Mommy Tell All Monday: Fit Moms Have to Eat

Good morning and happy Monday mommas! Sara is back again this month with more Mommy Fitness tips and tricks for us! Today’s topic is all about one of my favorite things… FOOD! Sara is sharing that Fit Moms Have to Eat in order to lose unwanted weight/gain muscle. Sara shares some great tips and go-to recipes for the busy mom who is trying to stay fit. 

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When you bring a new baby home everything changes instantly. When I became a new mom, I found that it was a crash course in time management. Here I was with my thoughts of, “I can get so much done when the baby is sleeping or playing or –fill-in the blank–.” Don’t worry, I can hear you giggling now as you read this because you know what I didn’t know, having a brand-new baby takes so much time.

Now, for the most part I figured it out the tricks for finding tid-bits of time to get things done here and there.

What I didn’t have figured out was something pretty essential to sustaining life (and sanity): eating.

Seriously, eating.

There would be evenings my husband and I would say, “Gosh, we are so hungry” and then try to recount the last actual meal we had eaten. Sometimes, we wouldn’t have eaten since breakfast and others it would be the night prior.

For someone who loves food, not eating really doesn’t bode well for the body or mind (you know you’ve all reached a point of being ‘hangry’ before). Also, when you’re trying to lose the baby weight (that was supposed to magically go away because you’re breastfeeding, but it didn’t so now you actually have to work at it) not eating makes losing weight really difficult.

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Did you know that when you skip meals it makes it more difficult for your body to sustain enough energy to properly function? Your body actually goes into starvation mode and takes whatever you eat (healthy or not) and stores it as fat to be later used as energy because it has no idea when it will be fed again.

Yeah, so, not eating = not a good weight loss trick.

For the first three months postpartum when I figured out eating actually helped, a lot, I lost a bit of the baby weight.

And then, nothing.

For two months.

Not a single pound.

Eating is one thing, but eating the right foods is a whole other thing. (Doughnuts aren’t healthy, say what?)

For me, I knew I had to clean it up. (Seriously, why can’t doughnuts be healthy?)

Now, if you know me, you know I don’t cook. I bake…. Which of course is completely counterproductive to losing weight.

In our household, my husband is the cook, but he is also a fireman which meant that for forty-eight hours I was on my own for meals. Six meals to be exact. For a girl who doesn’t cook and can’t cook very well, that’s too much thinking and too much work. Add a brand-new baby in the mix and that makes the task of cooking a meal daunting.

To solve that problem we began to prepare meals that were very simple for him to prepare ahead of time, easily re-heatable, and versatile. This included meats, veggies, and breakfast pancakes. (C’mon, if doughnuts were out of the picture I needed something to take its place.)

I am a master at re-heating foods.

I’m also a master at eating really healthy if someone else does the work. (Thank you, husband.)

The plan worked. Within a matter of months, I dropped the baby weight and by the time my daughter was eight months old I was in my pre-baby jeans. (My goal was to be in them by twelve months so eight was stellar in my book.)

One of our go-to recipes that is part of our weekly menu is Mexican-style shredded chicken. It’s so simple and easy to prepare that even I can do it. (Can we get a cheer for crock-pot meals?!) Plus, it is super versatile and can be used on a salad, tacos, healthy tex-mex burritos, healthy enchiladas, or, if time is really tight, heaped on a plate with a side of sweet potato.

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Mexican-style Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:

3 lbs. Chicken

Dash of garlic salt, cumin, Spanish seasoning of your choice

1 large can of Mexican stewed tomatoes

1 can of Rotel

1 small diced onion

1 can of green chilies

Directions:

Chuck it all in the crock-pot and let it cook. Our timing depends on how quickly we want to eat it; we put it on high if we need it within a few hours or on low when we want it after a workday. Once the chicken is ready, shred it and enjoy.

For breakfast, I am a fan of easy-peasy. I normally scramble four egg whites and one whole egg to be enjoyed with a side of healthy pancakes. The pancakes my husband throws together are amazing, but he literally throws them together so I have no idea what the ‘recipe’ is. Maybe someday he will actually come up with a recipe for me to share. Until that day, however, you’ll just have to enjoy this photo of said delicious pancakes.

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Finding time to cook is difficult when you have a new baby (or have kids, or a job, or a life) at home.

It’s easy to just go through a drive-thru or pick-up something that can be thrown in the microwave. But, with a little planning you can make really healthy and really yummy food that you can use throughout the week.

Don’t let all of your hard work in the gym and in life get sabotaged by what does (or lets be real, does not) in the kitchen.

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Light and Love,

Sara

Mommy Tell All Monday: Daydreamer

Happy Monday, mommas! Mommy Tell All Monday is our weekly meet-up to discuss all things *motherhood.* Grab a cup of tea, infused water, soda, coffee…and kick back for another awesome read from our Parenting/Motherhood contributor, Sara of A Mom’s Battle of the Selfie. Today she’s discussing the importance of being a daydreamer… 

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Live in the moment.

