Cauliflower Rice

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I’ve heard much about Cauliflower Pizza Crust and to be honest, never tried it because it just looked to complicated and too much work for something that won’t even taste like a pizza crust. Just being honest – I don’t run an instagram account where all of my recipes are 5 ingredients or less for nothing! Life is just a bit too chaotic for me (and full disclosure, I’ve never tried to make Cauliflower pizza crust so maybe it’s super easy).

In contrast, when I saw this recipe for Cauliflower Rice I thought it looked easy enough (ugh, I used to be SUCH  a foodie! Now I judge a recipe by it’s ingredient list and easy scale….what has become of me!!?) so I gave it a try.

My husband made a POINT of telling me MULTIPLE times how good it was and I even served it to some neighbors who loved it. What I love most about it is the ability to make a large quantity and freeze portions of it, or simply keep in the refrigerator to eat all week.

It fills you up like a carb but counts as a veggie (This is a HUGE perk! Where my 21 Day Fixers at?).

Here is the recipe:

1 head of cauliflower
1 small yellow onion
1 clove garlic
Salt
1 lemon
Chop up 1 large head of cauliflower. Put raw cauliflower into a food processor (I had to do this in batches). Pulse until cauliflower looks like small grains of rice (technically it looks more like cous cous to me, but let’s not slip hairs).  Slice 1 small onion and saute in a few tsp of oil until tender and sweet. Add 1 clove of minced garlic to the sauted onion cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice to the onion and garlic and cook until cauliflower gets tender. Season liberally with salt and fresh lemon juice.

Enjoy!
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My Favorite Montessori Inspired Activities

About two weeks ago I visited a friend who is absolutely INCREDIBLE with her two girls and used to be a Pre-school Montessori Teacher. I was beyond inspired. I knew that I wanted to do something with my kids before we started officially in August, but I was overwhelmed to try and sit down and do lesson plans, or spend a lot of money on curriculums that I just wasn’t sure about.

I began to just look through our toys and craft supplies, and I was surprised at how much I already had around the house, and with a quick trip to the $1 spot at Target and the Dollar Store I was able to put together a great little ‘school room’ and some ‘lessons’ for the kids.
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I really had fun thinking through a clean, welcoming, uncluttered environment for us to focus on learning and fun (of course, IKEA was my best friend in this!

The kids have REALLY loved the lessons – it’s still a little more chaotic than I would like with 3 kids and the baby wanting to get into EVERYTHING, but I know that as we continue, we will only get better and better at learning what works for us.

I won’t get into all the history of the Montessori style of learning here (mostly because I’m not an expert by any stretch), but I just thought I would share a little of what we’ve been up to – I hope this inspires you and gives you some fun ideas to try.

Painted Popsicle Sticks:
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We use these to make letters with.
We use these to make different sized ‘roads’ with (“How many sticks long is the yellow road?” “Which road is longer, the blue or the green?”)
We use these to make shapes.

I feel like you could come up with several other ways to use them. One of my favorite things about Montessori inspired lessons is that the child can lead and discover and I’m always surprised at how my kids ‘play’ with the different materials I provide them.

Sugar Jar and Pipe Cleaners:
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I picked up this sugar jar at the Dollar Store and I thought it would be a fine motor skills lesson for my 3 year old, but to my surprise my one year old LOVES it! He is glued to this project and get’s SO excited when he gets the pipe cleaner through the hole.

Pipe Cleaners and Poms:
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This activity is extremely self evident – you could also connect several pipe cleaners and make a larger circle and have your child find other objects of that color from around the room or in their toy box. It’s great to reinforce colors and if you make them use a plastic spoon to scoop the poms (like I did for my son) it is also great motor skills development.

Popsicle Stick Puzzle:
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This was fun because I printed a picture of my own kids and just glued it to several popsicle sticks, when the kids put it together I actually wrote the numbers on the front of the puzzle as well, so that as long as they got the numbers in the right order they would see the picture. They were SO excited when they realized: “That’s me!!!!”

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I hope that this post gave you some inspiration and ideas – I would LOVE to hear how it went if you do try them out! I have a group that I run on Facebook called Just a Little Fun. I try to update it every so often with new ideas and projects that I’m working on with my kids – if you are interested in joining I’d love to connect with you there!

The Dance of Life is My Favorite

I love the rhythm of life.

The lazy rest of a weekend.

The slow, lingering, without regret.

I love the determination of a Monday.

Goals, dreams, responsibility.

Being focused, intentional and
moving through the week
with strength in my stride
and my eye on the prize.

