Back to organization- Meal Prep

In this back to school blog post I’m going to focus on the importance of meal prep. This has come in especially handy for me in the mornings. I don’t know about your house but I know mornings are mayhem in our house. My daughter moves at her own pace and some mornings I probably resemble a football coach clapping my hands yelling “Go, Go, Go” like a winning touch down is riding on her moving just a wee bit quicker. My girls could live happily off of cereal but I find when it takes 3 bowls for them to be full and within a few minutes they’re asking for another snack. For school mornings it’s especially important to me to ensure that my daughter is going to school having ate something that’s going to hold her over until snack time. I try to do this by giving her a nutrition packed smoothie and making sure she has something hot to eat. With two kiddos who don’t usually sleep through the night there’s just no way I can commit to making a fresh batch of anything in the morning if it means I am going to have to get up earlier than I absolutely have to. Enter meal prep.

I like to sit down at the beginning of the month and make out a plan of things I have in my home already, things I can make with these and then a few ideas of things that we enjoy and the list of things we need to make these. Eating the same thing every single day for an entire month gets boring so I try to make sure I have a rotation of ideas. Some of these ideas I can batch cook at the beginning of the month and freeze, others I can prep at the beginning of a week and have on hand. Taking the time to think about and plan this out monthly means I’m only having to really think about it once. I can get all the supplies I need or have a list of the things I need to grab and it only takes me minutes when the weekend rolls around and I’m trying to get ready for the next week. I’ve seen some great organizational tips for this on pinterest which include having four bins in your pantry labelled with the week and then you know you have everything organized and laid out. We don’t have the space for something like this but it’s a good idea with a designated pantry.

I know when some of think of meal prep we think of preparing meals for busy evenings to cover supper or pre chopping fruits and veggies to have them ready to go to make after work hurry less chaotic. For me meal prep really focuses on breakfast and lunch. So many great heart and filling breakfast foods are also simple to make in batches, freeze and pull out and reheat. Some of our favorites are pancakes, French toast, and homemade waffles. I’ll make a big batch of each, freeze on a sheet pan and then when frozen individually I’ll place in a freezer container. This makes mornings really easy because my oldest can grab these out and pop them in the toaster to reheat for her breakfast. Some other things that are great to make in batches and have that take a bit more time in the morning include breakfast burritos; made with sausage or bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese and peppers wrapped in a wrap and frozen individually easily reheated in the microwave or oven. Oatmeal cups you can build these based on your families personally preferences but we like to freeze these with raisins, blueberries, apples and cinnamon. There’s lots of great recipes on pinterest for these as well. We mix them up with oats,milk and egg and fruit. We reheat these in the microwave and serve with a sprinkling of brown sugar or maple syrup. My girls also love yogurt parfaits and it’s easy to make a big batch of homemade granola at the beginning of the week and top yogurt with in the morning. I like to stock up on fruit when it’s in season and freeze, the fruit can easily be pulled out and thawed in the fridge overnight. Fresh fruit can get expensive through the fall and winter, stocking up when it’s in season can save on your grocery bill as the year goes on. The girls love building their own parfaits. Getting children involved also ensures they’re more likely to eat them because they got to do on their own.

Another thing I work at stocking up in my freezer is school friendly snacks, I try to do a variety of three or four baked goods a month and then my daughter can choose which she feels like having that week. Once you get in the hang of planning and prepping snacks you’ll see they can be just as easy and convenient as purchasing prepackaged snacks from the grocery store. Making your own allows you to be in control of the ingredients your child is consuming and also lessens the amount of waste you have to get rid of because you won’t have a bunch of prepacked things you’ll be transferring to containers. Some things that freeze really well are cookies, muffins, cinnamon buns, smoothies, squares, homemade granola bars and tea biscuits. East Coast mommy has a fail proof amazing and delicious freezer tea biscuit recipe on her blog you should check out. In my freezer I also like to have some smoothie packs on hand with all the ingredients we’re going to need for our smoothies in the morning. These make it easy for both of my older girls to pick out and dump in to the blender in the morning while we go about our routine.

Does baking a big batch of things sound a bit daunting and overwhelming to you? Why not host a cookie exchange or baked good exchange with friends? Laura Churchill Duke from Valley Family Fun gets together with a group of friends each year at the start of the school year and exchanges cookies that are easily frozen and easy to keep on hand for lunches. You could easily do this with muffins or other school snacks that can be made in big batches and exchange with a few friends to get a variety and not have as much work. Search for this at Valley Family Fun blog Laura has some great tips and recipes there.

