December 30, 2015

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU Challenge!

Wow, can you believe it- 2016 is quickly approaching on us?! New year's is definitely my favorite time of the year because I love to reflect on the events of the past and set new goals for the future. There are always some regrets, some disappointments, but more than anything; anticipation for the future and a new desired commitment to do better.

Imagine 30 days from now, just a month into the new year. You're more energized than ever before as you've developed healthy habits of working out 30 minutes a day. You're feeling stronger and more toned than you have been in awhile. You're eating healthy, clean, balanced meals that make you feel great.
This is totally possible, and I want to help.

Starting January 11, my team and I are kicking off the NEW YEAR, NEW YOU program- a 30 day health and fitness challenge, led by not one, but SEVEN experienced fitness coaches, all dedicated to making sure that you reach your goals, create new healthy habits, and finally start living a lifestyle that makes you happy and healthy. I'd love for you to join us!

I can't help but think back to the first year I started my fitness journey. I was a very busy mom, with a 6 year old, 4 year old and a small baby. I was struggling with post- partum depression that would always creep in after the first few weeks of newborn adrenaline wore off and I had many sleepless nights, and overwhelming days. I started out with a 6 week commitment, and a strong desire to get a hold on my life and feel happier. I knew that it was through the habits I could create, and how I spent my time that would determine if I was successful or not. I worked out Monday- Friday and sometimes Saturday, rain or shine. I followed the meal plan (not perfectly, but I did my best) and noticed that I had more energy, especially immediately after my workouts, so much so that I would enjoy doing loads of laundry and cleaning my kitchen right after my workout! I noticed this energy would literally get me through my day and help me to overcome the gloom that I could feel was ready to swoop in if I slacked off or delayed my workout to later in the day. As you can see, I had great physical results. I lost my baby weight 3 times faster than with my first 2 kids and fit back into my jeans quickly. BUT the biggest transformation for me, was what I noticed on the inside. My happiness level, the clarity of my thoughts and the handle I had on my emotions. So different than I had experienced in the past.

Since then, I have had many ups and downs with my commitment level, mostly my workout habits. I don't always enjoy the act of working out, but I ALWAYS enjoy how I feel when I have completed a workout. I'm excited to recommit to my goals and create a consistent habit of working out each morning with my husband. I know how hard it is to do this alone, which is why I'm so excited to have this challenge group where we will all be here to uplift and motivate each other to reach our goals. Our private support group will have men and women who are all working on creating healthy habits of working out 30 minutes a day, and following a healthy meal plan so that you will have all the tools you need to be successful.

Ready to get started? Simply click HERE to learn more and sign up for our NEW YEAR, NEW YOU group! If you have any questions at all as to whether or not this is for you, or what program is best suited for your needs, just get in touch. I'm happy to help!

December 28, 2015

Singing Time: Take a Journey with Jesus

I am now secretary in Primary but filled in for our Music Leader who had a sore throat. Since it was the last week of December I wanted to do an activity that focuses on Christ but not all Christmas songs. This would be a great activity for a week where you need to review some songs too! I printed the footprints (template HERE) on different colored paper (one sheet per color), cut them out and taped them to the chalkboard. You'll need the gospel art photos as well as a big magnet for your marker spot and a giant die, like this one: 
I chose a child from our sticks of names, but always remind them that "I'm looking for my next reverent helper..." as I pull the name out. They come up, roll the die and move that many spaces with the large white magnet. If they land on a white footprint, they get to pick their favorite primary song!
If they hit a picture, we stop and talk about it. I ask the child who is up front with me what they see in the picture and love the responses they give. You can always ask follow up questions to make them think a little deeper or teach them something new. Once we have talked about the picture, we sing the song that goes with it and then continue to play. I loved this lesson and activity and was grateful for the opportunity to bear my testimony to the children.

START: Where did we begin before we came to earth? In Heaven with Jesus and Heavenly Father. We are going to take a walk with Jesus today and look at the key points of His life and talk about how He has set a perfect example for all of us. 

NATIVITY PICTURE: What do you see in the picture? Talk about Christ's birth. Sing Away in a Manger (42) or He Sent His Son (34)

JESUS BEING BAPTIZED: Tell us about this picture. Why did Jesus need to be baptized even though he was perfect? Why are we baptized when we are 8 and not as babies? Sing When I am Baptized (103) or another Baptism song.

JESUS WITH THE DISCIPLES: Jesus loved to teach people and lots of people would stop and listen to His stories. What does it mean to be a "Disciple"? A disciple is a "Follower of Christ" You are all disciples because you are here at church and you love to learn about Jesus too! The apostles are chosen and called but anyone can be a disciple. Let's sing I Will Follow God's Plan (164) Listen carefully to the words and see what our choice was, and what our blessings are if we follow Jesus' example. ("my choice was to come to this lovely home on earth", "I will be happy on earth". 
We talked about this for a bit too.)