Be present with your kids.

Live each day to the fullest.

These are all common sayings that I’ve heard. They are themes that fit well into our present time with the amount of social media at our fingertips. I believe that statements like these could apply to anyone, and maybe parents need to hear them as reminders often.

I know that some moms keep their phones in a different room, or even on silent to not distract from time with their kids. For myself, my distraction is not my phone but my mind.

I’m a daydreamer.

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I let my mind wander to places often. When I’m working out I put fun dance and hip hop music in my ears and I take my mind back to my college days dancing with best friends. There was one year that we went out at least once a weekend and would dance our hearts out to the music, I think about those moments when I’m running and it makes time fly. I hate running, so anything that helps to make it go faster is worth it.

I daydream about the day that I met my husband. The times that we had together as friends, the hours we spent talking and laughing. I think back to the first time he admitted his feelings to me and even the first time we kissed. My mind wanders to the night he proposed, the butterflies that I always felt in my stomach when I was around him. Daydreaming about him reminds me of where we started and then it makes me smile to know how far we’ve come.

Sometimes I daydream about what my life will be like when all of my kids are in school. Oh my goodness, the possibilities are endless as to what I could do! Am I volunteering in classrooms? Will I have extra time to meal plan and serve healthier choices to our family? Maybe I will start ironing our clothes again, no probably not enough time for that. There might be some time to reconnect myself spiritually, something that I can’t find much time for now.

On really long days I often daydream about any upcoming vacations. Our family headed to Disneyland and the sparkle that shines in my children’s eyes when we’re there. Or my best friend’s wedding weekend that will be like a mini getaway; something that I’ve been looking forward to for years. I also dream back to my time spent in India with a ministry that my family loves and supports. I think about the children there and I pray for them. That daydream quickly brings me back to how blessed I am in my current reality.

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My absolute favorite thing to daydream about is decorating! I think about the next spot that I can move my couches to, or what old piece of furniture I would like to find to complete a specific room. If we ever had a chunk of money to renovate a part of our home I think about the changes I would make. Or I dream about the day that all of the large plastic toys are out of our backyard and the different things we could do with that space.

Clearly, I daydream all day long. My mind is not something that I can turn off or place in the other room. In some ways I think that it’s just as distracting as a phone, however I don’t think that it’s all that bad. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m on the border of always looking to what’s next and not reflecting on the good in the present. But I also don’t think its bad to hope, have ideas or even dream a little about things to come. And in some ways, it’s neat to reminisce about events of the past; times that will forever be special and even molded me into the woman, wife and mother that I am today.

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Let your mind wander. Whether your kids are next to you playing or in their room taking naps, go ahead and daydream a little. Dream about them, your spouse, your friends or the future. Maybe you’ll have some inspiration. Maybe you’ll feel blessed to think about your personal journey. Maybe some of your daydreams will turn into reality.

*All photos were taken by Michele Lundborg Photography, LLC

Mommy Tell All Monday: Making Time

Good morning and Happy Monday mommas! Sara, our Mom Fitness Contributor, is back this month to talk to us about a word that is sometimes my worst enemy… time. It can be difficult making time for fitness…especially as a busy mom.

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I’m pretty sure if you asked anyone what their biggest foe is when it comes to any fitness routine (or life routine for that matter) they would answer with one simple word: Time.

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Whether you’re a parent or not, time is a hot commodity.

If you’re lucky, you might be someone with too much time on your hands. If you’re like most people, you probably find yourself saying, ‘if only there were more hours in the day.’

Before I became a mom, I never really put much stock into the concept of time. The only things I really had to worry about were my job, my marriage, playing roller derby, and working out; some of which could be moved around to create any schedule I needed for that day. If I couldn’t workout before work, I went after school. If I had a meeting that was okay because I could just go to the gym later. If I had derby practice until nine at night, no biggie, I would simply go to bed later that night. If my husband and I wanted to go on an impromptu date night, we just went.

I didn’t have to worry about snack time, play time, nap time, bed time, meal time, cuddle time, and I didn’t have to worry about a small human being completely dependent on my time for survival.

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Before I became a mom, I used to listen to friends say that having children made it so hard to make it to the gym or do things that needed to be done. I would smile, listen politely, but internally I would be saying to myself that those were just excuses, if they wanted to they would. I know, harsh. Judge me all you want, but you have to admit you’ve probably said the same thing at one time or another in your life.

Then, I became a mom.

And I understood what my friends were talking about.

Not having enough time really was a genuine problem.

I didn’t notice it at first, the lack of time, because I was too busy enjoying being with my daughter, cuddling, napping, playing and learning to be a mom.

You all know what happened next though…. That feeling of a lack of time crept up on me and whacked me over the head.

For me, it made its appearance in the form of overwhelming anxiety.

I found myself as a stay-at-home-mom who couldn’t find the time during the day to do simple tasks like unload the dishwasher (I quickly became an expert at dish Jenga), do laundry (I just pretend like I never left a load of laundry in the washer for two days), vacuum the dog fur sweater my floors started wearing, and, oh yeah, working out or spending any amount of time on myself.