Of course when it comes to meal prep I plan monthly and then I break it down in to weekly tasks. This gives me a chance to set up snack bins, chop and get fruits and veggies ready for the week. Having these things prepared ahead of time makes it more likely that my daughter will eat them and then also that I too will get a chance to eat healthy nutritious snacks because I can just grab and eat as I’m doing other things.

A bit of extra work can make mornings go a bit smoother which is really helpful during those first few weeks when things are still getting back in to routine.

Back to organization- Lunches

It’s been a hot minute since I had some time to sit down and set up some solid blog posts. Summer has come in like a complete whirlwind and is just flying by. It’s hard to believe in just a few short weeks we will be back in to the swing of things and those cool mornings will become our regular.

Last year I was a new to school mama who takes care of children in my home and I was also expecting our third baby. Self care and sanity for me looks like organization and planning so naturally I set forth to make sure all my bases were covered before running full tilt in to this new found normal for us. Recently Laura Churchill Duke from Valley Family Fun & Your Last Resort home organization and staging solutions messaged me to see if I’d be interested in doing a Facebook live to cover back to school organization. I dug out my old list and added a few new things and decided this was the perfect time to put together a post. Today will focus on lunches

My girls are naturally night owls so I knew the first thing I needed to do before anything else was start to plan and envision a routine. A few weeks before school started we started getting right in to that routine. As much as morning routines totally work and rock for some people in our house a solid nighttime routine makes mornings manageable and much more successful. We started by packing our lunches for the next day the night before, making sure everything we need for the morning is in place and picking out outfits out of weekly assemble for that morning the night before.

At the beginning of every week we set up our snack station and pick out five outfits to have out for the week. Our snack station is a place where Q knows she can find her snack containers and snacks. I organize a spot in the fridge for fruits and veggies, cheese strings, sandwiches and other things that need to be refrigerated. In the cupboard with her containers there’s also a spot for things that don’t need to be kept cool. We keep the surplus in the pantry downstairs so she knows she needs to go down and grab what she’ll need for the week.

Each evening Quinn knows she can pick 2 out of fruit/ veggies, 1 dairy ( either yogurt or cheese), 1 main thing and one out of the things in the cupboard. As most of the schools in our local division have switched to no waste lunches you’re going to also want to keep in mind that anything that you send that is contained in packaging the packaging is going to come home in the lunch bag. Having a few containers to transfer snacks in or prepare snacks in will save you a huge headache when the end of the day comes and you’re cleaning out that lunch box. Juice boxes, yogurt containers and pudding containers to name a few will come home and in turn whatever is leftover in them will be in the lunch box as well. Simple containers with easy to open tops ensures that whatever is left over is contained and you’re not going to have any surprises in the lunch bag.

On the topic of containers ones that are easy for your child to open independently are key to them getting full bellys at lunch time and not spending their time fighting to get to their lunches. You can prepare your child in being successful by giving them the containers you intend to send in their lunch for a few weeks prior to back to school to ensure they can open them on their own. Although there are adults supervising children during meal times there isn’t a lot of time for eating and children being able to open on their own ensures they’re getting the most out of their allotted time. Along with containers there are also handy zipper top snack bags and other solutions that are easy to find in some local stores and also on amazon or well.ca. My daughter loved picking out a snack bag set from colibri on their website and she had no troubles zipping them up. They’re easy to wipe out each day and at the end of the week can be thrown in the washing machine to be cleaned for the next week. Your children don’t need anything fancy simple Ziploc re useable containers from Walmart or superstore work out great too. If you decide to snag a cute lunch box set from Tupperware know their lids can be stiff the first few times using. A girlfriend of mine gave me a tip that has made it much easier for my 5 year old to use on her own. Throwing them in the dishwasher or in warm water will loosen them up and make it easier to get them on and off.

If you do decide to invest in a durable, long lasting lunch box set you may want to wait a few weeks to ensure you child is able to keep track of all the pieces coming and going each day from school. Making a big investment in the very beginning can be very disheartening when that fancy and expensive disappears in to the abyss in the first couple weeks of school. of course you can give yourself a hand up by ensuring everything that goes to school is labelled. We love to use Oliver’s Labels to label our things because they come with a lost tag where if they go missing and are found an email is sent to me to relocated. They’re also dishwasher and washing machine safe which means no worries about having to relabel anything. A simple initial with a permanent marker also works but for things that frequently get washed like dishes the marker will eventually wear down.

