7 Tips for Teaching Gratitude and Thankfulness During the Holidays

What better time to discuss thankfulness and gratitude than during the holidays? With four young ones to raise, I’m constantly worried that I’m raising unappreciative brats! Not that my kids aren’t well-behaved and courteous in public, because they are. But at home, it’s another story. There is a streak of entitlement running rampant and I want to nip that in the bud!

Thankfulness During the Holidays

My mom’s group at church recently discussed how to raise grateful children and it got my wheels turning. Am I doing enough with my four kids to teach them gratitude and thankfulness? And what about good manners? Don’t those go hand in hand? Of course saying, “Thank you” is important, but I think that true gratitude goes beyond good manners. And with the season of giving, there are so many beautiful ways to foster a feeling of gratitude. Here are a few key thoughts I have about teaching gratitude and thankfulness, especially during the holidays.

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!

1. Age Matters

Naturally I expect the best manners from my teenagers. And of course, my six year old knows how to properly behave…for his age. But I wouldn’t expect the same behavior from my toddler that I do from my kindergartner! Discuss with your partner ahead of time what behaviors you each expect from your children, with consideration for their ages.

This starts with teaching “please” and “thank you” from a young age. If your toddler receives a treat from someone, you can speak on their behalf to offer the “thank you”. Or if they are able to speak, remind them to say it themselves.

Elementary aged children can be expected to offer thanks without prompting. That doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes get wrapped up in the moment and forget though! Elementary aged kids do love to give, so make sure they have the opportunity to create something special for someone over the holiday (like a hand-drawn card).

Older children can show their gratitude in larger ways, both verbally and in physical action. Older kids and teens are able to think outside of their own small world and will often come up with their own ideas during the holidays. This may include donating their time volunteering.


2. Laying Out Expectations

Before we head out for a holiday-themed event, I run through my expectations for each child. When kids know what is expected of them, it’s easier for them to know their boundaries. I tailor topics to each specific child, depending upon their age and abilities.

Discussions might include:

  • Encouraging them to remember their manners during a holiday dinner when they are a guest (not wiggling at the table, using a napkin, etc.)
  • Chatting with the adult party hosts for a few minutes to say thank you for the invitation before running off to play.
  • Not whining about what foods they don’t like at the party.
  • Helping to clear their plate.
  • Offering to help the host to clean up.
  • Not asking for seconds of dessert, at least not until everyone else has had a first serving.
  • Saying “Thank you for inviting me” when leaving.

3. “I Want”

I told my mom’s group that I was having some issues with my six year old acting entitled to certain things around our house. Seems like the holidays brings out the sassy attitude even more! And what can we expect, when we ask our kids, “What do you want for Christmas?” With the focus on getting stuff so heavy during the holidays, young children can really get wrapped up in what they “want” and not what they can do for others.

Instead of asking the kids what THEY want to receive for Christmas, I’m twisting things a bit. I’ve been asking them what they think their siblings would like to receive. Instead of focusing on what they’re going to get, I can see that my kids are more excited to be involved in making decisions and helping choose gifts for others. We’re taking it one step further by making gifts instead of buying (easy things, like laminated bookmarks).

4. Role-Playing

What’s more cringe-worthy than a kid who receives a gift and says, “I hate this”. How embarrassing. And of course, hurtful to the person who gave the gift.

In our house, we do a lot of role-playing before parties and gatherings. It’s good practice for kids and a reminder of your expectations. Ideas for role-play is to ask, “What would you say if you received a gift that you didn’t like?” or “What if you received a gift that you already have?”

My son celebrated his sixth birthday recently and we did some role-play on the way to his play date birthday party. I asked him, “What if someone gives you underwear?!” His response was, “Thanks for the undies!”

So yes, the correct and easiest answer is always, “Thank you for the _____!” Even if you don’t like it. Even if you already have it. Even if it’s a weird present. Thank you is always the right comment to make.

5. Volunteer and Give

There are always going to be a lot of ways to volunteer your time during the holidays. Places like churches need extra help in the kid care area, which is usually something that teens can help with. Younger kids can assist with bagging up canned goods in a food bank.

There are also organizations that accept special items for donation during this season. When we donated food to our local food bank, I made sure that my 6 year old knew we were giving and explained where the food was going. He was so excited to tell everyone how many items he’d donated! We also made up boxes for Samaritan’s Purse this year. He helped me choose the items for the two boxes we filled and went with me when we dropped them off. He was able to see how grateful the volunteers were when we came with our donations and they prayed with us over the boxes. It was something he’s not forgotten and I know that it had a big impact on him.

