Personal Trainer Food Review- Starting a Healthy Meal Plan (Week 1)

Sooo, it’s been one full week since I started on the Personal Trainer Food program. For this first week, I’m sharing my entire food journal. You’ll see how I used Personal Trainer Food as well as the provided guidelines for weight loss to eat other foods prepared at home. This is a healthy meal plan that does limit carbs and completely eliminates sugar.

Check out my first post in this series, Personal Trainer Food Review- I’m READY to Make Changes!

Keep reading for my Personal Trainer Food review, my take on the provided food on this program, how I feel, and how much it’s already changing my body.

I received a complimentary box from Personal Trainer Food that included 28-days worth of meals and three butter sauces. All thoughts and opinions about this product are my own. Your results on the program may vary. No additional compensation has been provided.

Pre-Program – Consider Fasting

Need a sugar and carb detox? Consider a fast to jump-start your fat loss. The Personal Trainer Food plan recommends starting the program with a 24 to 48 hour fast. I’ve never been able to go that long with fasting; I get faint and lightheaded, which is not so great when I’m taking care of four kids! I was able to fast 11 hours on the first day without eating before I caved – I still stuck to the program though!

It is suggested that while on the program, participants try an intermittent 24 hour fast to get past plateaus. Even an overnight fast of 12 to 14 hours from dinner to breakfast the next day can improve results.

Staying Hydrated

Drinking plenty of liquids will help the body detoxify faster and diminish cravings. I’ve been upping my water intake since starting the plan. The plan guidelines give the green light on flavor enhancers so I’ve been occassionally adding those to my water when I want a “treat”. I’ve also been drinking a few cups of green tea during the day.

And thank goodness diet soda is okay, so I didn’t have to give that up (I’m not sure I could have gone cold turkey on carbs, sugar and diet soda at the same time!) I only drink one max per day, but it is a indulgence for me. Let’s just say with all this extra liquid I’ve been staying close to the bathroom. Hoping my body adjusts soon!

Mix in Your Own Snacks

Recommended snacks are meats, cheese, nuts, veggies and one apple a day, spread out over two snacks. Approved nuts include almond and walnuts, which I bought, measured and bagged individually. Each of those bags contains 3 oz, which is actually a pretty large serving! Nibble on some during snack time and then sprinkle some on your salad. You may eat up to 6 oz of cheese (including cheddar and mozzarella) through the day. I eat half an apple during my morning snack, about 3 oz of cheese and a few nuts. This balance really gives me energy and keeps me satisfied till lunch. Another great snack that has been helping with salty cravings is salami and Parmesan.

You may also purchase the Personal Trainer Food plan that includes snacks, including sausage sticks, olives and packaged nuts. I found it was easy enough for me to measure and bag up the snacks on my own. I suggest purchasing a small food scale to help keep your portion sizes accurate.

A small food scale is very important when measuring foods into portion sizes.


Personal Trainer Food Review – WEEK ONE

Day 1-

For breakfast on day one I ate a frittata and bacon. I’m not a big egg eater so the thought of eating eggs everyday is a little daunting. However when ordering the menu from Personal Trainer Food, I was able to request only eggs that had cheese because that’s the only way I like them. The frittata was really delicious, with bits of sweet peppers inside. The bacon was paper-thin, but still tasty!

First week on Personal Trainer Food program. Find out the food, plan and how much I lost after week 1! #spon #PersonalTrainerFood

I chose to fast through lunch, supplementing with some warm broth and a cup of tea.

At dinner, my husband had made roasted brussels sprouts and asparagus so I ate the veggies along with my family. I added a butter chicken, which was flavorful (albiet a bit tough). I drizzled the veggies with the Garlic Butter, which then everyone at the table had to try. It was yummy!

Day 2-

I started the morning with a cheddar omelette and maple sausage. The sausage satisfied the salty-sweet combo I was craving.

My mid-morning snack was 2 oz of cheddar cheese and a few almonds. Later in the afternoon I ate my apple.

For lunch, I chose the Buffalo chicken sticks and mixed veggies. The breading on the chicken had a bit of kick, which added lots of flavor! I used a tablespoon of blue cheese dressing for dipping. The dressing has less than a gram of sugar, so it’s acceptable on the plan.

Will the Personal Trainer Food program work for me, a busy mom over 40? #sponsored

My husband made dinner that was on my program. We had grilled chicken kabobs with squash, red bell peppers and onions. My family also ate potatoes, which I skipped.

Day 3-

I was kind of all about the cheddar today! Breakfast of cheddar omelette & maple sausage again. This time I sprinkled a little extra cheddar on the top…yum!

My snack was an ounce of cheddar, almonds and walnuts and my apple.

At lunch, I went with the meatballs and capri veggies. I added a tablespoon of tomato sauce, approved since it was under 2g of sugar. It was like eating a nice Italian meal and I really didn’t miss the pasta.

First week on Personal Trainer Food program. Find out the food, plan and how much I lost after week 1! #spon #PersonalTrainerFood

Dinner was the leftover chicken and veggies from the previous night. My kids ate it with refried beans and tortillas. I reheated mine and sprinkled with cheddar.

After a walk I came home and put the baby to bed and my older kids each had a small bowl of ice cream. Normally I would have joined them but instead I gauged my hunger. I definitely needed a snack so I had some nuts, cheddar cheese and a few big glasses of water.

Day 4-

Today was my first real challenge on the program. I attend a weekly mom’s group Bible study and everyone brings snacks. It’s usually a free-for-all of pastries, home-made treats, fruits and veggies with dip.

I ate my Personal Trainer Food egg & meat breakfast at home before heading to the group (I would usually skip breakfast and then indulge in snacks during the group). I remembered to take my water bottle so I could drink and refill during the two hours I was there.

I did eat snacks during my group – I passed over the doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and coffee cake and dove into the walnuts and almonds, raw carrots, sliced Parmesan-Romano cheese and salami. I was happy there was something I could enjoy and not feel left out while everyone else was snacking! PS. I did bring a bag of nuts with me, just in case.

Instead of stopping for fast food at lunch like I usually would on this day, I drove home and made the gluten free breaded chicken with Venice blend veggies. The baby helped me to eat them!

For dinner I’d made the family pot roast with celery, onion, carrots and potatoes. I skipped the potatoes and was able to enjoy the rest of the meal. It wasn’t until later that I saw online that only raw carrots should be consumed and that cooked carrots are starchy and should be avoided in too much quantity. Ugh, hope I didn’t mess up too badly with the extra 5 bites of cooked carrots I ate. The veggie packages that Personal Trainer Food sends DO have small amounts of carb/starchy veggies in balance proportions. But Lesson Learned: Check the weight loss guidelines before eating!

First week without sugar & limited carbs - Find out the food, plan and how much I lost after week 1! #spon #PersonalTrainerFood

Day 5-

Frittata with bacon for breakfast. I was off to run errands, including getting an oil change for my car. In the past I would have stopped in at the local fast food restaurant for a breakfast sandwich (even if I wasn’t really hungry). But this time I took my bottle of water and a bag of almonds so I could snack while I waited.