At the end of the summer last year I sat down with Q to talk about different snacks and lunches she’d like to have. I involved her in walking around the grocery store and picking out some things that she thought she’d like to try. We purchased and tested a few sample lunches before sending them to school with her. I found this worked to ensure she was having things at school that she would enjoy and not end up spending the day hungry and bringing a bunch of stuff home to be wasted. I also either blend and freeze a batch of smoothies at the beginning of the week or mix one up at breakfast and put the leftovers in her lunch. I knew that with a nutritious filled smoothie in her lunch that if she didn’t have enough to eat she still had the opportunity to have a healthy beverage to hold her over. With juice there’s a lot of sugar and some children are already having a tough time getting through the day as it is. Sugar can cause a crash and live them sluggish especially when they’re already tired. Most teachers allow the students to have water bottles at their table so make sure you find a durable one that will keep their water cool for the day.

This year my daughters school is planning on jumping on board with the initiative for a free salad bar type lunch set up for their students. This has really taken off in our local area and it’s one I’m really excited to see grow in popularity. Having a nourishing and free option for students that they can see their peers also enjoying is so beneficial and huge help in the success of students education.

In closing being organized, being prepared and having a routine in place will ensure mornings go a lot smoother at home. Your child will enjoy a delicious and nourishing lunch and snack to keep them going through the day.

This past weekend all 3 of my girl tribe got sick. The middle child hit the hardest and her sisters tagging along in solidarity. I ended up closing my business for an extra few days as per health protocol. In total I was home and “off” for almost 5 days. It wasn’t until I started to prepare for my vacation that I started to realize some things.

I’m the kind of person who thrives on being busy. I don’t mean to wear it like a badge of honour. I know it’s one of the things that plagues as North Americans and has a huge contribution to overall in-wellness. Yet, I still tend to lean toward a fuller plate. This past weekend was a halt to that. What made it more tricky was that leading up to the weekend I had 2 weeks of a full house (I run a home based daycare) , most weekends in June completely full of activities and I had two full time families leaving in June. There was a lot of things accumulating to add to my stress that I wasn’t really honing in on.

Dis -ease thrives in an environment where we are ignorant to our own contributions to it. When we become self aware of how we’re feeding our illness most of us will try to find a way to fix it. I say most because some people are unsure of how exactly to fix it. They don’t realize they’re responsible for their behaviour and the outcome of it. This is particularly true when it comes to addiction and healing. What I’m starting to see and learn more about is how much being busy is also a major addiction in our society today. Modern day addictions aren’t solely drugs, alcohol or other numbing factors. Being busy is also one way to avoid facing head on what may be right in front of you.

As June came to a close, and the busy-ness of it all came to a screeching stand still with illness I had no choice but to stop. This persistent pause had me feeling uncomfortable, “anxious”, agitated, angry sad, breathless and basically overwhelmed. I remember thinking to myself here I am having space to breath and I’ve never felt so breathless. I remember thinking to myself is being still really causing me such great anxiety right now? But still I sat in it. I felt it. I didn’t have a choice. My kids were sick and they needed me.

It wasn’t until I started to wind down for vacation that I started to noticed something else was at play. I had only worked a couple days this week but knowing that for 6 whole days I wasn’t going to have to do anything started stirring up the same feelings as I had on the weekend. My mind was racing, my stomach was upset, I felt like this huge weight or dark cloud was just there on my shoulder. About to be going on vacation should I not be celebrating and being excited instead of anxious and withdrawn. So I did what I do. I let myself think. I let myself overthink and then I made myself really think. What the heck is going on here?

The magic comes that when you take away the busy-ness I’m forced to be alone with my thoughts. I’m forced to sit in the middle and see and feel. I’ve always said that to heal is to feel. Yet, here I am feeling and not “feeling” any better. I’ve spent a great deal of time reading, writing, learning and growing to undo things I always thought to be true.

I tend to say I have a pretty strong growth mindset so why was I so uncomfortable and why wasn’t Working through this anxiety. In the four years since I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety I can only think of one time I couldn’t work my way through a panic attack and that was when I was pregnant and not on my typical medication. Yet here I was not pregnant and on my standard medication and starting to feel like I was in a tail spin. Then the light bulb went off.

As much as I know, as much as I’ve learned, as open as my mind is, for the last few months I’ve been hustling a lot. Without even realizing I slid a bit off the awareness path and on to a bit of an autopilot. Doing what I’ve always done, moving at the speed I’ve always moved and just stayed with that. Not taking the time to reconnect, refocus and stop to think, feel and pause. Once again I had become accustom to the busy-ness used as a “fix”.

I was feeling good, I was sticking to new habits and routines I had developed and for the most part being quite successful in my wellness. Yet, now that I’m able to reflect, I do see some of those things that create the dis-ease in my life slowly seeping in. Not staying true, establishing or clarifying my boundaries. Not showing up with love and patience as often as I’d like. Feeling a bit resentful, wound a little tighter than usual, feeling like my cup had a giant hole drilled in the bottom. But more-so then that a true tell tale was the fact that my chiropractic scores weren’t really changing even though I was eating healthier, and moving more. I just didn’t understand, I’m doing everything right why isn’t it working?

