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So far this year, I’ve been focused on just getting through the day. Let me tell you, it’s not easy. Last night alone, the baby was up no less than 7 times…which meant that I was also awake. He’s cutting teeth, which means sleep is overrated because, well, I doubt that his little teeth are the most comfortable thing in the world. I mean, who wants sharp little razors cutting through their gums? NOTHANKYOU.

Obviously, I’m short on sleep, and I’ve been working my tail off for a new project (YAY!). But, that means that my time is scarce. I’m lucky to get in bed before 11 most nights, and the other day I realized that I didn’t even schedule in a workout. How does that happen? 24 hours in a  day and I managed to work 5 of them, clean for 2 of them, play for the rest of them (with my boys)…but I couldn’t find even 15 minutes to get my workout on.

No Bueno, friends. This site was founded because I needed to find my groove, so to speak. I needed to figure this out.


Saying Yes


I wrote an article at the beginning of the year about saying YES whenever I could. So far? I’m managing okay with this…except where my workouts are concerned. That’s a problem. So I’ve been trying really hard to focus more on myself…which is hard between homeschooling, doctors appointments, and having 2 small children…one of whom has decided that he prefers to stand and cruise around.


Back to exercise. So. I decided that I needed to say “yes” more this year. Right. So when WorkoutBands.com contacted me to test their products, of course I said…’yes’…then I realized I would actually have to workout. Oops.


How I Became A Human Jungle Gym


Apparently, workout bands look like a LOT of fun to both of my boys. Of course they do. They’re brightly colored “rubber bands”. I quickly figured out that I needed to put the baby down for a nap so I would just have to deal with Smalls during my quick workouts.

workout bands

The company included a printout of a full body workout right inside the bag, so I just went with that. I have to say, these bands are pretty great. They didn’t have that gross smell that I’m used to (apparently, I’ve been using some pretty cheap bands). I also love that each band has a clip at the end, and you can attach as many bands to the handles as you need.

I was able to test the bands, as well as the door stay and the ankle attachments. I really, really love the adjustability, and I love, love, love that I can give Smalls the lightweight band to play with and he only climbs on me 3/4 of the time…instead of all the time.

So how did I become a human jungle gym? Well…I was doing donkey kicks with the bands (KILLER for your butt, ladies!) and I guess that Smalls picked that moment to use me like a bench…then a swing…then he wanted to fly. Voila! Human jungle gym.

It’s a mom thing. If you want some workout bands of your own, check out the great sale going on right now!


Fair warning: I’m about to get on my soapbox. People are putting my children at risk because they are choosing to follow un-supported, poorly dispensed “advice” from people who are far from experts. These people choose to ignore the years of scientific research, studies, and fact-based evidence that shows vaccines are safe. There. You have been warned:

You’ve heard about the measles outbreak at Disney, I’m sure. Maybe you heard about it, but you wrote it off for one of the following reasons:

Only 50 some cases isn’t an outbreak.

It’s only affecting unvaccinated people. 

This doesn’t affect me, I don’t live there.

My kid is protected because he is vaccinated.

But you shouldn’t. You should definitely not write this off. Measles was irradicated, done, gone, something that we in the United States shouldn’t have to worry about. But it’s back. For pregnant women, babies (like MY BABY) and immuno-compromised, like Smalls, this is a major deal.


Educate Yourself


And the fact is that this outbreak is being caused by people who know better. If you know better, do better, right? I cannot for the life of me understand WHY you would want to risk your child getting sick with a disease that is known to be deadly, especially in younger children.

Facts are facts. This shodisney crowduld not be happening. My kid, MY KID is one of the ones who cannot finish his vaccines because of his Severe Aplastic Anemia. SMALLS is at risk.

Do some real research. This does not mean reading “facts” something spewed by celebrities who claim to have “cured” an incurable condition…and then have to retract said statements. Because, you know. They went to medical school.

Look at LEGITIMATE sources, like WHO.

And another thing! Vaccines do not cause autism. They help protect us from dangerous, potentially fatal diseases. They are tested, improved upon, and tested some more.


