Discover the transformative power of mindful eating to unlock a healthier, more fulfilling relationship with food. Mindful eating is not a diet but a consciousness that centers around the present moment, appreciating each bite's taste, texture, and nourishment. Mindful eating offers numerous benefits, including weight management, improved digestion, enhanced enjoyment of food, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased self-awareness and self-control. Overcoming obstacles, such as emotional eating, cravings, and social pressures, requires self-inquiry, acknowledgement of cravings, and communication with others. By making mindful eating a habit and incorporating it into your food preparation, on-the-go meals, and dining out, you can embrace a natural and intuitive way of consuming sustenance. Start your journey towards mindful eating today and savor the transformative effects it brings to your health and well-being.

What is MOPS?

If you're like me, you have maybe heard about "Mops" or seen it posted about but have no idea what the heck it is. Are we cleaning? Do I need a bucket? Seriously. I was so confused as to what MOPS stood for or what the heck it was. 

A friend of mine kept telling me that I should find a mops group in my area but in full disclosure, I was pretty sure that I didn't 'need' or want to be part of a "moms group". I was SURE that I knew what those were like and that I wanted no part of one. I had no idea how wrong I was.

I finally searched for and found a group near me. I joined their Facebook group but STILL didn't brave a meeting for another whole year! I told you...I was sure I knew what they were about. Ha. I also found out that it stood for Mothers of Preschoolers and all I thought was, “I don’t have a preschooler right now,” my son was older, my oldest daughter wasn't old enough yet and I was still pregnant with my youngest. Why the heck would I be interested? I finally decided to give it a shot and it turned out to be such a wonderful experience that I am going on my 6th year of joining MOPS + MOMSNext of Avon.

MOPS is a national organization where local community churches host their own meetings following the themes set by MOPS International. Each group has their own leadership and way of doing things but they are all tied together with the same principles. They often meet at a church but you do not have to be a member of that church to attend. My MOPS group has many moms that are do not belong to a church that join that do not attend church regularly. All moms are welcome regardless of where they are at in their faith. 

To really captivate what MOPS meetings do for moms, one mom decided to ask moms that were attending to get their own personal expression of  “What is MOPS to YOU?”

“A way to connect with other moms in my stage of life!” Rene Griffin

“MOPS has given me more confidence as a mother, and as a leader.” Katy Leach

“Mops is something God uses to encourage me in this mothering season!” Angelica Cobb

“A group of likeminded moms; it reminds me I am normal and not alone in this beautiful mess called motherhood!” Grace Young

“MOPS has given me the opportunity to watch over the most amazing little God’s children. As a kid care worker.” Cathy Doty

MOPS has given me lifelong friends, the opportunity to grow as a leader, and reminds me that I should give myself lots of grace during this season of mothering.” Brittany Jones

“I started going to mops to be able to see my friends more often, but I got so much more. The first year it was about survival, having a place where my kids would be cared for while I got time to be a person and not just a mom. I found the content to be inspiring and very helpful. One day in that first year I walked in feeling completely stressed and on the verge of tears, another mom gave me the best hug and told me it was ok. The second year, I was happy to return, got to be a table leader and made 4 new amazing friends. Now I’m in my third year, officially on the hospitality team and a table leader. I love mops, for the friendships I’ve made, but even more for allowing me to look inside and find a faith I get to explore and expand.”  Jayne Crosby

This last share was from her table leader last year, she was truly a blessing in her life as there were many times when she was going to not go to the meeting simply because she felt like she had to get so much done, groceries, laundry, business stuff and so forth. When she would reach out to her and mention that she may not be at the meeting this month, somehow she just knew that she had to be my encouragement to get there. When she made it, she felt so grateful for her motivation. 

I've been there many times! What mom can't relate to that?! 

Still not sure? Check out this video that our local MOPS mamas put together, sharing how MOPS has impacted their mothering, their relationships...their lives.

To find a MOPS near you – click here!

Is intermittent fasting for you?

Intermittent fasting has gained popularity in recent years due to its health benefits. It is an eating pattern that involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. There are different types of intermittent fasting, but the most common one involves restricting food intake for a specific period, usually 16-24 hours. 