JESUS WITH THE CHILDREN: What do you see in the picture? How does it make you feel? How do you know that Jesus loved the children? That's right- in the scriptures we read that the adults told the children to go away because Jesus was teaching the people and What did Jesus say? "Succor the children" That means to bring them over. He LOVED the children, just like he loves you children. He taught them, he blessed them, he hugged them. Let's sing I Know that My Savior Loves Me

CHRIST AT SECOND COMING: What is this a picture of? Has it happened yet? When we got on the picture the kids in Junior primary yelled, "We got to heaven!!" They knew it was a picture of heaven and they were so excited to be there! Let's sing I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus (78). I love this song because it teaches me that we don't need to be perfect, we just need to try to do our best and follow Christ's example and be like Jesus in all the little things we do and say. We will sometimes be tempted, and we will make mistakes, but we can always repent and try to do better.

BEAR TESTIMONY of Jesus Christ 

December 3, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Traditions!!

24 Days of Christmas Reading:

Ever since I was a kid I've been collecting Christmas books. I have some that say, "To Kirsten 1986, From Grandma and Grandpa B." I love that my mom saved these for me so that I can still enjoy them today with my kids!! Every year I wrap up our books and put them in a basket for the kids to open one each night! This helps our night routine go faster since the kids are excited to get to reading!

20 Days of Christmas Countdown & Ornaments:

A couple years ago I wanted an advent calendar that truly reminded me of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. So I opened up my New Testament and marked my very favorites of the story of Jesus' birth and the nativity story. Each day the kids open the bag to find the scripture. We read it and open the tissue paper to find the item to either enjoy, create or decorate our tree!
I'm super bummed because I checked my computer (and my laptop) and couldn't find the document I created to share. I used these blank labels found HERE and typed in each scripture. Here are the scriptures and the corresponding item...
Day 1: John 1: 1-5 Jesus is the light of the world (pull out the small Christmas tree and decorate with lights!)
Day 2: Luke 1: 26-32 The angel Gabriel was sent from God to the virgin Mary (angel ornament)
Day 3: Matthew 1:18 An Angel visited Joseph in a dream and told him to marry Mary (2 rings on a string (ornament) AND ring pops!)
Day 4: Matthew 1:21 Jesus shall save his people from their sins (cross ornament)
Day 5: Luke 2:1 There went out a decree that all the world should be taxed (chocolate coins)
Day 6: Luke 2: 4-5 And Joseph went up from Nazareth unto Bethlehem with Mary (plastic donkey toy)
Day 7: Luke 2:6-7 Mary brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger (nativity ornament)
Day 8: Isaiah 9:6  For unto us a child is born.. he shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace (ornament that says Peace)
Day 9: Luke 2: 8-12 And there were shepherds keeping watch on their flocks at night (3 sheep ornaments)
Day 10: Luke 2:13-14 Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will toward men (musical note ornament- listen to Christmas music to fall asleep)
Day 11: Luke 2: 15-16 So the shepherds found Mary & Joseph and the Baby who was lying in a manger (candy canes turned into ornaments)
Day 12: Luke 2: 17-18 And when they had seen Him they made known abroad (jingle bells!! Did you know that the shepherds rang bells to spread the word?)
Day 13: Luke 2:19 Mary pondered these thing in her heart (heart buttons for the kids to make ornaments with OR heart ornament)
Day 14:  Luke 2:20 Shepherds return and praise God (rocks to decorate and put on pillows to remember to pray!)
Day 15: Luke 2: 21 His name was called Jesus (ornament with Jesus' name or Jesus nativity coloring book)
Day 16: Luke 2:24 Offer a sacrifice... in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves (not quite sure- either a service act we do for someone else OR a turtle dove ornament?)
Day 17: Matthew 2:1-2 There came wisemen from the East who have seen the star and come to worship Him (3 wooden game pieces to decorate like wisemen!)
Day 18: Matthew 2: 9-10 The wisemen followed the star in the East and rejoiced with exceeding great joy (JOY ornament)
Day 19: Matthew 2:11 They fell down and worshiped Him and brought Him gifts- gold, frankincese & Myrh (3 little presents)
Day 20: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life!! (Christmas chocolate or candy- the gospel is so SWEET! Look at our completed Christmas tree pointing to heaven and represents everlasting life!)

A lot of the little pieces are from Michael's. The little animal buttons, sparkly candy canes, wooden pieces) Others I've collected over time. Because I have limited wall space, I have a shoe organizer that I use to put the items in the pockets for each day and I've cut out Christmas decorative paper for each pocket and covered clothespins to make it look pretty :) This shoe organizer doubles as a Christmas card holder as well!! Just clip them to the clothespins and you've got yourself a fancy card display! Below you can see our mini tree that goes in the boys' room and we add an ornament each day!