Protect Those Who Cannot Protect Themselves


Not vaccinating is selfish, and to assume that you are “above” this is stupid. Vaccines are not 100% effective. Just like everything in life. Just like Smalls’ SAA (which, by the way, affects 1 in a MILLION people every year. And it’s completely random. Lucky him.).

Choosing not to vaccinate puts your kids (and others like MY SON) in danger. Vaccines fail. This is just the law of averages. What works is herd immunity.


Understand the Consequences


Herd immunity only works if a majority of the population is vaccinated. THIS is what protects both of MY KIDS. Not the vaccines, not yet. Smalls cannot get booster shots due to his compromised immune system, and the baby is too little to get his MMR. So I am depending on all of you to protect him. And the thought literally terrifies me.

I’m not the only one out there with kids who cannot be vaccinated.


Understand Who You Are Hurting


Because it’s not all about you. It’s just not. There are kids out there, like Smalls who cannot receive vaccines to protect them.

THAT, my friends, is why this outbreak is not okay. I am terrified to take Smalls out in public. A COLD could land him inpatient at the hospital (and by default, means that myself and the baby would also be there), so imagine what would happen if he was on his Make-A-Wish trip (yes he’s THAT SICK) and caught measles. ANY fever over 100.4 means an ER visit and massive doses of medication, blood draws, and worse.


It’s Not Too Late


Want to know what my kid wished for? DISNEY. That’s right. Did you know that the most frequent wish made by children with life-threatening illnesses is a visit to a Disney Park or a Disney Cruise? My child is no different. I should not be scared to take my child to the most magical place on earth, because dammit, he has been through literal Hell with his disease. He’s earned this trip.

In fact, I shouldn’t have to worry about measles or any other potentially fatal disease that should have been wiped out when I worry enough about the common cold.

And neither should any of the other kids who are dependent on YOU to make the right choice.

Educate yourself. Then get your kids vaccinated. These are preventable diseases, and preventable deaths. Enough is enough.

*end rant*


It’s Monday. It’s January. And it’s that time of year again. You KNOW what I’m talking about, don’t you? You sat down and made a list of everything you were join to accomplish this year. I used to do this. In fact, last year I did.

Want to know how many “New Years” resolutions I kept? NONE. Not a single solitary one. Run a half marathon? Nope. Lose 20 pounds? Not even close. Write a blog post a week. Epic fail. The sound of frustration was DEAFENING. Life happens. If I learned nothing else from the past year, it’s that. And so, this year, I made two resolutions.

Saying Yes is a habIt


Saying YES


Yes to opportunities. Yes to my kids. Yes to my friends. Yes to taking chances. Yes to possible mistakes. Just say yes more often. Don’t get upset. Don’t second guess. If I have it in my power, I’m saying “yes”. Of course, as a mom, this should be highly entertaining, and I’m the first to admit that I’m probably crazy, but I’m going to give this a real shot.

My other resolution?


YESMake Daily Resolutions


A year is a long time. Life can get flipped on its head, as my family found out last April. There is no way that I could comfortably have exercised daily at 8 months pregnant during our 6 week in and out of the hospital. So I gave up on my workouts last year. This year? I’m going to say yes to offers of walks around the block, or the mall, or going to run outside (as long as it isn’t freezing).

But “yes” extends further. I’m trying hard to choose one goal each day. Once I accomplish that goal, I’m setting another one. Today’s goals so far?

  1.  Update my Free Barre Workouts for the New Year.
  2. Write this post. That’s 2!!

After that, I need to get my workout in.


How am I doing so far?


I said yes to taking Smalls to Target (this is HUGE, by the way) this week. We’ll go first thing in the morning to make sure that we avoid as many people as possible. He wants to pick out some healthy snacks for his new “snack shelf.”

I said yes to letting him leave his Lego creations out…overnight (OUCH!). Luckily they haven’t attacked my feet…yet. I’m still waiting for that.

I said yes and took on an amazing new project to help other moms like me who want to work from home.