When I first experimented with intermittent fasting, I tried a 16:8 window. What that means is that I eat during an 8 hour window (10am to 6pm) and I fast, or abstain from eating for 16 hours (6pm- 10am).

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

One of the key benefits of intermittent fasting is weight loss. When you fast, your body uses stored fat as an energy source, leading to a reduction in body fat. Intermittent fasting may also help improve insulin sensitivity, lower inflammation, and improve brain function. Here are some of the potential benefits of intermittent fasting:

1. Improved weight loss: Intermittent fasting can help reduce calorie intake and boost metabolism, which may lead to weight loss.

2. Reduced inflammation: Intermittent fasting can lower inflammation levels in the body, which may be linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.

3. Improved brain function: Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting can improve brain function and protect against age-related cognitive decline.

4. Lowered risk of certain diseases: Intermittent fasting has been linked to reduced risk of certain diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

5. Increased longevity: Studies show that intermittent fasting may extend lifespan by activating certain genes associated with longevity.

It is important to note that some intermittent fasting windows are not suitable for everyone, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with certain medical conditions, and those with a history of disordered eating. It is always best to consult with your trusted healthcare provider before starting any new diet or eating pattern.

Why Use a Plant Based Cleaner: My Top 5 Plant Based Household Products

Using plant based cleaners is an excellent choice for a variety of reasons. Plant based cleaners are typically made without harsh chemicals that can be hazardous to your health, and can be better for the environment too. Many of these toxin free cleaners are also made from renewable ingredients, which means they don't take a toll on the planet's resources. These cleaners are often more effective and can be used for a wide range of cleaning needs.  Finally, using toxin free, plant based cleaners is often more cost effective, as they can are highly concentrated and can be diluted to make MANY bottles of cleaner for far less!

My absolute favorite toxin free, plant based cleaners are the Thieves line. The Thieves Household Cleaner is literally the holy grail of plant based cleaners. If you can only swap out one product to start with, THIS is it. It is incredibly versatile and saves me a TON of money. Plus I feel completely confident using it around my kids and my pets! 

Here are My Top 5 Favorite Plant Based Household Products:

Have you gone plant based? To try the Thieves line for yourself and start saving $

Easy Peasy Granola Bars

This blog post discusses the benefits of making homemade granola bars instead of buying them at the store. The author explains that after becoming a label reader, they were shocked by the unhealthy ingredients found in store-bought granola bars. Frustrated with the lack of truly healthy options, they decided to make their own. While it may require a bit more effort, the author finds peace of mind in knowing they are providing a better and healthier version for their family.

The article provides an easy recipe for homemade granola bars, featuring Young Living's pure protein complete vanilla spice as one of the ingredients. The author emphasizes that there is no right or wrong way to make these granola bars, allowing for customization based on personal preferences. The optional add-ins give readers the flexibility to adjust the recipe to suit their family's tastes, making it a versatile and convenient option for a healthier snack.

DIY Non-Toxic Dishwasher Soap

 DIY Non-Toxic Dishwasher Soap
I get asked how to make my non-toxic dishwasher soap all of the time, so to save us all some time (because what mama doesn't need more time?!) I'm giving you the goods!

Why DIY?

I have been slowly swapping out hazardous household cleaners since just before I had my first baby. It all started when I watched a friend of mine's baby pretty much licked the floor she was crawling on (they all do it). It made me think about:

  1. How much cleaner I needed to start keeping my floors (when was the last time you got down on your belly and looked at your floor? Ew.) and
  2. What was I cleaning my floor with that my new baby would be potentially licking?
It wasn't long before I wondered the same about what I was using on my countertops, kitchen table, bathtub and yes, my dishes! Doing the dishes was the job I ALWAYS had to do growing up and hated (followed closely by dusting). Hand washing everything with hot water and vinegar (which also works awesome) is not a viable option for me on the daily. I started experimenting with making my own version. After several tries, this is the one that I've been super happy about and have stuck with!