6. Take the Focus Off Stuff

If you sense your kids are too focused on the stuff this holiday season, find ways to move the focus on experiences rather than things. That’s really what the holiday is, spending time with family and making memories. Things like baking and decorating cookies, watching a Christmas movie on TV, walking through the neighborhood to see decorations and singing along to songs on the radio are favorite ways to celebrate without spending a lot!

7. Keep It Simple

Figure out what things are most important to you and your family. From there you can decide what to do and what to skip this holiday. I find that when I try to cram too much good stuff into the season, it becomes not only stressful for me, it’s hard on the kids. And when the kids are having a rough time, it tends to come out in crabby behavior. And then we start to think, “Ungrateful brats!”

Be sure to work in plenty of downtime between holiday celebrations. Pick and choose only what you most love about the holidays and do those things. Don’t feel guilty about skipping over other things. Perhaps you can alternate years? Do what brings you and your family the most joy, incorporating gratefulness and thankfulness about being together!

Fed up with "ungrateful brats" during the holidays? These 7 practical tips can help teach you children about thankfulness during the holidays.


Mom’s Holiday Party Prep Tips for the Busy Season

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

Though I really do try to stick to our family motto and keep things simple during the holidays, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the season. That means events, activities and parties just about every weekend in December. The holidays are a time of parties – I have two each weekend this season! I love it all, I really do. But wow, does it get busy! Seems I hardly have time to use the bathroom (we’ll get to that issue later!)

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Ready for a night on the town!

My husband’s work Christmas party was this past weekend. With four kids at home, I didn’t have a lot of time to get myself primped. But I still wanted to look good, right?! I’m sharing my tips for getting prepped for a night out, including what to pack in your holiday evening bag. Keep reading and I’ll give you all the details on why Poo~Pourri is a party MUST HAVE!

Hover over this photo and click on the images to visit Bed Bath and Beyond’s website, where you can order directly!

Time Management

When you’re getting ready to go out for the night, plan ahead and make a list of what needs to be done.

  • I chose my outfit the week before the Christmas party. I made sure to try on my outfit with the shoes that I was planning to wear. If you need to pick up stockings or tummy support briefs this will give you a few days time to grab those necessities.
  • I did my nails the day before so I wouldn’t feel rushed the morning of the party.
  • I needed a haircut before the party so I scheduled it for that afternoon. This way I was able to get the wash, cut and style and save time on not having to do my hair myself.
  • Have the babysitter arrive early so that will give you time to put your make-up on and get dressed so you aren’t running around, tending to the kids.

Packing Your Holiday Evening Bag

Just before before the party, I pack up my holiday evening bag. Once I’ve decided on my outfit, I match the bag with what I’m wearing. You won’t need a lot, so your evening bag can be really small – Unless you’re like me and your husband tends to hand you everything out of his pockets to carry in your purse. These are my handbag must-haves for a night on the town.

  • Wallet. Include at least a few dollars, just in case you need to tip or the parking lot only takes cash.
  • Drivers license or ID. You might get carded!
  • Make-up refreshers. This may include blotting papers to get rid of excess oil, finishing powder and lipstick or gloss.
  • A small mirror. Use it quickly to check your teeth and make sure there’s no holiday food left there after your meal.
  • Compact hair brush.
  • Fully charged cell phone. And just in case you get into a selfie mood and post a ton of pictures to social media, bring a back-up charger and cord.
  • Antacids. After eating a rich dinner & having a few drinks, my tummy needed some relief.
  • Car and house keys.
  • Poo~Pourri.

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Don’t be the Party Pooper

Time to get real. Think about the last party you went to. Seems like there is always someone waiting outside the bathroom door to use the facilities after you, right? With so many holiday parties at friends’ houses and the bathroom line down the hall, nobody wants to the be the “party pooper” – leaving a stink behind for the next guest!

Have you heard of Poo~Pourri? If you haven’t, this video is a must watch.

Simply spritz Poo~Pourri into the toilet bowl before you go. Poo~Pourri’s pure blend of natural essential oils creates a film on the surface of the water. The protective barrier traps odor under the surface – which means no stink! All you’ll leave behind is a light refreshing scent. When you leave the bathroom for the next person in line, nobody will be the wiser!