Christmas Pillowcases- My grandmother started a great tradition that I love!! She makes my kids special Christmas pillowcases! The pattern is super easy and simple, and they turn out so cute with their trimming and 3 coordinating fabrics. It would be fun to give them on Christmas eve to help the kids sleep well with all the anticipation and excitement... we love to enjoy them all month long!

November 30, 2015

Christmas Songs- Primary Singing Time

We were asked to sing Picture a Christmas (CS 50) for our sacrament meeting before Christmas, so it's time to start practicing! I'm printing these pictures: and laminating with magnetic backing so I can put up the pictures as we sing each part. (For sacrament meeting, I'll use a cookie sheet instead of a flip chart!) After we learn the song in primary, I'll pick reverent helpers to put each picture up as we sing that part. You could even print off a set for each class to do as we practice & sing!

We were also asked to sing Away in a Manger (CS 42) So we will learn that as well, and I'll do some fun things for the ":asleep" echos. Kids/teachers, boys/girls, left side/right side, junior primary/senior primary (we meet together)

Here are the other songs we will sing this month:
Christmas Bells (54)- with handbells! (maybe just for Senior Primary)
Jingle Bells- with pipe cleaners bent in circle with bells. Great for nursery too!
He Sent His Son (34) (from last year's program so they know this already. I love to use Dynamics sticks to show when to sing quietly, slowly, loudly- really helps to get feeling into the song! I use animals- bunny, snail, lion and they know what it means)
Jesus Said Love Everyone (61) quick & easy. Another fun one for 4 corners, or just 4 pictures to represent each line.
Once there was a Snowman- with actions, of course!!
The Nativity Song (52)- make 4 squares on the board and have a couple kids come up and draw a picture for each line. Then play 4 corners by splitting the room in 4 parts and having them sing just one part each, then switch parts so each corner sings a different line each time we practice!

November 24, 2015

handmade Christmas wrap-up!

HERE are our favorite handmade Christmas projects. Enjoy!!

My Mom's Famous Apple Crisp- healthy alternative to apple pie


Mix together: 
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg

Slice 4 Fuji Apples (peeled) and layer in greased baking dish (8x8).  Sprinkle dry ingredients over the top.  Take 1/3 cup of butter and slice on top of the mixture to cover.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until apples are tender.

(FYI- I always double this recipe and put it in a 9 x 12 casserole dish.)

Enjoy with a small scoop of ice cream!

September 17, 2015

How to Channel your Inner Awesome

I've been spending the week at Yosemite National Park and it is absolutely gorgeous here! I have been in awe at the Lord's beautiful creations.

When I was young and I couldn't fall to sleep, my dad taught me to close my eyes, smile, picture myself at Lake Powell, breathe deep and count to 100. It worked like a charm, and over the years I have collected a variety of "happy places" to think about when I needed to relax or fall asleep.

Today I want to share with you 5 ways to find your inner awesome; feel peace, lower your stress, start your day off strong, have more confidence and be ready to conquer any challenge!

1. Create a great morning routine:
When I wake up and get moving before my kids wake up, and accomplish a few things before the day officially starts, I have a much better day! A few of my morning tasks are to say a prayer, read something uplifting, and be aware of my focus for the day.

Healthy living doesn't just affect our physical bodies, but our spirits, our emotions, our mind and our whole being. As a Beachbody team, we know that working on our inside is just as important as working our our outside. Reading something uplifting will help us be more confident, have positive thoughts, and have more desire to help others.  I love reading something uplifting in the morning. It helps me to kick off my day in a positive way and keep my mind clear. I'm prone to having anxiety when I can't put things into action so reading something that will help me improve my life always helps me feel more peace.

2. Visualize your Goals:
Another thing that is helpful is to write down positive affirmations and daily intentions. Positive affirmations are "I am" comments that help you recognize your worth and who you are or want to be. Daily Intentions are "I will" or "I can" statements that help you set the tone for the day so you can live the life you want to live. Here are some examples:

Positive Affirmations:

I am a good mom.
I am a strong leader.
I am a happy person.
I am a kind friend.

Daily Intentions:
I will help others without expecting anything in return
I will be productive and create a peaceful environment at home
I will be present in every moment- for my friends, for my children, for my spouse
I will treat my body with love and respect by eating healthy and staying active get the point. 
When you think it, you will believe it and you can achieve it! Sometimes putting your goals in writing is the push you need to work towards those accomplishments!

3. Recognize your Progress:
In our support group, I recommend taking measurements weekly and not stepping on the scale in between. This is because our weight can fluctuate so much day-to-day from water weight, bloating, sodium levels, and even if you need to go to the bathroom!  It's very important to remember, the scale only shares a portion of the progress you've made. Don't get discouraged by the scale! ! It's just a number and doesn't tell you how much fat you've lost, or how much muscle you've gained. The scale also doesn't tell you how hard you've worked or the positive lifestyle changes you've made!!
Instead, focus on the small victories that you can feel.