The "natural" brand (it wasn't) that I was buying before this was more expensive. It was double per load compared what I pay to make this. This recipe will cost you approximately 0.21 per load which is less than $5 per month in my household!

Non-Toxic Dishwasher Soap (makes 44 loads)

What you need: 

1 cup Borax
1/2 cup citric acid
1/4 cup salt
(If you are wondering which products I specifically use I have linked them for you–simply hover over each ingredient and click)

What you do:
  1. In a glass bowl (I use a pyrex measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring), combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Transfer to a mason jar and add essential oil.
  3. Place lid on jar and shake well to disperse oil.
  4. Use 1 Tablespoon per dishwasher load
Your water can affect the recipe. You may need to play around with it to find your best fit. I have semi hard water and get reddish stains in my dishwasher depending on the soap I'm using (and how often not often I clean it). This combination leaves my dishes sparkly, my dishwasher much cleaner, AND its affordable. Triple win!

I'd love to hear your results!

4 Step Ginger-Garlic Chicken

This blog post shares a recipe for a quick, easy, and healthy ginger-garlic chicken. The author mentions the benefits of reducing sugar intake, such as increased energy and mental clarity. The recipe requires just a few simple ingredients and can be prepared in four easy steps. Whether using bone-in chicken thighs or breasts, the chicken is seasoned with a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, coconut aminos, and optional red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. It is then baked in the oven until cooked through. The author invites readers to try the recipe and share their thoughts.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas and Recipes

Healthy Breakfast Ideas and Recipes
We have all heard time and time again, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Without the hustle and bustle of getting everyone out the door for daycare and work, Saturday and Sunday allow me to finally get back in the kitchen and have some fun making breakfast for my family. I get up, get the coffee brewing, and bust out the whisk and fry pans.

In the past few years, I have definitely had to work to change my old eating habits. I grew up on convenient sugary cereals. I didn't know the first thing about nutrition or what a healthy, balanced meal should look like. Now we make the effort to not only cook at home the majority of the time, but to choose healthier foods. 

Along the way, I have found some yummy recipes that are not only easy, are tasty too. Here are a few of our family's favorite breakfast recipes:

Avocado and Eggs on sourdough Toast

So simple but so good! Anytime we can incorporate an avocado is a good day for us!

Oatmeal Pancakes

Thanks to one of our favorite resources and cookbooks - farmgirlfresh.com - Oatmeal Pancakes

Egg Bake

This one is great because you can make it the night before and just pop it in the oven. Also you can add any and pretty much as much veggies as you would like. Here is starter recipe provided by theseasonedmom.com: Farm Fresh Egg Bake Recipe

Sweet Potato and Egg Scramble

We substitute sweet potatoes for traditional fried russet/red potatoes and will add eggs, spinach or kale for some extra nutrients, red peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Adding turkey sausage adds extra protein and flavor.

Breakfast Pizza

We start with a gluten-free pizza crust and Kite Hill Cream Cheese Spread (made from almonds and dairy free). Then we add pre-cooked chicken sausage (use whatever kind you like), peppers, onions, spinach, avocado, and scrambled eggs. If your family consumes dairy, sprinkle with an organic mozzarella cheese and bake until crust is crispy.

Overnight chia breakfast bowls

Here are five starter recipes thanks to youngliving.com/blog: Overnight Chia Breakfast Bowl Recipes

Breakfast Burritos/Quesadillas

Breakfast burritos and quesadillas are a great way to incorporate a variety of veggies! After our trip to Miami, we are into serving breakfast with rice and beans, which pairs perfectly. Substitute egg whites, grain-free tortillas, and a splash of hot sauce (for mom and dad), and there is not much to complain about. Here is a link to some great breakfast burrito recipes: Breakfast Burrito Recipes

Cottage Cheese with Peaches and sourdough Toast

When we are out of fresh fruit, I will substitute a small amount of Non-GMO Spreadable Fruit.

Fresh Fruit and Yogurt

We like Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt or . We also love to include a granola - my personal favorite is Gary's True Grit Einkorn Granola! So yummy!

