14 Protein-Packed Back to School Breakfast & Lunch Ideas for Kids

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With three school-aged kids and a toddler, I do not have time for fancy meal prep in the morning. I have just a few minutes to whip up breakfast, throw together lunches, and get everyone in the car (hoping they all remembered to brush their teeth!) When it comes to preparing breakfasts and lunches for my 4 kids during back-to-school season, I’m looking for quick, healthy, tasty and fairly priced options.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Eckrich Deli Meat. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Back to School Breakfast and Lunches for Kids

14 quick, kid-approved back to school breakfast and lunch ideas for busy mornings that are protein-packed and delicious.

Offering Eckrich Deli Meat gives my kids the lean protein they need. Eckrich Deli Meat is versatile for use in many breakfast and lunch recipes that kids love. Plus, it’s gluten-free and delicious! Eckrich helps me spend less time in the kitchen but still lets me offer a nutritious meal to my kids. And now I can find freshly sliced Eckrich Deli Meat at my local Walmart deli counter.

14 quick, kid-approved back to school breakfast and lunch ideas for busy mornings that are protein-packed and delicious.

Back to School Breakfasts Made Easy

A breakfast prepared with lean protein will keep tummies full longer so that kids can focus in class before snack or lunch. So many breakfasts geared for kids are high in carbs and sugar and don’t offer the lean protein they need for muscle building. Skip the sugary cereals and offer the kids one of these quick breakfast meals to give them staying power for the morning and into the afternoon. Round out the meal with complex carbs (like whole grain toast or tortillas), fresh fruit and a glass of milk.

AD These quick, protein-packed breakfast and lunch ideas are kid-approved and fast to make for hurried mornings.

Breakfast with Dinner’s Leftovers

I tend to overcook certain foods at dinner the night before so I’ll have the leftovers to use in breakfast the following day. Foods like spinach, broccoli, chopped onions, mushrooms, black beans and potatoes go well with eggs the next morning. Or consider preparing breakfast the night before. Items like quiche or burritos can easily be pre-made and then warmed in the microwave.

14 quick, kid-approved back to school breakfast and lunch ideas for busy mornings that are protein-packed and delicious.

High Protein Low Carb Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast

I received compensation from Bayer Consumer Health, makers of MiraLAX® to write this post. MiraLAX® is a laxative used to treat occasional constipation. All opinions are entirely my own. #ReliefMadeEasy #CollectiveBias

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast That Are Quick and Filling

One thing that I love about making smoothies is that you don’t have to follow an exact recipe to make something tasty! A little of this, a little of that, whatever fruits, veggies and fillings you have on hand. Blend it up and voila! A delicious, filling breakfast served up quick. I’m going to give you a few smoothie “recipe” ideas with healthier ingredients like avocado and nut butter that can be blended together with frozen fruit and greens for a high-protein but low-carb smoothie.

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

Liquid Base for Smoothies

Start off with a liquid base to create your smoothie. You’re aiming for low in calories, sugar and fat. High in protein is a plus. I pour the liquid into the blender first so I can measure the amount (between 3/4 to 1 cup of liquid). I usually use 2% cow’s milk because we have it on hand for the kids. Almond, cashew, coconut and soy can be good alternatives if regular milk doesn’t agree with you. Between these, soy milk has the highest protein (8 grams in one cup) while the others have next to nothing.

  • Cow’s Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Cashew Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Soy Milk

If you’re looking for zero calorie liquids, consider water or black coffee. You won’t gain any protein this way however. Juice can be very high in sugar but if you’re making it fresh squeezed you can mix it with water to equal the portion size.

  • Water
  • Cold, leftover Coffee
  • Fresh Squeezed Juice

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

Protein Powder

Adding a scoop of protein powder is a great way to boost the protein in your smoothie recipes for breakfast. The protein can come from pea, brown rice, hemp, chia seeds and more. I use one that is Vegan, vanilla flavored, low in sugar and has a whopping 21 grams of protein. Read the labels to make sure you aren’t taking in added sugar or calories at the sacrifice of extra protein.

Kale and Spinach Greens

I was never really sold on the green smoothies before because they always tasted leafy and bitter. But after lots of trial and error, I’ve found what works best with these iron-rich greens. The secret? Adding fruit that counteracts the bitterness. I’ve found that frozen pineapple chunks are perfectly paired with kale and spinach. We even freeze the greens! Just add a handful of frozen greens straight from the freezer to the blender before they defrost.

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you!

Frozen Fruit

Yes, even fruit has carbohydrates and plenty of natural sugars too. Good for adding a bit of sweetness to your smoothie but you need to take it easy when adding fruit to your smoothies. Berries are your best low-carb bet for smoothie making but there are other lower carb fruits you can choose as well. I always use frozen fruit as they make my smoothie creamier and ice cold, which I love! Bananas are higher in carbs but consider using half of a ripe, frozen banana to add creaminess and natural sweetness.

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Kiwis
  • Cherries

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

Nut Butters or Nut Powders

Nut butters are another great way to add protein, creaminess and flavor to your smoothie recipes for breakfast. As before, check labels to make sure you aren’t taking in added sugar. Natural nut butters that only contain nuts, oil and salt will give you the “healthy” fat you need, when used in moderation (don’t go adding a cup of p.b. to your blender!) I personally prefer using a nut powder when making my smoothies. The powders are much lower in calories and fat, but still give the great nut flavor to your smoothie.

  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Cashew Butter
  • Sunflower Butter
  • Nut Powder

My Must-Have Add-In to Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast

If you’ve been following a high-protein, low-carb diet  you may notice that it’s a good thing for weight loss. I know my tummy is flatter when I avoid simple carbs and get my carbs mostly from fruit and veggies. However if you’re like me, you may struggle a bit with occasional constipation from the extra protein intake.

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

I started using MiraLAX®, which I picked up at my local Walgreens. When I suffer from occasional constipation I add MiraLAX® to my smoothies for breakfast. The MiraLAX® blends in perfectly without any added flavor.

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

Unlike stimulant laxatives, MiraLAX® works with the water in your body to hydrate, soften, and unblock your system naturally. If you have occasional constipation, MiraLAX® works with your body’s natural process to provide effective relief. MiraLAX® is gentle and has no harsh side effects. Plus MiraLAX® is easy to take and equally easy on your body. Be sure to use as directed.

Save on any MiraLAX® product with this coupon!

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

Additional Smoothie Add-Ins

One of the great ways to make a smoothie recipe for breakfast your own creation is to add a little bit here and there of what you like. But before you toss whatever-you-wish into the blender, be sure to check labels. You certainly don’t want to be adding in extra sugar or un-healthy fats. And you don’t want to be drinking a smoothie that’s 500 calories either! Stick to portion sizes or much less, adding a small amount at a time until you have the flavor and consistency you want.