Lunch was a Personal Trainer Food peppered chicken breast. I cut it up and served it on a bed of chopped romaine with blue cheese dressing and sunflower seeds.

My afternoon snack was an apple, walnuts and cheddar.

For dinner I made the kids pumpkin spice French toast and I made myself a Personal Trainer Food meal (Works burger with veggies). Later in the evening I snacked on a few slices of parmesan and salami.

Day 6-

Today I added broccoli to my egg and sausage breakfast, which helped to fill me up. Lunch was orange chicken and Venice veggie mix, which was tasty and satisfied the Chinese food craving!

Dinner was the very delicious Prime Rib fajita strips and Nantucket blend. It was a healthy portion of food and so good!

I saved my daily apple to have as an evening snack with some walnuts.

First week on Personal Trainer Food program. Find out the food, plan and how much I lost after week 1! #spon #PersonalTrainerFood

Day 7-

After my morning breakfast of egg and sausage, my 5-yr old son and I headed out to an early soccer game (he’s the player, I’m the coach!).

Came home and dined on Nantucket veggie mix and chicken bacon sticks which were so delicious, I had to share them with my son! I drizzled mine with some of the Sriracha butter sauce for a little kick.

Dinner was pork roast made on our smoker with steamed squash. I cut up my daily apple and put it in a coffee mug with a pat of butter. I sprinkled it with chopped walnuts and some artificial sweetener then microwaved it for a few minutes. Not quite like apple pie but still good!

Week One Results

Cravings & Habits

There were a few times during the week when I really had to pause before just randomly shoving food in my mouth! I was serving cereal for the kids and normally I’d nibble on the dry flakes. I stopped myself mid-trip to my mouth several times, I’m so used to eating without thinking. My family had bread during dinner so I sniffed it deeply instead of indulging in a bite!

I definitely had sweet tooth cravings on occasion this week. I saved my apple for those times so that I could have something sweet and crunchy. Willpower was strong though and I wasn’t tempted to cheat, even when my kids had ice cream!

Feelings & Mood

I’d read online how many who have done a Personal Trainer Food review that they suffer from headache, irritability or even a flu-like symptom, all a result of detoxing from the sugar and carbs. Fortunately I didn’t have ANY of these symptoms! I was actually extremely surprised because sugar and carbs were definitely my major food groups before starting this program.


Body Changes

I’m drinking TONS of water. At least 5x what I used to drink. Therefore I’m in the bathroom, a lot! Hoping this will balance out soon. Perhaps this is TMI but I think it’s important – I thought I might get some constipation from all the cheese and meat, however I’m actually having the opposite effect. I’m going once a day (usually it’s once every two days). Perhaps all the extra water and veggies are moving things along more than normal?

My clothing is fitting slightly looser. I’m chalking that up to loss of some of the bloat.

Final Results for WEEK ONE:

Weight lost – 4 lbs

Not sure if that’s mostly water weight at this point? But hey, 4 lbs off of me and I’m happy! On to week two…

Considering the Personal Trainer Food program?

Personal Trainer Food website

Check out the current discount code: Enter PROMO CODE 10DAYSFREE when purchasing the 28 day plan.

Gift Guide – 100 Best Books for Kids of All Ages

Books are the BEST gifts! I love giving books and I love when my kids receive books. The hardest part about giving books as a gift is choosing something that the child hasn’t already read or received. There are the beloved classics, like Good Night, Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Where the Wild Things Are for young kids. And so many kids have already read through the Harry Potter or Little House on the Prairie series. Nobody giving a book as a gift wants to hear, “Oh, I already have this one!” I’ve created a list of the 100 best books for kids that might be off your radar. Perhaps you’ve heard of these titles or maybe even read them as a child yourself but it will be a new discovery for the little ones in your life!

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Gift guide to the best books for kids, including a bunch you've never heard of!

Choosing the “Best Books for Kids”

A few years ago my eldest son got stuck on reading a comic book series. Again. And again.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the series. There are some that will say to let kids read whatever interests them because at least they’re reading. However, I liken some books to “junk food”.  Sure, they’re light and easy to read. They go down easy. But then, where’s the substance? What are you reading that’s making you learn or grow? We all enjoy a little junk food but if that’s all your diet is, you’ll need to round it out with MORE.

Not every book has to be life-changing but finding books that literally move your child and make them think, those are the diamonds in the rough!

I took my son to the bookstore and showed him a few of my favorite books that I knew he’d enjoy. He started on the Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen and was completely absorbed with the story. I was able to say, “Told you so!!” As a result he’s been taking bigger stretches on his book choices.

Each of the books suggested are my family favorites. They have been read and owned by my own children, stand the test of time and are age-appropriate. I’ve also included BONUS BOOKS that were suggested by friends as their family favorites!

Gift guide to the best books for kids, including a bunch you've never heard of!

Best Books for Babies and Toddlers

I’ve been reading to my kids since they were newborns. Text can be minimal to allow you to riff off the pictures and simply talk to your little one and make up your own story. Or choose a book with a fun rhyme that will help your toddler pick up words and rhythm. I always choose sturdy board books for babies and toddlers.
Look, Look! – The black and white contrasts with minimal text, making this perfect for newborns.

Jamberry – One of my very favorites, with tons of detail and wonderful read-aloud rhyme.

 

Time for Bed -A bedtime book (or two, or three!) is a baby and toddler must. This one is gentle and sweet.

More Great Books for Babies & Toddlers

Good Night, Gorilla

The Napping House

Dinosaurumpus!

First 100 Board Book Box Set

A Porcupine Named Fluffy

Say Goodnight

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book

Bonus Books for Babies and Toddlers

Corduroy

Giraffes Can’t Dance

God Gave Us You

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean!

On the Night You Were Born

My Heart Is Like a Zoo

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Bear’s Busy Family

Big Red Barn

Snuggle Puppy!

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

Cheep! Cheep!


Read-Aloud Books for Preschoolers

Preschoolers love to cuddle up and read together. They are looking for “more to the story” at this age though a fun read-aloud with fantastic pictures and rhyme is always welcome too!

When The Wind Stops – For that preschooler who wants to know, “Why?”, this book about days and seasons and beginnings and endings is gorgeous and perfect.

“The Way I Feel” Library – My mother-in-law bought these for my eldest son when he was young. They were such a Godsend when he was struggling with emotions. We’d snuggle together, read and discuss. I’ve kept them in our library for the other kids too, they are such important books.

Beatrix Potter the Complete Tales – So you may have read Peter Rabbit before, but what about Jeremy Fisher, The Tailor of Gloucester and my favorite, the Tale of Two Bad Mice? These soft illustrations and story lines are ideal for preschoolers (Wow, do those little animals get into mischief, kids LOVE that!)

Other Books We Love for Preschoolers

The Book with No Pictures

My Book About Me

Miss Suzy

Read With Dick and Jane – Jump & Run

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

Quick As a Cricket

Mix It Up!