Eggs Benedict over savory waffles

Oh my goodness check out this recipe on againstallgrain.com! We still like the traditional english muffins, but will use a homemade option.

6 Habits That Will Change Your Life

6 Habits That Will Change Your Life
Sometimes I feel that my journey is SO big, and will take SO long that I convince myself that I shouldn’t even try. 

Freaking nonsense. 

If a friend told me that same statement, I’d kindly shake some sense into them and tell them they don’t need to conquer the world in one day…they just need to worry about today. Don’t get so worried about tomorrow, or the rest of the week. Just focus on today.

Make one small change, I’d tell my friend. What can you do today to be proud of yourself? To feel like you moved just a bit closer to your goal?? Try a plank. Make a new healthy recipe. Maybe you get 8 glasses of water in [Or maybe your like me and still trying to drink that cup of coffee your poured this morning that’s been cold for hours now]. Get your kiddos to join you on the floor and did some pushups or sit-ups…this may give you a surprise ab workout…my 4 and 8 year old are hilarious when trying to copy mom! If you do all of the above today, that’s great. But will you do it again tomorrow?

I've heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Here’s a thought. If you want lasting changes rather than a quick fix, how about forming some new habits? I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather it take me longer to hit my goal if when I hit it, I maintained it. I’m pretty over the ups and downs and yo-yo-ing. Anyone with me?

Here 6 habits that will change your life:

  1. Setting a bedtime for me [not just my kids!] and sticking to it. The struggle is real on this one. But when I do it [shocker] I feel SO much better! We know how important routine is for our kids…so why do we think that it doesn’t apply to us as adults?
  2. Read every. single. day. I love to read. I believe that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Previously, I was not great at making it a priority. There are 2 ways I now make this happen. Either A) while on the treadmill or B) as part of my “bedtime”, 15 minutes before the time that I set. Need a suggestion? This book will forever be one of my favorites and applies to EVERYONE.
  3. Use a planner. This felt super tedious when I first started. It felt like I was wasting valuable time filling it out. But here’s the thing…when I take the time to fill it out, I’m more organized and remember all of the things that I used to think I could keep straight in my head and therefore it is well worth the few minutes it takes me each day. This is the planner that I use, but a good friend of mine also likes this one.
  4. Date nights. I know this may sound silly. But if you’re like me, a parent with small children, this is SO easy to overlook. My hubby and I are kind of old-fashioned and would like to stay married. Crazy, I know. Relationships take work. So we got out our calendars and scheduled dates. All 12 for 2020 are set. While our kids are a big priority for us, so is our marriage and we know we need to still like each other after the kids are all grown up!
  5. Meal planning. This is probably the habit that I still struggle with the most. I LOVE how it simplifies my life, [and my grocery list!] saves me time, money and stress when I do it. Which should all be reasons to keep it going, right? My biggest struggle with this is that life gets in the way sometimes and my days don’t always go as planned. What I’ve done to combat this is to keep a few quick staple items on hand for when I can’t make the meal I had planned. Being able to roll with things helps me to stay on track.
  6. Learning proper self care. For years I’ve pushed myself to the point of exhaustion telling myself I can sleep when I’m dead. I’ve learned [the hard way, of course] that if I take better care of myself, then I can do SO much more and feel SO much better doing it! One of my favorite things for staying on track with my goals of exercising and watching portions can be found here.
Some of them may sound overly simple, but forming these simple habits really has been life changing.

Sometimes focusing hard on an end goal can be very overwhelming. I challenge you to shift your mindset a bit. Focus on today. Just today. Tell yourself to worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Do the best you can today. How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. One small change at a time, done consistently, will add up to big results.
I hope 2020 is your best year yet.

How We’re Failing As Moms (It’s Not How You Think)

How We’re Failing As Moms (It’s Not How You Think)

I think we can all agree there is a lot of pressure on moms. We’re somehow supposed to do it all, do it well AND be super happy while doing it. We’re supposed to have these “Instagram worthy” homes, kids, food and clothes. Let’s talk a little about how we’re failing as moms (it’s not how you think).