  • Greek Yogurt will add a creamy texture and tangy taste to your smoothie.
  • Honey is a nice natural sweetener; a little drizzle should be enough.
  • Cooked Carrots can add a little sweetness and go nicely with ginger and/or cinnamon.
  • Avocado is the ultimate in “healthy fats” and can make for a rich and creamy smoothie.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut pairs nicely with tropical fruits like mango or pineapple.
  • Coconut Oil (about 1/2 Tbsp melted) drizzled in while the blender is running, can add healthy fat. It is still however, fat, so use sparingly.
  • Dark chocolate. Melt a square of dark chocolate in the microwave then add to smoothies for a rich chocolate taste.
  • Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and turmeric can add a flavor punch to your smoothie!
  • Seeds & Grains like Chia seeds, Flax seeds and Oatmeal add bulk and fiber.

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast

Who has time for measuring cups and teaspoons on a busy morning?! Just add in a few of your favorites from this list to create healthier-for-you delicious smoothies. These are my tested “recipes” for making smoothies at home.

Tropical Citrus

Juice of one orange and milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in protein powder, frozen pineapple chunks, half of a frozen banana, unsweetened shredded coconut and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice.

Chocolate Nut Butter

Melt dark chocolate square and add milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in protein powder, half of a frozen banana and either one small spoonful of nut butter or powder and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice.

Almond Joy

Almond milk or your milk of choice, to equal one cup measurement. Add in vanilla-flavored protein powder, half of a frozen banana, 10 almonds, sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice. Top with additional coconut (this one is my favorite!!)

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you!

Blueberry & Oats

Milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in handful of frozen blueberries, protein powders, handful of dry oats and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice. Sprinkle with dry oats on the top.

Green Smoothie

Juice of one orange and water to equal one cup measurement. Add in handful of greens (either fresh or frozen), frozen pineapple chunks and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice.

Carrot Spice

Milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in protein powder, cooked carrots (about 1/2 cup), half of a frozen banana, about 10 walnut halves and a dash each of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. If you’re feeling sassy, grate the ginger fresh instead of using powdered spice!

Which of these smoothies would YOU like to try first?

Hearty smoothie recipes for breakfast that you can make at home, filled with high-protein and low-carbs. Find out how to create your own unique and delicious smoothies that are good tasting and good for you! #AD #ReliefMadeEasy

12 Secrets to Successful and Stress-free School Mornings

What are your feelings about school mornings? Maybe you and the kids are “morning people” and everyone jumps out of bed on time. But if you’re reading this, probably not! Your mornings are likely stressful and rushed. Start your day on school mornings without the stress with these 12 tips with ideas for a happier daily morning routine.

Making School Mornings Easier

I have the morning routine down pat! It wasn’t always that way…in fact, I have a decades-old history of oversleeping, scrambling out the door wearing two different shoes, hitting the snooze alarm 13 times and all those other not-so-fun ways to meet the sunrise! Just ask my mom, the poor lady who had the privilege of waking me throughout elementary school…boy, was I a groggy mess!

This is an update of a post originally published on August 28th, 2014.

Stressed out and rushed with the kids on school mornings? These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical for getting kids in back to school mode for stress-free school mornings!

12 Tips for Stress-free School Mornings

I decided I didn’t want to spend my mornings stressed out, yelling or running late. Once my kids were school age and ready for school, I implemented these secrets to successful school mornings. I’m here to tell you that having a morning routine is key to household happiness. Nobody feels very excited about their day when it starts in a frantic rush. Read on for my tips to streamline your morning routine and keep yourself sane in the process. Ask me how many times my kids have been late to school and I will proudly tell you NEVER!

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

No more stressful or rushed mornings! These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical.

1. Prep for School Mornings the Night Before

Mornings don’t start in the morning, they start the night before! Prepare as much as you can the day and night before. This way school mornings are started off in a calm manner. There isn’t any wild rushing around in search of things or trying to get too much done in a limited amount of time. Here are 7 ways that you can streamline the morning routine by prepping the night before.

2. Plan Outfits Head to Toe

Ever since I was in Kindergarten, I’ve planned my next-day wardrobe the evening before. My son has no issues with getting up, pulling out a shirt and shorts and easy-peasy, he’s dressed. But when pressed for time, some kids will have trouble choosing their outfits for the day. They may also choose weather-inappropriate things (like a sweater when it’s going to be 90 degrees!)

I work with my kids to plan outfits for the week and stack them inside a closet organizer along with socks, underpants and hair accessories. All the kids have to do in the morning is grab the next outfit and get dressed.

No more stressful or rushed mornings! These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical.

A hanging organizer for outfits.

I don’t stop wardrobe planning with the kids. Every night I decide what I’m going to wear and set it aside in my closet. I pull out my jewelry and set it on my dresser so in the morning I don’t even second guess myself, I just grab and go. Have your kids help choose their outfits on Sunday night and gather all parts (socks, underpants, accessories) so they have them together.

Stressed out and rushed with the kids on school mornings? These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical for getting kids in back to school mode for stress-free school mornings!


3. Everything Has a Place

No mad dash looking for anything in the morning because it will have already been put there the night before. Teach your kids to prep the night before and get them in a lifelong good habit of organization and timeliness! Bedrooms are tidied up and toys and books are put away before bedtime. We have no morning scrambles for anything because it was already set in the right place the night before.

I recommend having designated hooks and/or storage bins for school morning items. I love using a label maker so there’s no confusion on where things go.

Stressed out and rushed with the kids on school mornings? These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical for getting kids in back to school mode for stress-free school mornings!

Backpacks – Every afternoon after school, backpacks should be cleared out. Then return all paperwork, permission slips, library books and homework to the backpack in the evening so it’s ready to grab in the morning.

Shoes – Shoes should be sitting together where you can step into them going out the door.

Hair – Hair styling products like hairbrush, de-tangling spray and elastics/bows should be together so it’s easy to style in the morning. We keep all hair styling items in a bin under the bathroom sink so we can pull it all out and put it away fast.

Jackets – Jackets are on their own hook next to the backpacks.

Stressed out and rushed with the kids on school mornings? These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical for getting kids in back to school mode for stress-free school mornings!

4. Lunches Made in Bunches

Buy in bulk and portion items out into plastic snack bags. Again individual bins are great for storage! Have separate bins for the fridge and another for the cupboards to hold school lunch items. I store cold snacks in a bin in the fridge (like cheese cubes, melon slices or carrot sticks). Dry snacks are in a bin in the cupboard (like chips and crackers, granola bars or a cookie).

The only thing I make the morning-of is the sandwich. Everything else has already been prepped so in the morning all I do is grab a few pre-portioned bags to make a well-rounded meal.


Stressed out and rushed with the kids on school mornings? These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical for getting kids in back to school mode for stress-free school mornings!

5. Set the Stage for Sleep

Sometimes I have to remind my husband that a tickle-fest right before bedtime is not going to get our kindergartner in the mood for sleep! Shortly after dinner, we start the routine of quiet playtime, reading in bed, a light snack and teeth brushing before turning off the lights. A warm bath or shower and lavender essential oil in the diffuser right before bed can also help kids relax. Read more about using essential oils in the bedtime routine.

We turn off the television long before bedtime to keep stimulus at bay. The pace is slow and calm and our kids know what to expect, even the toddler (don’t try to skip story time!). Keeping the nightly routine the same every evening can help sleep come quickly and have kids sleeping all night in their own beds.

