My 2020 Word of the Year

The last two years, I have chosen a word for the coming year. A word that I feel like encompasses what I wish to achieve for that year. I take a lot of time and pray about it for a few months before I choose it. My word for 2019 was Best, because I was really focusing on becoming the BEST version of myself in all areas of my life. I focused on becoming the best wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, coach, and all around person I could be. And that’s where my word for 2020 comes along, because I didn’t always do the best job balancing all of those things out. I sometimes focused too hard on one area, and not enough on another. So, my word for 2020 is BALANCE.

2020 will be about finding balance between the many “hats” I wear while still working towards becoming the best woman I can be. Let’s face it, we can ALWAYS grow. That job is never finished. I looked up the definition of balance and it means an even distribution of weight enabling something or someone to remain upright and steady, OR a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. This second definition describes it perfectly!

I loved this quote: “Balance is finding equilibrium between all of life’s activities so that you feel good all of the time” because I feel like it sums up exactly what I hope to accomplish this year. I know I won’t be 100% perfect all of the time, because that’s just not realistic. I am going to have bad days where I let one or all areas of my life slide because I’m just having a bad day. But I feel like there is a way to find balance between all of life’s activities to lessen the stress of everyday life. 

So, here’s to 2020 and finding balance. I hope you meet all of your goals and then some, and I hope to come back here next year and be able to say I figured it out! (For the most part anyway) May you have the best year ever, and an even better decade than the last!

Family Friendly Activities To Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Your Kids

We’ve never really been the type to go out and party on New Year’s Eve, but I do love finding fun ways to celebrate at home. Now that we have kids, we make it a point to include them in our celebrating. They have really begun looking forward to our fun family New Year’s Eve activities. If you’re wanting to stay in and celebrate as a family (or even with other families coming over), here are some ideas that have been a big hit in our house:

  1. Toast to the new year with a tasty mocktail. Our favorite is putting gummy bears in plastic champagne flutes, and filling them with sparkling apple cider or white grape juice.

2. Get some fun fireworks you can do at home (like sparklers and poppers). Always make sure to supervise children if you are letting them handle any kind of firework.

3. Set up a photobooth and have some fun taking family pictures together. We have so much fun putting up a cute backdrop and getting funny props to hold up for our pictures.

4. Get dressed up in your fanciest clothes and celebrate in style! The Roaring ‘20’s theme is HUGE right now as we are about to enter 2020. Get your best flapper dresses on and make it fun.

5. Take some time to sit down and do a little self reflection and goal setting. Teach your kids the importance of setting goals and let them fill out a fun worksheet like this here.

6. Set up an area to sit down and play your favorite games. You can even find new games to try out. Get creative and have fun with it!

7. For the kids,  have a mock countdown at an earlier time. Netflix has one,  or look up others on the Internet. I found a bunch on YouTube also!

8. Make a balloon drop and set them loose during your countdown. I found an idea years ago where you blow up a bunch of balloons and put them inside a black sheet taped to the ceiling. When it hits midnight, you just pull a corner of the sheet and the balloons fall down. So much fun!

9. Have a karaoke party and sing along to your favorite songs. If don’t have a karaoke machine, just use your imagination and sing along into your hair brush.

10. Hand out glow sticks and have a glow in the dark countdown. Turn off all the lights and just use the light from the glow sticks while you do your countdown.

11. Buy matching pajamas and have a pajama party.

12. Make confetti poppers to pop at “midnight”. Most stores have these for sale right now too, if you don’t want to make your own.

I love coming up with new, creative ways to celebrate each year. I’d love to hear if you have any of your own. Leave me a comment and let me know how you celebrate!

Why I Eat the Way I Do and How it Makes Me Feel

Have you heard the saying “You are what you eat”? Maybe not literally, but you do FEEL what you eat. It’s been said that the food you eat affects your mood, good and bad. Typically we only think about the way the food we eat affects us physically, but there is also a link between the food we eat and our mood, energy, sleep, and how well we are able to focus throughout the day. 

It is for these reasons that I try to eat foods that fuel my body vs eating foods that taste good while I’m eating them, but then end up making me feel tired and sluggish later. I almost always regret eating the things I know I shouldn’t be when I start to feel the effects. That’s also why I choose to follow a portion control system because it ensures I get enough of the good foods and less of the things I don’t need so much of. It’s perfectly balanced macronutrients (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% healthy fats) to ensure my body is functioning optimally. It’s based off my current weight, height, and activity level, so I don’t starve… I get to eat plenty of food. Don’t get me wrong, I still treat myself every now and then, but I’ve realized that the taste doesn’t always outweigh the negative effects I feel afterwards. It makes me less likely to choose those foods as often as I used to.