At first, my husband and I tried our best at ‘winging’ it. Our gym doesn’t offer childcare so while I would go workout he would watch her and then we would switch. Sounds like an awesome plan, right? It was, for a while, until just getting our workout in took up four hours of the morning and we found ourselves not even being ready to tackle the day’s errands/chores until noon or one o’clock. If you’re good at ‘I have a kid math’, this left only about five-ish hours until we had to be home for dinner, bath, and bedtime. Oh, and don’t forget, we needed to fit nap time within those five hours.

We got pretty good at the down-n-dirty grocery shopping trips, escapes to lunch, and other errand running. But, we knew it couldn’t last forever because we were would be exhausted and in bed as soon as the baby went to sleep. There were nights were going to bed when the sun was still up.

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My husband is a fireman which means he doesn’t work the typical work-day/work-week. Any workouts, chores, or fun things I needed or wanted to get done became dependent on his schedule. As a new mom, just getting ready in the morning with an infant felt like an Olympic sport; laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, forget about it. My daughter also flat-out refused taking a bottle which made dropping her off at a babysitters for anything longer than two and a half hours impossible.

Everything revolved around time.

How long could I be gone? How long would this take? How long before she needs a nap? How long would she actually nap? How long will it take me to work out? How long…. The list goes on and on.

Can you sense my anxiety while you read this?!

It was nuts. I knew I had to fix it.

I narrowed it down to the two things that caused me the most anxiety: household chores and fitness.

First, I had figure out how to overcome a house that refused to clean itself. I knew I would feel less overwhelmed (and guilty) if I could solve this problem. (We all know the days of just taking a few hours once a week to clean the house uninterrupted were long gone.) Thanks to Pinterest, I found a great daily cleaning schedule that helped split up the household chores into daily one hour chunks. I know, I know, I give you full permission to laugh at me here for actually needing, searching for, and using a cleaning schedule. I used to pin nifty cleaning schedules and think, ‘who actually needs one of these’. You know who needed one, ME! You know what else, it worked and to this day I find myself still following the same cleaning plan. Even if I miss a few days (or weeks) and my floors go back to their fur-sweater wearing days, I simply look at the plan, do those chores for the day, and move on. No more guilt. No more anxiety.

Second, I had to tackle the whole working out fiasco. Fitness is extremely important to me. I wanted my body back (and to feel less wimpy, remember). Plus, working it gave me an outlet for stress which makes for a happier mom and wife. Not working out wasn’t an option. With my husband’s schedule and the lack of gym childcare, I knew I had to workout when he was home or I had to be home before he needed to leave for work. With the baby’s non-use of bottles, I knew I had to be fast and no diddle-dallying was allowed. My solution: go to the gym directly after my daughters 3:30 am feeding. Yup, you read that correctly. I drug myself to the gym and started working out by 4:30 am, five to six times a week. I also planned and wrote every single workout to be done and have me home by the latest at 6:15 am. As hard as it was to wake up that early and have the energy to lift heavy objects, it was a plan that worked.

I quickly found myself being a morning person and I looked forward to getting in an amazing workout while most of the world slept.

Third, I had to solve the problem of ‘what if I can’t make it to the gym because _____’. My solution: at-home workouts. C’mon, I know all of you have some sort of at-home fitness DVD system that could work if you are in a pinch. (I still have my Billy Bank’s boot camp DVD’s if you find yourself lacking from a random infomercial purchase.) I’m pretty sure my Insanity and P90X DVD’s have gotten more use since before I had a baby. Plus, having your baby laughing at you while you attempt to keep up with Shaun T doesn’t suck.

By the time my daughter was five months old, I was in my mom groove. It felt great to finally feel like I had my stuff together. The anxiety was better, not gone, but much better. I finally got to the point where the schedule didn’t have to be so ridged, things could slide by, and I wouldn’t break down into a puddle of stressed-out mommy tears. (Tears only happen occasionally now.)

As I continue on this journey of motherhood, I realize that schedules and fitting it all in will always be an ever-changing challenge. I’ve also realized that you have to prioritize your time as a mom. Not every spare moment you have has to be dedicated to the baby or cleaning or whatever else seems to be taking center stage.

You have to make yourself a priority as well. If you want to go workout, make time for it. If you want to go enjoy a coffee or an unaccompanied shopping trip to Target, make time for it. If you want to just lay on the couch and catch up on trashy TV or Netflix, make time for it.

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Being a ‘fit’ mom isn’t just about being physically fit, it’s about being mentally fit as well.

24 hours.

1,400 minutes.

86, 400 seconds.

We all have the same amount of time in a day.

No matter what we do, the time will pass anyways.

Waste it wisely.