I love the quiet of the 5am

The crazy of the 10am

The lull of the 1pm

And the push at the 6pm to make it
to the collapse at the 8pm.

Rhythm, flow, routine.

The dance of life is my favorite.

Christmas Decor on a Dime

I’ll never forget my first Christmas, married and living on my own. I was SO excited to decorate our tiny 750 sq. ft. apartment. I had dreams of a real tree, decked to the hilt and twinkle lights and garland dripping from every surface.

One conversation with my ever finances-consious husband curtailed those dreams rather quickly. It was one of those ‘first year of marriage’ scuffles.

I ended up getting a 3 ft. fake tree from Michael’s with my 40% off coupon and hanging our 3 ‘our first Christmas’ ornaments on it. A strand or two of christmas lights to go around our one window and that was the extent of my Christmas decor that first year.

In the seven years that have passed (has it really been that long!?) I have accumulated, little by little, a few more decorations, but when Christmas gifts take up all of your extra cash, it’s hard to justify spending a ton on decorations.

If you find yourself wanting a little more to deck the halls with, but not a huge budget to do it – here are my favorite inexpensive, but still fabulous, Christmas decorations.

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1) Winter Wonderland and Chalk Printables

I already had the glass apothecary jar, and to be honest, it is one of the best investments I’ve made. I have used it for countless events, and it can be adapted to any season, and any decor. You can do this with Mason jars, but I love the extra room and size of the apothecary jar. The trees and snow are from the Dollar Store and to make this vignette work, you have to keep it simple. My goal with ALL of my Christmas decor is peaceful and magical.

The chalk printable is free and the frame is $0.99 from Ikea. This is probably my favorite decor in the house, and it literally cost me $3.

2) Felt Stockings  

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I was not cool with all of the crazy colored, character stockings for my kids. It HAD to match, but back when I only had one, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on stockings that I may or may not use. So, I bought the cheapest felt stockings I could find (I got 5…just in case) and monogramed them with some simple two tone felt letters. My weapon of choice for sticking these letters on is a glue gun.

It may be simple, but it matches and stays WAY under budget.

3) Cinnamon Ornaments

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We made these last year, and I was so surprised to find that when I took them out this year, the cinnamon smell was still so strong! Mixed with the Christmas Tree smell, it is pure heaven. I love the ornaments because they cost virtually nothing to make, but really add a rustic charm to the tree, and the kids can put them on without me worrying about breakage!

To make these work, you really need to get the red and white bakers twine – or some other simple and stylish string/ribbon.

4) Glittered Vases

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I made these a few years ago, and love them SO MUCH they are actually apart of my year round decor. Adding some fake berries I pulled off a $0.50 garage sale wreath really gives them a holiday touch.

To make these work you HAVE to get the Martha Stewart glitter from Michael’s. I just haven’t found any that compares! Make sure the Modge Podge (or whatever adhesive you use) is painted on evenly and lightly. Too heavy on the glue and it will start to drip and look uneven.

One more tip – HAIR SPRAY. Spray a liberal amount of hair spray on the glitter after it has dried so that the glitter doesn’t come off.

5) Simple Tree SkirtIMG_3297

I have this thing where I wrap all my Christmas gifts in the same theme of wrapping and it’s different each year. I don’t want my tree skirt clashing with my wrapping! (I know, I know) I also wasn’t ready to spend $50 on a tree skirt, so I got some cheap white fabric and I just drape it around the bottom of the tree. It kind of looks like snow and I can put any theme of wrapping on it and it still looks awesome!

6) Stovetop Fragrance

This isn’t really a decoration, but it adds SO much to the holiday feel when your house smells amazing. Burning through Christmas candles at the rate I do can get pricy! This simple stovetop fragrance recipe costs pennies and really fills the house.

– 1 stick of cinnamon
– Whole cloves
– Vanilla extract
– Orange peel

Put these ingredients into a small pot with water and put on the stovetop on low. Keep an eye on it, so the water doesn’t completely evaporate. You can keep adding water and enjoy this potpori for a week or more. IMG_3311

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to add holiday cheer without breaking the bank. May your days be merry and BRIGHT!

Give the Gift of Health

This holiday season I have been intrigued by this idea of giving the gift of health.

It kind of scares me, I don’t want my family to think there is a hidden message behind that set of weights I gave them! But I’ve been asking around and so far most people said they would appreciate it! We are all trying to improve our health, right? And who doesn’t set some lofty goals come January 1st? I think that if you give a gift that is still thoughtful to the person you are giving it to, a healthy gift could be awesome!!

