Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thinking Out Loud Thursday:Time to Relax!



     So, here it goes!  I'm Thinking Out Loud! I decided to jump in and share what's been going on in my life since I lasted posted, way back when. . . on December 1st!

     Thinking-Out-Loud2


  • Teaching elementary students is rewarding, but the lesson planning and other paperwork can be time consuming!  This time of year, it gets hectic at school with grades due, IEP meetings and other testing stuff.  I come home at the end of the day exhausted!

  • The class has a little friend that has been causing mischief in class!
Where in the World is Elfie!


  • This time of year, is for me, all about remembering family and friends, cherishing the old memories and enjoying "making" new ones as well!  I had a dear, childhood friend from Maine, think of me recently!  She saw a little gift at a store in Maine and bought if for me!
The little things in life can mean so much! Even the postage from Portland, Maine warmed my heart! 

I love this Facebook message that was sent prior to the arrival of the special package:
"Maine girls, always remember Maine Girls"

     Some friendships are lucky enough to withstand time and distance.

Ha! Excuse the Change in Font! By the time I finish typing and posting this blog, I'll have returned home from school!  I started this post, this morning, at 7:00am!   

I am looking forward to relaxing, catching up on running and just enjoying the quiet times at home over Christmas/Winter Break! The "Gift of Time" is so precious and I savor every second!!

Feeling and looking a little Christmasy!! 

A beautiful "Etsy" necklace from a student! 

Hope everyone has a relaxing and stress-free weekend leading into the Holidays and Christmas!  I'll be off from school for two weeks!! 
-coffee
-running
-reading
-pajamas

What's on everyone's agenda for Christmas?? 



. . . Thursday is almost over! Time to leaf through this Athleta catalog! 

P.S {Post Script} I'm hoping for Snow! 













Monday, December 1, 2014

Goodbye November, Hello December and Meal Planning


     I literally wait all year for the month of November.  November, for me, epitomizes the fall season.  Cool, crisp air and the gorgeous vibrant colors that saturate the trees.  I had dreams of running, carefree through the streets. Adding up some solid November mileage, since taking off in October after running the Maine marathon on October 5th. 

     Unfortunately, my right heel and achilles decided I needed to pursue some new fitness routines.  My heel is slightly tender and my achilles a bit stiff at the insertional point.  Not good right now, but things have Not gotten worse.  
  
     I have a regimen in place to heal and get back to solid road running soon!  I'm seeing a sports chiropractor twice a week for lower back, hips and ankle adjustments. Hopefully, I'll be on the mend and ready for races in March! 



     In the mean time, I've been focusing on more core fitness and strength routines to maintain fitness. Incorporating more pilates/yoga on the mat and using some fun fitness apps and videos on my iPhone and ipad.  I rely on doing these things at home because I love about an hour and half from Annapolis and Washington, DC.  My small town in southern Maryland doesn't offer much variety in gym classes or pilates/ barre studios. 

     I found this easy-to -use, but effective 7-Minute Workout Challenge App for my iphone! 


These are the twelve exercises with descriptions and visual pics! The App has you do each exercise for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds rest! Super easy App that motivates you to get in a 7-minute workout, anywhere! The app tracks each time you complete a circuit! 



     Im also loving the online pilates videos.  I found them through my iPad App Store for $1.99 each.  I downloaded a few videos.  I'm already feeling stronger and more toned in my quads, abs and hips/glutes.  My triceps have been getting a workout too! 



     So, as I say goodbye to November and hello to December, I'm embracing the change in fitness routine.  I'm using the downtime from running to heal my lingering issues with my heel and achilles, as well as, tone and strengthen my core.  Healing is also about nourishing the body from the inside-out. I've been reevaluating my meals and making some changes to my meal planning ideas.  
 