6. A Reasonable Bedtime

According to the National Sleep Foundation website, elementary school aged kids need about 10-11 hours of sleep each night. My kids wake up at 6 am Monday through Friday so that means they should be going to bed no later than 8:00 pm.

With a toddler, first grader and high school aged kids in our house, we have everyone in bed around the same time each night. Bedtime is between 7:45 to 8:15 pm and no later than 9 pm on the weekends. We aim for consistency on the bedtime and the kids show the consistency in their behavior and attitudes. They hop right out of bed in the morning, aren’t groggy in the afternoons and are sleepy enough in the evenings that they put themselves to bed on time each night.

No more stressful or rushed mornings! These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical.

7. Put Yourself to Bed at a Decent Time, Too!

I’m the worst offender of this in my family. After everyone else is in bed and I finally find time to myself I find myself puttering around doing nothing, reading too many Facebook posts and starting projects that really shouldn’t be started at 10:36 pm. And then I’m kicking myself in the morning when I don’t want to get up!

I’ve pledged to start getting to bed at a decent time, one that gives me more than 5 measly hours of sleep each night. Even after just a week of this I’m feeling better, waking easily and am not “hitting the wall” at 2 o’clock each day any more.

8. A Restful Room is Conducive to Sleep 

A slightly cool room, comfy bedding, white noise (like a fan), darkness, and a soothing scent (like lavender) can all invite refreshing sleep. On occasion (especially during periods of stress), my kids have enjoyed listening to a relaxing story tape or soft music with the lights out.

I’ve trained my kids not to require a nightlight because if the lights are on, they are more likely to have their eyes open. If it’s very dark in the room then what’s the point of having your eyes open, there is nothing to look at…close your eyes and go to sleep!

I have more sleeping tips here from TravelingMom.


Good Morning Sunshine!

After a peaceful evening the night before and a good night’s rest, your kids will be in a better position to have a happy school morning routine. Here are my tips for nailing the morning routine and getting the kids out the door on time.

Streamlining Your Morning Routine

9. Awakening to an Alarm Clock 

If you have kids who struggle to get out of bed in the morning, get them used to waking with an alarm clock. Looking back, if I’d used an alarm clock as a kid instead of waking to my mom coming in to my room (over and over!) I would have gotten up the first time instead of the tenth. The alarm clock only goes off once unless you use the snooze button. But I’ve never taught my kids what the snooze button is (they assume that the clock goes off once and that’s it…tricky me!)

If you don’t get up you’re going to be late, easy as that. When MOM is waking you, as a kid you know that she’ll keep coming back in as many times as it takes and eventually the kids and mom are trained in the wrong direction!

Are a habitual snoozer? Try to break yourself out of the habit. It’s not good quality sleep anyway. Get up right away and either open the window to let in the morning sunlight or turn on the light in the room to get your body adjusted. Make your bed right away and you won’t be tempted to crawl back in!


10. The Most Important Meal of the Day: Breakfast

We never leave the house without breakfast. I’m surprised when my kids say that so many of their friends don’t eat breakfast in the morning. I can’t imagine trying to function for so many hours until lunch on an empty stomach. Leave plenty of time in the morning routine to fit in a good breakfast.

I get up early enough to prepare a quick and balanced breakfast for me and the kids. This could be scrambled eggs, toast and a slice of melon. Fruit smoothies with juice, milk or soy milk are a hit. Homemade oatmeal with diced apples and cinnamon is often requested. Or if we are more rushed, a simple bowl of cereal and a banana.

Stressed out and rushed with the kids on school mornings? These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical for getting kids in back to school mode for stress-free school mornings!

I like a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit, agave and a sprinkling of granola. I often take mine “to-go” and eat it when I get to work. Sometimes the night before I will make banana or apple nut muffins to include with breakfast.

On weekends when I have time to make pancakes or waffles, I make extras and freeze them to heat up for breakfasts during the week. Add some whipped cream and a few blueberries and voila, a fancy breakfast on a Thursday!

Streamlining Your Morning Routine

11. Final Brushing Call: Teeth, Hair and Out the Door!

I have the kids take turns in the bathroom brushing teeth and hair because mayhem and delays tend to ensue when they attempt to share the sink! I usually give my daughter’s hair a quick style and maybe pop in a bow. We keep a box under the sink that holds hair elastics, a brush and detangling spray so everything is in one place. If a fancier hair style is requested (like for picture day), we allow extra time by getting up earlier.

Give kids the 10 minute and 5 minute countdown. Ten minutes before you need them out of the house, call it out. Then repeat at 5 minutes till. We keep shoes and backpacks on a shelf in the garage so the kids grab their lunches off the counter on their way out and within a few minutes we’re in the car and on our way.

Streamlining Your Morning Routine

12. It’s Early…Know Your Limits

Don’t try and cram too many chores in the morning routine. I keep it simple by requesting that beds be made before we leave the house. My older kids also take turns emptying the dishwasher and reloading with the breakfast dishes. If complicated hair styles or made-to-order breakfasts are making your kids miss the bus, save them for the weekends when you have more time.

Do you have a slow-poke? Consider a timer. I’ve also been known to set the timer for my daughter when she dilly-dallies over her cereal bowl; when it dings she knows she has one minute to wrap things up and move on to the next task.

If you keep finding yourself running late, set the morning alarm clock for fifteen minutes earlier to allow a little extra time…there’s no harm in arriving early. Only you know where to draw the line so set the limits for your kids and it will set them up for morning success!

Stressed out and rushed with the kids on school mornings? These 12 tips for streamlining the morning routine are easy and practical for getting kids in back to school mode for stress-free school mornings! #School #BacktoSchool #Kids #Morning

 

 

6 Useful Tips for Walking Outside With Your Baby

Shortly after the birth of your baby, your doctor will likely recommend walking as a first exercise. Walking is perfect, because your pace can be as quick or slow as you wish and you may walk for as long as you feel comfortable. And my favorite: you can exercise when baby is with you! Here are my useful tips on walking outside with your baby.

I received an Ergobaby 180 Stroller to facilitate this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

1. Put All Your Walking Essentials Together

When I’m ready to take my baby for a walk, I don’t want to make a dozen trips back inside the house to get what I need. I created a place in my garage that holds all of my walking essentials in one place. Think about the things that you use when you go for a walk and place them in one central spot for quick access.

  • Walking shoes & socks
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen (for you and for the baby)
  • Sunglasses
  • Music player & ear buds
  • Water bottle
  • Sweatshirt (for chilly days)
  • Cooling Towel (for hot days – one for you & one for baby!)
  • Baby care needs, including diaper/wipes and sipper cup and snacks for toddlers

Read these 6 tips for walking with your baby including what to bring with you, where to go and choosing the perfect stroller. #Exercise #NewMom #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn

2. Choosing the Right Stroller for Your Baby

My family is already a fan of the Ergobaby line. I have the Ergobaby Omni 360 baby carrier. I’ve called it my “must-have travel item for babies“! It’s come in so handy on vacation. But I also use it every day when I need to hold my toddler but also remain hands-free.