Because “it” doesn’t work unless you do. Get real with myself. Be honest. Feel to heal. Not just on the surface level but way down deep where most of my trouble tends to bubble.

When I was feeling overwhelmed on the weekend I just kept feeling like I wanted to go home. It was such a heavy feeling. A deep homesickness in the pit of my stomach. Then that feeling would make me feel even worse because I felt as if I couldn’t find my foundation. That’s the piece where it started to feel like “anxiety” was the pilot. I’m realizing now the “home” for me is the place I keep myself on the surface. where I’m not letting those growth, wellness and optimal roots really dig down down deep and take shape. Being busy had become so comfortable to me even though it wasn’t serving my ideal wellness.

I didn’t have the typical signs of being worn out that I’d had in the past. I didn’t recognize that my tap was turned up all the way but my sink was clogged and overflowing. In some ways I new that something was out of sorts. Almost as an overflowing sink can ruin your floors, your cupboards and effect your overall “kitchen” space this proverbial sink was starting to spill out. although it was if I was blind folded and oblivious to the spill I could start to feel the mess. The chips on the floor where water seeped in, the bend and bow of the foundation from the water soaking up. (All metaphorically). These showed up in less patience, disorganization, and forgetfulness. But because I was in a groove of being busy I didn’t acknowledge those as signs that I needed to adjust the water in the load. I didn’t realize that I needed to take time to have a break. I thought I was doing that, that I was doing enough. But I wasn’t.

When I’d take time to myself to do things I was always thinking of what was coming next. I was still focused on the to do list and all the things that weren’t getting done. I’d head out without the girls now and then to run errands and classify that as a break. Taking a break in the form of doing stuff that needs to be done or breaking regular routine to get something else done isn’t a break it’s just a break from the everyday things. I’m realizing now that I need to make time to actually take a break. Actually break away do nothing, and breathe. No agenda, no to do list, just leisure. Not even necessarily having a plan or a measurable reason to be doing something. For example I’d take a “break” but still be planning something to do during that break.

This slowing down, this dis-ease and uncomfortableness has shown me some important things. I didn’t feel like I’ve felt in the past when I was surviving in fight, flight or freeze mode. I didn’t feel like I was wound tight and desperately needed an outlet. I still felt relatively good, happy and motivated. Yet, I was not nourishing my parasympathetic system. Slowly I was starting to stay up later, relay on coffee more often, and not take that deep persistent pause. Moving more and eating healthier than I had in the past I wasn’t really noticing a change in my goals in terms of weight loss or how my clothes fit. I wasn’t giving my body a chance to turn off its reaction system ,rest and digest. Even when I was taking a break I was finding a way to be productive. Knowing for a week no one would be relaying on me and that I would be unavailable had me on edge because I once again was becoming so accustom to it. The biggest thing I noticed was all the what if’s in my head that were becoming louder. I became anxious worrying and trying to convince myself it was ok. Instead, I’m going to flip that script and turn it in to a positive by remembering “does this really matter”. What I’d xyz happens insert worry “will it be ok if it does” change that to What IF it happens insert “does it really matter it will be ok if it does.”This comes back a lot to being a (recovering) people pleaser, and always thinking I need to “prove” what and who I am is “good” enough. Taking a page from dr. Jody Carrington and remember “When you know what you bring to the table you’re not afraid to eat alone”.

I’m thankful for the work I’ve put in and the people I surround myself who have taught me the importance of wellness overall not just as a singular unit. In the past I may not have recognized these things at all and wouldn’t think to pull from a toolbox to feel and work through it. Moving forward I know I need to make a plan that involves no agenda. To actually turn off and allow rest, digest and wellness.

Today, to start off my vacation I’m going to drop my girls to my moms, go to an acupuncture appointment and not focus in timeline or expectations. Turning off the alarms for the next 6 days and making sure to take some time to actually unwind.

Macro’s, mindset and mental shift.

A couple months ago I stumbled across a Facebook page administrated by Suzi Fevens. Suzi is a certified fitness instructor and nutrition coach who runs classes around Kentville and surrounding area. Suzi also has an online platform where you can access some of her resources for free or sign up for some of her programs for a very small (and worth it) fee.

The Facebook page I came across well Suzi’s Mindful Living: The Road to a happier and healthier life. Through this I joined a mindset challenge and have signed up for her Wellness Simplified group and program. Each one of these snowballed in to the next and acted as pillars to the foundation and accountability I was needing in the stall of my wellness journey.