This also means that I’m going to be saying yes to my daily chore chart, because I’m ashamed to admit that I’m quite out of practice. I know that I feel better with a semi-spotless house. I’m sure you do, too. So I’m setting aside a bit of time every morning to make sure that I can stay on track.


I’m Not Perfect


Yesterday, I set a goal to do one workout, and I totally face-planted. But I didn’t beat myself up. It’s just one day. Instead, I looked at my other accomplishments:

  • We took down the Christmas decorations.
  • I packed up the baby clothes that are too small for my little one *sob*.
  • I filled not one but two (!!) boxes with toys to take to the local consignment shop.
  • I scrubbed the kitchen cabinets.
  • I put away Smalls laundry with his help.

Looking back on my day, That’s a lot! I also got to spend time with my boys. And that’s got to be enough. Today, I’m focusing on one resolution at a time, and as I check them off, I do a little dance. I don’t miss the “year” hanging over my head. Not at all. One day at a time. I can say yes and accomplish a lot. It’s all about baby steps.


So. This is me starting over. WAAAAAAY over. You’ve probably notice that I haven’t been around much…like AT.ALL. I have good reason for that. On top of being pregnant, moving cross-country (AGAIN), and having to completely pack/unpack my entire house while 8 months pregnant, Smalls was diagnosed with a very rare disease: Severe Aplastic Anemia. You can read more about what that means for my family HERE.

Needless to say, I’m exhausted, AND I now have a 6 week old, which means that I can start exercising again. Oh, joy. This wouldn’t be such a huge deal…but I gained a LOT of weight. Y’all, I’m over 200 pounds. I wasn’t even that when I DELIVERED Smalls. So I have a long ways to go. 75 pounds, in fact. Do you want to take this journey with me?

I’ve Got My New Shoes On

running shoesOne of the fun things about pregnancy is that my feet GROW…I’ve grown a full shoe size between having both boys! Which means that I now have a closet FULL of shoes that don’t fit. So I did what any rational person would do. I sent the good ones off to ThredUp so I could get paid for them. A girl’s gotta fund her new running shoes, right??

I LOVE ThredUp. I was able to send in all of my maternity clothes (because who wants to grow another shoe size?!), and with all of Smalls’ medical bills, I can’t really afford to spend a ton on a new pair of shoes. Color me excited when I got over $300 for the clothes I was never going to wear again and shoes that no longer fit!! WOOHOO! So I was able to buy a pair of Pearl Izumi’s AND have some funds left over!

Working It Out

I’m also using The Dia Method: 10 Minutes Flat Post-pregnancy Fitness System to help easy my body back into exercise. I used the pregnancy workout and LOOOOVED it, but still managed to gain a bit too much. Now that I’m past my 6 week window (I had a repeat cesarian), I can start using some of the extra workouts that come with their system, as well as a few others in my arsenal.

Now, I’m working everything around twice-weekly visits to the Children’s Hospital for Smalls’ platelet and hemoglobin infusions…it’s a bit crazy around my house most of the time. I’ve been struggling to find a balance-it’s exhausting, between the long days (if he needs both hemoglobin and platelets our days are 8-10 hours long), and the lack of sleep from the newbie (help me think of a cute bloggy name for him!!), I struggle to get everything done. And a solidly healthy diet?

FORGET IT. I do strive to take my vitamins every day, but there are a LOT of fresh foods that Smalls cannot eat, so that limits what I feel comfortable having in the house with a 4-year-old who helps himself. So, my goal this month is to get that back on track as well…that’s not too much, right?


Wow has this pregnancy been different. Like, WAY different. I never got sick with Smalls, unless you count that time I walked past the guy smoking and dry heaved…but I’m not sure that actually counts. This time around? I’ve been nauseaus for the past 25 weeks. Awesome, right?

That being said, I’ve tried just about everything to “cure” my nausea. And I mean EVERYTHING. I am so sick of being sick. I have found that there are a few tried and true solutions that have helped me deal with the nausea…at least enough to function.

