upon it and improve daily.  Otherwise, what’s the alternative?  Constantly being upset, and using those emotions to cause more drama and problems?

If we break it down, the day always has its ups and downs.  It’s impossible for every single day of our lives to be a shining beautiful rainbow.  But, how do you choose to see the ups?  How do you react to the downs?  What are you going to do about both?

Always keep moving on.

This is probably my number one rule in life.  That, and knowing that everything I need, I already have.  Because if you can’t keep going, keep moving, keep changing, and keep getting stronger and better, what’s the point?  We can certainly never be done growing, and learning, and investing in ourselves.  Regardless of the trauma of what’s happening, it’s much easier to keep going, than to stand still or sink.

When I was a teen, I watched a lot of Oprah on TV, and Oprah and her guests really drilled positive thinking into my head.  Then, as a teen, I remember reading Chicken Soup for the Soul, and reading some of those stories which were heart wrenching.  Some people really suffered tragic events!  The stories were about how so many rose, and grew and became stronger because of those events.  Reading that book taught me that we as humans are able to handle so much.

Ideally, it’s not about suffering, but to move out of it as quickly as possible.

It’s usually the little things that upset us the most, things we actually have the most control over.  If you find yourself upset over this or that, and these tiny things and events aren’t life threatening events, then you must stop.  It’s time to put an end to constantly raising your blood pressure, or stress, or worry or anxiety over anything that isn’t a lion chasing you as their prey or something similar.  We’re all usually upset because of TINY LITTLE THINGS, that we make big.

The worst part about being upset about tiny little things, is that they tend to build up.  It may be a TON of tiny little things that always go wrong, and things that you are so used to being unhappy about.  Maybe it’s your commute, or the people in line for your coffee, or the news-feed with the wrong political story, or it’s a passive post from a relative, or it’s this and that, and this could get endless.  So by the time you get to work, anything and everything will set you off.  What if you did actually have to handle a real emergency in life?  How could you handle it well, when your foundation for handling the little stuff, is so out of wack?

We must get stronger, and we must get more positive, and look at every single obstacle as an opportunity to do our best, and to use it to build our experience and strength.  There’s nothing that can ever set us back, if we choose this way of thinking and way of life.

It’s most important to always practice looking at the good of it all, and being grateful for every incident and event.  Eventually, with weeks and months and years of practice, you may not even recognize anything that could upset you or frustrate you.  Because you have been so busy finding the bright star of every event and life change.
Can you just imagine living a life where it’s all good?  Where you are determined to help yourself gain more knowledge, and strength, and therefore positively impact those around you – to do the same?

Imagine your friends and family and most importantly – your children – also being positive, happy, grateful and peaceful.  They are able to handle small problems and big problems, and get motivated if and when they fail?  Imagine being able to look at situations and know that it may feel like a step backwards, but automatically see them as leaps forward.

Often, hindsight is 20/20, and that’s the greatest gift in life.  Yet, when we know that we’ll be ABLE to see the past CLEARLY in the present, that is when we can peacefully resolve what feels unsolvable, almost immediately.

Cheers to YOU, Strong Humans!  Stay happy, positive, and may the BIG and LITTLE things, always make your day better.

 

 

 

 

Simplify to meet all of your goals.

We tend to complicate a lot.  We tend to complicate so much.  And when it comes to setting goals, we have to keep it simple:  We want X.  We must figure out the bare minimum process, and simplify and get it done.

We want to get healthy.

We want to get fit.

We want to save money.

We want to make more money.

We want to be happy.

We want to live in peace.

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Simplicity is the secret.

And then starts the complication process.  We need this and that, we start building up this wall of requirements before we realize that to get EVERYTHING we want, we must instead, simplify it all.  Everything.

I too have grown up in this era, and I have for a long time complicated the process towards my goals.  Until recently, when I realized that it’s so much easier to just simplify, and keep it extremely simple, and to keep moving on.

Goal:  Sleep Better

Complications:  We need perhaps some supplements, and maybe better sheets?  And a different job, and less stress, and if only we had a sleeping mate that wasn’t so loud.

Keep it simple:  Get to bed an hour early.  Turn off or put away your electronic device.  Shower, or take a bath, so you are so fresh and so clean between your sheets, and close your eyes and go to bed.

Now, I’m not saying THIS IS ALL.  But I’m saying, let’s find that middle ground between what is currently preventing us all from reaching our goals (overthinking, over complication), to making it so extremely simple and easy.  Simplify until you get to your goal.

Diet.

For a long time I complicated my diet.  And I still am trying to always perfect it and make it both extremely nutritionally sound, but also a diet that works for me, and everything I know about my body (which somehow always continues to change).  This can get extremely complicated, and if you aren’t keeping yourself positive, it can also get very frustrating.