As soon as your doctor gives the okay, it’s usually fine to take your healthy newborn outside for a walk. At first you may choose to place your baby inside of the front carrier. But eventually you’ll probably want to graduate to a stroller. The Ergobaby 180 Stroller has so many great features, including a reversible handlebar that quickly adjusts for height. I like the simple recline with breathable mesh side panels so my daughter can comfortably nap on our walk. It’s a very simple-to-use stroller, with one-hand folding and easy-tap foot brakes. Having a stroller that’s equally easy to maneuver and also comfortable for your baby is ideal.

Read these 6 tips for walking with your baby including what to bring with you, where to go and choosing the perfect stroller. #Exercise #NewMom #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn

3. Where to Walk With Baby?

If you live in a neighborhood or city, hitting the sidewalk right outside your front door is great. On particularly hot days, I’ve taken my baby and stroller to the indoor mall for window shopping while walking. The Ergobaby 180 stroller has 4-wheel steering and easily moves from smooth sidewalks to rougher terrain. You can quickly adjust the wheel locks by pressing a button to adjust each wheel.

I personally love to walk in the park. Local parks often have looping walking paths that are perfect for walking with your baby. At just 20 lbs, the stroller is lightweight for travel and easily folds with one hand. It’s also car seat compatible (with the car seat adapter, sold separately). Grab your walking essentials, load the stroller into the car and head out to the park!

4. Best Time of Day to Walk With Baby

In the warmer summer months, early morning hours are ideal for walking with your baby. However I have a toddler, so my daily walk is intended to kick-start her nap time! I usually don’t start my walk until around 11 am. This means it can be warm outside and I need to take the proper precautions to prevent overheating.

I make sure that my daughter has her sipper cup filled with water and that I’ve applied sunscreen to her legs. The Ergobaby 180 stroller has an over sized sun canopy to protect her from too much exposure. The stroller also has roll-up panels that reveal full mesh sidewalls. This helps to keep air circulating and prevents the baby from overheating when she naps on our walk.

Read these 6 tips for walking with your baby including what to bring with you, where to go and choosing the perfect stroller. #Exercise #NewMom #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn

5. Benefits of Taking Baby for a Walk

  • Fresh air, exercise and stimulation! I find that a daily walk helps me to work out my thoughts, improves my sleep at night and gets me moving (especially in those early months with a newborn, when you only feel like you’re sitting and nursing all day!)
  • If Baby is overstimulated by the view or if you simply want to keep an eye on her while you walk, the Ergobaby 180 stroller has a quick response. The handlebar has an easy flip option so you can turn it to face either way in about three seconds!
  • My daughter is just two-years old, so I like taking her for a walk in preparation for nap time. Sometimes I’ll walk to the store and pick up a few essentials. The under-stroller basket on the Ergobaby 180 stroller is extra large for holding plenty! Usually my goal is getting her to fall asleep so a long walk benefits us both.

Read these 6 tips for walking with your baby including what to bring with you, where to go and choosing the perfect stroller. #Exercise #NewMom #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn

6. Safety Concerns

  • Don’t walk where you don’t feel comfortable. Choose walking areas away from vehicle traffic and that are well-lit.
  • Consider walking in a group with other people.
  • Use the brakes on the stroller every time, even if you stop on flat ground. You never know if Baby’s movements will cause the stroller to roll.
  • Don’t put your wallet or phone where it can get grabbed. The Ergobaby 180 has a hidden storage pocket behind the seat where I place my valuables and then zip it closed.

My toddler and I really do like the ease and comfort of the Ergobaby 180 Stroller. We’ve already taken the stroller on a trip and appreciated the lightweight frame & ability to fold down small into the trunk. Click the link to purchase and you’ll receive a code for a free snack tray attachment with your stroller order (offered for a limited time).

Read these 6 tips for walking with your baby including what to bring with you, where to go and choosing the perfect stroller. #Exercise #NewMom #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn

 

Create a More Calm and Peaceful Entryway in Your Home

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

In the last few months, I’ve been focusing on being in a more intentional place. FOCUS is my Word of the Year and I really am trying to press into that. I want to be a more focused mother for my children. A wife who has a great focus on marriage as a whole. And I’ve just started going to night school, so I definitely want to be more focused on my studies. All this focus can leave other things, like housework, in the dust (literally!) There’s only so much of me to go around, you know? Staying focused on a few things means that other things can get neglected. And to be honest, that truly affects my mood. I want to be good at everything, even when I know that’s impossible! But if I neglect ME, then nothing else is going to go right.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Saying Yes to More Peace

My moms group has been delving into the topic of getting more peace in our lives. Bottom line: It’s not your circumstances that bring you down. It’s the attitude and thinking you have about things that ultimately makes you upset. My happiness should not be based upon what is happening around me. It’s not the circumstances, it’s the attitude and thinking I have about them.

I have it on my heart to be more conscious about my mood when I come home after a long day. It’s too easy to fall into the chaos once inside the door and I aim to be more centered and at peace at home. A relaxed and calm Mom is better at all things!

One thing that I do as a reminder to stay serene is take a moment in my entryway to pause. It’s only a moment that I need before the whirlwind hits me. I have my entryway table set up with everything I need for a proper welcome home. I can choose to think about positives I’m grateful for and not the potential craziness that awaits me beyond the entryway. With just a few key items in this place, I’ve made my home a more calm place.

Creating a Calm and Peaceful Entryway

Creating a peaceful and beautiful entryway helps set up the reminders for me about being purposeful. I have carefully chosen only what makes me happy and gives meaning. Clutter is the enemy! Only what absolutely needs to be there should be allowed in this place. I take time each day to make sure this area is tidy. Even if my office desk has a huge stack of papers or there are dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, at least I know that this one sacred place of peace and meditation is clutter-free.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

These are the things I have in my lovely entryway that bring me joy –

Favorite art and calming quotes. Surrounding yourself with lovely things really does go a long way towards calm.

A table runner is a great base to start from. I went with a neutral so that I could choose to add more color with my accessories.

A place to put car keys because hunting for lost car keys when you’re already running late is going to make you crazy. I love this pretty bowl to use as a catch-all from keys to earrings.

I try to deal with mail immediately while it’s in my hand. I sort out the junk into the recycling and put bills on my office desk. Don’t let paper clutter up your special space.

Add a touch of nature, whether it be a vase with flowers, a tiny cactus or something like this bonsai I have. An earthy reminder can help you to stay grounded.

Include something meaningful to you. I have a pretty vintage cake plate and a soapstone container that my husband bought me on our first vacation together.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Using Fragrance to Move My Mood

The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Fragrance Mist helps welcome me home. The scent of fragrance upon coming in my front door is the gentle nudge I need to remind me to breath deeply, stay calm and let the stress of the day slip away. I found these at Walmart. I chose each of these two fragrance mist products for different reasons.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

The notes of jasmine and rose with cedarwood and clove in the No.1 Enraptured™ fragrance helps to put me in a loving mood. The No.2 Bright™ scent has a light and bright note of raspberries and orchard fruits with pear and sweet pea.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrances are infused with essential oils and masterfully crafted fragrances. Just spray up and sweep side to side. It is a continuous spray so the mist lingers in the air. A quick spray and deep breath from me and I’m in my calm space. Just the welcome home that I need!

How can you use fragrance to transport you into a peaceful place?

Follow this entryway tutorial to put you in the right mood the moment you walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters (I Used to Be One!)