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business

Llama Llama’s Little Library

Mother Mother I Want Another

Bonus Books for Preschoolers (suggested by family & friends)

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Good Night, Little Dragons

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

Madeline

Dragons Love Tacos

I Love You, Stinky Face

Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!

Press Here

Thelma the Unicorn

The Prince Won’t Go to Bed!

The Day the Crayons Quit

Skippyjon Jones


Great Books for Beginning Readers

Beginning readers tend to waffle between wanting to read a little and still wanting to be read to. I’m suggesting a mix of beginning chapter books, longer read-together chapter books and picture books. Many beginning readers still find pictures very important to the story experience.

Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon – This was the first read-aloud chapter book I read to my boys. It’s a fantastic story of imagination, wit and creativity. My kids have read it alone to themselves again when they were solid readers.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch – My youngest son pulled this off the shelf recently and his teenage brother gushed, “I LOVE that book!” The sentiment about seeing & caring for others is sweet (even when it’s not Valentine’s Day).

 

 

 

Mr. Putter & Tabby series – I can admit it. Whenever we get a new Mr. Putter and Tabby book I’m on the edge of my seat with excitement about what silliness will happen with this creaky old man and his elderly cat. They are so fun to read (and how many books for little kids celebrate the elderly?!)

Other Wonderful Books for Beginning Readers

Miss Twiggley’s Tree

Badger’s Parting Gifts

Johnny Appleseed

Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury

Good Night, Good Knight

Wolf Story

The Little House

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything

Henry and Mudge Ready-to-Read Collection

 

Bonus Books for Beginning Readers (suggested by family & friends)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Complete Series

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Iggy Peck, Architect

The Lorax

Leo the Late Bloomer

How I Became a Pirate

In the Night Kitchen

The Stranger

Junkyard Wonders

Galactic Hot Dogs Collection

The Last Kids on Earth


Engaging Books for Elementary

Elementary aged kids enjoy a healthy mix of fiction and non-fiction. Non-fiction must to have engaging photos and interesting text that’s easy to comprehend.

All-of-a-Kind Family – One of my most favorite book series as a child, I devoured these stories about 5 diverse sisters living in NYC at the turn of the century. So much charm and spunk, you’ll love each character (it also is a fantastic series about Jewish culture and holidays).

 

DK Eyewitness Books – There’s a DK Eyewitness book for just about every topic on Earth!! Seriously, if your child has an interest in something whether it be Castles in Ireland, Sportfishing, Elephanits, Astronomy or the American Revolution, you can find it. And they’ll love these amazingly detailed books with tons of images.

 

 

My Side of the Mountain Trilogy- I never knew there was more than one book after My Side of the Mountain, but my son found them and was so absorbed by the continued story line. My Side of the Mountain is followed up by On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful’s Mountain.

More Great Books for Beginning Readers

Material World: A Global Family Portrait

The Disney Book

Ella Enchanted

The Way Things Work Now

Barefoot Books World Atlas

Look-Alikes: The More You Look, the More You See!

A Street Through Time

Bunnicula in a Box

Bonus Books for Elementary (suggested by family & friends)

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done

Smile and Sisters: The Box Set

Nancy Drew Diaries Supersleuth Collection: Curse of the Arctic Star; Strangers on a Train; Mystery of the Midnight Rider; Once Upon a Thriller; … Clue at Black Creek Farm; A Script for Danger

Absolutely Almost

The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog (Hank the Cowdog (Quality))

Peter and the Starcatchers


Upper Ages

Kids reading in the upper age category crave compelling story lines that transport them to a different part of the world, an old (or future) era or a completely new realm. I tried to choose titles that my own tween/teens didn’t read with their class at school.

The Cay – I read and reread this book a dozen times growing up. I just loved the story of this castaway boy and the man he’s been lost at sea with.

The Gary Paulsen Collection – I’d read Hatchet (the first in this collection) and had recommended it to my son. He’s since read the entire collection in the series as well as many other Gary Paulsen stories.

 

 

 

Rebecca – This is a classic but unlikely that your teen has ever read or even heard of it. Filled with intrigue, mystery and secrets, it’s a page-turner!

 

Other Must-Read Books for Upper Ages

Cabin on Trouble Creek

Warriors Box Set: Volumes 1 to 6: The Complete First Series

Julie of the Wolves

The Ranger’s Apprentice Collection

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind

Kingdom Keepers Boxed Set

Bonus Books for Upper Ages (suggested by family & friends)

 

Brotherband Chronicles (7 Book Series)

Inheritance Cycle 4-Book Paperback Boxed Set (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, In)

I Survived Collector’s Toolbox

Masterminds

The Lunar Chronicles Boxed Set: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

Personal Trainer Food Review- I’m READY to Make Changes!

18 months ago I had my third (and last) baby. With home cooked meals, lots of veggies and moderate exercise, I was able to shed the “baby weight” and returned back to my pre-baby size within six months. However my pre-baby size is still about 20 lbs heavier than I should be.

After each of my kids, I was able to lose the weight I’d gained and have always gone right back to the same size. I’ve always just thought, “My body wants to be this weight!” I just can’t seem to reduce smaller than this, despite what I thought were good attempts.

But while I’ve tried diets that limit my caloric intake and increased my physical activity, I’ve never tried to eliminate some of the foods that are keeping the weight from budging. So yes, I fit back into my jeans, but I’m still not where I need to be.

Will the Personal Trainer Food program work for me, a busy mom over 40? #sponsored

At Disney World, April 2017. I’m the exact same size and weight now.

I received a complimentary box from Personal Trainer Food that included 28-days worth of meals and three butter sauces. All thoughts and opinions about this product are my own. Your results on the program may vary.

My Usual Eating Patterns

My family and I eat 99% of our meals at home. I cook a good breakfast for my kids each morning, alternating oatmeal with apples, scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast or cereal with bananas. I might join my kids with this meal or just make an almond milk protein smoothie instead.

My kids eat lunch at school and I’m left to my own devices (which is not usually a very good thing!). Some days my lunch is yesterday’s dinner leftovers, other days it’s tortilla chips with guacamole, an apple with cheese and crackers or fast food that I pick up while I’m running errands.

At dinner, we always sit down together. Depending upon the day we might have grilled meat with baked potatoes and steamed veggies, nachos with refried beans, salsa and avocado or spaghetti with meatballs, broccoli, and a loaf of bread shared between us.

So most of the time I eat okay when I’m with my family. But left on my own, I make poor, simple carb-heavy choices every time. This body was built on pizza and doughnuts. I have the bad habit of wanting to end each meal with something sweet. Dessert, sweets and candy would be indulged in after each meal if I had my way. I’m seeing how the foods that I’m choosing are preventing me from losing the last 20 pounds that I’ve been carrying for over 20 years.

Personal Trainer Food Review Opportunity

When the opportunity arose to review Personal Trainer Food, I jumped at the chance. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to make some changes. Laying it all out there for my readers is a big incentive to stay on program and not to cheat!

Meals are high-protein, low-carb and high veggie. I received a 28-day box of food, which included breakfasts, lunch, and dinner as well as three bottles of special butter sauce. I’m on my own for snacks and I have a guideline of foods to follow.