When I eat according to my plan, I notice I have more energy, I’m able to focus on the tasks I need to do, and I don’t have as many mood swings. I also sleep much better, so even though I may be getting the same hours of sleep as usual, the quality of my sleep is improved, therefore I don’t feel so tired all day. I’ve found that I’m able to push harder during my workouts and get more out of them, instead of having to modify a lot because I don’t have enough energy to go all out. 

Do you struggle with your nutrition? Would you like more information on the plan I use? Click here and fill out this form, and I will send you some more information! 

My Top 5 Fitness Tips

For this Fitness Tip Friday, I’m sharing my top 5 fitness tips for those beginning a new fitness regimen or even those who are just struggling to stay motivated. I know how difficult it can be to take that first step and get started. I was that person who had never really had a fitness regimen my whole life. I’ve also been that person who got into a fairly good routine, life happened and I fell off the wagon. So, I’d love to share a few things that have helped me when I was struggling to get back up.

  1. Identify your “why,” “what,” and “how” so you can be clear about your goals (you can even write these down). The first step is truly taking the time to figure out your why, what, and how. Why are you adding fitness and wellness into your life now? In what ways will your life be different when you have fitness in your life on a regular basis? And how are you going to include fitness into your lifestyle today, and this week? Once you know the why, what, and how, the mindset is ‘just do it.’ Nike got it right with that one.

2. Prioritize consistency over intensity. You are better off doing a 45-minute, moderate-intensity strength circuit three times per week than to do a two-hour, high-intensity workout six times a week, and then burning out in three weeks because it’s not sustainable. And remember that it takes time and consistency to build your body, but one workout can put you in a better mood. You leave it all in the gym: the annoying boss, the argument with your best friend, being stuck in traffic… It’s like you get to press reset.

3. Accept that you’ll have setbacks, and that’s OK. Be patient with yourself—you will have setbacks, and every day will not be perfect. The key is to be persistent and keep moving forward. The only thing constant in life is change, so we should be prepared to make changes to be the best version of ourselves.

4. Think of working out as an act of self-care. The journey you’re about to embark upon tends to be the road less traveled. Those mental battles are hardest to deal with in the beginning stages so stay humble, stay committed, and know that the benefits far outweigh any difficulties. Wake up every day and remind yourself that self-care in all forms is the best decision you can make.

5. Don’t compare yourself to people who are further along in their fitness journey. Be willing to look silly and make mistakes without judging yourself. Keep trying, and with every workout you’ll get better and better. Remember, the goal is progress, not perfection. And in a group environment, don’t compare yourself to anyone else in the room. While others may move seamlessly and appear to have superhuman strength, remember that they were once beginners too. Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter eleven.

Bonus: Know that results don’t happen right away, and that’s OK.

People come in with the expectation of long-term results happening fast, but people should look at fitness as a big picture and making exercise a part of their life routine. Also remember that working out is multi-faceted, and it’s the combination of healthy eating and training together that creates the best results.

Five Tips to Reduce Stress

No matter how hard you fight it, stress seems to find its way into your day. I am always looking for ways to reduce stress and make my time management more efficient. Here are a few things I like to do:

  1. Do a “brain dump” and make a to do list before bed: Make your to-do list before you go to bed at night, and plan everything you want to try to get done during the day. I like to do this at night because my mind tends to run through the events of the next day when I lay down in bed at night, so it helps to get it all written out so I can sleep.
  2. Be active: Getting out and taking a walk, or (if you have the time) going for a run or to the gym can make a huge difference in your day. When you exercise you release endorphins, and that also helps to promote productivity. Plus, I find I just have more energy knock out my daily tasks when I’ve done a good workout. I even write it out on my to do list at night.
  3. Smart scheduling: Schedule the most important tasks for the time of day when you have the most energy and concentration. That happens to be early afternoon for me. If you find yourself most productive first thing in the morning, then schedule them for that time.
  4. Big things first: Get that one big thing out of the way first. You’ll move into the afternoon with a sense of accomplishment and will feel the weight lifted from your shoulders of larger tasks. This has been SO helpful for me!
  5. Do nothing for 5 minutes: Taking time to recharge is so important. It’ll help you keep a clear head and stay calm throughout the day. If you have more time to do this and want to, then go for it!

Stress can have many negative effects on the body. Finding little ways to help reduce stress are so important! I’d love to hear what your stress reducing activities are, and if you’ve tried out any of my favorites. Leave me a comment and let me know!