Light and Love,

Sara

All of the lovely photography in this post was done by the talented Bailey Carlin (Sara’s cousin). You can find her on Instagram and Pinterest

 

 

 

Mommy Tell All Monday: Let Them Play

It’s Monday, mommies! Grab a cup of tea, latte, diet coke, diffused water… and have a seat. Sara of Simply Sara is back for Mommy Tell All Monday and she talking about some messy business today. I love her advice… three simple words: Let Them Play.

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Towards the end of the summer I often find myself running out of ideas for ways that my kids can play inside. The spring and fall months are always nice because you can split the day up with outside and indoor play, but in the summer Arizona is just too HOT. We don’t have a pool (with four young kids I’m super thankful for that), but I personally have friends with pools who don’t go out too often either due to the brutal heat.

Eventually my kids start to go insane a little cooped up inside. My almost two year old walks up to the back door and just points and shouts “outside,” over and over like “seriously mom, did you forget that this door opens?” Every now and then I open the door early in the morning or in the evening for them to play and guess what happens . . . the babies walk straight to the hose and turn it on. They use the hose to clean their toys, fill up buckets, spray faces, over-water my garden, and basically flood our backyard. Not a lot of water ends up in our plastic play pool, but its drenching them and has made various mud pits around my yard and patio.

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You would think that I am thankful they can go outside and not mind the heat too much, giving them another environment to play in. But its hard for me to enjoy, and to be honest it often gives me anxiety. I have a hard time sending them out back because I hate that instead of playing on the play set or riding bikes they simply turn the hose on. And I hate when the hose gets turned on because the entire time it’s spraying my back yard I’m thinking of the clean up. I literally start to feel anxious over the extra work that it causes me.

In the 30-45 minutes that they trash my back yard with the hose, I spend the same amount of time cleaning it up afterwards. Grabbing the soaked diapers and clothes that ended up coming off because everyone just gets naked. Sweeping and trying to spray the mud off of the now very brown patio. Picking out the indoor toys that somehow ended up in the play pool. Dumping out every car that has water filled up in its “engine”. Taking a towel to my tile after everyone dragged the dirt and mud through the house. Mom ends up cleaning more, yet again.

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One time this summer I actually took a kitchen towel and wrapped it around my hose, then I covered it in duct tape so that my Baby D could not turn the water on while the kids went outside. I’m a little crazy, but it worked. Then just a few days ago we were having a very long day in the house so I sucked up my feelings over the flood, turned on the hose and sent the small beasts children out. While they were outside playing, instead of focusing on their mess something else caught my attention . . . the smiles. Oh the smiles. Then came the screams, not the mad or attacking screams but the joyful ones. The noises that make your heart burst as a mom.

I sat in my kitchen feeding the baby (in the air conditioning, don’t judge me) while I watched my littles have a blast in the backyard. Even in the nasty heat they were happily role playing with water, making “food”, cleaning “house”, using their imagination and being creative. It was beyond sweet and for most of the summer I had kept them from playing that way. I had restricted their play based on the cleaning up I had to do afterwards. Way to go mom.

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So for the rest of the summer I’ve decided to let my little ones play. To let them act their ages and be kids. To allow them to make a choice about an activity they want to do in my house or back yard, and not think about the clean up afterwards. Even better, I chose to close my blinds that open up to the backyard so that I don’t have to look at the mess and can just clean it up at a time when I have the energy. Because its just going to get messy again, I’m not having an outdoor party in the heat and I don’t need to impress anyone with a picked up backyard.

Is there an activity that your kids love to do that gives you an extra clean up? I know some people that won’t even mention playdoh in their house. I challenge you to loosen up a little, Momma. Maybe let your kids do that activity once this week, don’t be anxious about the mess but focus on their smiles and joy. Let that be your guidance when choosing activities. Let them be kids. We only have a few years to enjoy these moments before the cellphones, movies, homework and friends take up their attention. I know that one day my house will be clean, and I’m pretty sure I’ll miss the mess.

Sara (Simply Sara)

Mommy Tell All Monday: Three Tips to Help Kids Cope with Vaccinations

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

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It’s that season my friends… Back to School season which involves school supplies and clothes shopping as well as vaccine updates. Getting “shots” is never a fun event… not for the kiddo or the mom. So today I am going to share three tips to help kids cope with vaccinations. There are simple things you can do to help prepare them and make them more comfortable, which is really a good thing for both of you. 

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1. Talk about it. Explain what a vaccination is and why your family chooses to vaccinate. I say something like, “We get vaccines to prevent us from getting really really sick. It’s a quick pokey, and then it’s done!” Tip: When you go to Walgreens for Back to School supplies, stop by the pharmacy for Back to School Immunizations too! Not only do they make it quick and easy for you, but Walgreens will also provide a life saving vaccine to a child in a developing country through the United Nation Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign when your child receives their immunization. It’s called the Get a Shot #GiveaShot Campaign. (This program is aimed for school age children, 7 and older). 

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2. Kid’s Choice on Band Aids. As you are walking over to Walgreens pharmacy for immunizations, stop by the band aids aisle and let your kiddo pick out a special box of band aids. For whatever reason, it’s always fun to pick out a new box of band aids… it’s like flashy stickers for your battle wounds. You can pay for the band aids at the pharmacy and open the box and let your child choose one for after their immunization. 