But how can we simplify and keep our diet and food choices and goals simple?  Drink a lot of water.  Drink more water, so that you are hydrated.  Eat as many green vegetables as possible. If you can eat green veggies for or with breakfast, then lunch, then dinner – you’re 10000% further than most of your friends and family, and then – more water.

Yesterday, for lunch I had a salad of broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, romaine lettuce and tomato, with a few homemade keto meatballs, and some balsamic dressing.  I didn’t measure anything, or weigh anything, or calculate much.  I just made sure that MOST of my plate, and MOST of what I had was raw vegetable.  I know that water and live green food fuels our bodies and our cells, and therefore it’s all about keeping it extremely simple.

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Simple Salad

If you want to save more money, just stop spending it.  We can get apps, and books, and we can listen to a ton of videos and read some really great stuff, but at the end of the day, we have to keep most of our hard earned income, or else, we aren’t saving it.  Stay home, relax, clean, eat through your cabinets, and then just truly enjoy what you already own.  It’s so freeing, to keep saving money and building financial wealth simple, that it is almost funny.  Cancel anything and everything that doesn’t suit you, and live in peace.

Stay happy.  Happiness, and contentment and living in a state of peacefulness and calmness, and gratefulness is by far the best when we simplify and keep it easy.  Write out a ton of reasons you are grateful to be alive, and everything you have done so right in your life, and read them daily.  That’s it.  There’s absolutely no secret to happiness, except to realize and acknowledge, and accept the fact that you already are.  We have everything we need to take a deep breath each day and say thank you for all we have, and go on with our lives.

Quite down.  When things don’t always go the way we wish, it’s easy to think that we must talk our way out of an issue, or explain our side, or argue about this or that.  And in fact, we must always do the opposite.  Say nothing at all.  Especially when this is something that is ego driven, and not necessarily MISSION driven.  If this is something that may or may not pass in an hour or a few days, say nothing at all.  Keep the lid on all arguments and fights and disagreements from your side, and keep moving on.  It’s not always our turn to be right, it’s not always the right thing to explain, and defend.  Often, it’s best to say nothing at all.

We are all different.  The amount of differences and dislike for others would plummet, if we just realized we’re all different.  We’re driven in different ways, our genetics make us different beings and personalities and humans.  We can’t help some things we do or think or we can’t often change the way we were raised.  But it’s important to remember this when dealing with others, or especially, when we need to perhaps give our own selves grace.  You and I weren’t build and raised and loved the same, we were disciplined differently, educated differently, and therefore may forever make different choices and decisions.  Understanding this fundamental fact when thinking of others, or allowing yourself some peace – is important.

Keep moving on.  Have you ever met those people that constantly live in the past or even worst: in a painful past.  It’s so tough to move on and get to any goals, because their lives are presently in a part of their life where events have happened or ended.  It’s tough, but the only thing any and all of us can do, to reach our goals, is to keep moving on.  It doesn’t matter what we had, what happened, who did what, it’s our job to keep moving on.  I’m not saying that this is always pretty, and easy, but it must be done.  We must get your feet out of the quicksand and the molasses of mud, and keep moving on .

Nothing is personal.  Your goals are your own, and other people’s goals are their own.  We again, won’t have the same goals and aspirations and determination.  To keep getting to your goals as simple as possible, we must accept the fact that nothing is personal.  People can’t hurt, or sabotage, or negatively impose on your goals and life movements.  Bless everyone with your best intentions, and always send good vibes, and focus on simplifying all of your steps, to get to the next level.  Not everyone will love you, your dreams, or your life, but this is okay, because it’s not personal.

Instead of always trying to figure out complicated and complex solutions, take a step back, and simplify instead.  Keep it simple, and relaxed, and calm, and easy, and see if getting to your destination makes this process better than a previously hard difficult one from before.

Cheers lovers, and cheers goal setters & getters!

 

 

 

Homemade Dog Food & Can we treat ourselves as good as we treat our pets?

Feeding my dog is my life.  It’s not, but I love it so much.  We were out of his homemade doggy food so on Sunday we got in the car to go to Aldi for all of the ingredients (some ingredients I already had.)

Onion

Rice

Salmon

Beef

Eggs

Quinoa

I kept this batch extremely simple.  It lasts exactly two weeks.  He eats 1 cup of homemade dog food + 1 cup of store purchased dog food for breakfast, and the same for dinner.  So in total, I make 28 cups of homemade dog food in the biggest pot I own.

I first chopped up an onion, and added the beef to the pot.  I also add a bit of water, and let that simmer and cook.  Then I took out my kitchen scissors, and cut up pieces of salmon, and threw chunks of the salmon into the beef.