Non-scale victories:
Clothes fit better
Have more energy
Workouts and activity become easier
You feel more positive about yourself
Other people are noticing a difference
Rings fit better
You have less sugar cravings
You have lost inches
You feel happier!

These non-scale victories are so important to help you stay motivated and remember that what you are doing is making a difference. Pay attention to these victories and write them down so that you continue to remember your efforts are making a difference!

4. Stretch often:
In even short amount of time (10-15 minutes) stretching can calm the mind, give your body a break, and provide your muscles a chance to recharge. Stretching helps improve flexibility and can decrease your chance of injury if done before working out. Exercises like yoga & pilates help to strengthen and lengthen your muscles, improve posture and decrease soreness! This month's fitness program special is PiYO, a combination of Pilates & Yoga that will help you burn calories while you strentch & elongate your muscles as well as burn fat! HERE's a little more info about PiYO!

5. Find your Support!! 

Having a group of like-minded women for me to check in with each day makes all the difference for me! I'm more accountable to my goals, and I'm able to help other people in the process which is important to me too! If you don't have a support system or if you feel like you need something more to help you step up your game, join our support group! I will help you get started with a customized meal plan, help you track your progress, and help you get the support you need to  reach your goals. I LOVE my challenge group and the girls in our private group are so uplifting, motivational and supportive! IF you enjoy these newsletters, you will love our group! We have little mini challenges, like celebrating Flex Friday, we rejoice together in our victories and uplift each other through our struggles.

I hope you have found these 5 tips to be helpful! If you find yourself constantly quitting, this just might be what you're missing! I can help you get partnered up with someone who will help you push yourself harder, commit to your workouts, eat cleaner, and provide the accountability we all need to stay focused and reach your goals! You can request to join our FREE support group HERE!

September 7, 2015

Easy Reversible Trick or Treat Bags!!

Halloween is just around the corner! I love making these cute trick or treat bags for my kiddos and each year I make matching bags that coordinate with their costumes! They are SUPER simple and easy enough to make in about an hour.

Materials Needed:
4 quarter yard cuts (will make 3 bags total if you switch fabrics up)
7/8 inch grosgrain ribbon (or cotton webbing for thicker straps)-- (2) 20 inch pieces
{optional} cute button, tulle, thick thread, pin
Step 1:
Decide which fabric you want for the main and which for the top strip
Cut 4 pieces of the main fabric 9X10 inches (2 pieces of each fabric- 2 candies, 2 skeletons)
Cut 4 pieces of the top strip 9X3 inches (2 pieces of each fabric- 2 diamonds, 2 purple cats)
Cut 2 pieces of the ribbon or webbing 20 inches long
Step 2: With right sides together, pin & sew top piece to main piece. I always use presser foot edge (about 1/4 inch) seam allowance unless otherwise noted. Repeat so you have 4 pieces of fabric.
Step 3: Place right sides together of each matching piece (candies on candies, skeletons on skeletons.) and sew up all 3 sides-- leaving the top side open. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.
Step 4: With side seam facing you, put your hand inside and poke out the corner. Then flatten it with the seam going down the middle-
using your grid or ruler, measure 1 inch from the corner where the seams meet (not corner of fabric) draw a line straight across and sew along that edge (backstitch at beginning and end).
Then clip off the corners. Mitering the corners like this makes the bag have a base so it will stand up. Especially once you fill it with candies :)
Step 5: With one bag inside out and the other right side out, place the right side out bag inside the other:
Step 6: Measure 2 inches from each edge and tape (yes, I said tape) the ribbon pieces to the right side out bag-- the tape will hold it still below where you sew and you can just remove the tape later. I've found using tape-- masking, painters, clear tape... is easier to work with than using pins.
Step 7: Tuck the straps inside, line up the top edges and pin. Remove the plate from your machine and stitch around the top using a larger seam allowance (5/8th is good) and leaving a gap in between two straps.
Pull the inside bag out and turn it so both pieces are right side out:
Step 8: Push the inner bag inside the other and top stitch using 1/4 inch allowance (don't sew down straps)
And you are done!!
Fully reversible and ready to be stuffed to the brim with TREATS :)
Wanna add a little extra bling? Even boys will love this embellished pin that you can take off and switch over when you reverse the bag...
Joanns has some fun halloween buttons- jackolanterns, monsters, pumpkins, ghosts... Sew one onto a brooch-back pin with some ribbon or tulle for a girlie look.
Or sew the button onto a circle of felt for a pin that boys will love!
Have fun and click HERE for more Halloween ideas, activities and tutorials. Happy HauntingSewing!!