I place the plate of food in front of my toddler daughter and she recoils in horror. The arms pulled back, the face twisted in disgust. It’s a look I know well. I admit that I was not a healthy or adventurous eater as a child. In fact, I was extremely picky! I dreaded eating at a friend’s house because of my food aversions. I had my picky food list in mind and hoped that the meal being served didn’t have something that I’d have to pick out, avoid or gag on! Only in my twenties did I start trying new foods. And it’s because I used to be so particular with eating that I’ve been able to come up with ideas for feeding picky eaters.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters

When my eldest son was born, I knew that I wanted him to develop good eating habits from the start. Today he’s an adventurous eater who loves to try new foods. When I married my husband, I gained a stepdaughter through marriage. She was a very particular eater who (with Autism) has some serious texture sensitivity. She now easily eats everything placed in front of her without any complaints! Keep reading for my tested tips for feeding picky eaters.

Picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater on how to encourage your kids to try new foods. With these practical tips for feeding picky eaters you can take the focus off them and encourage healthy habits.

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

1. Start Young

When your babies first start eating solids, offer a wide variety of flavors and textures. It’s tempting to want to keep with the smooth and sweet foods but it’s important that babies learn (once the doctor gives the go-ahead) about savory flavors and to get accustomed to textures. I started by adding herbs and spices to baby food puree to add a dash of flavor. I discovered that a tiny bit of cinnamon with the baby cereal, thyme in the chicken puree and curry in the butternut squash.

2. “You Don’t Have to Like it, but You Still Have to Eat it”

Enlist a family motto like this one, which knocks off the “I don’t like this” excuses. When I first married my husband, his daughter was 5 and had a very small meal repertoire. We knew that needed to change but he’d gotten accustomed to serving her the same foods. It was easier to give in than deal with a possible dinnertime meltdown. Upon giving her a plate of food and hearing, “I don’t like meatloaf”, I replied, “You don’t have to like it, but you still have to eat it”. Saying it flatly and without emotion, drama or any kind of pressure from me seemed to do the trick. She tried it and now meatloaf is one of her favorite meals!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

3. Make the Meal Less About the Eating

Growing up, I was sooo stubborn about trying new foods. And that’s because during every dinner, the spotlight was on me to verify that I was eating what was served. My parents would make a big embarrassing fuss if I tried something new. So I stopped trying new things, just to be more in control.

We decided with our kids to take the focus off the eating and make mealtimes more enjoyable. We don’t obsess over every bite that our kids take. There is no big fanfare. It’s just food and meal time is not the place to pressure your kids. Push them and they’re sure to push back!

4. Keep Offering

So, they didn’t like it the first time you served it. That’s okay, keep offering. It may take quite a few times of seeing a food on their plate before children will try it, let alone like it.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

My son requested sushi for his birthday dinner.

5. Limit Portion Sizes

How can you get picky eaters to try new foods? Don’t pile their plates! When serving a new food, all we ask is that our children try one or two bites and that’s all. Start with a very small portion on your child’s plate. When they finish it, offer seconds. There are certain foods that my daughter doesn’t enjoy, like black beans. We will literally give her three beans and ask that she finish them. Once she is done, she can request more or she can be finished, there is no pressure.

Consider a Compartment Divided Plate so that foods aren’t “touching” and portion control is easier.

6. Respect Their Lack of Appetite

How do I get my picky toddler to eat?! And why is my kid always telling me he’s not hungry? Kids truly do have small stomachs. Also their appetites peak and wane depending upon growth spurts. Repeat after yourself, “It’s just one meal”. They’ll eat when they get hungry. Kids should continue to sit at the table with you during meals. I let my kids know that THIS is meal time and that if they tell me they’re hungry in 30 minutes that what we’re eating at the moment is what they will be served!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

7. Keep An Open Mind

You’ve just prepared a new dish and you’re already thinking, “There is no way my kid is going to eat this.” Get that thought out of your head right now, because your picky eater might just surprise you. Go into each new experience with an open mind. Simply serve what you’ve made without a big production and ignore the “I don’t like this, even though I’ve never had it” commentary.

Last year I offered my kids white canellini beans. We’ve eaten a lot of beans (pinto, black, refried, kidney) over the years but I’d never served white beans. My preschooler asked me what they were and then tried one (up to that point, he wouldn’t even TRY the beans we’d offered). He shrugged after eating the white bean and said, “I guess I like beans”. And he’s eaten every bean since!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

8. Water is the Beverage Option

Though I do offer a small glass of milk with breakfast and dinner, for the rest of the day water is the only beverage option. Juice or caffeine-free soda is limited to special occasions, like at a party. I prefer that my kids get their calories from healthy, nutritious foods and not get filled up on beverages.

9.  Serve Well-Balanced Snacks

Nothing like that just-before-dinner snack to “ruin” their appetite for the main course! Limit snack time to twice a day and under 100 calories. Snacks should be well-balanced and include a little fat (like nuts), protein (like a lean piece of meat) and a carbohydrate (like a half of a piece of fruit). Make it easy for your kids by keeping fruit on the counter and prepped veggies in the fridge, where they are easy to grab on the go. We like edamame that kids can pop out of the pods (they are healthy and they take a bit of time to consume).

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

10. Keep the Choices Fresh

It’s easy to get stuck on serving the same fruits and vegetables. But it’s important to keep things fresh and continue to offer new flavors. My kids have just developed a love of yellow and green squash, which we lightly steam. It’s also essential that you keep mostly fresh foods in the kitchen and to eliminate most bagged or processed items that are heavy on sodium and saturated fat.

We recently tried Dinnerly, which gave us some new ideas for veggies and recipes.

11. Offer Sauces and Dips (or Not!)

My toddler won’t eat meat unless it’s smothered in ketchup. Totally fine by me, at least she’s eating it! What are the foods that your kids might enjoy more if they had a sauce or dip as an accompaniment? And then there are some kids, like my kindergartner who does’t like sauces at all! If it’s easy enough to leave off the sauce on a dish, try letting family members add it themselves so the picky eater can have it “plain”.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

12. Remove White Foods

White foods are often the diet staples of a picky eater! Sub in colorful and more flavorful foods and skip the bland white foods. Avoid white bread and switch to a smooth tasting wheat. Once your child’s taste buds have gotten used to that, you can move to a nutty whole grain instead. Instead of white potatoes, try steamed sweet potato chunks. Use whole wheat pasta instead of pasta made with white flour. Switch out white rice for brown rice. Don’t think that eating healthier foods is more costly – see my ideas on how to save money on groceries.

13. Be a Good Role Model

Kids will totally notice if you are serving them lima beans and you don’t have any on your plate! Make sure you practice what you preach and that they see you eating healthfully as well. Are you ready to start your own healthy eating plan? Check out my review of Personal Trainer Food.

14. Make Meals Distraction Free

While you don’t want the focus on your picky eater during meal times, it shouldn’t be focused on the TV or device either. Make meal times enjoyable with light conversation by turning off the television, phone and devices. Click through to read about healthy breakfast ideas for kids.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

15. Dessert Isn’t the Reward

I know we’ve all been guilty of encouraging dinner eating by the promise of a sweet treat at the completion of the meal. But that definitely gives kids the message that dessert is more important by making it a reward. In our home, dessert isn’t an every day occurrence. And it’s definitely not always a sugary treat. Consider fruits like strawberries with whipped cream or frozen grapes (cut in half before serving).