 

Here are some Meal Planning Ideas to Start December: I linked up with Laura from Mommy Run Fast
 

Two of My favorite cookbooks right now:

Giada's Feel Good cookbook
 
 
And this Amazing website for two Warm Winter Smoothies-Warm Ginger Pear Smoothie  and the Warm Cocoa Smoothie!
 
From Giada's Cookbook for Breakfast:
  • Oatmeal with Olive oil
  • Chia Pudding
  • Chewy Granola Bars
  • Mini Carrot Apple Cupcakes
From the Runner's World Cookbook for Lunches:
  • Potato Leek Soup
  • Chick Pea Pesto Tomato Soup
I love to make a ton of soup and then place 1 cup servings into plastic, quart size, ziplock baga and freeze!  The Chick Pea Pesto will freeze well for future lunches!
 
Dinner this Week:
 
Sunday: Roast Minestrone Soup with grilled mozzarella cheese sandwiches
 
Monday: Leftover Roast Minestrone Soup with grilled mozzarella cheese sandwiches
 
 
 

Tuesday: Ground Turkey Tacos

Wednesday: Finish Ground Turkey Tacos

Thursday: Baked Potatoes with Vegetables

Friday: Perfect Broccoli Cheddar Soup-Recipe Here


So, there it is!  Welcome to December!  Recharging and refocusing my fitness and health! 

What's on your "menu" for health and fitness?  Any fun and worthy fitness Apps or websites? 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Holiday Season: Cheers to Staying Fit!


As the Holidays Approach, I am "Making a List and Checking it Twice":


  • Taking charge of my health
-Tasty fall salads, a variety of hot herbal teas and tons of refreshing lemon water!

  • Finding new ways to strengthen and tone my body
-Yoga, Pilates and Running of Course!

  • Staying active and motivated to workout and eat healthy

  • A "Less is More" Approach-be kind to yourself

  • Changing up your fitness routine- maybe trying out a gym class a few nights a week, pay as a "drop-in" with no long term committment

  • Holidays are about family and friends, making memories and cherishing the time to relax. 
*** In order to stay motivated and keep myself in "check" over the Hoidays, I have joined the Holiday Sweat Challenge One of my fun fitness bloggers, Jennifer over at Kineticfix got me excited about this challenge!******

Over the Holidays-get in on some fun:

  • Healthy recipes
  • Workouts
  • Tons of Virtual Motivation to stay Accountable and Fit
  • Motivating Emails and Fun Prizes!!
Join in on the fun and Register Here!! SweatGURU!!  Register by November 24th, 2014

 

 

 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Updates and Meal Planning

Monthly Market Calendar and Meal Planning!!

   

  Sundays are my time as a mom, runner and teacher to refocus and get ready for the week!  I take the afternoons to lesson plan, workout for about an hour {or go for a run} and get lunches and dinners ready for the week! Weekdays can get so busy, but in order to maintain a healthy and nutritious routine, I love to meal plan and have dinners ready for the week! 

     I love using this simple, but efficient,  printable calendar to map out my dinners and market needs for the month! Yup, the month! I shop two days out of the Entire month for Everything! I save money and time!! During the week I'm able to simply come home from teaching and relax! Staying out of stores the rest of the month saves so much time and money! I have a 26 cubic foot Samsung Bottom freezer fridge! 

Here is my monthly meal plan calendar! 


Sunday: Broth Based Chicken Noodle Soup 

Monday: Broth Based Chicken Noodle Soup

Tuesday: Broth Based Chicken Noodle Soup
******* My Husband, daughter and I eat a Big Pot of soup for a few nights******

Wednesday: Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream and Broccoli
{ A busy night of cheer practice and school stuff}

Thursday: Grilled Cheese with Bacon

 Friday: Scrambled eggs with hash browns 
{ We are out of town Saturday and Sunday}

** Easy meal planning week due to end of week Holiday travel! 

Next week! A variety of different dinners already planned! My favorite meal planning site for inspiration right now is www.iowagirleats.com I'm on my iPad this weekend so I can't copy and paste link to website. 