Will the Personal Trainer Food program work for me, a busy mom over 40? #sponsored

I love that this program will be a no-brainer for me. Even when I’m home at lunchtime with the baby, there will be no question what I’m having for my meals. Just a minute or two in the microwave and I’ll have a filling, complete meal. I will be able to supplement with other “approved” weight loss foods for my snacks as well.

Receiving Your Box

Upon placing your order, you’ll receive an email that will tell you to make space in your freezer. They aren’t kidding! The 28 day Personal Trainer Food plan I received includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. This all needs to be stored in the freezer and it took up all but one shelf.

Will the Personal Trainer Food program work for me, a busy mom over 40? #sponsored

I separated my food, storing breakfast on the top shelf, meats on the middle shelf and veggies in the bottom bin and side doors. I’d suggest investing in some inexpensive plastic bins to hold it so you don’t have a frozen food avalanche each time you open your freezer!

Will the Personal Trainer Food program work for me, a busy mom over 40? #sponsored

One shelf left in the freezer…for my kid’s fish sticks & ice cream!

Pre-Diet Preparation

Before I started my Personal Trainer Food review, I wanted to get all those “cravings” out of my system. I happened to be on a press trip in the days leading up to starting my diet, so I ate quite a bit of pizza, warm chocolate chip hotel cookies and an occasional glass of wine. I knew that it would be a long time until I ate these foods again. I want to commit fully to the program so I do NOT want to cheat!

I also ate a big box of candy, which after the stomach ache kicked in, reminded me why I need to cleanse these foods out of my system. I was sluggish and sleepy. I know that my food choices are the reason why I just can’t get past this plateau and I’m ready to make the changes I need.

I’ve cleared out the fridge and cupboards of any of my temptation foods, so there’s nothing there that I might want to eat. With Halloween coming (and me being a candy fiend), I’m determined to avoid the mini candy bars at all costs. I’m looking forward to see how the Personal Trainer Food program works for me and can’t wait to share my reviews with you over the course of the next 4 weeks!

Pushed into the Spotlight – Honest Review of Goodbye Christopher Robin

I received complimentary viewing passes to watch the movie Goodbye Christopher Robin. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is the movie description from the website Rotten Tomatoes:

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne, and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?

Review of Goodbye Christopher Robin

Goodbye Christopher Robin is not the movie you’d expect. While the movie poster shows father and son walking through the illustrated world of Winnie-the-Pooh the movie is less about the actual books than it is about the author and his family. The movie does not sugar coat the cracked relationship this child has with his parents. Christopher Robin’s mother Daphne and father A.A. Milne are wealthy socialites. Much of the boy’s time is spent in the loving care of his nanny, Olive (whom he calls Neu).

While his parents work at building social connections via travel and parties, their child is home with Nanny. As to be expected, the relationship that he has with his nanny is often a tighter bond than what has developed with his own mother and father.

This is not to diminish the love that Christopher’s parents have for him, however each bring their struggles to the relationships of those around them. A.A. Milne (known as Blue in the movie) suffers from post-WWI trauma, which paints a sadness over his days.

Milne’s wife, Daphne comes across first as superficial, belittling and selfish. She dresses her son in baby girl clothing because, heart-set on a daughter, had purchased the dresses before he was born. She interacts with her son by purchasing the menagerie of stuffed animals, including what would be Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and Kanga and Roo. She does love her family but is challenged in expressing it at times. I see this more as a sign of the times, when women were coming into their own independence. She is also an affect of her class, a wealthy wife of a famous writer who wants to grab each shiny opportunity that passes her way.

Grabbing these opportunities includes pushing her son into the unwanted spotlight. Once the joyous Winnie the Pooh stories gain popularity in the post-war era, fans flock to Christopher. His sweet childhood days are suddenly filled with responsibilities and obligations towards promoting the books. What was once a sweet way for father and son to bond, is now turned into fiction shared around the world. Well-loved and eventually classic stories, nonetheless, the childhood experiences are lessened in the process.

How Are We Pushing Our Kids Unwillingly Into the Spotlight?

As a lifestyle blogger and mom, I most definitely use my children as inspiration for my posts. I often use their photographs to help illustrate my stories. In the movie, Christopher Robin accuses his father of participating in his childhood games only as a means for having a story to tell. Could I be accused of the same? I think so, in many cases.

In my niche, there are often certain criteria for receiving invitation to particular events and press trips. I do get invited to participate because my children fall into certain age brackets. Would I be invited to these same events if I didn’t have children? Nope. Would I be able to write about these events without the benefit of having my children participating? Nope. Am I participating in activities purely so I’ll have a post to promote? Yep, sometimes. Am I exploiting my children or making them do anything they don’t want to? No, never.

The differences to me lie in when the story is shared and what happens afterwards. If Milne had simply written the stories, I don’t think that Christopher Robin would have struggled so much with the story’s popularity. Perhaps changing the character name in the books so that the story didn’t share his son’s given name would have been of good mind. The fault was in the exploitation of the boy’s childhood. It was in the showiness, the use of Christopher Robin as a marketing tool to promote and connect fans with him to the books. He became a living and breathing story tale come to life, despite his insistence that he was not the same persona as he was being portrayed in the stories.

Sharing, Without Oversharing?

I think that most bloggers balance this aspect in a healthy way. While many of us do write about our children and share stories from their lives, I’d venture to say that most are used as a way of illustrating a specific point. I don’t use the names of my children in business social media accounts or in my blog. My children know what I do as a blog writer. My kids know that if we’re attending a special event or if I’m taking their photograph, that it’s likely to end up on social media. I would never share a story about my kids that is intended to embarrass or otherwise exploit them.

My older kids have on occasion requested that I not share particular photos and I absolutely comply. And if my children ever expressed to me that they no longer want to be included in blog posts or photographed for social media events, I’d understand and comply with this as well. It’s not my intention (and I don’t think it’s the intention of most bloggers) to push our kids into an unwanted spotlight in exchange for our own publicity.

The movie definitely brings up the valid point (especially when seemingly EVERYTHING is shared 24/7). What things are appropriate for sharing and what is sacred to keep private?

Should Your Kids See Goodbye Christopher Robin?

The movie is PG-rated, which would imply that it might be appropriate for younger children. This is not the cuddly story you’d expect from such a topic, since the story focuses more on the relationships between the author, his wife and child. I brought my two 13-year olds, who enjoyed the historical story and understood the underlying darkness of the recovery from war.

There is very little here for younger children, as the movie doesn’t include much of the Winnie-the-Pooh story line except for the fact that the boy brings his teddy where ever he goes. I wouldn’t bring a child under 12 to see this movie, the topics are going to be too adult in nature.

Should You See Goodbye Christopher Robin?

Despite the dark elements of the script, the movie is beautiful to watch. Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred-Acre Woods come to life vividly during the times when Milne is developing his characters. It seemingly never rains in East Sussex! Somehow I don’t think that’s to be believed, though.