Recipe for Healthy BBQ Substitutions

It's a holiday weekend which means party time!! You can still have fun at your BBQ while giving your body the good food it deserves. It's all about simple substitutions and easy modifications. It's important to give your body rest days from working out, just don't forget to stay active! Set a great example for your friends by taking your favorite healthier snack to your parties!
Here are 3 tips to make your holiday a healthier one:
1. Make simple food substitutions. It's super simple to make your BBQ healthier. Simple changes like making a turkey burger instead of an all beef patty, use whole wheat sandwich thins instead of a thick white bun, make sweet potato fries instead of eating greasy french fries, and drink flavored water instead of soda. These small substitutions will leave you with more energy and feeling great! {Below I've included the recipe for my very favorite Southwest Turkey Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries. Enjoy!!}
2. Stay active: With 3 kids home today I probably wont get a chance to get a full workout in but that doesn't mean I'll be laying on the couch or cooped up all day. We've already had a walk to the park and will be swimming later. Walk your dog, take a run with some friends, go on a bike ride... do something outside and stay active!
3. Bring your own "treats" to the party! This just might be the secret solution if you are prone to eating lots of sweets at parties. Take your own favorite healthy snack. My favorites are peanut butter protein bars, fruit skewers, loaded rice krispie treats (with life cereal and pretzels!) or a veggie tray with your favorite dip. By bringing something you love that isn't going to break your healthy lifestyle, you're allowing yourself to enjoy a treat that you can guarantee to keep you feeling on top of your game.

Southwest Turkey Burger (Serves 4)
10 oz lean ground turkey
1/2 cup salsa
1/3 cup canned corn
1/3  cup black beans
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Combine ingredients and form into a patty. Grill or broil until cooked through. Serve on whole wheat sandwich thins with lettuce, onion, tomato & avocado.

Sweet Potato Fries:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice medium sweet potato and spray with olive oil cooking spray until coated. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes. t/urn slices to allow for even crisping. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Optional: add garlic seasoning & sea salt. Enjoy!!

Hope these tips help you have an amazing & healthy Labor Day!!

Want more healthy advice, recipes & support? Join our online Super Fit Community HERE for daily motivation & health tips!

August 29, 2015

Super Life Challenge: Goal Setting Worksheet

Took some time to write out my goals this morning. Last time I did that it was New Year's and I've been able to cross off a few things since then!! It feels great to refocus and have something in writing I can look at everyday and remember the things we are striving for. 

I'm excited to be creating a 7 days to a Super Life Series, where I will share all my best tips, printables, strategies & support to help you create healthy habits! We will have a daily workout, meal prep with some yummy new recipes, set goals with my awesome goal setting printable, share some tips on time management and help you find joy in everyday so you can stay motivated for long term success! I'll be sharing my favorite printables and posts as well!

Sound awesome? You can sign up HERE. This group is totally FREE and you will love all the tips & support!

August 20, 2015

What I will do differently next time..

Some of you may know that last year I pulled my 7 year old son out of 2nd grade to homeschool him. You can ready why HERE.
My main priority each day was to create a happy, safe environment for him to learn. My biggest goal was teaching him how to read. It was hard work. I cried lots of times. But we laughed together a LOT.
On June 5th, his last official day of 2nd grade, I felt like a failure. I felt like I hadn't done enough for him and was very discouraged. I realize now that it was just negative thoughts and not reality, but at that time, it felt real. He was still really struggling with decoding words and any word with more than one syllable was extremely difficult for him to try to sound out. All I could think of was that we will have some hard days ahead of us as we enroll him in school and when next year begins I'll ask for testing for dyslexia. I was overcome by the stress and weight of it all.
We took a couple of weeks off when school ended for the summer and just rested, took vacations and enjoyed some time off. Then he started a summer reading course through a local college. He worked hard on his workbook and reading books and I found a fun adventure series that we would read together every night. Our deal was I would read a chapter from that book and he would read 3 pages from his book. This plan highly motivated him and really helped him enjoy the process. It seemed like it occurred overnight, but he was beginning to read with fluency, exaggeration and with very little errors. I was beginning to see the fruits of our labors. The pressure of school was gone and all we were doing was reading together! One morning, he woke me up and said, "mom, can we read?" That's the first time he had ever asked to read together. I was overjoyed and said, "of course!"