Natural ways to relieve nausea

 Essential Oils

The first thing I reach for when I’m starting to feel a bout of nausea coming on, I reach for my oils. I always put peppermint in my diffuser along with a little bit of lemon to help curb that nauseas feeling. DiGize in a capsule and on my stomach also helps, although as baby has grown, I’ve had to rely on just a capsule more and more. I also apply Ginger EO to the bottoms of my feet and slip a pair of socks on.

Peppermint has long been known to help settle tummy issues, and DiGize contains a blend of oils that help support healthy digestive function-it works for just about any type of tummy trouble. Ginger is known to reduce nausea, as well.

Ningxia Red

Young Living makes a wonderful supplement called Ningxia Red. At first I thought it was an energy drink (don’t freak out)-so I was hesitant to try it while I’m pregnant. But I spoke to a number of oily friends who swore this was the ONLY thing that helped to cure their morning sickness. The first day I tried it I was kicking myself for waiting so long. Nausea GONE. And it does give me a bit of energy-without the caffeine and additives, but it’s not going to keep me awake.

I do notice that if I forget my Ningxia Red now I feel foggy and not quite right. I love the stuff.

Ginger Ale

As I said before, ginger helps nausea, and it makes sense that ginger ale would help as well. I found that this worked for me for about 15 weeks, but now it has the opposite effect. Oh, well. This was a nice solution while it lasted. Look for a ginger ale with real sugar, not an artificial sweetener.

Papaya Enzymes

Recently, I had a girlfriend tell me about papaya enzyme, and as long as I catch my nausea BEFORE it’s full blown, this helps tremendously.

What do you do to help your nausea?


Whew! It’s been awhile, huh? I’ve been struggling with nausea (even at nearly 25 weeks pregnant!), and trying to balance a busy career, with a whole host of changes within our family (all good). That being said, I promised more pregnancy workout reviews, and I’ve got one for you today! I’ve been trying to change up my workouts so that I:

  1. Don’t get bored
  2. Am challenged
  3. Don’t get bored

This past week I’ve been doing Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout, and while I appreciate the workout, I MUCH prefer her Slim & Toned Prenatal Barre Workout…maybe it’s because it’s newer, or maybe it’s because it’s more barre-focused. But they’re both solid. SO let’s talk about Long and Lean, shall we?

The workout is broken into three segments: abs, standing, and floor. You can do all three for a full workout, or pick and choose (I’m a bit out of shape…GASP! So I’ve been picking and choosing). I also like that there’s a postnatal bonus workout, although I haven’t tried it. Honestly, I’ve been focusing on the floor and standing workouts.

Now, this DVD is a great option if you’re trying to tone or maintain your muscle mass-that being said, I found it tiresome and repetitive, especially without the use of a barre or support. As someone who is squarely in my 2nd trimester, this was a deal-breaker, and I had to grab my barre a few times. I guess I just prefer a workout that moves and changes-this definitely does not.

That being said, Long and Lean is a great option if you’re short on time, tired, or just don’t have the energy for a more challenging workout. I can definitely say that this DVD will be challenging as I get even bigger, as it requires a LOT of core strength and balance to make sure that you don’t fall over. HA!

My biggest issue, though? The abs section. This section is done almost entirely laying on your back-which, if you’re like me, is HORRIBLY uncomfortable. ICK. I did it once, and then went back to The Dia Method for my abs. It’s effective and NOT laying on my back, which, quite frankly, hurts like the dickens.

My overall? It’s not a workout I’ll reach for regularly, but it’s not going to the donation bin, either…at least not until this little bean arrives.


Yesterday, I got tired of having alligator skin. For those of you not up in the North, this is what happens when you deal with sub-zero temperatures for weeks at a time. It literally sucks the life moisture out of you. I haven’t been a huge fan of store-bought beauty products for some time. Yes, There are things that I use (hmmmm…that sounds like a good blog post, come to think of it!), but the list is short, and mostly involves makeup that I refuse to give up. So sue me.

Smalls has been begging me for his own “lip stick” for months now. Did you hear that, y’all? MONTHS. I finally got everything together to make some, and it turned out great! We put it all together, and applied all day yesterday and last night.