How far ahead do you shop and meal plan? Any suggestions? 

Running and training update! 
{Lately, I have been focusing so much on my corefitness!! Nightly sessions of squats, planks, bridge pose, side plank clamshells with resistance band, Seated Bicycle Twists, and strength based yoga/pilates DVDs.}





Friday, November 7, 2014

Sometimes, Less is More: A Change of Pace

     A little update about motherhood, running, and teaching!    Following my 18 weeks of training for the Maine marathon, I felt like my body needed a break from the constant running each week.  It was tough keeping up each week with running on Wed, Thursday and Friday, with long runs on Saturday.  Having to wake up early on Saturdays and dedicate my time to 2+ hours of running, I was left feeling like I wasn't being there for my daughter. It's interesting, because I always felt like as my daughter got older, she wouldnt need me as much. Well, with a young teen, you actually have to be even more present in some ways.  The young teen years are filled with worry, insecurities and self-doubt. Thankfully, the bulk of my training was over the summer, so I didn't have to worry so much about lesson planning, team leader obligations, parent emails, and being the english/language arts core content lead.  Now, school is back in session and that means I am full time mother, runner and teacher.  I need to be flexible and adapt my running schedule around my other committments.
    
     So, here I am, exactly one month post marathon.  My body and mind are in a relaxed state.  I am working on fixing some lingering issues with my right foot/ankle and calf muscle.  For months there has just been a lingering, not-so-noticeable tenderness on my inside heel.  I have been faithfully doing my strenghthening and stretching exercises.  I have to admit that I constantly read Angela's blog over at Happy Fit Mama, she has great advice on incorporating yoga and daily strength training exercises into her running routine.  The toughest part for me about committing to core workouts and strength training drills is that I really don't feel the same sweat induced endorphins as I do from running. However, I have been telling myself, "You only get to run, if you put in the work for core fitness and strength training."  Yup, it's so easy for me to just go out and run, but I have to force myself to "earn" that run! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Some yoga and pilates stuff mixed into my day, along with ankle and hip strengthening drills.  I love the "Bridge Pose, Planks, Side Plank Clamshells with resistance band, and "Seated Bicycle Twists".  I am starting to feel more of a workout in my abs and hips.  I also stumbled across this really great site, A Blog. By Runners. For Runners.  There are really great post on Yoga for runners.  Back to Angela, from HappyFitMama  she also tipped me off to the #HealingHearts Yoga instagram challenge for November! 
 
 


Fall running at its best.  Cool afternoons, only a light short sleeve running shirt required along with some shorts and beautiful fall foliage.  Running is easy and relaxed right now.  As I run, I am focused on improving my stride-increasing my cadence and using the strength in my hips to propell me forward. I love this time of year for running, no pressure to race-just soak up the moments I am in right now.
 
    So, here I am now on November 7th, this blog took two days to write because there is so much going on right now.  I am taking this season of change to -"be patient, quiet my stresses and just focus on one thing at a time".  Less, is More-easy pace.  This is a season of rebuilding and getting stronger.  Honestly, I only have one race on the calendar for December.-The Jingle Bell 5k with my daughter (redhead).  So, this is my "off season".
 
 
Who else is enjoying, or getting ready to enjoy-"their off season" of running?
 
Any tips or advice for adding more cross training or strength drills to your running routine?
 
Thoughts on Motherhood with older kids and teens?
 
Happy Friday!
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Making a Difference: Companies and Their Products

     Recently, I googled some granola bars and came across, ThisBarSavesLives.  I read about the company and their product on their website.  The company provides a life saving, nutritious meal, for starving children in over 120 countries, through their partnership with Save the Children,for each Bar sold.

     As a mother, runner and teacher, I eat to fuel and sustain for long hours.  The food choices I make are about my health, but also about the world around me.  If my food choices can provide me with a hearty, nutritious snack and "Make a Difference", then for me- that's what matters!