16. Don’t Let Them Frazzle You

When my husband and I were first encouraging our daughter to try new things, it was imperative that we not lose our cool with her. A large part of being a picky eater is the control that it brings (speaking as a former picky eater herself!) When parents act like food is no big deal, it frees the child to relax and open up to trying new things just a little bit more.

Offer foods without pressure or bribery. If there is a complete meltdown at the mere suggestion of taking one bite, remove the plate and calmly tell the child to leave the table. Do not offer to prepare a different meal. Kids will either choose be stubborn and go without or they’ll begrudgingly eat what is offered. Just keep your cool and pretend it doesn’t bother you one way or another to get the control issue out of the way.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.


Personal Trainer Food Review – How Important is Convenience to Weight Loss?

People want easy. Simple as that. If it’s too hard, most people aren’t even going to try. That is the honest truth about most things in life. And never more true when it comes to weight loss. Bottom line: People want simple and easy weight loss.

Nobody really wants to make drastic lifestyle changes. Nobody really wants to give up what they enjoy and start doing something that sounds un-fun. And if the scale isn’t moving in the right direction right away, forget about sticking with it…where’s the chocolate cake?! *ahem* Sound familiar?

I think that all of these “don’t wanna do that” things are what kept me overweight for so long. Did I want to lose the weight? YES. But did I want to make the appropriate changes in order to make that happen? No, not really! The thought of having to research what I should and shouldn’t be eating, calorie counting and early morning workouts stopped me in my tracks each time. I was frustrated by the time and careful thought it takes to prepare a wholesome and healthy meal. Add in that weight loss on my own was soooo slow! I wanted to lose the weight but I felt like I just didn’t have the time or energy to commit to it.

So how important is convenience when it comes to weight loss?

I’d venture to say that convenience is VERY high on the list when people finally decide to commit to weight loss. Convenience may be the most important thing. Most people want foods that are easy to prepare. They want meals that they don’t have to think about -grab, heat and eat – without having to worry about calories. And they want quick results. They want to see loose pants and lower numbers on their scale fast.

For me, what finally worked was Personal Trainer Food. It’s easy. It’s convenient. It’s real, healthy food. And it totally works FAST. Comparing the convenience, cost and time-restrictions of making your own food versus using the Personal Trainer Food program, it’s no contest. I’ve lost a total of 13 lbs in 5 weeks on PTF – this program is extremely convenient!

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

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. 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!

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Convenience Factor #1 – No Grocery Shopping

Not having to go to the store is a huge convenience! With Personal Trainer Food, you can skip the grocery shopping and easily order all the food and snacks you’ll need for an entire MONTH. A few quick clicks on their site to pick and choose all three meals for the day. And it comes straight to your door. Just make plenty of room in the freezer because 28 days of breakfast, lunch and dinner takes up a lot of space.

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

Convenience Factor #2 – No Meal Planning

When on a diet, it can be tricky to know what you should and shouldn’t include in your meals. I love that with Personal Trainer Food I don’t have to plan anything. I just reach into the freezer, pull out a protein and a veggie, heat it up and EAT. No planning necessary, which takes the focus off dieting. Truly convenient, right?

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Convenience Factor #3 – No Portion Control or Calorie Counting

One of the things that everyone hates about “dieting” is that they constantly feel restricted. On traditional diets, there are food logs, apps for keeping track of foods, caloric calculations and constant measuring of portions. It is such a relief on PTF not to have worry about any of that. Each of the meals is pre-proportioned with the proper amount of protein and carbs.

Convenience Factor #4 – No Hunger

I’ve been on diets in the past and I know you know what I’m talking about here. You’ve already eaten your allotted calories for the day and yet your stomach is still growling. Hunger can leave you so frustrated and give you less willpower to succeed. The portions on PTF are really decently sized. Paired with snacks like cheese, nuts and a daily apple, I’ve never been hungry on this plan. You can purchase some snacks on the PTF site or follow their recommended snack list (it’s sent with your order).

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Need more? Add cheese, salsa or veggies to your breakfast (no calorie counting!)

Convenience Factor #5 – No Crazy Exercise Routines

I don’t have time to spend hours in the gym, sweating it up everyday. But that’s what we’ve heard works for weight loss. But on PTF, the only exercise that they encourage during the weight loss phase is 20 minutes of walking. Nothing crazy and no huge time commitments. I find it very convenient to squeeze in a quick 20 minutes of walking in my day!

Are you ready to make the weight loss commitment? Check out the Personal Trainer Food program on their website. I highly recommend signing up for their emails (there are frequent coupon codes and specials!)

Taking my 20 minute walk with the baby in the stroller to fit in my daily exercise.


Getting Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

Getting back into an exercise routine can be a challenge. I know, because I’m right there with you! While I’ve been doing well on the healthy eating side for a while, now I need to work on the exercise aspect. Firming, toning and strengthening are my new focus. However getting motivated to just do the workout has been a struggle for me. I’m home alone for hours with my toddler, so if I’m not playing with her, I’m trying to squeeze in work. Exercise with a toddler around isn’t impossible – but it’s definitely becoming my latest excuse to skip the exercise!

I Just Don’t Feel Like Exercising

I’ve come up with some motivations to move me forward when I have no desire to workout anymore. Sometimes I want to exercise but I’m lazy, I’ll admit it! And I can come up with a million reasons NOT to do it. Tackling these motivators FIRST can set you up for success. I recommend writing things down, posting them somewhere prominent and reminding others around you to encourage you on your fitness journey!

I’ve included photos of me in this post wearing my new workout wear from Fabletics. Keep reading for a review on Fabletics and why I think it’s important to have cute and comfortable workout clothes.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

I received one complimentary outfit from Fabletics. No other compensation was made. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you.

1. Have a Reason Why

What are you exercising for? You have to know your “reason why” because that’s your ultimate motivator. Write your reason down, whether it’s to lose weight, firm up or get heart healthy. When you feel your motivation waning, put your reason why someplace at the forefront to remind you daily.

My reason? To firm up, yes. But also to be a good example for my children! We frequently exercise together, even if it’s just a long walk outside.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

2. Know Your Excuses

I didn’t sleep well last night and today I’m too exhausted to exercise. I just can’t seem to find the time. My legs/back/head hurts. I don’t like the gym. I’m bored with my usual workout. I don’t feel like working out anymore!

Do any of those excuses sound familiar? Yeah, we’ll come up with a bunch of reasons why we shouldn’t work out. But it goes back to your “reason why” and all excuses need to go out the window. When you find yourself making excuses, remember your “reason why”. Your “reason why” you should be exercising will knock off all excuses.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

3. Have a Workout Buddy

I’ve always found that having someone to workout with makes the “chore” of exercise more fun. You don’t want to let your workout buddy down, so you’re more likely to show up and keep the schedule. Here are some ideas on things to do with a workout buddy:

  • Make a standing twice weekly date on the calendar.
  • Go for a long walk with your kids – even if you have to bring their strollers.
  • Meet in the park with workout bands and kettle bells.
  • Screen a workout video at home to do together.
How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

My workout buddy keeps me motivated!