Give the Gift That Doesn’t Stink

I was recently at Bed Bath and Beyond and found a large collection of Poo~Pourri. It was located at a kiosk towards the front of the store. There were more Poo~Pourri products on an end cap (including a gift box that looks like a toilet!)

I have Original Citrus in the bathroom at home, which is a blend of lemon, bergamot and lemongrass natural essential oils. Merry Spritzmas® and Secret Santa scents are sold in this clever holiday pull-apart gift set (the text on the box makes me giggle!)

I kept Poo~Pourri Merry Spritzmas® in my evening hand bag. The blend of peppermint, vanilla and citrus is a spritz of holiday magic! And it was a relief to know I had the Poo~Pourri with me on the chance that I needed to use it at the party. Did I use it? I’ll never tell!

I already know whom I’ll be gifting Poo~Pourri Secret Santa to! Poo~Pourri is actually the perfect item for the holiday gift exchange –  It’s funny to give but it really works!

Don’t forget to look out for special coupons on one item at Bed Bath and Beyond’s website before heading out to shop or shopping online. And check out these other fun ideas on how to give the gift of Poo~Pourri this holiday season!

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

5 Tips for Looking Your Best in Holiday Family Photos

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf®. #HolidayHairCare #sponsored

The holidays are fast approaching! That means fun with family and friends, as well as parties and pictures that come along with the season. Last year my family and I had a weekend vacation and took this photo together. I loved how cute we all looked…that is until I looked closer and realized how my roots were showing and how GRAY my hair was! Ugh, seeing that photo with my gray hairs made me so upset.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

I’m all for women who aren’t bothered by the gray. But I still have a toddler and I’m just not ready to go gray yet. Coloring my hair makes me feel so much better about my overall look! I don’t have the time or money for a salon so I’m glad there are at-home kits like Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color that give me a professional style. With family photos coming along with the holidays, I’m sharing my tips for creating a head-to-toe beautiful look that’s perfect for lasting photo memories!

Coordinating family outfits while still putting together a beautiful look for yourself takes some preparation! You can’t just throw on your favorite outfit because you want a cohesive look for the entire family. And you don’t want to look back in ten or twenty years and say, “What in the world was I wearing?!” These are a few ideas for creating a flattering, timeless look for family photos.

1. Pick a Theme Around Your Location

Are you going to be taking photos at the beach? Then knee-high boots and chunky sweaters probably aren’t the best fashion choice. And vice versa if you’re planning a snowy mountain photo shoot wearing all white cotton sundresses! Once you know your photo location, you can decide on a direction for your outfits.

2. Start with One Thing

Who is the most particular person in your family when it comes to getting dressed? Start by choosing their outfit first. Once you have that picked, it’s going to be easier to design a look around the color scheme and style of that first outfit.

Is there an outfit that the rest of the clothes can be built around? A plaid or a pattern with multiple colors is a good place to start. From there you can choose clothing with the colors that coordinate (like this floral dress below).

3. Picking a Color Scheme

To create a cohesive look, choose a color scheme that unites the family and doesn’t clash. Things like blue jeans, khaki and white are neutral and can be mixed in with the colors you choose as you see fit.

For this family photo, I wanted to choose from clothes that we already had in the closet. I started with my husband’s plaid shirt. The rest of the family was easy to match, with navy blue, burgundy, khaki and white.

Photo Credit: Amber Barley Photography

4. Mixing Patterns

While it’s okay to choose similar styles, try to avoid anything too matchy-matchy. For instance, instead of having the kids all wear matching sweaters, choose a similar design in varying colors. As in the family photo above, my son had a plaid shirt in his closet that had similar colors to what his dad is wearing. The plaids aren’t matching but they don’t clash either.

Choose patterns that are classic in design instead of trendy so your photo looks timeless and not dated to a particular time period. Same with hair styles!

You could also choose patterns that are coordinating but not identical. I found this trio of outfits for my little ones a few years ago. They are coordinated because the colors unite them, but are not wearing the same outfit.

5. Making Sure Mom Looks Her Best

After the gray root debacle last year, I’m determined to stay on top of my coloring! Once I’ve decided on a location and color scheme for the family photo shoot, I make sure I have my nails done, make-up ready and hair colored. Naturally, I want my hair to look its best during family photos.

Having Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color on hand has been my secret weapon! I’ve already used Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color several times and love my results. It’s been so easy to use and my hair is shiny and soft, even weeks after coloring.