Through the mindset challenge with Suzi she gave out a prize for all those who participated and a someone out of that group would win a separate prize as well. Wouldn’t you know, I was lucky winner of BOTH prizes. There were a few choices I could choose from but when I saw that I could get free nutrition coaching with Suzi for three months I knew hands down that’s what I needed.

I’ve done a lot of my own research in wellness both reading, searching on the internet and listening to podcasts from experts in the industry. I knew that you need to create a deficit from calories in to calories burned in order to see success in weight loss journey. I knew that sugar is bad, fat isn’t all that bad and carbs are something to be enjoyed in moderation. I knew to count calories not colours. I thought if I wasn’t hungry at the end of the day I ate too much. Oh, and don’t forget no eating after 6pm or before 10 am because the newest health ideology was “intermittent fasting” aka skipping breakfast.

My baby is 7 months old, I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old at home. Along with these three lovely ladies I have a gaggle of children I take care of on a regular basis and my life,to say the least, is a little busy.   I knew that I knew quite a bit about wellness but I wasn’t practicing what I could preach. I was eating on the fly, sometimes too much. Eating my feelings, some days that tasted like being mind boggled. Avoiding foods I had come to believe I should. Indulging in foods I thought were “good”.  At the end of the day as numbers stalled and clothes wouldn’t fit I knew that I didn’t know enough. There was a key piece I was needing to glue all the pieces together. Then the gates opened up, the bright light shone in and there was Suzi.

Suzi didn’t tell me to count my calories, she didn’t set me up for weight loss. She didn’t give me a cookie cutter sheet of what to eat when. She didn’t give me a list of foods I can not eat.  She set me up for what my body needed as a busy mom of many. She set me up for performance, she set me up for success.  She told me eat carbs, some days lots, some days a little, also known as carb cycling. Carbs, GASP, eat carbs, no way. But yes, carbs as it turns out are fuel.  All this time I was avoiding the thing my body was screaming for because carbs are not our friends when in actuality my body was crying for what it knew it needed. Everything I knew and I didn’t know to just listen to my body. Each day I’m set up in a google doc that we both have access to that cycles through carb amounts each day along with other macros that are essential to the foundation of human wellness.  My rotation goes between  low, medium, high and super carb days where each day the carb count and fat count fluctuate slightly to help my body perform optimally.

At first the numbers were a bit daunting. Overthinking it was the biggest road block for me. I looked at those numbers and got inside my head and thought what the heck, I’m in over my head I don’t know how to do this, I know nothing, Suzi is nuts.  The thing is with this program and the accessibility for us to communicate remotely wherever we are I can type in a note and when she checks my progress she can respond. Not only is she responding to my questions, concerns and complaints she also coaches every step of the way.  She told me to focus on my protein first and when I got that green than to work in the others. Once I got the hang of aiming for one green I got in the hang of setting my fitness pal up the night before and knowing what numbers I needed to meet and being able to know what and how much I was going to eat the next day.  I was shocked when Suzi told me the protein I was eating wasn’t enough to sustain my muscle and body even if I was to lay in bed all day and do nothing. I was shocked, floored. I’ve had three babies which in itself is comparable to some endurance athletes and have ate the amount I was prior to this program.  That just blows my mind to think I did that on such limited fuel.

Seeing the numbers typed out for me has made a tremendous difference. I’m a visual person so being able to look at my days and see where I’ve been lacking and succeeding in has made it tenfold more motivating to do better and learn more and get strong in mindset.

Prior to this program I wasn’t eating enough, my mind set was boggled and I wasn’t listening to my body. I’m never hungry anymore, never craving anymore, never hangry anymore. When I consume sweets or salty fake foods a little goes along way now because my body craves real nourish. I always thought that was hocus pocus but really I knew so much and knew so little at the same time. This has been a huge giant shift in my mindset, and has an amazing effect on my mind. I just feel different totally. I love this balance because I don’t label food as bad, and so I don’t binge eat. I know I can have a treat or an ice coffee and live life as long as it’s mostly great choices. I am just so happy I chose to do this and stuck with it. I was overthinking it but once I focused on progress and not perfection the shift really fell in place.

This has never been about losing the body weight for me. Although, sure it would be nice to not be at my heaviest that’s not my sole focus. This has never been about getting something back that is unattainable. I’m not that girl anymore, this body has been on a journey. This body has broke, and healed, learned and leaned in. This has always been about wellness. The journey to fuel my body with real food versus fake food but not having the battle in my head of good vs bad.  There is no good and bad. That’s just some bullshit the mass marketing wellness industry wants you to believe. Balance is, as Jody Carrington says, bullshit. You don’t need to run 85 miles to make it ok to eat ice cream. The only thing you need to do is fuel your body. The only balance you need is the numbers on that food that will fuel your body. There is no single one evil that’s going to totally derail you. Fuel your body, be it’s friend and feel good.