Mommin’ Aint Easy

It was our typically chaotic Monday. Full day of work, get child one off the bus, pick child two up from daycare, scramble to make dinner and get out the door to dance on time. As we’re rushing in at the last minute (as usual) I take note of all of the other moms already there, sitting in the hallway of our school, waiting for dance to start. Most of them are deep into the “scroll hole” catching up on emails, social media or getting back to text messages. I manage to get my daughter’s dance shoes on quickly and help her to her spot with her class before taking my own in the hallway.

I glance around again before pulling out my own iPhone. During dance they have a no distraction policy, which means parents can’t watch the children dance until the last 5 minutes of class. You can imagine how much would get accomplished if they didn’t do this! This is my daughter’s first year of dance and I don’t know many of the other moms. A couple I know as a friend of a friend, but none of them well. Most of them are new faces. I notice a mom who skated in right behind me with her daughter who looked to be the same age as mine.

Why Is Making “Mom Friends” So Awkward?

She sat down a few spots over from me. Her daughter burst into tears when she brought her into the room with the other dancers. The little girl didn’t want her mom to leave her, but within 2 minutes flat, she stopped sobbing and joined in with the other little girls. Pretty minor to most of us sitting there, but the mom was clearly still frazzled. She fidgeted a bit, as if trying to work up the courage to say something. Then she visibly braced herself and forced the words to leave her lips. “Hey moms!” she addressed the group nervously. “Have any of you ever had a child that has struggled with separation anxiety?”

My heart swelled with pride for her. It was obviously hard for her to address this group of dance moms that she didn’t know yet. I listened intently for a moment, waiting to hear what pearls of wisdom they had to offer a fellow mama in need. I was excited at the opportunity to get to know these women. Some of our daughters would likely become friends and it would be nice to at least have a general vibe of the parents.

How We’re Failing As Moms (It’s Not How You Think)

What happened next made me question my faith in humanity. I watched as approximately 14 moms (mostly in their 30’s, no less) shrugged their shoulders at her. Then, I watched as they looked at her like she was bothering them and that she was dumb for asking such a thing. I listened with my mouth hanging open as the few that even bothered to reply gave her (snottily, may I add) a simple “Nope.”

Are you effing kidding me? For real?!? THIS my friends, this is where we are failing as moms. This is the type of thing that makes my blood boil.

The thought of another kid bullying our kid is horrifying. It makes our inner mama bears come out in a fierce way. We hope that the kids that our kids come into contact with are taught to be kind. To be helpful and courteous and considerate. Yet as I sat there at dance the other night, watching this unfold right in front of me, all I could do for an instant was be incredibly sad. How can our children learn this sort of behavior when we as thirty-something year old mothers can’t get it right?!

We Can Do Better

Trust me, I know some days are hard, mamas. I do. I’m right there in the trenches too. Long days and short years. Trying to do it all, do it well and make it look easy. I know we are all tired and just doing the best we can. No one understands this feeling the way another mom does. It can be a hard and oh so lonely road. A road so simultaneously joyful that you think your heart will burst one second, followed immediately by trying like hell not to lose your ever loving shit in the next. It’s incredible and exhausting. This is exactly why we simply can not keep failing each other.

This mom and I sat there for a moment, both stunned, disappointed and unsure of what to do next. I didn’t know what to do or say. I didn’t feel like I had anything special to offer her that she hadn’t probably already heard or tried. But these are the words that I managed to form… “You’re doing great mama.”

How many times in your “mommy career” would it have made all the difference to just have a little reassurance? With all of the pressure, the judging, the ways we imagine that we’re screwing it all up…what would those few simple words have done for you? I know what it would have done for me and I know what it did for her (because she told me as we talked for another 20 minutes).

We are failing, but not in all of the ways that we think we are. We don’t need to be perfect. Our homes, kids, food and clothes don’t have to be amazing all of the time. What we should strive for instead is much simpler and far less stressful. Be kind. Stop failing our fellow mom and support each other. Be the kind of friend you’d want if you were struggling. You know, all of the same things we’re trying to teach our children. How about we all stop telling them what to do and we start really showing them how it’s done?


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