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3. Reward. After your kiddo is a brave champion, a simple reward like a special lolly pop can go a long way. Of course Walgreens has art supplies, toys, and other snacks that can be used as rewards as well, but we try to aim for simple. A lolly pop gets the job done. Especially a pink, bubble gum flavored lolly pop. 

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What are your tips for helping your kids cope with vaccinations? Anything special you do to relieve some of the anxiety? 

 

 

Mommy Tell All Monday: Your Sanctuary

Good morning and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday! Sara (of Simply Sara) is giving us tips on how to create a place for a bit of “mom time” to catch a breather. Where is your sanctuary?

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Let me just start by saying, I am a big fan of HGTV. I don’t watch it as often as I used to because it turned into more of a “Pinterest” feeling for me rather than the enjoyment of watching good TV. You know that feeling right? You see a renovation or design idea that sparks a thought for your own home, but then you realize you can never get around to it or there are too many projects that its overwhelming to start and you just become a little sad. Maybe you are struck with envy as you watch home after home, all of which seem to be better than your own. It’s an entertaining yet viscous cycle.

One thing that I always thought was interesting about some home buyers and renovators was the list of wants in their master bedrooms. For some wives the bathrooms that just had the stand up shower were unacceptable, they needed a tub to soak in! Some parents wanted a split bedroom floor plan so they weren’t that close to their children’s rooms or the size needed to be large enough for some furniture other than the bed. Often times the words retreat or sanctuary would be used, which I always thought was a little silly until just recently.

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Being a foster and adoptive mom has meant that my family continues to grow in size even when we don’t totally plan on it. My husband’s heart moves before his head sometimes and we push a somewhat routine home life aside to make room for kids who need a home, and finding a new routine and rhythm starts all over again. Not an easy feat, but totally worth it. When it comes to boundaries in our house I’ve never used baby gates other than for dogs; my kids have always been able to roam where they wanted and I really haven’t ever thought about keeping them out of any particular rooms. Our house is licensed for care so everything is baby proofed to the state’s approval and we’ve only lived in one-story homes with our kids so stairs aren’t an issue. But recently when our house of 6 turned into a house of 8, I found myself looking for a space to retreat from kids.

So I went into my master bedroom and shut my doors.

Why did I not think of this before? I didn’t need any gates, I have some lovely doors that shut and lock, so I used them. It was a beautiful thing. I pulled an Elsa and shut everyone out. I didn’t need to leave my house to take a breath and retreat from the chaos; I could simply make my room off limits to anyone other than my husband and myself. I simply shut my doors.

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Now I’m going all “HGTV” on my bedroom and am working on turning it into a sanctuary. (Oh that’s why people use that word on the shows!) The bedrooms in my house are always the last to be decorated, since no one sees them other than the family mostly. But I need a sweet space in my room to refresh myself from time to time, possibly even daily. I also need to create a space for my husband to do his devotions in the morning because you guys . . . my house is SO loud. Seriously.

I’ll use this post to hold myself accountable to spending some time creating a space for us, my spouse and I. As parents we so naturally put our children first, which is wonderful, however- when I don’t put my husband first the downfall of that will ultimately affect my children. Moms & Dads are a team, and teams always need a dugout, bench or locker room to regroup. Where is there space in your house to collect your thoughts? Do you have time to connect with your husband on your back patio each day over coffee? Maybe your house is quieter than mine and you can just sit in the comfy chair in your front room. Find your own sanctuary and relax Momma, you deserve it!

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Here are some tips I have for making your room kid-free & relaxing:

• Keep toys out. When I’m hanging my head down in prayer I don’t want a doll staring back at me.

• Make your bed in the morning. It simply makes the room prettier.

• Stack your laundry or toss the piles somewhere other than in your room. Mine was always folded at the end of my bed and it would always remind me I have more to do!

• Use the lock and listen rule. I usually make sure my most destructive babies are in the high chair locked in, but for the rest of the kids I just listen for screams. If your house is baby proof you’ll be fine to retreat for 10 minutes or so.

• Tell your kids you are taking Mom time. Start teaching them now at an early age that Mom needs some space; they also won’t start screaming your name all over the house looking for you.

• Light candles.

• Open your blinds for some natural light. That sun is a natural mood booster!

 

Sara of Simply Sara

Mommy Tell All Monday: Motivation

Hello mommas and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday, a place where we share all things motherhood. Today I get to introduce you to another new MTFM contributor! My dear friend Sara is going to be sharing about mommy fitness and health once a month. Sara is a writer, mother, physical trainer, and fitness gym owner with her husband. I’m really looking forward to her monthly posts, as I could use some great tips and fresh perspective. Today she’s talking about motivation. 

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Fitness is such a tricky topic to cover no matter the genre you are writing for. Mom fitness? Well, that is a whole other ball game entirely.