The little actor playing Christopher Robin was natural and sweet. I spent a good part of the movie trying to figure out how old the child was (he has his permanent teeth, yet is dressed like a preschooler and has dimples and the innocent imagination of a toddler). My favorite parts of the movie were when he was interacting with his toys, just being a child.

There are some truly beautiful moments in the film (I highly recommend bringing tissues!) And the topic at hand, whether his parents were in the wrong for pushing him to perform as the story book character, makes for some intriguing discussion points.

 

One Day Itinerary – Insider Tips for Disneyland with a Toddler

I’ve been taking my little ones to Disneyland since they were babies. I’ll admit that vacationing with a toddler at Disneyland can be a challenge. There are definite considerations and adjustments that need to be made in your trip when you have a toddler in tow! Check out my ideal one-day Disneyland itinerary with a toddler.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Toddler at Disneyland

Before your trip, here are a few ideas and additional posts about what you should plan ahead of time.


Disneyland Itinerary with a Toddler

This is a one-day Disneyland itinerary with a toddler. I’ll outline what things you can see, do and eat in a single day at the Disneyland park with your toddler. You won’t be able to do EVERYTHING (you’d need more than a single day for that!). But these are the essentials that your toddler will enjoy!


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Extra Magic Hour and Rope Drop

Most toddlers are early birds, which will make it easy for you to get to the Park before opening. Have a quick breakfast at the hotel or do what I do with my toddler – Give her a granola bar or dry cereal and a cup of milk, and let her nibble in the stroller while we’re walking to the gates!

Guests staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel can enter the Parks one hour before official opening. Not all attractions are open but Fantasyland is! And Fantasyland is the perfect place to start with your toddler! Note that there are specific days that the Disneyland Park is available for Extra Magic Hour so check at the hotel for the schedule.

If you aren’t staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, you’ll want to take advantage of “Rope drop”. This happens in the 30 minutes before the Park opens officially. If you arrive during this time, you may be able to enter onto Main Street U.S.A. before the rest of the Park opens. There are often character greetings and the shops are open for browsing.

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Character Greetings

Toddlers are fickle little people. Some toddlers LOVE the characters. And some toddlers HATE the characters! I recommend letting your toddler watch from afar at first and judge from there if you really want to do the character meet n’ greets. There are plenty of characters around the entrance and hub of Main Street U.S.A. and if you’re there right at rope drop, you’ll be able to meet with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and more.

Check out this TravelingMom post with tons of tips on how to meet characters (with practical advice from a mom whose toddler is scared of Mickey!)

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Fantasyland

The first two hours inside Disneyland are important to maximize! Many vacationers will sleep in and arrive to the Park later in the day. It’s good to be an early bird and take advantage of the lighter crowds during those first few hours. I recommend hitting Fantasyland first with your toddler. Walk straight down Main Street U.S.A., across the Sleeping Beauty Castle drawbridge and into Fantasyland!

Most of the rides and attractions in the Fantasyland area are toddler appropriate (save for the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which have a 42″ minimum height requirement). I’ve included all of the attractions here with key notes for taking your toddler –

  • Alice in Wonderland -Most toddlers enjoy this ride
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train- MUST DO
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – MUST DO
  • “it’s a small world”- MUST DO
  • King Arthur Carrousel- MUST DO
  • Mad Tea Party-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (fast moving)
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight-Most toddlers enjoy this ride, however it is dark inside
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough-Most toddlers enjoy this ride (lots of stairs to climb, which toddlers usually enjoy!)
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats-Most toddlers enjoy this ride (slow boat ride, storytelling & miniatures)

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Lunch with Littles

Most dining locations offer toddler meals on their menus. And of course you can always request an extra plate and feed your toddler from your own meal. Feeding your under 2 year old at a buffet location is free. I have more dining tips for little ones at Disney on this post.

I’m not a fan of full-service dining with a fidgety toddler. When toddlers are hungry they want to eat NOW! Also, my toddler tends to eat quickly and then clamor to get out of her highchair. This means I’m usually having to rush my meal or take it to-go!

Character dining can be hit or miss with a toddler. If your little one loves the characters, then yes, by all means book Goofy’s Kitchen, Disney’s PCH Grill or the Plaza Inn Breakfast with Minnie and Friends. But if your toddler doesn’t like the characters, I’d definitely skip the pricey character dining experiences.

Here are my favorite places to eat for lunch with my toddler at Disneyland:

  • French Market in New Orleans Square- outdoor covered patio dining with roast chicken, meatloaf and corn chowder. The restaurant often offers live jazz music.
  • Red Rose Taverne in Fantasyland-indoor dining. My toddler liked sharing the flatbread and fries.
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country-outdoor covered patio dining with chicken nuggets on the kid’s menu.


Play Time

Toddlers can only take so much of being strapped into a stroller. They need to get out, run around and play a bit (best to do right before their regular nap time).

There are places for you to let your toddler walk (like Main Street U.S.A. and the plaza near “it’s a small world”) that aren’t too congested. Other areas like New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland tend to be very crowded and it’s easy to get separated. Here are a few places to let your toddler out for free play (for more details and more locations, check out this DisneyBaby post about play areas at Disneyland).

  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse
  • Toontown Play Areas including Donald’s Boat, Goofy’s Playhouse, Minnie’s House and Mickey’s House

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Nap Time

Do NOT skip the nap! I repeat, do not attempt to skip sleep with your toddler! It’s tempting to want to power through your Disneyland day but you’ll pay for that skipped nap with tantrums and meltdowns!

You have several options for nap time, whether it be returning to the hotel, finding a quiet location or letting your toddler stroller sleep (my personal choice). Read more on this DisneyBaby post about ways to encourage naps at Disneyland.


Toddlers Love a Parade

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is an absolute delight! Toddlers will love the vibrant colors, familiar characters and dance-able tunes. I keep my toddler in her stroller and roll it right up to the curb during the parade. This allows her a front row view to the show!

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Dinner at Disneyland

As dark falls on the Park, thoughts turn to dinner. As I noted at lunch, I recommend sticking to quick service locations. These are my favorites:

  • Plaza Inn on Main Street U.S.A.- Both indoor and outdoor dining. The fried chicken, veggies and mashed potatoes can’t be beat and the large platters are perfect for sharing.
  • Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland – Outdoor dining. I love the atmosphere here at night, with the beautiful colored lanterns that hang over the dimly lit patio. The Mexican food offerings are good. Just be sure to check the menu before sharing because some of the items are on the spicy side.

Other Must-Do Toddler Attractions

Any ride or attraction that does not have a height restriction is a-okay for your toddler! Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion do not have a height restriction but use your best judgement before bringing your toddler aboard. Skittish little ones who do not enjoy the dark aspects or “spooky” elements likely will not enjoy these attractions!

I’ve noted the following attractions that are must-do with your toddler-

  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Enchanted Tiki Room (snacks are allowed inside!)
  • Jungle Cruise (there is a loud gunshot during the ride; the Cast Member “Skipper” will alert you to cover your ears)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (let her wield her own “blast” gun!)
  • Finding Nemo Submarines
This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Inside Finding Nemo Submarines – Toddlers can stand and look out the porthole.