It’s not in making perfect choices it’s in progress. Focus on you macros, shift your mentality and solidify your mindset. 61284017_2584164068261375_1577721508527321752_n

Water & Dust

Is it the pull of the moon that’s got us out of sort? The round being in the dark that waxes and wanes through the month and pulls the tides like covers over the bed of mud. It would make sense that we too feel this pull and it takes our emotions on a roller coaster. That our energy is high and low, translucent and agile and murky and slow like the waves and the ocean floor. The contrast between the two and the crashing on the shore. It would make sense that the moon be held responsible for the weight of the world crashing on our shoulders.

Is it the grey, the ever holding cloud cover that’s been lingering longer than it’s welcome.  The cool breezes blowing away the long awaited warmth that comes with the blooming green.  The green that glows like neon when the sun is finally high in the sky.  The hug that consumes us when you’re travelling outside by foot or by car and the green and the blooms are just all around.

I’m not sure what the mess is made of but the fog feels thick and the tired is deep within my marrow in a way that I can’t completely explain.  It is all just lingering. Not letting in the letting go and the moving on.  The sun and the rain are in a steady two step between shine and pour and the journey they’ve taken us on over the last month is really itching the souls of those who need the sun for that soul sipping vitamin d and reassurance that even rainy seasons come to end. But when there is no end to the rain, how can you be sure that the end eventually comes?

The little bits of chaos are cocooning around me. I’m in need of finding a flow that rolls along the rocky bits in smooth sweet reassurance instead flailing like a salmon upstream by some inherit rhythm that must happen.

I know this morning was another show that this isn’t working. I need to find space for me in the me too. Instead of the  too busy, too loud, too crazy, too disorganized, too, too, too. But little me. Scrambling for breakfast, flipping for patience, brewing a mess of unorganized chaos.   That’s not working.  So, is it the moon? That’s got my mind all hashed up and cracked. Or is it my soul that needs to be soothed in a way I’ve not yet found. The me, I matter.  Whether it be the moon or the grey, grasping at straws is not adding to the editing of the rocks.

We’re mostly water, we come from it, we grow with it, we search for it. It seeps from us in times of heat, and times of sorrow. We’re water and dust. Dust and drops of the ocean. It would only make sense that moon would too pull us along like a curtain in the stage play. Directing us this way and that. Folding our energy as we unravel the riptide.

Yes, it must be the moon, and the cocktail of the grey numbing us in the moment and than leaving us raw to feel the magnetic synergy they together create.

Hidden Nutrition

Put your hand up in the air if you have a child who could survive off of bread and butter. Who consumes carbs like it’s candy. This explains my girls to a T. They will eat fruits, veggies we are working on but I’m always looking for ways to get more veggies in to their system.

My children see a chiropractor on a regular basis for regular adjustments to ensure optimal health so I’ve been looking for ways to support their gut health. Our Gut health and our brain health go hand in hand. There’s some really beneficial foods that can help create a strong resilient gut. Some of these things are “funny” and most kids are likely to eagerly look forward to consuming these. Ferments and active bacteria are a good way to build a positive gut flora. If I offered sauerkraut to my 5 year old there is 0 chance of her eating it. The same goes along with her eating a wide array of colours in terms of vegetables. So how do I make this happen?

Smoothies.

My girls go crazy for smoothies. I will throw in some frozen cauliflower, some grated carrots and some spinach with her favourites like strawberries and bananas.  She’s come so accustom to this kind of smoothie that when she makes her own now she always reaches for the spinach. These vegetables can easily be added to her smoothie and not effect the taste of it while still getting a good balance of fruits and veggies in to one meal. I’ll often give her one with her breakfast and send some with her to school so she is getting to chances each day to eat a lot of fruits and veggies.

But that’s not all. Fruits and veggies are a great smoothie mixture but there are some add ins you can add that really amp up your smoothie. One thing that we use is cottage cheese for protein, flax seeds for fibre, chia seeds for calcium. Once everything is blended up and portioned out for each girl I add in a teaspoon of culture coconut. Cultured coconut has a lot of live bacteria and several different strains. The measurement on the jar is per tablespoon however I start smaller to ease their tummies in to it. A bonus is that this product is made right here in Nova Scotia.

There’s lots of superfood smoothie recipes on line if you do a quick google search. It’s also fun to come up with your own to make it unique to your family’s preferences.