Then this morning, this happened:

Smalls (peering over the bed and waiting for me to open my eyes): “Good morning mommy. Did you sleep well?”

B: “Good morning, sweetie. Yes, I did! Did you?”

Smalls: “I got new lips! Seeeeeeeeeee (pushing lips out as far from face as humanly possible)??” (we put some homemade lip balm with EOs on last night because his little lips have been so chapped from the cold. To say he was beyond excited for his own “lip stick” is a HUGE understatement!)

B: “Awesome! Can I have a kiss from your new lips?”

Smalls: “NO! If you touch them, they’ll fall off! DO NOT KISS MY NEW LIPS! THEY ARE JUST FOR LOOKING, MOOOOM!”

Make your own easy lavender lip balm to heal dry, cracked lips!

Lavender Lip Balm

1 tablespoon beeswax
2 tablespoons shea butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
20 drops Lavender essential oil

Lip balm tubes, pots, or small altoid tins (I happened to have quite a few of these on hand because it helps with my morning sickness)… be sure to wash and dry them THOROUGHLY before you start.

In a double boiler, melt your beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil, stirring slowly (I made a very small amount because I wanted to be sure that this WORKED, first. You could easily double, triple, or quadruple the amounts). Once everything is well combined, remove from the head and drop in your essential oils, stirring to combine (remember, I use Young Living essential oils, and cannot guarantee that you’ll have the same amazing results with anything else). When you’re measuring drops, hold the bottle on its side and let the oils drip slowly. Don’t shake the bottle, tempting as it may be. Essential oils are very potent, and you don’t want to over-pour.

Using a funnel, fill your chosen containers (I filled about 3 tins), and close the lid. Allow your new lip balm to harden, either on the counter for a few hours, or in the fridge for about 45 minutes (Smalls has the patience of a small child, so you can guess which method we used!). Apply liberally to lips!

*Someone asked me why I used lavender, as it’s not yummy like peppermint (I beg to differ, as you OBVIOUSLY have not tried lavender lemonade!). Lavender is very healing, and knowing that we were dealing with dry, cracked skin (yes, it was BAD!), it seemed like a much better idea than peppermint or lemon. You can use whatever “flavor” of essential oils floats your boat, though.  

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So. I’m pregnant. Surprise! Which means that I’ve had to modify just about everything over the last 3 months. With Smalls, I wasn’t nauseous, I felt awesome, but I didn’t exercise as much as I should. This time around, I vowed that I would workout regularly…that was, until the “morning” sickness hit me like a mac truck. Y’all, I feel HORRIBLE. But I’m still determined to workout, even if it’s not as often as I had originally planned. I have a number of prenatal barre workouts that I’ve been using, and I’m going to be reviewing them over the next couple of months in hopes that it might help you find your perfect pregnancy workout, too.

The first workout I tried was Physique Prenatal. You can watch a preview HERE. Like all of the Physique workouts, the prenatal workout has smooth transitions, is challenging, but gentle.

p57 prenatal workout review

Unlike so many prenatal workouts, the women in this video are ACTUALLY pregnant. So I felt like I could at least try to keep up. They are far more flexible than me right now, though, so I just modified my movements. This workout is led by Alicia, who is super sweet and soothing as you transition from one movement to the next.

I love the whole body focus, starting with arms. You really can work your arms while you’re pregnant (the baby isn’t growing there, after all!), and this workout gave me jell-o arms, which is ALWAYS a good thing. I will say that I needed a day between workouts to recover because of this. Beyond the arms, the legs section is very familiar, but modified gently for pregnancy.

Physique has always been one of my favorites due to it’s quick movements, upbeat music, and fast pace. Compared to other pregnancy workouts, this fits right into the mix. While slower moving than Physique 57 Classic, for example, it’s still much faster moving than other prenatal workouts that I’ve tried.