This year he is going back to public school and I have ALL my fingers (and toes) crossed that he will have a happy experience. I'm praying for a teacher that can think outside of the box and truly loves helping kids.
That being said, as I think about our past homeschooling experience, I know that we may come back to homeschooling again in the future, here are 3 things I will do differently the next time around:
1. Read more, worksheet less.
I love being able to check items off my list, and to have worksheets filled out and turned into his learning counselor. It felt good to have tangible evidence of the learning that occurred. And it helped me stay on task. BUT I saw more progress in him when we were able to just sit and read together than when I was forcing him to fill in boxes or do word sorts or match a word to a definition. Next time I'll be searching for a literature program where we read a book and then he writes down what he learned. Still searching for the perfect program, but I'm sure it's out there. We also did some journaling and next time I'll be better about doing a daily entry and being consistent with that.
2. Hands on is always better.
My strategy at the time was, finish the worksheets and you'll get a fun project. BUT some days it literally took 3 hours to motivate him to finish said boring worksheet, so he missed out on a lot of projects and experiments that would've been beneficial and fun. Not too sure how I would do this differently, though since he is the one that needed to learn this behavior and change. He is hard to motivate when it's not his idea. Once again, next time I'll be better about consistently doing hands on projects, and probably having a discussion each morning about what is expected that day would do wonders. At the end of the year, we did a Rainforest Unit Study which was awesome and had some fun projects to go with. I'll do more unit studies next time too!
3. Outdoors is best.
I'll definitely miss all our lunch picnics, P.E bike rides, gardening days and workouts together. He was my little buddy and although I'm looking forward to having some free time to catch up on the neglected housework and business tasks, I for sure will look forward to 2:30 each day! Next time I'll make it a goal to go outside more often, maybe even read outside or take or science project to the backyard. These are the things that make homeschooling so beautiful and give our children a different experience than just sitting in a classroom all day long.
Do you have any tips for other homeschooling moms? Please comment with them and share any advice you might have!
Thanks for stopping by...

August 6, 2015

Tips to Stay Hydrated!

It's HOT out there!! With this summer heat, it's extra important to make sure you're staying hydrated all day. If you're already in my challenge group, you hear me say it all the time. That's because I can't say it enough... if you want to lose weight, you need to drink water. If you exercise, you need to drink more water. If you want healthy skin, you need to drink water! If you want to be alert, have organs that function properly, and allow your body to function at its best, you need to drink enough water.
In the spirit of this post, how about pouring yourself a glass of water right now as to sip as you read? Go ahead, I'll wait ;)
Here are some tips to make sure you are staying hydrated and keeping your body healthy:
1. Drink a full glass of water RIGHT when you wake up. You haven’t had any fluids for 8 hours, so this could be the most dehydrated you will be all day. Plus, it’s a great way to jump-start your metabolism. Try leaving a tall glass of water on your nightstand and drink it before you get out of bed.
2. Calculate & Keep Track: Knowing how much water your body needs is key! The easiest way to calculate this is to take your body weight and divide it by 2. This is how much you should be drinking in ounces each day. So if you weigh 160, you would drink 80 oz of water each day. You can then divide that by 16 or whatever size your water bottle is and know that you need to fill it up 5 times each day. Not so bad, right? Keep track with tally marks, or grab a large gallon container and draw lines to calculate how much you should be drinking throughout the day.
3. Bring your water bottle with you wherever you go! Think of it as your "necessary accessory". I love carrying around a cute water bottle; there are colors and styles for everyone. Splurge on one you really like, the bigger the better. Glass and stainless steel are the best choices, as they won’t leach chemicals into the liquid contents. Avoid plastic bottles whenever possible.
4. EAT your water- Most types of fruit are at least 80% water. Fruits like melons, cucumbers, berries, and celery. Avoid fruit juices though, as they usually have extra sugar. Drink veggie juice instead!
5. Set a reminder- I have a hydration app on my phone that makes a little water gushing sound every hour so I remember to drink another glass of water. Sometimes I get distracted, so it's always a nice reminder. It also helps me remember to take my toddler to go potty! :) And if YOU're drinking enough, you'll probably be ready for a potty break too!
6. Give yourself a little variety: Sometimes I get sick of the taste of water (or lack of taste) so I like to add a little zing with a wedge of lemon, some crushed mint leaves, sliced cucumbers, melon or berries. My kids go crazy for fruity water too! If you love the bubbles of soda, get some sparkling mineral water and add your fruit for an extra yummy glass of H20.
7. Drink before you eat. I used to love a juice or soda each time I sat down for a meal, but now I drink water instead. Drinking BEFORE you eat will help you feel more satisfied and you will eat less to help you lose weight and keep it off. When you feel a snack-attack coming on, drink a glass of water, then wait 15 minutes. Dehydration pangs are often misread by your body as hunger. A glass of water will replenish your body and help you feel satisfied. If you are still hungry 15 minutes later, reach for a piece of fruit or a handful of raw nuts. If they are lightly salted, they'll help you want to reach for more water too!
8. Drink a glass before bed: Remember that glass of water on your nightstand? Fill it up again before you catch some Z's to stay hydrated until morning. Or, try a soothing mug of hot water with lemon and a small drizzle of honey.

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July 12, 2015

Pioneer Day Singing Time!

Years ago I dug through all the July Friend magazines and compiled all my favorite images and mini stories of pioneers to use for Primary Singing Time. I used it year after year and the kids always love it! It's a great way to review the songs for the year and learn some new pioneers songs too!

I don't have a picture of it, but I put up my big map of the United States and pinned up these images from Missouri to Utah. You can print these images on white cardstock and even laminate them if you want to use them for many years. I have the facts (listed below) written on the back of my pictures, or you could just number them and print out my guide. Adjust the facts or the songs as needed! You can have them choose the pictures in order (following the same journey that the pioneers took, with your most important songs first) or let them pick whatever picture they like in any order.