I am not an expert on working out. I am not an expert on eating clean. I am just a mom that just so happens to be passionate about fitness and nutrition. I am just a mom treading through the uncertain ‘Post-Baby Body’ waters. The same waters many of you might currently find yourselves in.

If that is the case, let me first say CONGRATULATIONS on your new baby. Also, WELCOME to your ‘post-baby body’ life and to your biggest challenge: getting back to the ‘you’ you want to be.

I am a first-time mom to a 6 month-old baby girl. The last six months have been the most stressful, wonderful, exhausting, beautiful, eye-opening, and best experience. Ever. During my pregnancy, I read all the books and filled my brain with (too much) information. I knew what to expect while pregnant and during labor, but do you know what those books forgot to mention? The after. The adjusting; not the adjusting to life with baby, but the adjusting to life with a body after it has been through labor (any type of labor).

I will wholeheartedly admit I thought for sure I would be ‘ready’ to work out, go hog wild, drop all my baby weight within a few months (I mean, I have these super-powered breastfeeding hormones working in my favor, right?!) and be the superstar mom.

What I was not expecting was to be told by my doctor she was not going to release me for physical activity for another three weeks because I was not fully recovered yet.

Mentally I was thinking: Wait, what? You want me NOT to work off this extra fluff for another four weeks? Okay, I can do that because (if I am being honest here) working out just really does not work for me right now as I am pretty much obsessed with my kid and have ZERO desire to even enter the gym…. Or stop eating my waffles…. Or drinking my hot chocolate…. Or leave my kid any longer than it took me to shower.

You see, what I was not prepared for (not even in the slightest) was the complete and total lack of motivation I would have to return to my post-baby body. Sure, I loathed the scale entirely, I would look longingly at my closet full of fun clothes that were many sizes too small, I would think about working out (and would actually miss working out), I would read mom blogs about fitness post-baby, I would stand in front of the mirror in total shock of my changed body, and I would pin the heck out of ‘motivational’ things on Pinterest, but nothing seemed to really give me that kick in the behind I needed to jump-start my weight loss journey. My motivation just seemed, gone.

Motivation is defined by Merriam-Webster as a force or influence that causes someone to do something.

Motivation. A noun. A thing. A thing that can often times be the equivalent of that pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow.

Where does it come from? How can I get me some? Oh, and how can I keep it once I find it?

For me, my ‘oh-my-goodness-I’m-finally-ready-to-work-out’ moment came when my daughter was 12 weeks old. (2 weeks after being released from the doctor. So much for going hog wild, right?) She was entering the stage where she enjoyed playing on her activity mat, but only if I was playing with her. Down there. On the floor.

I found myself getting up and down and up and down (and up and down) so many times throughout the day it was ridiculous. By the end of the night, my back would be killing me, my knees and ankles aching, my arms exhausted, and do not even get me started on how my legs felt.

I remember saying to my husband on many occasions, ‘gosh, I am exhausted from playing with the baby’ or ‘lifting the stroller is just too much work for me can you please put it in the car’ or ‘can you just help with the baby because I am so sore.’

Wait.

What?!

Hold the phone.

Was that really ME saying those things?

Was that the same me who used to work out six times per week before getting pregnant?

The same me who would lift heavy objects just because I wanted to and I liked to? The

same me who loved being able to do things I was previously physically unable to do?

Answer: Yup. It was.

Truth: I felt like a wimp.

A big fat wimp. Fact: I did not like feeling like a wimp.

And there it was. There was my source of motivation. I did not want to feel like a wimp anymore.

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I knew that the older my daughter got the more active she would become and the wimpier (is that even a word?)I would get. That was simply not going to work. Nope, not at all. So, Monday morning I told my husband I was going to the gym. I nervously got dressed (in the one random workout outfit I could fit into), cried (a lot), worried about how she would do without me (but, really, I was worried how I would without her), got in the car, and drove to the gym. By myself.

That was 13 weeks ago and I can say it was the best decision I ever made. I feel better, I have so much more energy, I can actually play with my daughter (yup, down on the floor) for hours and still be able to function properly, and…. I am happy. Really happy.

Oh, and my feelings of ‘wimpiness’ = GONE! I finally feel like a strong woman and mom that can slay dragons or climb mountains for my daughter. (Or, you know, put the car seat in the backseat without completely throwing my back out.)

My motivation to get back into shape was all about me. I found my pot o’ gold. And I am still carrying it on my back whilst doing lunges back to my side of the rainbow.

Motivation comes in many variations. I asked several moms what their source of motivation was to get back (and keep) a healthy and active body. Maybe their answers are just the sort of motivation you need.

“I would say my number one motivator is that it is my obligation to set a positive example for my kids. I used to be a fat mom and now I am a fit mom. My son always checks ingredients before eating something new, we work out as a family. I hope to raise them in a lifestyle they will choose to live with their children and so on. Number 2 motivator, my sanity. Sometimes, when I am out for a 15 minute run or I go to yoga that is literally the only time that day I will get to myself. I cherish that time.” Michelle, mother 3.