Usually, I would take the dozen eggs and add them into the mix, but this time around, I put all of the 12 eggs into my NutriBullet and blended them up with the egg shells.  I mentioned before that the eggshells contain a ton of calcium which are great for dogs.  Blending them up, I’m sure also tastes better than eating bigger pieces of egg shells.  And I can’t say it was pretty cool to watch the bullet pulverize all of the eggs!

Lastly, I threw in the last of our quinoa and a cup of rice into my rice cooker, and let that cook up.  I originally purchased this beautiful red organic quinoa for my husband, but he wasn’t a huge fan.  And not because the quinoa wasn’t good, but because I just gave it to him as it was (after cooking), and didn’t make anything fancy with it.  And since I already had it, and it was organic and perfect, I figured it’s pretty darn good for the dog as well.

Once all was pretty much done cooking (you don’t have to overcook at all for the dog because they have some wicked and amazing stomachs), I blended up the whole thing, and mixed it together, and then put it into our Tupperware containers.  I froze one, and  I put the other in the fridge, and now it was ready to go for both breakfast & supper time.

It looks grosssy, but it doesn’t smell bad, and isn’t bad (not that I would taste it).  I think the dry dog food is more nauseating, than this deliciousness.

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Homemade Dog Food

My cat eats normal dry food, but lately, every single morning, she’s waiting for that homemade dog food to come out too.  When Artex is eating, she’s on top of the island, getting her share of his food.  When it’s good, it’s good!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Because I’m so interested in my own health, and I love learning how I can better support the health of our family and our gut health, and microbiome and everything in between, it’s been extra fun watching our dog grow and flourish, and watching him nourish.

He’s been an extremely easy dog, without any issues. (Knock on wood!)  We did get him at the shelter, and we were told he was young, because his teeth were very strong and healthy, and we are grateful each day for being able to own and love such a stellar pup.  He sleeps throughout the entire night, doesn’t have any accidents in the house, and does another 30-60 minute walk outside each day.  He hangs out in the backyard (or in the front yard), getting plenty of sunshine throughout the day, and goes to the dog park either each Saturday or Sunday with my daughter.

There, he runs and sprints and gets wild with the other bigger dogs, and I’m sure further builds his health and immunity.  After the dog park he gets a nice bath, and is set and ready to go for anther healthy week.  If we treat our dogs well, and give them all they need, we can maybe treat ourselves better, and give ourselves walks, and breaks, and good food, and time to rest, and engage in activities that relieve stress.

If we took some time and thought about how we treated ourselves throughout our days, would we ever treat our animals this way?  Would you sign your animal up for a long daily commute?  Or would you feed them fast food?  Would you make keep them indoors all the time?  Would you be okay if they slept poorly or had a ton of interrupted sleep?  Would you feed them alcohol or drugs – often?  Would you be okay if they were prescribed drugs with lots of side effects?  Would you want to put a ton of chronic stress on them?

It’s silly comparison, but what if we took a bit of time, and lived more simply like our pets?  What if we gave ourselves more sunshine + water + exercise + real food + sleep = good life.  How would we feel?  How would we function?  What can we do better today, to give ourselves more of a natural life?  What can we do today, to get ourselves outside?  What can we do today, to eliminate or avoid more of the unnatural, or the toxic, and put us in line with the natural?

We do tend to complicate things, and a little is good (advancement), but too much, is stress (disease, illness, sadness).  But we can take more of the control of how we treat ourselves?  We’re in charge of our dogs and pets, and we can really create an amazing life for them, and we can do the same for ourselves.  Not all at once, and not all together, and certainly I am not advocating picking up and moving to the forest, BUT, can we live a bit more green, can we treat ourselves a bit better, can we eliminate a bit more of what we don’t need, to live a lot more healthier.

Cheers to you, and do all you can to be health, happy, free, and put some effort to live in peace and calm.

 

 

Free Fun

Yesterday, I wrote about some strategies to save more and spend less, and one of them included dong as many tings and activities for FREE as possible.  I love this game, and I especially love it as often as possible.  And with the weekend almost upon us, what can you do this weekend, that is totally FREE and FUN and will put you into savings mode?

First, list all of the things that you normally do each day over the weekend or week, that cost you money.  Do you buy out coffee?  Or lunch?  Or do you go on a date?  Do you buy several bottles of wine, or do you stock your fridge?  Do you like to go to the movies, do you like some brunch time?  Do you like museums, or shows, or do you just like to go for long rides, or maybe shopping trips to the mall?  What do you “usually” do? Do you have tournaments for your kids, or do you spend all weekend running errands and buying this & that?