Here are some of the top things I would have on MY list:
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1) Jawbone (or other activity tracker) – have you heard of these things? They are SO cool. The Jawbone tracks steps taken, calories burned, how long you sleep (it even tracks when you are in light or heavy sleep).  You can set it to vibrate and wake you after the optimum nap time (which is apparently 26.5 minutes) or when you’ve been idle too long. It communicates with an app on your phone where you can also track the food you’ve eaten. The more you know about your habits the better decisions you can make.

2) Water Bottle – Camelbak is my absolute favorite, there is just NO other water bottle that compares to this one (in my opinion). I honestly prefer glass to plastic for drinking water, but carrying around something that heavy just isn’t practical to a mom of three. So, gifting me one of these babies would be a welcome sight. Or – if you want to get fancy, there’s another techy product that just came out to the market called Vessly that automatically detects what kind of liquid you fill it with and tracks it on an app. If anything you should watch the info video, just because it’s cool.

madewithOver3) Workout Gear – I have become OBSESSED with cute workout clothes! My wardrobe is being quickly overtaken by them. I would LOVE to get some cute workout tanks or a gift card to one of these shops.
– Victorias Secret (amazing sports bra and super cute workout gear)
– Fabeletics (you can get your first full outfit for just $25 – score!)
Target (keeping it real)
Nike (mostly in my dreams because -> $$$, but man! love their style)
– Etsy (one of my favorite shops for cute tanks is Tee for Run)

4) Kitchen Tools – Our bodies are 80% what we eat and only 20% exercise, so fun kitchen tools that will help me make healthy meals quicker is an awesome gift in my book! I’ve been eyeing this Spiralizer for a while. It turns veggies (like zucchini and sweet potatoes into noodles!)

5) A New Workout Program – Nothing shakes me out of an exercise slump like getting a new workout program! New moves, a new challenge – I LOVE IT! Right now, PiYo is on promotion if have a yoga or pilates loving person on your list, and coming December 2nd the creator of Insanity, Shaun T, has created a brand new, 30 minute workout program called Insanity Max 30. I can NOT wait to try this, it’s kind of on the top of my Christmas list. Basically you are working out against your previous time, and you go as hard as you can until you max out – then you take a break, and jump right back in. If you want to get on a VIP list for the latest updates and notifications for when this program launches (and be entered to win a free copy) click here.

So, there are my top 5 healthy gifts. What would you add? What are your top picks?
Let’s not just phone in Christmas gifts this year with a giant fruit cake, we can make this holiday the healthiest one yet!

xoxo

Caleb Turns 1

IMG_3243Today my baby turns 1.
Sunday we had a party.

I LOVE throwing parties. In fact, for my 30th birthday – my gift to myself is that I get to throw my own party. I love all the details, the menu, the games, the rush you get when it’s an hour until the guest’s arrive and you are racing to get everything just right. I love planning for every contingency and having back up plans – call me crazy, but planning parties is like a sport to me!

Even still, I kept Caleb’s birthday pretty simple – just family and a few simple games. We did a little monster’s theme, because it’s SO CUTE! and Caleb’s birthday is only 2 days before Halloween.

Most of the decor I either made or found at the dollar spot at Target (seriously, what would I do without Target!?). I had fun with this party and the kids LOVED it. From getting to choose their own Monster Balloon (basically just a balloon with a sharpie drawn monster face – seriously simple guys!) to the ‘feed the hungry monster’ game where the kids threw ‘stinky socks’ filled with rice into the monster’s mouth, everything was super simple, but really fun!

Happy Birthday sweet Caleb – you are my little cuddly buddy and I love you more than words – can’t wait to see you grow up and get to know you more and more each day – I think you’re pretty awesome!

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

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I was very skeptical to try this incredibly simple, homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. It couldn’t possibly be this easy and taste this good – I was wrong, and now I just might have to make this every day (or at least a couple times a week!).

Here’s the thing though…it just doesn’t taste the same with any other milk – it HAS to be Vanilla Almond Milk, and you can’t use american coffee – it HAS to be with a shot or two of espresso.

photo 1So, without further ado: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 Cup of Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Tbsp. Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Brown Sugar -or- Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 or 2 Shots Espresso

Combine all the ingredients (except the espresso) in a pot and heat on medium heat until sufficiently combined and warm. Add espresso – top with whipped cream (optional) and ENJOY!   photo 3 photo 4

The Importance of Knowing Where You Want to Go

Vision Board Blog Post

Every single decision you make moves you in a direction. Our entire lives are moving us in a direction. And the awesome thing is, we control EVERY choice we make. But, there have been many times when I have found myself in a place in life that I was unhappy with or would wonder: “How did I get here?!”