 

“Exercise is something I want to do for me. It is nice to have a goal to work towards to break up the monotony of work/kids/sleep. I also love having my son ‘workout’ with me and I want it to become a routine for me so that my kids do not see it as me just trying to lose weight again (and have them develop insecurities about weight or body issues), but as something that is normal and something you do to stay healthy.” Cristina, mother of 2.

 

“A ton of my motivation is wanting to feel sexy for my husband! I realize that the pounds do not come off fast and I respect that my body needs nutrition while I am nursing, so I give myself a little grace and do my best to get back into the gym at that six week mark. The truth is, as I feel healthier, I feel sexier, and when our intimate life is active this momma is a lot happier during the day!” Sara, mother of 5.

 

“WELL, other than being able to fit in my clothes because I do not want to spend hundreds on a new wardrobe, I want my son to have an example of what it is to be healthy. He will be bombarded with unrealistic expectations of health. I am his first role model. I want him to know exercising is a way of life, not a chore.” Jayme, mother of 1.

 

“For me, as a new mom I put all my energy towards taking care of my daughter and neglected myself. She was seven months old and I still looked six months pregnant. We talked about growing our family and I realized I could not enter into another pregnancy without first losing the baby weight. After a month of working out to videos at home and eating right, I had lost the baby weight. It was hard to put myself first, but I realized that I could not be the best mom for her if I was not healthy.” Joanna, soon to be mother of 2.

 

“My main motivation has to be the ‘been there, done that’ factor. I knew from my first child that if I did not get up and get moving ASAP I would regret it. I knew from having my second child that if I ate well, hydrated, and walked our sweet precious babe around like I had with my previous baby, the weight would start to melt away. I had learned. Another main motivation was myself. I had gotten there before and I would again. In my own time.” Breanna, mother of 3.

 

“Okay, one of my biggest guilty motivators is knowing that other moms can work out and are working out. It helps me tell myself that there is no reason I cannot workout as well. Reading about and hearing other mom’s success stories, seeing their pictures, or watching them working out, it gets me moving.” Crista, mother of 3.

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If you’ve just begun your search for motivation or maybe you have been searching for a while, but still have not found it, do not fear. You will find it. Most likely, however it will find you.

Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow.

One day, it will come flying out of nowhere, slap you in the face and drag you back to ‘you’. The ‘you’ you want to be.

Light and Love,

Sara

Mommy Tell All Monday: Beautiful Moments

I’m so excited to introduce you to another one of MFTM’s new contributors, Sara from the blog Simply Sara! Sara and I have been friends since high school and I just adore her and her Christ-centered heart.

Simply Sara

Sara will be stopping by Mine for the Making to share her thoughts on motherhood once a month. You are going to love her realness…it’s absolutely refreshing. Today for Mommy Tell All Monday, Sara shares about Beautiful Moments.

Beautiful Moments

{Journal purchased from Target}

As a mom, some days can be hard. Okay, most days are hard, sometimes for different reasons. A household of sick kids, sibling fights, letting go of the bike, talking through a bully situation, loving on your kids when they’re chosen last, teaching your teen to drive . . .the list could be never ending.

In my current mommy season I am dealing with diapers, tantrums, the “No” word, tears and so on. Some days I don’t have enough hands. On the days that I have enough hands, I might be lacking in patience. When my patience is high my energy is probably low. I can’t be all that I need to be at all times.

One day this past week I had one of those days. You know. The next morning during my quiet time (that I wake up extra early to enjoy), I found myself sitting in silence and reflecting on my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Because each day has a fresh start I decided to look on the flip side a little and make a list of anything good that happened the day before. Now obviously it took me a few minutes to come up with the first one, but from breakfast to bedtime I let my mind walk through the previous day and I was able to come up with 4 great moments.

  •  My daughter sat on my lap to read a book over and over during our rest time; I can’t remember the last time we did that.
  • Nursing my baby boy in a quiet room, just time with him and I.
  •  5 kids were playing very happily in our front room, I was going through my (3 weeks) pile of mail while I watched them laugh, dance and wrestle without any adult intervention needed.
  • My husband and I were able to spend some time in good conversation with our two teens while the baby slept and the three littles played unbelievably well together in the Chick-Fil-A play place.

The list might look small to others, but for me those were four reminders that being a mom is worth it. Four beautiful moments that outweigh bad behavior or toddler screams. Four things that I would’ve forgot about had I not looked for the positive in my day.

The grass is green on my side of the fence too; I just need to look at my own grass instead of looking over the fence. In the midst of some dry weeds on my lawn, I almost completely missed the beauty that was growing there. I almost missed the joy that comes from blooming kids.

Have you had a bad day recently? That’s okay. We all have them. The families on Facebook that look like they have it all together, they have bad days too. But with each new day comes a fresh start. Give yourself some grace, find some positive in your previous day, write it down to remember those precious moments and then get to work . . . you’ve got some important seeds to plant.