I was a little surprised by the ab work-which is on the floor with a wedge-shaped mat. While I don’t have one of those at home, I was able to substitute quite a few pillows. This was probably my least favorite part of the workout, and quite honestly, I only did it once just to see how it felt. With my cramping (yay for an expanding uterus!), and nausea, laying down was NOT what I wanted to do. I prefer to use The Dia Method (review coming soon!), which focuses on gentle exercises to strengthen your belly and prevent diastasis recti, which is the separation of your stomach muscles…not a good thing.

Overall, I really liked Physique 57 Prenatal. It’s low impact, effective, and fun, just like I expected. My one caveat? I really wish it was on DVD, rather than streaming. I’m not terribly savvy (um, yeah…I know I’m a blogger…let me have it.) when it comes to figuring out how to connect my television to a website. It was frustrating, to say the least. I wasn’t thrilled with having to crane my neck to see my laptop. That aside, it’s a great workout.


This may come as a shock to you, but I absolutely HATE lasagna. Seriously. I’d rather eat rocks. Or pinecones. I don’t know why…I love the ingredients in other things, but it’s never been on my list of favorite dishes. This is a problem because Ish LOVES lasagna (probably more than me!).

So I’ve been looking (and testing) all kinds of lasagna recipes. I’ve tried veggie noodles, traditional, you name it. But there’s something about that darned casserole that just makes me want some mac and cheese instead. Then I caught wind of lasagna soup. I searched through recipes and didn’t find one that I liked. I really wanted something that tasted like lasagna, but WASN’T actually lasagna, if that makes any sense!

So, after much experimentation, I’ve found it!! This recipe always gets Ish stoked when he walks through the door. And it takes less than 30 minutes, start to finish. Did I mention that it’s SUPER DUPER delicious?!

fast and easy homemade lasagna soup

Lasagna Soup

1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 a white onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
32-ounce container vegetable broth
16 ounces gluten-free pasta
1/2 cup lowfat, part skim ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 cup mozzarella, shredded

Heat a dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat. While your pot is heating, chop your onion and peel your garlic. Add the olive oil to your pot, then the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent (about 2-3 minutes), then add in your sausage (if you have cased sausage, remove the casings and break it up as it cooks. Cook through (about 5 minutes, then add your seasonings, diced tomatoes, sauce, and broth. Turn the head up to high and bring to a boil.

Once your soup boils, add your noodles and the ricotta. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until your noodles are cooked through. Grate in parmesan, stir, and allow the flavors to meld for 5-10 minutes. Spoon into serving dishes and top with mozzarella. Serves 6-8.


Happy Monday!

Sundays are usually my day to sleep in (Ish and I switch off-he gets Saturday, and I get Sunday. It works.), but not yesterday. Yesterday, I was jolted awake by the wailing of my 3 year old. Smalls was DEMANDING that I make pancakes. NOW. Not later. Not for brunch. NOW. Apparently Ish’s pancake skills are sub-par. Sorry, honey.

So I got up, after sleeping an extra hour (it was a blissful hour, though), and shuffled downstairs to get some pancakes made. I have to confess, I was a little worried, as we’re trying very hard to avoid gluten, and usually pancakes fall squarely in the GLUTEN category. Luckily, I have some awesome gluten-free flour that did most of the work for me.

And you know what? They turned out really well! Fluffy, tasty, and perfect paired with pumpkin butter.

quick and easy homemade gluten-free pancakes

Easy Gluten-Free Pancakes

1 cup gluten-free flour
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure, please)
dash salt
1 egg
1 cup plain almond milk (if you use vanilla, just omit the vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons ghee

Gently mix together your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl  (If you are like me and HATE lumps, make sure that you sift everything into the bowl). In a smaller bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients. Slowly mix the wet into the dry until just combined.

Preheat your pan over medium heat, and spray with olive oil or ghee (I love my Misto!). Use a pancake scoop to make uniform circles of batter in your heated pan.

When you see bubbles appear, turn your pancakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings. Some ideas:

  • powdered sugar
  • berries
  • pumpkin butter
  • peanut butter (homeade)
  • chopped nuts

What do you put on your pancakes?

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