I found Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color at Walmart. The line offers a good variety of intense colors, including my favorite shade, Chestnut. Be sure to do your patch test before coloring! And of course don’t forget to put on the included gloves to protect your hands.

At-Home Hair Coloring Tips

  • Wear your oldest clothes and use your oldest towel that you don’t mind getting stained.
  • Wear a plastic cape to protect your neck and clothes.
  • Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly around your ears and neckline to prevent staining.
  • I prep my bathroom so I don’t drip hair coloring on the rub or splash it on the shower curtain! I put away everything from off the counter, move the shower curtain and put away the bathmat so no errant drips get on anything.

BEFORE (look at that gray!)

Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color has a pre-treatment included that helps give you an even color result. I love this extra step and experienced no dry ends after coloring. The color is thick and stays put, which makes application so much easier.

I colored my hair about 5 weeks ago with the same color, so I applied to the roots for 20 minutes first. Then I applied color to the rest of my head and waited another ten minutes.

20 minutes on the roots first…

Then 10 minutes on the entire head of hair.

  • Don’t just rely on the clock to keep time. Set a timer!
  • I rinsed off in the kitchen sink so I could use the handheld sprayer and really make sure I removed all the color.
  • Any color stains on the skin? Use a cotton pad and rubbing alcohol to gently remove.

I experienced less hair breakage and loss after using Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color and of course, it gave me 100% gray coverage – yippee! Plus my hair is really soft and silky. I’m going to look so great in my holiday family photos this year (no gray getting me down!)

AFTER! Total gray coverage and beautiful Chestnut color.

Want to try Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color for free? Be sure to click through for the rebate!

Dressing for Success

Just like coloring over my gray helps boost my self-esteem, so does wearing clothes that make me feel and look my best. With every purchase of Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color women are getting a fresh start through a partnership with Dress for Success®.

Dress for Success Worldwide provides women education and mentoring, along with revitalized hair and clothing options. This partnership helps women be as successful as they look! Over one million women have been served by this international organization and its programs. I love how Dress for Success encourages and supplies women with the tools they need for confidence and success!

Coloring your hair at home is a great way to save time and money but how can you assure the best results? Check out these tips (along with ideas for looking your best in holiday family photos!) #HolidayHairCare #ad

 

Personal Trainer Food Review- Weight Loss Program Comparison

Maybe you’ve tried other weight loss programs. Maybe you’ve tried several other weight loss programs. You might have lost weight. But in many cases you’re left feeling frustrated by the high expenses of the program and unappetizing food. I’ve been following the Personal Trainer Food program and want to share my thoughts about the taste, convenience and cost compared to NutriSystem.

If you’re following along with my Personal Trainer Food Review posts, here are the previous posts in the series.

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.

8 lbs down after nearly 4 weeks on Personal Trainer Food program!

What Stalls Weight Loss?

Besides the obvious, like desserts, potatoes, breads, juice and pasta, what does Personal Trainer Food recommend that you avoid while in weight loss mode? These items may stall your results and are best avoided –

  • Milk, including yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream.
  • Milk alternatives, like soy, rice and almond milk.
  • Peanuts, cashews and pecans (this includes nut butters of any type).
  • All fruit, except for one apple a day.
  • Protein bars and shakes (plus you’ll be getting enough protein in the foods you’re eating anyway).
  • Alcohol (even low-carb varieties).
  • Flour, oats and rice.

Nutritional Comparison to NutriSystem

I received a sample of a NutriSystem meal to compare with Personal Trainer Food. The NutriSystem food I received is shelf-stable and doesn’t require refrigeration. Those on the NutriSystem program are expected to supply their own fruits and veggies. When looking at the ingredient list of the NutriSystem foods, they are loaded with ingredients that actually could stall your weight loss!

NutriSystem shelf-stable foods

The NutriSystem breakfast is a very small (1.4 oz) Harvest Nut Bar with 7g of sugar, 22g carbs and 7g protein. Personal Trainer Food breakfasts include eggs and sausage or bacon. My favorite, the frittata omelette with breakfast sausage contains 1g of sugar, 2g carbs and 19g of protein. I have always felt full on my Personal Trainer Food breakfast for at least 3 hours before needing a snack. I can imagine how hungry I’d be eating only the tiny NutriSystem bar for breakfast.

NutriSystem Breakfast Bar

The NutriSystem Chicken Pasta Parmesan contained many unpronounceable ingredients as well as agave syrup and sugar! I’m not sure why a chicken and pasta dish would need 6 grams of sugar. It also contained 24g of carbohydrates and 15g of protein. There weren’t any vegetables included with this dish.