#ad Mommy Tell All Monday: End Hunger + Simple Acts of Service

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #CollectiveBias

Hello and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday, where we share all things related to motherhood. Today I am going to be sharing ways we can help to End Hunger + Simple Acts of Service.

Chicken Fajita Simple Summer Salad1

While I was grocery shopping at Walmart the other day, I was thinking about how grateful I am for the women in my life who display simple acts of service on a regular basis. Being around those who serve others influences you to serve others as well. One friend in particular (though I have many) came to mind, and right there in the grocery store I decided I was going to serve her. Whether she is serving her family, her friends, her church, or even complete strangers, my friend Brit is always thinking of  others. So I picked up some yummy ingredients to make my family and her family a tasty summer dinner. 

Chicken Fajita Summer Salad2

I purchased Tyson Grilled and Ready Fajita Chicken Strips, spring greens mix, black beans, corn, avocado, cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, Ranch dressing, and salsa. I was so excited to get home to whip up this quick, healthy, summer meal!

Chicken Fajita Summer Salad3

It only took me about 15 minutes to put this yummy Fajita Chicken Summer Salad together for both my family and my friend’s family (you can find the recipe at the bottom of this post). The chicken is grilled and ready so you just have to heat it up prior to eating it. I also made a cute Random Acts of Kindness tag that I attached to the meal to encourage more simple acts of service (you can print off the tags HERE), and drove it over to Brit’s house to surprise her and her family. 

Chicken Fajita Summer Salad4

LOL! Aren’t they the cutest? And Brit confirmed that not only did she have 2 bowls of salad, the kids gobbled it down for dinner too! Talk about a WIN for this girl!

Chicken Fajita Summer Salad5

How can we provide simple acts of service and help end hunger? Tyson makes it that much easier for us! They have partnered with Champions for Kids for a program called #SummerofGiving. Ending hunger is a very important initiative to Tyson Foods. The Tyson Family Foundation initiative, KNOW Hunger, is a project designed to encourage people to KNOW the scope of hunger in their own communities and get involved in relief efforts, so that someday there will be NO hunger in our country. Find out more about this initiative HERE.

RAOK tag

So… where do we come in? For every bag of Tyson product purchased from Walmart by you and me, one meal will be donated to a child in need by Tyson! Isn’t that amazing? Wait…it gets better. Walmart has promised to feed 5 million kids this summer as well! I love when companies give back and promote doing good. So head to your local Walmart and pick up a bag of Tyson’s Grilled and Ready Chicken Fajita Chicken so that you can make this yummy salad for your family and a family you’d like to serve….plus help end hunger by purchasing these products. It’s a win-win my friends!

Chicken Fajita Summer Salad
Serves 4
A delicious, healthy, simple summer salad featuring Tyson Grilled and Ready Fajita Chicken.
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
For the Salad
  1. 2 cups Tyson Grilled and Ready Fajita Chicken
  2. Spring Greens Mix
  3. 1 avocado, cubed
  4. 1 cup corn
  5. 3/4 can of black beans
  6. 1 cup tortilla strips
  7. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  8. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  9. 1/4 tsp onion powder
  10. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
For the Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup Ranch Dressing
  2. 1/2 cup Salsa
For the Salad
  1. Heat up Fajita Chicken according to the package and then allow to cool.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together corn, black beans, avocado, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  3. Pour the bean/corn/avocado mix evenly over the mixed greens.
  4. Sprinkle tortilla strips and cheddar cheese over the top of the salad.
  5. Chop up cooled Fajita Chicken and layer on top.
For the Dressing
  1. Mix the Ranch Dressing and salsa in a small mixing bowl and drizzle over the top of the salad.
Mine for the Making http://mineforthemaking.com/

Mommy Tell All Monday: Maya Angelou

Hello there mommies and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday, a place for sharing all things related to motherhood!

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I find that when I am stressed or worried or overwhelmed, reading my scriptures or inspirational quotes often helps lift my spirits and gives me a different perspective on things. At a young age I became obsessed with famous quotes…or picking out my favorite quotes from books I was reading. I kept them in a journal, like a quote collection if you will. Now, I use good ol’ Pinterest to pin my favorite quotes. 

I have always loved reading the words of Maya Angelou and have looked to her words of wisdom often throughout the years. I’m so grateful to have read her words for so many years. I’m grateful for her sharing her wisdom and light with others around the world. And I plan to share her words with my children and grandchildren. 

So many of her quotes are my favorite (and you can find a lot of them pinned to my Quotes board), but one that I especially love is this…

Maya Angelou print

 

{Download HERE}

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” -Maya Angelou

I created this free printable to put up in my craft room, so I thought I would share  it here with you. It is an 8×10. Please remember all printables are free for MFTM readers for personal use only.

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{Vogue}

Rest in peace, sweet Maya. Thank you for being a strength to this mom, and I’m sure many other mothers around the world. 

 

Thanks to Craft A Doodle Doo for the free digital background download!