How can you make this upcoming weekend FREE?

How can you make this upcoming week, FREE and FUN?

Are you able to quickly cut out some things that aren’t needed?  Perhaps you can spend a few minutes and make a delicious HOT coffee or tea or an ICED coffee or tea for yourself, instead of buying out?  Can you drink through the alcohol you already have in your house, instead of stocking up and buying more – if you are craving some fun drinks and enjoy relaxing with one?

If you enjoy going out to dinner, can you use what you already have in your house, and make an awesome meal?  I know learning isn’t always fun, but google your favorite recipe, and use YOU-TUBE to recreate an awesome meal.  Maybe it’s chicken parm or eggplant parm, or another country’s favorite dish?  Maybe YOU LOVE lasagna, or are just in the mood for some burgers and fries, and you can do it all.  Maybe you never ever take the time to put together a delicious salad, but how much fun would it be to sit down to one?

Can you get outside – and still spend it out without spending anything?  Can you go to the beach this weekend, can you go to a local park, can you go to a park and just walk around.  Can you be out in nature, as long as possible?  Can you visit with family and friends, and maybe have a potluck dinner or lunch?  Can you invite friends over your house for brunch, or coffee?  Can you physically take a walk to a spot of your choice?  Can you pack up a picnic and tell your family you are going on an adventure, and eat outside?

Can you make it a special movie afternoon, or movie night and pop some popcorn, and make it a really fun experience?  Can you take your dog to a doggy park, or just go out for so many walks with him/her.  Can you put your child in the stroller, bundle them up, if it’s cold, and just walk until you feel your muscles burning with delight?  Can you go to sleep early?  I know that many people love staying up, but going to sleep early is so necessary, and refreshing and so much fun!

Waking up refreshed and ready for the day is everything.

Can you make your bedroom or guest room into a massage room, and give your spouse or partner or best friend a massage, and vice versa?  Can you make each other feel good by really taking the time to have fun?

Can you pick two or three or four comedies and watch them one night?  I’ve been to probably a dozen or so comedy shows in my life, and they are always so fun, and so funny.  If you have older children, can you pick some PG13 ones, and enjoy with them?  Laughing is everything and it’s FREE FUN.

I love buying healthy food, and the last place I want to spend money is buying junk food.  BUT, having some fun grub once in a while for the kids to eat is cool.  So once a weekend, I like to bake, and I’m usually making new chocolate chip cookies or some sort of cake.  When you are the chef or baker you get to control the amount of sugar and sweets, and even how your ingredients were sourced.  It’s a way to make a treat but to make it the healthiest way you can.  Many of my “healthy” treats I’ve tried to make have been major fails.  From “zbars” that taste like dog treats, to cookies no one wanted to eat, but I’ll keep trying until we have a good combo of healthy, homemade and sweet. Again, free activity.

First, decide what YOU WANT TO DO this weekend, and then figure out how to make it completely FUN and then FREE?

If you have tournaments, or already events you have paid for, can you further save, by bringing your own lunches and snacks, or by deciding not to buy any more souvenirs and toys?  Are you able to go somewhere, enjoy it, and come home, without further investing your financials?

If you already have a nice event this weekend, are you able to spend some time ironing the clothes you already have, or googling some cool outfits you can put together with what is already in your closet, and just going with that?

Can you organize your closet, clean your bathrooms, wipe clean all of your baseboards, and de-clutter your home? Can you make your cabinets and pantry super perfect?  Can you clean your fridge?  Can you wash your pet?  Scrub your floors?  Windex your windows and give your home a nice almost spring overhaul?

Can you journal, and read and write, and learn, and just relax.  Can you do nothing at all?  Can you just take a bath, and a shower, and do everything really slowly, to bring you back into much needed peace and calm?  Can you sit back and breath, and think good thoughts, and write out all that you are grateful for and completely relax?  Can you plan an adventure that is free, for the next couple of weeks?

Can you meal prep, and make some good grub for the next week?  Can you share something with a neighbor or friend, can you make your favorite recipe and invite someone over for a taste?  Are you able to connect with others this weekend, without pressure and anxiety and stress, and just enjoy being together?

Spending weekends in nature, and making weekends completely free is not always doable.  But commit to making at least one weekend a month, money free.  Maybe two, maybe three, maybe every weekend can be focused more on relaxation, and freedom, and calm, and turning back the clock on always rushing and spending so much.  I know it’s not always possible, and it’s super exciting and invigorating to do NEW things and NEW activities and NEW adventures – but, what about everything we are missing because we are spending so much on paying for entertainment.

Cheers to you, and this green weekend, and this time, that is yours, and all that you can do to make it so!