"Does anyone know what we celebrate on July 24?? We celebrate the Pioneers! Today we have a super fun activity to learn about the pioneers and sing some songs that help us to remember and appreciate what they did for us. They took a long journey across many states so that they could enjoy freedom to worship the Lord!"
I'm looking for a reverent helper to come up and pick a picture... (I always say this and watch the kids hurry to fold their arms and sit up straight before I pick a name out of our stick jar)

From scan #1:
Pioneers with folded arms: 
The pioneers started out in Independence, Missouri. The pioneers walked all day and stopped only to eat and sleep. On Sundays they held church meetings to sing and pray. Just like the pioneers did, we can learn to be reverent. Let's sing Reverence is Love (CS #31)

Boy & girl with baskets:
The word pioneer means: one the goes before, showing others the way to follow. 
Sing Come Follow Me (HYMN #116)

Pioneer kids with song notes:
The pioneers walked 14-20 miles each day! They sang songs to help pass the time and to stay happy. 
Sing Pioneer Children (CS #214) 
We love to use hand motions for what they "did" and march when we sing "walked".

Large image of pioneers with handcarts:
It took a lot of courage to be a pioneer. It was a very difficult journey and many people died along the way. Let's learn a new song! Sing The Handcart Song (CS #220)
{I used this flipchart HERE}

From scan #2
Joseph Smith:
It all started with Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. Now we belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! 
Sing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (CS #77)

Eternal Family in front of Temple:
Brigham Young chose the spot for the Salt Lake Temple just 4 days after they arrived. It took almost 40 years to build it! Sing I Love to See the Temple (CS #95)

Teams of oxen were used to pull heavy wagons. Oxen are very slow animals, but because they are stronger than horses, many pioneers used them to pull their heavy wagons. 
Sing The Holy Ghost very slowly. (CS #105)

Pioneer camp at night:
Along the trail and in the evening after the long day's walk, pioneers would often sing songs of Christ to keep their spirits up. Sing I Know That My Savior Loves Me.

Sometimes insects, like ants invaded the pioneer's camps. Pioneers had to stomp to get the ants of their bodies!! Stomp while singing Follow the Prophet (CS #110)

If a cow wandered away from the pioneer camps, sometimes the children your age had to search for them and bring them back to camp. Play HIDE THE COW! Golden Note Style (also called Hot & Cold game. One child goes out of the room. Another child hides the cow somewhere in the primary room. First child comes back. All children sing the song, softly if he/she is far away, loudly if he/she is close to the cow. The kids LOVE playing this and will gladly play as many times as you need them to, so pick a song they need to practice!) 


I hope this helps and is super fun for your primary kids!! If you have time, bare your testimony of Joseph Smith and your thankfulness of the pioneers who came before us, and sacrificed
so much so we could enjoy the freedoms and the restored gospel we have today.

June 23, 2015

5 sure-fire ways to stay happy & healthy!

1. Make a Plan!
Every Sunday night, after a day of rest, relaxation and peace, I get out my planner and schedule out my next week. I highlight my kids' tasks in different colors so it's easy to visualize. I decide what workouts I will do, what time I will do them each day, and what meals I will be eating. As I make my plan, I remind myself WHY I am doing these things. So I can be happier, healthier and more productive. I hate that struggle at 5pm when I haven't planned out dinner, so I just lay out the cereal and tell the kids to have at-it. (I'm not the only one who does this, right?) I remind myself that when I schedule my workouts, I must make them as non-negotiable as everything else on my schedule. I wouldn't cancel a work meeting or a lunch with friends. Why would I cancel a date I have with myself? I am that important! I must also add, that if you miss a workout, your week isn't ruined! Just jump back in the next day. *When you fail to plan, you plan to fail!*

Would you like 7 days of healthy recipes along with a clean eating shopping list? Leave your email in comments!

2. Exercise for the High! 

"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands, they just don't!" Remember this line from Legally Blonde? Well, it's actually scientifically proven that physical activity has a direct chemical impact on your brain. When we work out, important hormones & chemicals like endorphins, norepinephrine and serotonin are released that help us to feel happy, make good choices and focus better. Antidepressants help to release these same chemicals that are boosted by exercise!

Set a goal to get at least 20 minutes of exercise in each day! If you are a member of a gym, do 10 minutes on a cardio machine and 10 minutes focusing on your abs 2-3 days a week. Make sure you are also incorporating weights 2-3 times a week as well! HERE's a great article about why women should lift weights! If you are not a member of a gym, or have gym-a-phobia like me, check out this awesome On Demand program that gives you access to tons of workout programs that you can do from home!! You've heard of p90x & insanity, right? What about Turbo Fire & ChaLEAN extreme? There truly is a workout for everyone, depending on your fitness level and what you enjoy doing! Studies show that your workout will be more effective if you are enjoying your workout. Love to dance? -there's a program for you! Enjoy circuit training? -there's a program for you. Need something fast & effective? -yup, there's a program like that, too! Don't just endure your workout, enjoy it!!  