In comparison, the Personal Trainer Food Rotisserie Chicken Breast contained no sugar, 1g of carbs and 23g of protein. I was also able to choose my own vegetable packet that was shipped to me. Personal Trainer Food frozen vegetables contain a well-balanced amount of carb-loaded veggies like lima beans, corn and peas.

Personal Trainer Food Teriyaki chicken with green beans

The NutriSystem meal also came with a package of walnut chocolate chip cookies. At 7g of fat, 17g carbs and 7g sugar for about 5 small cookies. Also the ingredients contained wheat gluten, oats and sugar – all ingredients that may slow weight loss. As a side note, I did find it humorous that the cookies contained 8g of protein, which was more than the tiny breakfast bar!

Food and Flavor Comparison

The meals I’ve received from Personal Trainer Food are really great tasting food. Each dish is high in protein, contains good carbs and healthy fats with no heavily-processed food products. The food is cooked and flash-frozen to preserve freshness and flavor. Their products require no fillers, hidden sugars nor bad carbs. Meals are also low or no gluten.

My husband is really particular about what we eat at home and even he is totally sold on the Personal Trainer Food. He’s snuck them on occasion to eat for himself! Not only are they wholesome, good-for-you meals but they are also really delicious.

Personal Trainer Food Gluten-free breaded chicken breast with veggies

In comparison, the NutriSystem food that I received simply does not look appetizing. I refuse to eat the NutriSystem Chicken Pasta Parmesan because it just looks bad. I asked my mom, who has been on the NutriSystem program, and she said the shelf-stable foods do not taste good. She’s now on the Personal Trainer Food program and very happy with the food choices and flavor. It definitely makes it easier to stay on your weight loss program when the food tastes good, is filling and keeps you satisfied!

Cost Comparison

Many weight loss meal delivery plans can cost $600+ a month for food. Add in contracts, support costs and often hidden fees. With Personal Trainer Food, everyone receives healthy meals for weight loss, free support and free shipping with no hidden fees.

My mom went through the NutriSystem program on her own over the course of one month. At a cost of around $350 for the month, she lost no weight. She also had to purchase her own fruits and vegetables on NutriSystem. $350 for food that she didn’t like and no weight lost!

In contrast, my mom recently started on Personal Trainer Food and lost two pounds in the first week. I personally lost 8 lbs after four weeks on the program. The cost of three full meals a day on PTF is under $11 per day. They also frequently offer specials so sign up for their newsletter and receive email notifications.

Looking for Convenient and Fast

I’ve loved having the Personal Trainer Foods handy in my freezer. So quick to grab and heat – in just a few minutes I have a complete and healthy meal. I’m very happy that there is a program like this that is convenient but doesn’t sacrifice flavor and health!

Want to Learn More About Personal Trainer Food?

See their website for the latest sign up specials!

Considering the Personal Trainer Food diet program? Check out my honest review with details on the food, cost & how much you can lose #PersonalTrainerFood AD

The Day I Gave Up Caring What My Kids Looked Like

Since day one with my eldest boy, I’ve cared about appearance. If he spit up on his onesie, it didn’t matter if there was nobody else home – I’d change his clothes. I didn’t spend a fortune on outfits or anything, but I always wanted him to look cute. Fortunately he’d wear whatever I bought for him and enjoyed being stylish. He rocked newsboy caps and coordinating Chuck Taylors. He had style and I loved showing him off.

Then my second son came and it was more of the same. Precious coordinating outfits down to the matching underwear and socks. Such a cutie-pie and a personality to match. I loved getting compliments on my boys, especially when they wore matching outfits. Weren’t they adorable?!

Ahhh, coordinating outfits! This makes my Type-A heart sing 🙂

I also have a stepdaughter. Up until about 2 years ago, I chose her outfits for her, buying the cutest things with coordinating accessories. Each morning without fail I’d do up her hair in elaborate styles with braids and bows. I loved seeing her dolled up and hearing the compliments on how pretty she looked.

Enter my baby daughter. She’s currently 19 months old and I’ve been so fortunate to receive a plethora of cuter-then-cute hand-me-downs. She loves to dress up too. After I’ve gotten her dressed in the morning and fixed her hair up into a bow, she checks herself out in the mirror and squeals with delight! She never pulls her bows out, not since she was a tiny baby. Naturally I absolutely adore dressing her up in sweet outfits and hearing all the buzz from passersby about how adorable she is.