It’s not that I didn’t have control over my own life, the bigger problem was that I didn’t know WHERE I wanted to go, so my decisions were a hodge podge of whatever felt right in the moment and terribly inconsistent.

A few months ago I decided to get serious with my life and sit down and write out what I wanted out of life, what would truly make me happy. I didn’t let my doubtful brain tell me what was and wasn’t possible, I just went straight from the heart.

Some of the things that came out of my heart were not surprising – I wanted a strong marriage and a true friendship with my children, I wanted to make a REAL impact on other women’s lives. I wanted to be a giver and have the resources to leave a $100 tip on a $5 coffee bill for a struggling waitress. I wanted to use more of the creativity inside of me. I wanted to be more disciplined with my life and not have so many days where at the end I felt like I had wasted a good part of it. These are all things that I knew in my heart would bring a deeper happiness and fulfilment to my life.

SIDE NOTE: Lest you think I have fallen from my God-centered roots am only concerned with my personal happiness let’s do a little rudimentary theology. The chief end of man, after all, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, is it not? And did God not make us to image Him? And is He not the master planner and architect? Did He not place within us gifts, desires, dreams and purpose? If He is first in my life and I am rooted in Him I should not fear digging deep into my heart and what makes me happy and making plans to chase after it. I would humbly argue, this practice is VASTLY glorifying to Him. Ok…back to the post.

So, after digging around and taking time and figuring out what makes me happy, I looked at my life and took stock of what I spent my time and energy doing to see if I was moving in that direction. I was…somewhat…but as I mentioned before, inconsistently. I would go on date nights with my husband…sometimes. I would stop what I was doing and read a book to my daughter or play legos with my son…sometimes, IF I felt like doing it in the moment. But feelings are funny things, they come and go. If you want to ACCOMPLISH something, you have to CHOSE to do it – consistently – despite feelings.

Now that I have a Vision Board (yes, it’s a physical piece of paper with my life goals on it, and because I’m me, it’s pretty and got lots of pictures and is hung where I can see it EVERY DAY) I can reference what I want out of life multiple times a day, and when I am faced with a decision to buy something frivolous that I don’t NEED, I can look at that board and see that what makes me even happier than a cute tank top from etsy, is to one day give that $100 tip. It let’s me live my life with PURPOSE. I am moving towards something. I am building something.

Saying NO to that tank top won’t let me give a $100 tip tomorrow. But saying no to 20 tank tops over the next year might. I have to be consistent, but at least now, I know WHY I am doing it, and my pesky feelings don’t run my life…I run my life.

So, what about you? Do you know what YOU want? It’s ok if it’s not all selfless and giving (like the $100 tip)…some of my goals are selfish too! I want to put my kids through college, I want to run a 1/2 marathon, I want to build a career where I get to use ALL my gifts, I want to live in a foreign country with my kids and so many more.

The important thing is to sit down and make a list – and don’t let yourself edit out things you want because you don’t think it could ever happen. Just write it down. Stop being afraid. Put it out there, and see if there’s something small you can do every day to move you closer to seeing it become a reality. And don’t give up. Dreams this big don’t happen overnight, or in a week, or a month, or even in a year, but if you are consistent and BELIEVE in the process – oh my – you just might go miles further than you ever thought possible.

If you want to make a vision board, but you aren’t sure where to start, take a look at my Chasing Dreams Pinterest Board for tons of inspiration!

xoxoxo

When Life is Draining – Chase Your Dreams

It’s scary, jumping off a cliff. Trying something new.
You put yourself out there, what if you fall? “Let’s wait” you say, “Until the conditions are perfect. Until my life slows down. Until I have more time.”

come flyYou know, deep down, its something that COULD be life-changing and it really does excite you. You have a spark of hope that, maybe, you could be really good at this. You like helping people, and friends already look to you for advice and inspiration.
But, let’s wait.

So, let me ask you: what will waiting accomplish? Will it move you closer to your goals? Will it prepare you to be the type of person you want to be? The funny thing about waiting – the longer you wait, the less likely you are to take action. A body at rest…stays at rest.

“But,” you think, “I’m so overwhelmed – maxed out – at capacity! How can I add one more thing to my life? Where am I magically going to find the time to invest in building my dreams?”