If you would like to try a FREE 30 day Club Membership with On Demand access, you can sign up HERE!

3. Don't cheat, TREAT!

I used to sneak a cupcake in the middle of the night. True story. I considered it something that was "wrong" and of course it tasted so good until the last bite when I was left with a stomach ache and an overwhelming amount of guilt. This could've led me into a downward spiral of eating disorders & depression, but I recognized that what I was doing wasn't helping anything or anyone. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired!!
Instead of dieting, use the law of moderation. I never want to tell myself that a certain food or food group is off limits. I once ate gluten free for a month and although I lost 10 lbs, I was tortured by nightmares of pizza, breadsticks, cookies, bagels, cake and pasta. I found out that I didn't have a gluten intolerance, but I did psych myself out and it wasn't a pleasant experience!
Instead of telling yourself you aren't allowed to eat Oreos, how about you get 3 of them with a glass of almond milk after the end of a productive week? I love the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, 20% other.
And don't have the mind set that you are cheating, consider it a treat! But you have to earn it. Make sure you have a plan to be physically active & eat healthy 80% of the time (See #1 & 2)!

4. Do Something that makes you happy EVERYDAY!

This goes a long way if you are struggling to keep the gray clouds away. Figure out what your hobbies are, what needs you have, and make sure that you schedule time for yourself. Love getting pampered? schedule yourself a pedicure monthly. Need girl time to keep your head afloat? plan to go out to breakfast, brunch, lunch or a park day with your friends every week. A little adult conversation goes a long way when you are home taking care of little ones all day.

Positive Affirmations is another way to help yourself get through a hard time. I truly believe that the thoughts we are thinking and the words we are speaking all impact our state of mind. I love to say, "you is smart, you is beautiful, you is kind" just like from The Help! If I can speak positive thoughts to my kids, I can speak positive words to myself, too.
"I am an inspirational person. I am a great mom. I am a leader. I make good choices. I am creative. I am kind. I have a beautiful family."

Reading books that help with personal development and positive thinking is another great way to help change your mindset during hard times. I recommend doing this in the morning each day, before anyone else wakes up, so you can start out your day with something uplifting to help you feel positive and happy!

*I want to share an experience from a time that I was really struggling. I had just had my 2nd baby and everything went wrong with this labor & delivery. I ended up having an emergency c-section with him and was really having a hard time. I had a huge up & down scar that cut through ALL my abdominal muscles so my body was really hurting, plus my uterus tore during the surgery so I was given a blood transfusion because of the blood loss. Not only was I in a lot of pain, I was very weak too. I had an almost 2 year old at home and a newborn and I was a hot mess! Even 5 months later, I was still suffering; lack of sleep, crazy hormones, postpartum depression, and post-traumatic stress were really taking a toll on me. I got to the point where I didn't know what else I could do to help myself (yet looking back I realize now I wasn't doing ANY of the things I should've been doing to help myself physically, like #1-4) but one day, I had a thought. "I need someone to make me feel better. But I can't ask for help. Why don't I think of someone else that may be in need of some love and do that for them??" It was definitely an inspired revelation, and from that day forward, my view of service has drastically changed. I set a goal to help one person every day. I didn't know what they needed, so I just did for someone else what I needed myself. One day when I should've been cleaning my kitchen, I ran across to my neighbors house, snuck in (I had a key!) and did her dishes. I giggled the whole time, then ran home and did my own dishes. My happiness level spiked. The next day, I wrote a note to an old friend telling her how much she meant to me.

At the end of the week, I had an amazing experience that reminded me that the Lord is aware of our needs and the needs of others. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to use our experiences to bless the lives of others, and serve in a way that remind us how special and loved we truly are!!

5. Get an accountability partner!! 

This makes all the difference for me. If I am struggling to get my workouts in, I invite a friend to come over and do them with me. I'm not about to cancel on my friend, and when she shows up at my door all laced up, it's a lot harder to find an excuse to not do it. If working out with a friend isn't an option, find someone to be your accountability partner! Join our challenge group that will require you to check in daily, show progress, and provide support to help you reach your goals. I LOVE my challenge group and the girls in our private group are so uplifting, motivational and supportive! We have little mini challenges, celebrate Flex Friday, rejoice together our victories and uplift each other through our struggles. If you find yourself constantly quitting, this just might be what you're missing! I can help you get partnered up with someone who will help you push yourself harder, commit to your workouts, eat cleaner, and provide the accountability we all need to stay focused and reach your goals! Click the link below to join!
~~Together is always better!~~
Apply to join our Super Fit Challenge here!!

I would LOVE to hear from you! Do you have a health tip? 
Would you love a clean eating meal plan? Need some help & support to reach your goals? 
Leave me a comment and I'd love to help you out!!