I ordered the Wild Blueberry Pistachio because, of course, the wild blueberries are from Maine! 

     The bars, ThisBarSavesLives, Wild Blueberry Pistachio, are a naturally sweet, slightly chewy/crunchy blend of fruit and nuts.  The bars are glutenfree, NonGMO and ingredients are organically sourced in the United States. These bars will be great for breakfast or a much needed snack in the afternoon after teaching, but before a run! 

I loved purchasing this wristband too! Each wristband purchased, provides a meal to a child in need and contributes to the Water Project.  The Water Project brings water to countries in Africa. The bracelets are made out of clay! 





Please check out this company at,   http://www.thisbarsaveslives.com, This Bar Saves Lives


     My other favorite Bar, I found at the Charmcityrun Annapolis store a few months ago! Charmed Bars are a delicious, chewy, fruity, nut bar that is glutenfree, certified kosher and free of GMO's!! 

   What I love about this company! 
A company founded by two women!  The company is local to Maryland!  One of the women is a former elementary school kindergarten teacher!  Here on the CharmedBarwebsite there is a link to the "Autism Hope Alliance" organization.  As a teacher, it's important to support Charmed Bar because they are "Autism Approved"! 

Charmed Bar has three different, yummy varieties, but their newest- Apple Rageous Nutbutter- is my favorite! 

     I order online and shipping and delivery is quick and easy!  The combination of fruit, nuts and almond butter helped fuel my Maine Marathon run at mile 18! I ran with the Charmed Bar in my running shirt pocket!  When I'm not fueling, mid run with a Charmed Bar, I'm eating one at breakfast with my coffee! 

     Too find out more about Charmed Bar and order some yummy bars, visit their website! 

http://charmedbar.com


Supporting Companies/ Brands that are Making a Difference! 
     I read labels and try my best to educate myself on the product, the company and people behind the product and how these companies can have a positive impact on the world.  I support companies and their products that strive to Make a Difference. 

     Do you have a favorite company/brand that is Making a Difference? 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Raising A Teenager: Healthy Snack and Lunch Choices


    My redhead is 13 years old now.  She wants to do well in school, fit in with the rest of her peers and make some decisions on her own.  I do my best, as a mom, to guide and encourage her through the trials and tribulations of her teen years. 

     When my redhead was little, I could really manage and control all her food choices.  Now, she's older and around her friends more often.  Whether my redhead is at her friends' houses or having them over to our house, balancing a healthy diet with teens can be challenging.  One thing I've noticed and been more attune to, is my daughter's need to have quick, go-to-snacks that she can quickly make or grab! Despite the snacks and other food choices she may be faced with outside of our house, when she is home- I want her to have healthy, wholesome choices.  

      My redhead has a very "delicate taste" for things, so I'm constantly trying to fit in lunch and snack choices that meet her taste, yet have my "healthy approval"!  It's tough, at times, because she doesn't want to be known as "that kid" with the organic snacks and environmentally friendly containers! 

Here's what I currently have in our fridge, freezer and pantry:

These taste just like Fritos, but are certified organic and NonGMO verified! {Sage Valley company}

 Organic Valley milk.  I've never bought any soda or juice for Sydney. The rule is milk or water with all meals and snacks at home.

Nutella and Sticks- not organic, but one of my Redhead's favorites.  

Silly Cow Hot Chocolate. Skippy- Natural peanut butter and Endangered Species milk chocolate. 

Quick, microwave snacks- love Amy's and Blake's Naturals/Organic products

Organic Macintosh apples


AppleGate Farm Organic cheese and lunch meat. 




   As you can see, I try to balance the organic choices with some other products that are still healthy enough for a teenager to grab and snack.  One very important tip I try to adhere to is reading the labels.  Know the ingredients and keep it simple. Try to eliminate artificial flavors and snacks with chemical dyes. I also do not cater to a lot of sugary snacks. 

How do you help your teen make healthy eating choices?