Here’s the thing about building a dream…It is incredibly LIFE-GIVING. So much of what we do on a day to day basis is life DRAINING. I love my kids, but waking up at all hours of the night, hearing their screams and cries, folding laundry, only to have it knocked over while I was changing a poopy diaper that leaked all over the place, going to the freezer to get something out for dinner and finding it empty. If I’m completely honest, being a mom is emotionally, physically and mentally DRAINING. Worth it – but draining.

Or – if you work a demanding job, being asked to do more than you are capable of, always dealing with unhappy people, not Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 1.56.19 PMbeing treated like a real person, unappreciated, pushed down, having to fight for every inch, never feeling like you are getting ahead – work is DRAINING.

The list could go on and on about the things in our lives that are life draining. Deadlines, heavy workloads, financial stress, extended family drama, etc.

Dealing with these things day in and day out made my husband and I feel completely drained, taped out and unmotivated to do anything more than collapse at the end of the day in front of the TV. I didn’t have much time to invest in building a dream – but I KNEW that if I didn’t change something – nothing would change. “Unacceptable!” I thought.

I looked into our future, and I saw exactly what it would look like and I decided that I would not accept that. I decided to MAKE the time, and carve out 1 hour every day to build MY dreams. I realized that my future would be a culmination of MY choices and I chose something different. Wanna know something crazy? That 1 hour became the HIGHLIGHT of my day. I felt so INCREDIBLY vibrant. My mind was stretching and filling with creativity and passion. I began influencing people and seeing their lives change, I began seeing weekly paychecks come in that was giving us a little wiggle room and freedom, I began growing and noticing that other areas of my life were being strengthened as well.

I went through my day with more love, energy and creativity with my kids because that muscle was being strengthened with my business. I would get calls from my husband after work and instead of sharing with me all the crazy things his students did or how the administration was putting pressure on him, we were strategizing and dreaming and excited.

Whatever your dreams are – don’t wait or put them off because you feel drained or at capacity. Even if it’s just 1 hour a day and it takes time to get where you want to go, just the very act of doing SOMETHING, moving forward, setting goals, building momentum and being surrounded by others who believe in you – is LIFE CHANGING.

One of the things that I have been working on this week is a systematic way to squeeze the most productive work out of 1 hour that you possibly can. I call it “The Command Center” and it’s a series of documents and PDFs that take the guess work out of being an amazing coach and make it easy to know what you need to do, do it and start building toward an amazing career.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.33.35 AMIf you are interested in learning more about the coaching opportunity. Maybe the idea has fluttered across your mind, but you’ve instantly let excuses or doubts shoot it down, contact me! I do this EVERYDAY. I can tell you with complete honesty what it takes (less than you might think) and what the payoff could be (so much more than you might think). I can show you how a busy, drained, at-capacity mom has been able to fit coaching into a crazy life. And best of all, I can connect you to an absolutely incredible team of like-minded dreamers and get it done bosses. We strategize, encourage, celebrate and grow together – it’s the most LIFE GIVING community and I just can’t believe that I get to work alongside these beautiful souls.

We are stronger together dear ones! We are capable of more than we think! We chose our own future – and my future is bright!

To learn more about what I do and the mentorship opportunity I offer – click here. 

Why Are You Trying to Be Skinny?

“Why are you trying to be skinny? You were meant to be strong.”

I saw this quote on pinterest and it resonated with me SO MUCH. 

When I first started this fitness journey, I did it because I wanted to be skinny. I wanted to fit into my beautiful clothes, and I wanted to feel comfortable in my skin again. 

As I started working out, I realized the only way I was going to make it through to the end was to be strong, to grit my teeth, set my will and finish to the end. This started to build my inner strength just as much as the workouts were building my physical strength. Next thing I knew I was reacting and responding to trials and ups and downs in my life with greater strength than ever before. Instead of cowering back when things didn’t go the way they should, I grit my teeth and set my will to finish something to the end – no matter the obstacle. 

Strength. The ability to do something I previously couldn’t. The ability to carry on when before I gave up. The ability to support someone who is weak instead of crumbling under the pressure. 

Strength!

That’s what I have gained, that’s what I focus on now! Not the lbs that I still want to lose, but the strength and abilities I want to gain. It puts a positive spin to my workouts and eating that I LOVE.

We were made for so much more than just existing! We were made to do great things! What dreams have you not even allowed yourself to dream because you are afraid you aren’t strong enough? You can grow, you can become stronger, and your dreams can become a reality.

Why are you trying to be skinny? You were meant to be strong.

sparkle