Our Disney Summer Vacation

I don’t know about you, but we LOVE Disney! We have been planning this trip for two years and it couldn’t get here soon enough. If we could go once a year, I think we would probably do it in a heartbeat! I think my only complaint about this trip was how HOT it was. I know it was the end of July, and it was to be expected, but man…. It was SO HOT! I think when we go back again, we will try for winter. Haha It was also extremely crowded, so maybe we will try a slightly less busy time as well. Overall, it was a great trip! We all had a lot of fun.

Our first park experience was Hollywood Studios. We were all super excited about the new Toy Story Land! Toy Story Mania was a fun ride that the whole family enjoyed. (Not everyone is a fan of rollercoasters) Plus, when you have boys who are addicted to video games, this was right up their alley! We also LOVED Slinky Dog Dash! Bryson rode this one, and it was probably his biggest rollercoaster he had been on to date. I was surprised at how much fun even I had on this ride! My kids also loved the interactive Incredibles show. They had a great time dancing and interacting with the different characters. For the adults, our two favorites were Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster (Brady rode this one, and I was super proud of him because that was the biggest rollercoaster he had been on so far), and of course the Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror. This was our first time to actually make it to Hollywood Studios, but we will definitely be back! I mean, there’s a whole Star Wars section that wasn’t even open yet! (To be honest, this was the thing I was most excited for, but found out a few months before our trip that it wasn’t going to be open yet. There was a pretty awesome show with all of the Star Wars characters that we got to see though. This definitely pleased the Star Wars Enthusiasts haha).

Our next two days were spent at Magic Kingdom. This is my FAVORITE park, and it’s always so hard to get everything in in just one day, so we spent two full days here. And I am SO glad we did because there were SO many people, we definitely needed that second day. Our FAVORITE ride here is Space Mountain. This ride is completely in the dark. You have no idea whether you are going to go up, down, right or left, which only adds to the suspense. The line is always a couple hours long, so I definitely recommend getting a FastPass for this one! To be honest, we did Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor both days. The line was never very long, moved fast, and it’s AIR CONDITIONED! Plus, you get to sit down and rest your feet for several minutes. Big Thunder Mountain is a fun little rollercoaster for the smaller ones in your group, but still enough speed to be fun for the adults too. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin was another fun one for my gamer boys. You ride in a little car that spins around to moving targets that you have to shoot with a little laser gun. There’s also a little friendly competition within each car to see who can score the most points. Pirates of the Caribbean is another fun one for the whole family. Both of my kids have ridden this as infants in my lap. The wait time is rather short compared to most other rides, and you get to take a little air conditioned boat ride following Jack Sparrow along on some of his antics. It’s definitely a classic! There are SO MANY rides that I can’t possibly cover them all in one little blog. Peter Pan, It’s a Small World, Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid, Splash Mountain, and so many more! We also got to experience our first character dining with the Winnie the Pooh characters and that was a lot of fun! The kids got all of their autographs and a picture with each character without ever having to leave our table. It was so nice. But, my favorite part of Disney World is the Wishes fireworks show. I am a HUGE sucker for fireworks, and their shows NEVER disappoint. From the music choices, to the changing of the castle, to Tinkerbell making an appearance, I love every single bit of it!

No Disney trip is complete without a trip to Disney Springs. If you take your kids to Disney World, they are undoubtedly going to want to buy ALL the souvenirs, but then you’re stuck carrying them all around the park the rest of your time there. So we always make a trip to Disney Springs where you can find just about any of the park souvenirs all in one shop! The boys got everything they wanted, and we only had to carry it to dinner and then to the car. It’s definitely worth it if you have a day you don’t plan on going to a theme park.

Such a fun trip, and I am counting down the days until we get to go back!

My Top Tips for Self-Care

Man, I don’t know about you, but this summer has FLOWN by since we have been so busy. I love making the most of our time together, and enjoy keeping us busy doing different activities. But I try to make sure I take care of myself too, so I don’t get run down. Here are some of my top tips for self-care:

  1. Get plenty of rest. Sleep is crucial for your well being, so make sure you are getting the rest that you need. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, here are a few things that might help: Stop drinking caffeine by 3 pm, try limiting all blue light devices (phones, tablets, TVs) one hour before going to bed.
  2. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. The better you fuel your body with good food, the better you will feel! Make sure you are getting LOTS of veggies and healthy proteins. I typically try to have a serving of vegetables 4 times a day.
  3. Drink LOTS of water! You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Find it hard to get in your water? Try adding fruit to it to give it some flavor. 
  4. Exercise regularly. Finding and committing to a good fitness routine is important for your overall health. Not only is it good for your cardiovascular health, it’s good for your mental health as well, and is a great stress reliever. If you’re needing help in this area, I would be more than happy to get you started on the right path!
  5. Feed your mind. I know some people don’t like to read as much as I do, and that’s fine. You can now listen to books electronically, or there are some awesome podcasts out there. Whatever method you choose, make sure you are doing something to grow yourself! This is one of the best things I have ever done for myself! Complete game changer. 
  6. Do something every day for YOURSELF, whether that’s just some quiet time alone to read or meditate, or even just take a hot bath. Do something YOU enjoy and do it ALONE! You’d be surprised how this can recharge your batteries. 
  7. And lastly, go on a date with your spouse or significant other at least once a month! If you’re not married or dating, have a girls (or guys) night out! It’s so important to have those connections, and nurture that relationship regularly. I also like to add to this by finding new things to do or restaurants to try. It keeps things interesting.

Giving your body that little bit of extra special treatment is a great and natural way to relieve stress. Taking care of yourself can also make you a better caretaker for others. If you’re a mom, it’s SO important to take care of yourself so you can take care of your kids. When you neglect your own needs, it can cause you to be unhappy, have a low self-esteem, and even cause levels of resentment. So, when you start feeling a little grumpy, take a time out and spend a little time doing something just for you! You’ll be glad you did!

What are some of your favorite self care tips? I’d love to hear them! 

Road Trip Tips for Traveling with Children

We LOVE traveling, and with summertime brings alllll the vacations! We also like to take road trips vs flying because it’s cheaper and there is some beautiful scenery to be found when driving long distances. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to turn around and then rent a car when you get where you’re going like you would if you flew. 

As we are getting ready to go on a road trip with my family, and the planning that goes into a long road trip, I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of my go to tips for traveling in a car for long periods when you have children. 

  1. My number one tip… SNACKS! Allllll the snacks! Kids are just like us, and tend to want to eat when they are bored. So, I like to make sure I pack LOTS of snacks for them to munch on in the car. I try to pick the least messy snacks I can find, but to be on the safe side, I typically pack a package of wipes to clean their hands and faces. Some of my go to snacks to pack are fruit/veggie pouches (I recently got a big box at Costco, but I like GoGo squeeze also), some kind of snack crackers (like Goldfish or cheddar bunnies, etc), my kids love Z Bars so I usually pack a couple of those for them, and fruit snacks (we like the ones made with real fruits and veggies). This is a good time to maybe pack a treat you don’t normally allow, especially for those littles who have a rough time sitting in the car for long periods.

2. I also usually pack several toys, games, and different activities for the kids to do to keep themselves busy. Most Dollar stores and the dollar spot at Target usually have some cheap things you can buy to give them something new to occupy their time. I always try to get one or two new things before we leave, even if it’s just a new activity book or fun pack of crayons/pencils. Magnetic games are a MUST for the car! 

3. One of the most important things for us is a fresh supply of movies for the DVD player, but tablets and such are a great idea too! I like to let them download a new game or two just for the trip so they have something new to play. Headphones are great to have too, so you don’t have to listen to whatever they are watching/playing.

4. Make sure to pack blankets, pillows/travel pillows, and any special stuffed animals or loveys to make your children feel comfortable while traveling. 

5. One of my favorite little hacks is to get some kind of organizer for your car. I have a two compartment one, which is perfect because I can designate one for each kid. They each have their own toys, a light blanket, books, games, activity books, crayons, pencils, snacks, etc! That way there’s no fighting (ok, maybe minimal hah) over who’s toy is who’s. If you don’t have a lot of room, packing individual little backpacks or bags works just as great! 

This is one like I have.

There are still going to be ups and downs when traveling with children, but I have found that finding ways to keep them busy and distracted definitely cuts down on the whining and fighting and makes the trip a little more enjoyable. I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite go-to travel tips? 

Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah

One of the things on the top of my husband’s bucket list was to attend Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. This year, we finally made that happen! 

Easter Jeep Safari is a 9 day event consisting of day long trail rides in your own four-wheel vehicle. You can choose to do these trails on your own (based on your level of experience), or choose to do guided tours in which experienced guides lead you along the trail routes. You take your own food and drinks and spend most of the day driving over obstacles big and small. We had so much fun just spending time as a family and enjoying the trails riding in the Jeep. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking in Moab. This event is sponsored by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers Inc, one of the local four wheel drive clubs of Moab. 

You can choose one of the many different trail options each day, and its completely up to you as to whether you run trails every day or take some days to take in the sights. What’s nice about the trails is, there is something for everyone! Is it your first time? No problem! There are trails that just about any experience level can drive with no problem. My favorite part of the guided tours is that everyone is so willing to help each other out, whether you need a spotter or if something breaks, there is always someone there to help you out. 