4. Get It Out of the Way First Thing

I’ve been in the habit of getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast. Then once I’ve dropped off the kids at school, I just don’t want to change into my workout clothes and that’s just another excuse not to exercise.

Now when I get up, I immediately put on my workout clothes. I find that if I’m already wearing them when I get back after school drop off, I might as well workout! If you can, tackle your exercise first thing in the day so nothing else can get in front of getting it done.


5. Squeeze It In

Okay, so some days you just can’t get the workout done first thing in the morning. But don’t let that be a reason to let the whole day go down the drain. Take advantage of small bits of time when you can squeeze in the exercise.

Here are a few things that I do at home when I have snippets of time:

  • When cooking dinner, I will stay in the kitchen while waiting for the food to be ready. This is a great time to do as many leg squats as you can or do incline push-ups against the counter or chair dips.
  • Before and after school drop off I’ll do a fast walking lap around the block.
  • When playing with my toddler, I’ll stretch, do crunches and planks on the floor next to her.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

6. Develop a Routine

Having a consistent routine can push you through sluggishness. Go through your exercise routine step by step and repeat it. Maybe you always get up in the morning, get yourself into your workout clothes, put your hair in a ponytail, lace up your running shoes and fill your water bottle before starting exercise. Write down your routine and stick with it each day so you can fall into a pattern of repetition.

7. Have a Checklist

I’m all for checklists because it makes it so much easier for me to keep track of my time and routine. You can do a search on Pinterest for workout checklists or just write one yourself. Here are some things to keep track of:

  • Cardio days and weight days
  • Length of time you worked out
  • Reps and weight in pounds
  • How much water you drank

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

8. Anything Is Better Than Nothing

Just becasue you couldn’t work out for 90 minutes at the gym doesn’t mean you should skip your exercise completely. Do what you can, whenever you can. Maybe that means you park far away and walk briskly through the parking lot when running errands. Or you take the stairs instead of the elevator. All those little things really do add up when you’re counting your exercise!


9. Wear Workout Clothes That You Love

I recently received this set of workout clothes from Fabletics. After losing some weight, I was desperate for new exercise clothing. And for me, having something that is cute, comfy and flattering makes me want to wear it. And if I’m already wearing my workout clothes, I might as well workout, right?!

The Fabletics Salar Statement Powerhold Legging have four-way stretch for maximum compression that’s still comfortable. They are also moisture-wicking and quick drying. I love the wide, drawstring waistband. I hate when the elastic at the waist is too skinny because it tends to roll over. These pants totally stayed put during my entire workout.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

There’s an internal waistband pocket to hold something small like a key. There are also slim side pockets along each leg for holding your device. The full-length legging was a bit long for me (I’m only 5’2″) – next time I’ll choose a short inseam.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

Two side pockets on the leg – large enough to hold my phone.

I really love the design on the Fabletics Nicole performance tank. The Aegean blue color coordinates with the leggings and has pretty detailing along the sides. The top has built-in cups, though I still needed to wear a workout bra underneath for additional support. But smooth and flattering, not too snug at the waist or hips.

What are your tested ways to stay motivated to workout?

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

 

How to Create a Get Well Gift Box for Sick Friends

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., Campbell’s® , Lipton, Premium Crackers, Theraflu and TYLENOL®. All opinions are mine alone. #SickDaySolutions #CollectiveBias

Think back to the last time you were sick. Oh, that’s not a good memory, is it! Hopefully you had someone that was able to take care of you. You know, that comforting person who can bring you warm soup and tea. Someone to dose out your medicine and fluff your pillow. When I was sick my dad would always bring home a special treat from the store for me, like a new box of crayons and a coloring book. Or a book of paper dolls, remember those? It’s great having someone there to take care of you. It just makes you feel better when you know someone cares.

Now think about the last time your entire family was sick. That’s that worst!! When I think of those horrible cold and flu times when the entire household is sick, nobody wants to have to leave for the store to pick up essentials. And so you all lay around in your pajamas, feeling awful together. Everyone is cranky. And bored. And the sick parents still have to take care of sick kids, even though all they want to do is crawl under the covers and sleep!

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

The Get Well Gift Box

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that her entire family was stuck at home with a flu bug. Nobody in her house felt well enough to drive and they’d run out of medicine. So many friends jumped in that they’d drop by with essentials. The family was so grateful and felt so loved and cared for. I’m sure that just knowing they have generous friends helped them feel better that much sooner.

What if you could create a special “Get Well Gift Box” to take to your friends when they’re all sick at home? The box would include all the needs for a few days at home, while recuperating. The Get Well Box would include soup and crackers, tea and medicines. There would also be a family movie, some reading material and a little activity for the kids. This pay-it-forward gift is heartfelt and sure to put a sick family on the road to recovery that much faster!

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

Creating a Get Well Gift Box

Any cardboard box or large shoe box will do. If you’re using a plain box, wrap the bottom of the box in pretty paper and leave the top off so your goodies can be on display. A basket would work well too. I had a fabric covered box that I used for my get well gift. Don’t forget to include a card. You can choose to sign it or make it anonymous (that could be fun, right?)

I made this Heard You Were Sick free printable card to include with your box if you want!

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

Filling Your Get Well Gift Box

I headed to Ralphs to fill my get well box with sick day essentials. Ralphs had everything I wanted to add into the box, including boredom busters like a magazine and crossword puzzle book.

I filled my box with Campbell’s® soup and Premium Saltine crackers, to warm and satisfy hunger. There’s Lipton Soothe Your Tummy herbal supplement for a comforting, warm beverage. And TheraFlu ExpressMax syrup and TYLENOL® Cold + Flu for the grown ups. Because when mom and dad are feeling better, they’re better equipped to care for the kids.

Click through to find coupon savings on these products!


Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

What’s Inside the Box?

  • Family size Campbell’s® Chicken Noodle Soup – nourishing and warm, this family sized can will satisfy them all. I have the kids sit at the table with their warm soup for lunch, which gives me a chance to change their bed sheets and pillowcases. I always feel a little bit better with fresh linens!

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

  • Original Premium Saltine Crackers – Everyone knows that these are the best crackers! Soup just isn’t the same without them. And sometimes sick tummies only want crackers so Premium Saltines are perfect for upset stomachs.

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

  • Lipton Soothe Your Tummy Herbal Supplement – These new blends offer a unique combo of botanicals, blended with essential oils known for their wellness benefits.* This Soothe Your Tummy version contains ginger, peppermint, and fennel in a caffeine free beverage. It’s really delicious too! It’s mild tasting enough that even kids would enjoy a warm cup.
  • Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad TheraFlu ExpressMax Severe Cold & Flu Syrup – When the ick hits you hard, TheraFlu is powerful relief without a prescription to treat symptoms of cold and flu.
  • TYLENOL® Cold + Flu Severe Day/Night – And if coughing keeps you up at night, these caplets help to relieve painful cold and flu symptoms like coughing, congestion, and sore throat.