 

Deb Crowe Women’s Self Care Conference

img_6747In a single word this conference was amazing. I mulled over whether or not I was going to spend the money and take the time to attend. I could think of a million reasons (excuses) why it just wouldn’t work. They were all legitimate, they were all real, but in my heart of hearts I knew I needed this for myself. That if I was to miss out on attending I would regret it. As I sat in the audience today I had so many moments that I just knew I was meant to be there.img_6748

Mayor Sandra Snow, Sherri and Carrie from Sherri and Carrie Real Estate, Helen Macdonald spoke their raw authentic truths before the main speaker of the day spoke her story. We also got a chance to do yoga, meditation, meet and connect with other like minded women.  Delicious snacks and lunch were provided along with many vendors who’s services complimented the message of this day.  The energy in the room was high and I can guarantee each woman went home ready to nurture that seed that was planted.img_6758

Self care is not selfish was one thing that was spoke over and over to us throughout the day.  Take a chance to be selfish so you can be selfless eventually. An important message for ladies to hear. An important message for the mothers in the room to process.

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When you’re on an airplane what is the one thing they tell you do before helping anyone else. Place your own oxygen mask on your face, then help the people next to you. How often as nurturers and care takers do we do this? Last weekend I had an a-ha moment  very much to point.  I was working, so was my husband. I had to do baseball registration, dance class and art class with the children. Nothing I’m not used to I often adventure our with 6 of my favourite friends. I spent the morning making sure that everyone was ready. Made sure everyone had a change of clothes. Then I packed snacks and water bottles and everything each of them would need for a busy morning out and about. 9:30 AM I backed out of my driveway, as I approached the stop sign I realized I didn’t have my water, my coffee and I had not yet even attempted breakfast. I had made sure everyone around me had their oxygen masks on but had failed to first put my own on.

This is going to be a very tricky shift for me. I’m going to have to be hyper aware of the choices and language I’m using when making decisions for myself. When I’m getting ready for my day I need to make sure I show up for myself, not just those who count on me. Without the proper rest, nutrition, and movement I’m not able to serve those around me to the optimal ability.  Without taking the time to organize and prepare my day and do the things I need to do to I’m sure for one day it won’t make much difference but if by doing that day in and day out something is going to suffer. Chances are that something is me.

I need to remind myself I do not need permission from someone else in order to take care of myself.  I need to remind myself that waiting for someone else to see me and offer me to take the time for me is going to leave me hanging in a lurch wondering why no one appreciates what I’m doing. The truth is, it’s not that I’m not appreciated, it’s the fact everyone has a different love language and I do not need anyone’s permission to take care of me. The only person that truly needs to matter to is me.

The conference today was the last in Deb Crowe’s self care conference series for this year. I’ll be following along with her on social media to see what other things she is working on and awaiting for her to return for another conference here in the future. The messages that her and the other speakers shared were so authentic in the journey and the success that comes from moving forward no matter what.  Create boundaries, cut out time for yourself,  put yourself at the table you serve.

“The only people who will be upset when you create boundaries are the ones who benefited from the lack of boundaries you had”

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Blocked

I’ve been sitting in the evenings with my laptop open and the best of intentions. However, I’ve not be able to put the letters to words, could not form the sentences. Writers block is something most people who write for fun or work often have. Times when there’s just a block. Maybe the ideas aren’t flowing freely, or the words just don’t come out right. That’s not the case with me. I’ve got lists of blog ideas, pictures waiting to put together with their explanations. For whatever reason there’s a deep seeded block that has been cast over.

After a phenomenal conference today on self care and self healing and taking care of yourself some of what is causing blinders started to somewhat expose itself.

One of the things I’m working through in my life is healing.  We all carry our baggage and if we can be mindful and honest we can unpack it and make more room for more beneficial experiences. When you think of trauma in the traditional sense I do not know that. My parents are married, both of them worked throughout my life, we lived comfortable. I was not exposed to violence, addiction or alcoholism.  That doesn’t mean that I. like anyone else, can say they made it through completely unscathed. Picking through the pieces and reasons why I do things that frustrate me most about myself means picking through pieces of 31 years of my life.  When it comes to healing and growing you have to crack everything that’s not working open and dissect it. It’s messy, and like I said to a friend earlier this week in terms of therapists and counselling, I have a growth mindset, I’m self aware, but I’m not there in my journey where I am ready to get really messy. To heal completely is to feel completely and I’m just not there yet. In a lot of ways I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The way I see 31 years is not the same as the way my brother sees it, my uncle sees it, my mother sees it, my best friend sees it. We remember experiences from our own perspective. That’s why there’s variations to stories. We can all be in the same room at the same time and each person would take a different experience from it depending on where they are in their journey. That doesn’t make it right, it doesn’t make it wrong, but it’s something we have to maul over and accept. When we allow our ego to get out of the way and accept that someone sees something vastly different, that something burnt them when it was cooling your own soul, growth happens. Not everyone is there yet. and that’s ok.