When you’re not out driving the trails yourself, head over to potato salad hill and watch all of the brave souls try to conquer the obstacles. The week of the event, on Thursday and Friday there is a vendor and information show that is free to the general public. It’s all set up in the Spanish Trail Arena. Friday night, there is a HUGE raffle drawing for all kinds of prices donated by all of the vendors in the show. Each person who registers gets a complimentary ticket for the drawing. There is also a Jeep display where you can see all of the concept vehicles Jeep created. Moab is a great place for them to generate ideas for production vehicles. 

We had so much fun, we are already planning our trip back for next year! 

My Top 5 Favorite Superfoods

According to the Oxford Dictionary, superfoods can be defined as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” There are many studies being done evaluating the powerful effects that food can have on health and confirming the extensive benefits that superfoods have to offer. Superfoods do so much more than just help you meet your vitamin and mineral needs or help you shed a few extra pounds when it comes time for swimsuit season. In fact, these foods can help you achieve better health, prevent chronic disease, and improve the way you feel day in and day out — and they’re some of the top anti-aging foods around. When combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet, adding a few of these top superfoods into your day can benefit many different aspects of your health. So, I wanted to share just a few of my favorite superfoods with you, and tell you some of their benefits.

1. Blueberries

Tiny but packed with nutrients, blueberries fit the superfoods definition to a T. Blueberries are brimming with disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals, as well as plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.

Best of all, these flavorful fruits are delicious and easy to enjoy as one of the best foods to lose weight. Use them to bring a hint of sweetness to salads, add them to baked goods or even enjoy them alone as a healthy snack.

2. Almonds

Almonds are one of the most nutrient-rich nuts available. They are among the best non-dairy sources of calcium, providing more milligrams of calcium per serving than any other nut, and are also high in vitamin E and protein.

You can enjoy these nuts raw as a tasty snack or try roasting them up for a warm treat on a cold day. Just remember that almonds are high in calories, so be sure to keep your portion size in check — it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing.

3. Green Tea

Green tea is a type of tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant used to make other types of tea like black, white and oolong tea. Unlike other tea varieties, however, green tea undergoes very little processing, which helps to maximize its content of antioxidants and polyphenols.

Research shows that green tea can help boost metabolism, improve oral hygiene, enhance insulin sensitivity and decrease several risk factors for heart disease.

To get started, simply start brewing a couple of cups per day to slowly incorporate this superfood into your daily routine. You can also opt for other green tea products instead, such as matcha, which delivers a concentrated punch of antioxidants in each serving.

4. Eggs

Eggs have historically been a controversial topic in the nutrition world due to their high cholesterol content, but they remain one of the healthiest foods. Whole eggs are rich in many nutrients including B vitamins, choline, selenium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus.They’re also loaded with high-quality protein. Eggs contain two potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are known to protect vision and eye health.

Despite fears surrounding egg consumption and high cholesterol, research indicates no measurable increase in heart disease or diabetes risk from eating up to 6–12 eggs per week. In fact, eating eggs could increase “good” HDL cholesterol in some people, which may lead to a favorable reduction in heart disease risk. More research is needed to draw a definite conclusion.

5. Spinach

Dark, leafy greens, like spinach, are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health). They also add fiber into the diet.

How to include them: Try varieties such as spinach, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, or mustard greens. Throw them into salads or sauté them in a little olive oil. You can also add greens to smoothies, soups and stews.

How Superfoods and Supplements Can Work Together

Superfoods and supplements go hand in hand and can help optimize overall health, bringing you benefits that go above and beyond what a nutritious and healthy diet can provide. In fact, some of these superfoods contain health-promoting compounds and nutrients like fiber, protein, heart-healthy fats and antioxidants that earn them spots as some of the best foods for weight loss and best fat-burning foods around.

Similarly, supplements often bring a burst of other important compounds that can sometimes be difficult to obtain from foods. Collagen, for example, is the most abundant protein in the body and is thought to help ease joint pain, improve skin elasticity and improve hair growth, making it one of the best superfoods for women. It’s also considered one of the best foods that help you lose weight, thanks to its protein content and amino acid profile. However, it’s found in very few sources in the diet, such as bone broth or powdered gelatin, which is why adding a supplement to your routine can be especially beneficial.

Of course, both superfoods and supplements should be used to complement a healthy, well-rounded diet rich in essential nutrients to have the maximum effect on health.

There are a wide range of foods that qualify as superfoods and can be incorporated into the diet in a number of different ways. Add a few of these foods into your daily routine along with a well-rounded diet and routine physical activity to get started on your journey to better health.