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

  • Something for the kids – Lend a few family movies from your home collection, choosing titles the kids might not have seen before. Crayons and coloring books are great for small kids. For older kids a simple craft or some modeling clay would help break up the boredom.
  • Something for the grown ups – After a while, scrolling the web on your smart phone starts to lose its charm. Include a favorite classic book, a deck of cards, crossword puzzle book and a magazine for mom.
  • Other Essentials – Sick-season items like lip balm, tissues and juice would also be welcome additions to the get well gift box.

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

The Surprise Drop-Off

Once you’ve heard of a friend in need, gather up the supplies and get ready for the drop-off. Send them a quick message and let them know you’re headed over with a special box. Then just ring the bell and leave it at the door. Your friends don’t have to get out of their pajamas and you don’t risk catching whatever they’ve got!

And they’ll be so grateful you were thinking of them. I know my kids would be delighted to find a surprise box at the door for them, especially when they’ve been feeling sick. What a sweet way to help someone feel better!


Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

Campbell’s® – © 2018 CSC LP Lipton – © 2018 Unilever Theraflu – Read and follow label directions. Theraflu is for use in adults 12 years and older. Use products only as directed. TYLENOL® – ®Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017. Use products only as directed. The makers of TYLENOL® remind you to use only one medicine with acetaminophen at a time.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.

Simply Earth Review of Essential Oil Recipe Box Subscription

I’ve always felt strongly about using homeopathy and aromatherapy. I feel better when I use them and I like the results. The trouble for me has been in the consistency of using them regularly. I use them sparingly (because darn it, if essential oils always seem so pricey!) and then I just don’t replenish them when I run out. Because well, they’re expensive, right?

I was so intrigued to find Simply Earth essential oils. Their essential oils are reasonably priced. And their special subscription box means a monthly delivery – the perfect way to replenish! With the Simply Earth “recipe box” subscription you’ll receive 4 pure essential oils plus extras. Check out my honest Simply Earth review and find out what I was able to make with my recipe box. And keep reading to find out how you can get a special bonus on purchases from Simply Earth!

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

January recipe cards

I received three complimentary Simply Earth Recipe Boxes to facilitate this review. I have not received any additional compensation. Please note that I do have affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive compensation, thank you. 

What’s Inside the Box?

I reveal in my video what is inside my January Simply Earth subscription box, check it out! Bonus shot of me wearing a mud mask 🙂

Simply Earth Review – Recipe Box Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Full sized-bottles of essential oil (plenty to create the recipes and more!)
  • The price is great for the amount of things you receive in the box
  • Knowing that the essential oils are high grade quality for 100% purity
  • Subscription can be cancelled at any time
  • Free shipping
  • Great way to try something you might not have tried before!

Cons:

  • Not all of the extras to create the recipes is included. Some ingredients you might have on hand, others you may need to purchase
  • You may not want a full sized bottle of an oil you don’t plan on using again

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

January Simply Earth Recipe Box

I made and used four of the six recipes in the January box right away. I didn’t have one of the ingredients on hand, so I haven’t used one of the recipes yet. The roll-on oils are in my daily rotation and I’ve really enjoyed them. The scent is pleasant and I like the feel on my skin (too soon to know how effective they are at eye bags or wrinkles yet!)

The Curb Hunger recipe (called “Fit Roll-On” in the recipe cards) really does work immediately though! I’ve been keeping it in the pantry and I rub a little oil on when I feel a craving coming on!

The Mud Mask is another hit. I’m glad that the recipe box comes with ingredients to make these items several times over if you wish. My husband and I both enjoyed the after-effects of this mask on our skin.

Simply Earth included a recipe to be used in a diffuser. I received this diffuser from Simply Earth and have been using it almost daily, I enjoy it so much. This diffuser changes colors and emits diffused oils with water into the air.

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

February Simply Earth Recipe Box

I was so excited to see some of my favorite oils inside the February box, including lemon and Defender. I’d never heard of Ravensara but it has quickly become another favorite! It’s quite versatile and has a wonderful aroma. I was already able to make a sore muscles roll on, germ cleaner, vapor chest roll on and “warts be gone” treatment. Looking forward to making the shower disks – those are going to be such a wake-me-up!

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

August Simply Earth Recipe Box

This month’s theme is creating a spa day at home. You’ll notice that the oils now come without the additional packaging. The extra bottles and jars that I used to store my recipes came inside the Big Bonus Box (read more about that further in this post). Watch the video to see what oils I received and a few of the recipes I put together for August.

The BIG BONUS BOX

Okay, so making all these concoctions is fun but it can be a hassle to find the right little bottles and jars to store your blends. Simply Earth solves that issue by ending you the awesome BIG BONUS BOX. It’s filled with a bunch of containers that are perfect for holding your essential oil mixes. You’ll get over $50 worth when you use code BONUSBOX at checkout.

The Simply Pure Promise

Simply Earth is on a mission to make it easy and affordable for people to have a natural home while giving 13% of their profits to help end human trafficking. Simply Earth sources their oils from around the world in order to get the purest and highest quality possible. With thyme from France, sandalwood from Australia to balsam from Canada, there is even a map on their site to see where the oils come from.

Simple Earth has carefully and ethically chosen region where each particular plant will thrive. They work directly with the farmers to ensure plants are harvested safely and fairly. Natural essential oils are collected through either cold-pressing or steam-distillation. And every batch is tested to ensure 100% purity. And they back it with a 365 day satisfaction guarantee.

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

Why Use Essential Oils?

In addition to the Simply Earth Recipe Box, the company also sells individual bottles of essential oil, roll-ons, and carrier oils. At a practical price of $9.99 for a 15ml bottle of lavender essential oil, there’s no reason not to have that on hand – lavender oil has so many wonderful uses! My favorite way to use lavender oil is by adding to a carrier oil and rubbing on the bottoms of my kids feet at night. It’s so relaxing with a gentle massage and truly seems to help them sleep better.

My family has found that tea tree, lemon and peppermint are great to have as well. You can use essential oils to flavor foods and water, to mix with a carrier oil and apply to skin, to add to natural cleaning products (like vinegar) and to diffuse in the air for aromatherapy. A touch of peppermint oil rubbed on my temples is a lifesaver when I start to feel a headache coming on!

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

Simply Earth also offers a diffuser, wooden storage box for your oil collection and wool dryer balls. We already use dryer balls and I’ve never thought to keep essential oils in the laundry room! What a perfect way to scent the laundry instead of dryer sheets. Surrounding myself with natural scents is something that I find really calms and centers me.

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

August items and recipes

Essential Oils Don’t Have to Be Expensive!

After making essential oil purchases in the past, I got the impression that truly good essential oils cost more. But I’ve learned after using Simply Earth that this isn’t true. Simply Earth offers excellent, high-quality oils at prices everyone can afford.

If you’re ready to try the Simply Earth recipe box for yourself, use my code JULIEBIGBOYFREE. After subscribing to your first box, you’ll get a $20 gift card emailed to you as well as a BIG BONUS BOX that comes with your subscription box (remember, the subscription can be cancelled at any time).

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices. #SimplyEarth #SubscriptionBox #BoxOpening #Review #EssentialOils #Oils #Natural #HealthyLiving