Nighttime Entertainment

If your toddler doesn’t mind the noise and can stay up late, the fireworks spectaculars at Disneyland are amazing. Another excellent nighttime show is Fantasmic! I recently viewed this show with my toddler and have a few pointers. You’ll need to collect a FastPass ticket for Fantasmic! early in the day to have standing room viewing. Note that you’ll be arriving to your designated location about an hour early and standing to wait for the show. That’s a LONG time to hold a squirmy toddler. By the time the show came my arms were spent!

I highly recommend booking a Fantasmic! Dining Package in advance. You’ll receive a meal at one of the designated locations and a seat to watch the show front and center. I’m totally doing this next Disneyland trip!

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

For more Disney itinerary ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Just a Little Bit Crazy

I had a freak out this past weekend. I have a bad temper that only my husband and kids are “blessed” to witness. I’m ashamed to admit that. I yell. I throw things. I get over-the-top angry. I storm around, slamming doors and locking myself in the bathroom. Better to be locked behind a door with everyone else on the outside. I can’t hurt anyone’s feelings in there. I cry it out. I wash my face. My anger simmers down. And I come out, embarrassed.

I truly hate those angry flare ups. In the moment I’m certain that I’m right to have anger. It just seems to right. I have a point, damn it. Why do I have to yell, shout, cry and get MAD just to express myself?! I guess I don’t. Nobody HAS to get mad. But it feels like the right thing to do in the moment. Until afterwards, of course. When the dust settles and I realize that I truly freaked out and usually don’t even remember what it was that I was flipping out about.

A Little Bit Crazy

Sometimes I think I have a bit of a crazy streak and it scares me. Crazy tempers tend to run in the family. I’ve heard the stories and they aren’t pretty. My mom, wanting to break the pattern, used to scream, “Get out of the house!” when she was mad at me. She didn’t want to resort to spanking so it was better for her to make me leave. And I would, running out the front door to escape, letting the screen door slam behind me.

Knowing my mom now, the calm grandma who regularly has upwards of 5 kids in her house at one time, it’s hard to see the temper. I can’t remember the last time I saw her “crazy” surface. With time her temper has faded, with calm and patience smoothing over the crazy cracks.

I worry that the crazy temper has painted me in a unflattering light for my husband. He’s got a bit of the crazy in him (he’ll freely admit that, I’m not letting any skeletons out of the closet there). But it seems that when I’m around him lately every small slight becomes a major offense in my eyes. Every comment he makes to me is taken as a slap in the face. I’m challenged to breath deep and give myself internal time outs. But I’m struggling and it feels wrong to let everything go when in the moment, I’m hurting. In the moment, I feel like the wild animal that just needs to roar.

Why Do I Allow That Behavior?

I worry even more that my temper is becoming normal for my kids to witness. Would I ever let my kids stomp off, muttering unflattering words? Would I let my kids storm away from the table and lock themselves in the bathroom? Would I tell my kids it was okay to scream frustrations at the top of their lungs?

Nope. Not once would I ever let that sort of behavior slide from my kids. And yet, they witness Mom doing these things on the regular. It turns my stomach thinking about it and I hope it’s not too late. I pray that they haven’t picked up lifelong issues from seeing my temper flare in front of them.

I love my children. I love my husband. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not certifiably crazy. I’m totally able to control my temper when I need to. I don’t know why some days I’m a saint of patience around my family and other days I’m a caged tiger let loose, fangs flashing. Hormones? Pent up frustration? Who knows.

For many who know me and have never seen a speck of temper flare up in me, that’s proof – I am in control of my mood. So why do I feel so “comfortable” with my children and husband, those I love the most, that I would allow them to witness such a nasty side of me?

 

I’m ashamed to admit I let my temper go around the ones who love me most.

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. -James 1:19

Oh boy. That’s a hard one to take in. Nobody’s off the hook on that one – “Let every person”, He says. He doesn’t say anything about those who were offended, that it’s okay then to lash out. He doesn’t excuse moms who get mad when their husbands diss their cooking or the kids are misbehaving. He says, “Every person”.

Quick to Hear

Hearing isn’t the problem. I hear it all. I hear too much, in fact. I let what was actually said develop its own personality and twist into something totally different.

When I hear my husband say, “I saw some moms running together at the trail today”. What my brain processed was, “I saw moms running. Why aren’t you running? You should run, too. What’s stopping you from running? If you were running, maybe you’d be in better shape. Julie, I don’t respect you because you walk instead of run. Why did I ever marry a girl who doesn’t run?” My mind literally jumped from that simple comment to the commentary in my head and I could feel the burn of outrage flaring inside me.

Perhaps for me, “Quick to hear” should be hearing only what is said and not elaborating or embellishing in between the lines.

Slow to Speak

Notice “Slow to speak” comes before anger. Because if we carefully construct our words and take the time before speaking, the anger probably won’t develop at all. I feel like I very rarely stop before speaking. Perhaps it’s because I’m the mom of four and the chatter is astounding at times. I often feel like I’m having to talk above it, louder and faster to be heard. But I don’t think I’m being heard even with that tactic.

Perhaps not speaking at all will “speak volumes” instead? Maybe I need to learn to hold my tongue and let what it only truly mulled and processed release into speech.

Slow to Anger

I’m praying that by training myself on the first two points, anger will be slow to come or will not develop at all. I truly pray that the anger I’ve been feeling, that the madness, the crazy side of me fades into something that used to happen. And that all traces of “mom’s freak out” will be a thing of the past, not something that my children remember as life shaping.

I don’t think it’s too late to make amends on this. I don’t think it’s ever too late to make changes when you really want to. I’m so well loved. Even if my temper does flare occasionally. I’m well loved, even if I am a little bit crazy.

5 Ways to Encourage Your Family Towards Healthier Living

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NatureMadeFamily #CollectiveBias 

Growing up, I was a very active kid. I played soccer, took dance lessons and was always outside playing with friends, roller skating or riding my bike. While I was very active physically, my nutrition was lacking. I was an extremely picky eater as a kid, definitely not taking in what I needed to stay healthy. Now that I’m an adult and have four kids (aged 18 months to 13 years old) my life is so busy just holding down the normal day to day routine. But my husband and I do strive to live a healthier lifestyle as a family. We are encouraging our kids with daily exercise, good health and nutrition. Here are a few ideas for encouraging families to live a healthier life!

These are five easy and practical ways to help encourage your family towards living a healthier and more active life #NatureMadeFamily #ad

1. Make it a Routine

What healthy routines are you making in your life? Once you do something a few times with your kids, it can quickly become the “norm”. Like dessert – I know if we’ve offered the kids a bowl of ice cream two nights in a row you can bet that they’ll be asking for it again on night 3! Simple healthy routines become habit if you do them often enough, too. Here are a few of our healthy living routines:

  • Taking off our shoes before entering the house. So much unhealthy bacteria on shoes – better that shoes stay on the porch or garage.
  • Flossing our teeth nightly.
  • Daily bathroom cleaning.
  • We get out of the house together each evening to take an after-dinner walk. It’s a way for us to help settle our stomachs, squeeze in a little exercise and tire out the kids before bedtime.