I mean, come on…this outfit and that pose!! She’s a natural!

Letting Them Pick

Okay, so my eldest is now almost 14. My stepdaughter is 13. And my middle son is about to turn 6. Of course, though I’m still in charge of purchasing their clothes I’m beyond the point of being able to pick and choose their daily outfits (maybe Christmas outfits, being the exception!) These three big kids choose what they’re going to wear. And that’s both a good and bad thing. And I had the HARDEST time letting it go.

I started getting push back from my eldest, wanting to wear only basketball shorts and everything in black. He’s since added in more color to his wardrobe, but it’s still all pretty much basketball clothes. And the shirt that he wore on his kindergarten t-ball team? He only stopped wearing it last year – people, he was 12!! He has finally passed it down to his little brother (despite that it has older brother’s name silk screened on the back)..

Stepdaughter started asking if she could choose her own outfits and I obliged. At first it was cringe-worthy, the patterns and styles that came out of the bedroom in the morning. I sent her back to her room a lot to swap out either the top or the pants, because I just couldn’t let her walk out of the house wearing an orange striped shirt with red jeans, could I? I still did up her hair for a while though, until she took that over too, not wanting braids or bows any longer. Hair is usually pulled back sloppily into a regular ponytail.

Second son is probably the most eclectic of all. He’s incredibly creative and at 4, started resisting to the outfits I’d chosen. He now regularly walks out for the day wearing sweatpants, a tank top and knee socks pulled over the hem of the pants.

The Day I Gave Up Caring

I was going through a drawer filled with pictures at my mom’s house. The kids and I were giggling over the old photos, in particular the ones with the 1980s version of mommy. I was rockin’ copious amounts of blue eye shadow behind my enormous pink glasses. Permed hair with wild bangs that I never could get ratted up quite right. And the outfits. What’s funny is I know that I dressed even more wildly, there is just no photographic evidence. My wise mother didn’t capture those over-the-top moments when I was wearing four ponytails, layered socks and two skirts (yes, I remember layering a short skirt over a long one!) I certainly did dress funky, even though my excuse is that it was the 80s. Each outfit was my own personal style.

Not terrible but I am wearing a white sailor hat (why?!)

And then it hit me – I was stifling my kids from having their own personal style.

In not letting my kids wear what was their personal style, I was really putting a damper on letting them grow and develop into the unique person that God wants them to be.

I’d asked my mom about those wild outfits years ago, cringing at a particular photo of me with both blue eye shadow AND blue mascara. She told me that she’d always admired my fashion gusto as a child. She wanted to foster my creativity. And that if I wanted to wear three ponytails on my head or a half dozen hair clips, she’d let me. She said her only suggestion was that I not mix plaids, even if my kindergarten reasoning was that they had the same colors.

Letting Them Grow By Letting It Go

And so I stopped making suggestions on what my kids should or shouldn’t wear. I started turning a blind eye (literally) to what I was seeing them wear at the breakfast table. I changed my commentary to say things like, “That’s a cute top on you” or “What a colorful outfit today!” The self-confidence is rising.

If I don’t want my kids to wear a particular item anymore, I unceremoniously remove it from their closet and put it in the donation bin. If it’s not in the closet, they can’t wear it anymore.

People aren’t complimenting my eldest three on their clothes anymore. People just don’t say anything about their appearance. Nobody really cares that the oldest boy is wearing basketball shorts again. Or that stepdaughter has her hair in a sloppy ponytail. Or that little son is wearing neon green socks with orange sandals. I no longer think that it reflects poorly on me if my kids aren’t dressed to the nines.

But what I do hear goes deeper than that. I’m hearing how well behaved they are. How generous and how kind. What good friends they are. That’s what’s really important, right? Not that they’re wearing something mismatched.

You may see me out and about with the kids, or maybe you see a photo of them online. One of the kids is wearing a clip-on tie with their t-shirt, one is wearing a Christmas themed shirt in July and the other has spiked his hair with too much gel. Just smile and nod. And know that I’m dying inside to correct them. But that I’m choosing to let them grow by letting it go.

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 website and sign up for their newsletter to receive discount codes on the program!

Follow along with my Personal Trainer Food Review posts – here is the next post in the series.

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!

Follow along with my Personal Trainer Food Review posts – here is the next post in the series.

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.

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