These are five easy and practical ways to help encourage your family towards living a healthier and more active life #NatureMadeFamily #ad

2. Get Input

Our kids each have their own idea of what kind of exercise they like to do. My eldest son would happily play basketball all day. The kindergartner loves to swim. Our teenage daughter isn’t crazy about exercising but she doesn’t mind riding the stationary bike at the gym. And of course the toddler just wants to climb on play equipment at the park! It’s important when getting kids on-board that you take their personal tastes into consideration and participate in the exercise that they enjoy. We get every child involved with family-friendly exercises.

3. Easy Meal Swaps

At mealtime, I know that there are certain foods my five-year old doesn’t enjoy. He’s tried them and his taste buds just aren’t having it, so I don’t push the issue. I don’t make a big deal out of the fact that he doesn’t like bananas, so at breakfast – I’ll cut up a pear for him instead. And at dinner tonight while the rest of us ate grilled zucchini, I steamed up some baby carrots for him in the microwave. I’m not making completely different meals for him. And I do make him at least try the foods before he determines that he doesn’t want more. But it’s easy enough for me to make a quick swap for him so I know he’s having a balanced meal.

4. Mix it Up

A bit of diversity is a great idea. Doing the same thing week after week is boring! Our weekends are spent outside, taking long walks around the lake, playing soccer or swimming. We never do the same thing two weekends in a row. Around the dinner table we are trying out new veggies and creative recipes. We’ve found recently that we enjoy spaghetti squash!

5. Supplements

I’ve been wanting to purchase a children’s vitamin for my kindergartner. With my son now spending long school hours around a bunch of other five year olds, I was looking for something that would support his immune system.

These are five easy and practical ways to help encourage your family towards living a healthier and more active life #NatureMadeFamily #ad

I found Nature Made® Kids First® Vitamin C Gummies at Target. I also found Nature Made® Vitamin C Adult Gummies and picked those up for my husband and I. Target’s Cartwheel app currently offers 10% off all Nature Made® products, while supplies last.

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Going into winter, I want to get our family on a healthy routine of taking supplements. Nature Made® had the 1st gummies verified by USP for purity and potency.* Nature Made® Gummies also have great tasting natural flavors, are gluten free and have no preservatives or yeast.

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Kids First® Gummies are for children 4 years older and up, perfect for my kinder kid. And at just $9.99 for a value sized bottle, this is a great price. Gummy vitamins are just fun and it’s an easy way to get kids to take supplements. It never fails that my son reminds me every day to give him his gummy – he never forgets! See, now that’s a good healthy habit routine!

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† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

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Confessions of a First Time Coach – 7 Ways I’m Shredding It!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BornToShred #ShredTheDay #CollectiveBias

Each day that I wake up, I’m thankful. I might not have received the best rest the night before (not always possible with a teething toddler!). And I’m still working through the chronic back pain that has plagued me since I was pregnant. But I don’t want to make excuses anymore! I’m thankful for the ability to do what I can. There are so many ways I still want to push myself to become a better mom, a healthier person, a more well-rounded me! And I was starting to see the disappointed looks on the faces of my kids when I’d tell them I was too tired or hurting too much to be able to play with them. Talk about the best incentive to get better, right?

First Time Coach Confessions

In late summer I signed up my kindergartner for soccer. There was a call for coaches and I immediately started thinking about who I knew in my family that could help. My husband works full time and also goes to night school, so as much as he’d love to volunteer I knew he was out. And then it hit me, “Why can’t I be the coach?”

This is new territory for me. I’ve never coached soccer before. In fact, I haven’t played soccer since I was 12. I used to be extremely athletic but have a back injury that I’m working through therapy for. However I really wanted to push myself into learning something new and being more involved with my kid’s activities. After some consideration, I registered as head coach. Way to jump in with two feet!

Here are a few tips and honest thoughts about being a first time coach. I’ve learned a LOT in the last few months of coaching and would like to share how I’m pushing myself to learn and grow as much as my players.

1. Build Up Stamina

There’s no way I could have just leapt into coaching without first getting into shape myself. I’ve been going to the gym several times a week and walking at least 30 minutes per day. It’s been all about moving more and sitting less to build up my stamina for playing soccer with these 8 little boys!

2. Get Help

As soon in the season as you can, seek out parent volunteers. I wasn’t unable to secure an assistant coach so it’s me, all by myself, on the field at practices and games. It can really be a challenge to set up drills during practice when you’re the only adult because with 8 players, I’m definitely out numbered! Having a “team parent” help with coach/parent communication is imperative. It’s best to have another parent available for collecting money for the team banner, arranging a snack schedule and ordering trophies.

3. Open Communication with the Parents

With texting it’s so easy to send a quick reminder to all my player’s parents about upcoming practices and games. In addition I send a weekly email with details about upcoming games, I go over the “game focus” and bring up anything that’s too long for a text.

4. Have a “Game Focus”

Each week at practice in addition to the usual drills like dribbling, passing and kicking, I have my players work on a predetermined “game focus”. Our focuses have been, “Corner kicks”, “Turning the ball around” and “Follow up”. After one week’s game when a player on the other team was taunting our players, our game focus was “Good sportsmanship”. We discussed how to handle things if another player is acting rude. Having a focus at each game reminds my players what we worked on in practice.

5. Move More, Talk Less

I try to keep my “coach talks” to less than 30 seconds each time. 8 boys tend to get pretty wild and they don’t listen much after thirty seconds of talk! Showing rather than explaining goes farther. I also find that if I’m silly their ears perk up and they’re more apt to listen!

6. Keeping It Fun

Let the game be a game and just have fun! Our division doesn’t keep score (though of course, each of my players has their own tally of the goals!). I always allow plenty of time at practice after our drills to just have a fun scrimmage against each other. Sometimes we even play 8 against 1 and the boys try to score past me!

7. Healthier Body for More Energy

Just as I always insist that my little players eat a well-rounded meal before a game, I’m setting a good example as well. I need good fuel for practice and games. For me, that’s Post Shredded Wheat Cereals.

These new Shredded Wheat flavors help me kick start my day. My son and I picked up Mixed Berry and Cinnamon Roll at Walmart. S’mores Bites is another new variety available. Just the right amount of sweet with the heartiness of the shredded wheat cereal. You can also earn $3 cash back on Post Shredded Wheat cereals on ibotta as well!

Before the Saturday game, my son and I make sure to take time for a bowl of cereal together. We chat a bit about the upcoming game, talk about the game focus and then pack up the mini van with our game ball and banner.

Pin this post to save for later and check out these Post cereal recipes on the Pinterest Page.

“This Time I Really Mean It” – The Good Health Snowball Effect

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishOnTheGo #SnackWithPurpose #CollectiveBias

How many times I’ve said that phrase, “I’m going to get healthy this time, I really mean it!” Only to fall off the wagon as soon as a piece of chocolate cake crosses my path. Unfortunately chocolate cake seems to cross my path frequently and I’m off the wagon more than I’m on it! Now that I’m reaching my mid-40s and starting to see the effects that years of neglect (and too much chocolate cake) have done to me, I’m finally seeing the light. I’m making little changes for a big difference. I’m getting serious about my health and am pushing myself to finally make good on all the promises to improve my eating and exercise habits. This time, I really DO mean it.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Odwall Chocolate Protein, a much better choice than cake!

Holding Myself Accountable

It’s easier to stick to my goals if I hold myself accountable. For me, that means choosing people I trust to lovingly nag me! Yeah, I probably don’t really want to hear the question, “Did you go to the gym today?” when I decided to skip going. But if I KNOW that someone is going to ask me every day, then I’m more likely to go. That way I can say, “Yep! Already went to the gym first thing in the morning!”. Opening up to people who can gently guide you towards your goals helps you to stay on track.

Healthy Living Tip#1 – Choose your inner circle of people whom you trust to lovingly ask you about your healthy journey. Choose one person for each task, someone to ask you about exercise, another to ask you if you ate a healthy breakfast, someone else to ask you if you’re drinking water. A text is good, a phone call is better and someone actually in your face is optimal (and not as easy to ignore!)

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Little Goals Are Still a Big Deal

Though of course I have the big picture in mind, setting smaller goals helps me stay focused. If I concentrate on losing 5 lbs at a time, this seems more “do-able” than the entire 25 I need to tackle. And if I remind myself that 30 minutes of moving is all I need daily, once I already have my gym clothes on I’m more likely to stretch that 30 minutes into an hour.

Healthy Living Tip#2 – Even if my goals are small, they’re still important to me. Set goals in manageable chunks so they seem easier to accomplish.

Make It Prominent for All to See

After years of breaking my healthy living promises, I don’t trust myself. It’s way too easy for me to hide the sweets and eat them all myself after everyone is in bed. It’s too easy to just let the exercise slide and soon enough, it’s been weeks since I put on my gym shoes. I’ve decided to make a checklist that I’m displaying on the fridge. Then everyone in the family can see it, good or bad.

Healthy Living Tip#3 – Sure, smart phone apps are handy for keeping track of this stuff, but it’s for your eyes only and too easy to hide. If I don’t have it on display for all to see, it’s way too easy for me to blow it off. Maybe you’re the same way? I have a check list on the fridge that outlines if I’ve exercised, how many cups of water I’ve had and my food log.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Do the Same Thing Everyday

Getting into a healthy pattern takes practice. For me, it helps to do the same things day in and day out. Wake up and put on my gym clothes. Exercise before I can talk myself out of it. Eating a good breakfast is part of what I’ve added to my routine too. It’s easiest and most reliable for me to grab and go breakfast in the mornings. Having an Odwalla before I hit the gym ensures I have good nutrition in my body to sustain me for a workout.

Healthy Living Tip #4 – What are the things you can make routine? If you’re currently in a rut, how can you switch things up for repeat success?

The Good Health Snowball Effect

When I’m working out regularly I’m encouraged to eat better as well. I don’t want to ruin my workout by eating something that will cause me to backtrack. Having Odwalla on hand helps me to make the best choices when refueling.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

My local Vons has a large juice section in the fresh produce department with a fantastic variety of Odwalla 100% juices and smoothies, protein and almond milk shakes. Ingredients are non-GMO, have no added sugar and taste great. I had no idea there were so many varieties of Odwalla!

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

Right now you can save on fresh cut fruit when you purchase any 2 Odwalla product at participating stores. I’m practicing good habits that have me reaching for fresh fruit instead of empty carbs.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

It’s so easy for me to stock up on Odwalla to have on hand. Then I just grab one after lacing up my gym shoes and drink it before my workout. 32 grams of protein in the Chocolate Protein Smoothie gives me long-lasting energy so I can push myself to meet (and exceed!) my goals. I’m eating better and exercising more; Which in turn makes me want to continue to give my body the good stuff (sorry, not sorry chocolate cake!).

Save $1 on your next purchase of in-store fresh cut fruit when you buy any TWO (2) Odwalla 15.2 fl. oz. (You’ll receive a print out coupon at the register.). Offer ends 10/31/2017.

These 5 little ways can help you meet your goals in a good health snowball effect. #NourishOnTheGo #ad

My First Pair of LuLaRoe Leggings (aka: I’ve Opened Pandora’s Box!)

I  resisted jumping on the LuLaRoe bandwagon for a LONG time.

“They’re buttery soft!”, I’d heard.

“They’re SOOOOOO comfy!!”

“LuLaRoe leggings are addicting. Once you try them you’re going to want more!”

I wasn’t swayed at all. I don’t wear my pajamas out of the house. And if I’m wearing yoga pants, then I’m doing yoga. What did I need comfy pants in my closet for?

There was a lady who picked up her kids at the same time as me and occasionally her wildly patterned leggings would catch my eye. “Giant pizza slices on turquoise leggings? Really?!”, I’d think to myself, “I don’t think LuLaRoe is for me”.

And then I saw Mickey.

So yeah, I do love me some Disney, as you know. And these were cute, clever Disney patterns I’d never seen anywhere before. It was my birthday, so I treated myself and bought my first pair. And I tried them on. It was over a hundred degrees that day so I didn’t get to wear them long but ohhhh, I couldn’t wait for the weather to cool down because everything I’d heard was RIGHT.

The leggings slipped on so silky soft. How could leggings feel so buttery soft? But they DO!

I’ve always hated when you can see underpants through the leggings, especially when I bend over. But despite being light and soft, LuLaRoe leggings aren’t transparent.

All that chatter about not wearing comfy pants outside the house? I’ve been wearing the three pair I have (all Mickey print!) around the house and yes, even to the school pick up. I bet Ms. Pizza Leggings is envious of my cute Mickey prints 🙂

Buying your first LuLaRoe clothing? See my LuLaRoe legging review

Not a Leggings Gal?

And LuLaRoe is more than just leggings. There are some awesome skirts of all lengths, t-shirts (can’t wait to scoop up one of the adorable Gigis!), dresses and dusters. In addition to Mickey Mouse, there are tons of other Disney prints like Bambi, Muppets and Beauty and the Beast. Disney Villains and Nightmare Before Christmas patterns are going to be making an appearance!!! There will also be quirky Halloween prints and designs appropriate for fall. And of course if you just like the regular prints, there are colorful LuLaRoe prints and even solid colors in many varieties.

I absolutely LOVE that there are sizes for everyone! Sizes of different styles vary so check the sizing charts. You might be a small in one style and prefer a large in another style.

(Image courtesy of Anastasia Weis)

Okay, I’ll Admit It…They ARE the Coziest Clothes on the Planet!

So… now that I’m officially starting a LuLaRoe closet collection, I’m hosting a party online with my fellow blogger friend and purveyor of LuLaRoe, Anastasia Weis. It’s this Sunday, October 8th at 6 pm pst/9 pm est. I’d love for you to join the party!

Julie’s Not-So-Scary LuLaRoe party