I know that I don’t need to say yes to everyone anymore. I don’t have to stay in boxes that I no longer fit in to. I know that what someone thinks about me is NONE of my business. I know that someone responding negatively to my healing, growth and raw honesty says more about them then me. I know that it’s ok to set boundaries, but that is something I am still working on. The people pleasing, the unrealistic expectations I put on myself and the self limiting beliefs did not come over night and they will not be fixed as such either. Everything has its time and season.  I’m working through the surface, but the roots are twisted and deep. They intertwine through my soul and my spirit. Barbed with thorns that have protected my roses. Vines that have encased the better pieces of me waiting to bloom.  All of these pieces can be reflected on each relationship whether romantic or platonic I’ve been in. Bridges I’ve burned, ships I’ve sailed, hearts I’ve broke, and times I wouldn’t accept the heartbreak. All of these pieces are sharp and jagged but even as rocks on the shore edges can be rounded, softened and shaped. I’m working on that.

I can remember when I had my oldest and the late nights of crying in to the dark when those pieces that kept me safe and solid started to meld and mold. The things I thought were my armour were in fact not keeping me safe but holding me back. The unknown was scary and suffocating.  I wanted nurture and soft. I wanted attachment, I wanted to do things differently than I knew and a seed was planted. Here we are. Roots reach down in warm soils and it’s been a journey.

I’ve acknowledge the messy bits and I know it’s just about time to get my hands dirty but for the sake of those around me I think it’s something I’ll need to hash out on my own first. I do not blame, do not fault and do not point fingers.  But I do need to accept, own it and feel it to move forward. I’m thankful for the exceptional experience I had today surrounded by like minded women. Women that have been through the trenches and have trudged forward. It’s cracked open the shell of something I’ve been avoiding. Here at the tip of the chisel I’ve started to crush the block.

Book review “kids these days” – Dr. Jody Carrington

A few months ago one of my dearest friends from Alberta, Cam, told me I needed to look up Dr. Jody Carrington.  Cam told me I needed to watch Dr. Carrington’s video, that I would not regret it. She was right. That night I watched Dr. Jody’s live video and I’ve tuned in to most Sunday night lives since. When this book went on presale I couldn’t type in my payment information fast enough. I’ve since read it twice. Each time not being able to consume quick enough.

At first it’s easy to judge a book by its cover and think this book isn’t for you because you’re not an educator or don’t work in some aspect in Education. I find myself quoting this book on a regular basis in daily conversations in regard to children in my life, and people in my life in general.  Although yes, Dr. Carrington does promote her amazing program this book is relatable for just about anyone. I was not raised in traumatic environment but I found myself relating to it in ways of growing and changing in my personal life. As a mother this book really gave me delicious bites of importance in the power of connection, foundation and proximity. Dr. Jody is extremely, extremely, brilliant in the realm of child development, and child healing processes but this book is so much more than that.

As a mother reading this book made me re think the way I approach and think I should be raising my children. Remembering daily to take off my amour and be conscious of the fact we don’t necessarily need more space in order to be happy within our family. That proximity and a small home may be my own children’s advantage in terms of children these days.

Throughout this book you will be hit with truth bombs, things that will make you read it, and re read and re read piece by pieec so you can really let the message sink in. Some of these truth bombs are simple shifts in the way we think and the tone we use when we speak to ourselves. To remember to take ourselves, the change makers, as important pieces of each child’s life. The things I really liked were the direct quotes from other change makers, from psychologists and theorists who are experts in the field of child development. Not only does she quote and refer to books she’s found helpful in this realm she includes a list of beneficial resources she’s used throughout her book in the end pages of her book.

Dr. Jody keeps it real. I can hear her narrating this book in my head each time I’ve read it. The bolded words and quotes made sure you knew the key components of what she was trying to get across to the reader. At the end of each chapter there is a game plan highlight reel. This basically summarizes and reiterates the key learning pieces in each chapter. I found these especially helpful because it really helped me bite in to each key piece and digest it piece by piece. There are so many exceptional quotes, acronyms, words to live by throughout this book I caught myself saying what a great idea for a tattoo, especially her acronym for the step by step plan to have each member of your team be a part of.

Follow Dr. Jody Carrington on Facebook and Instagram if you’re not already. She’s currently travelling all over Western Canada spreading her message and amping up educators to really know the power of the magic they hold. I’ve been crossing my fingers and toes it won’t be too much longer before she comes East to speak. Her book is available online via her website and in Chapters stores in Alberta. I’ve messaged her team and it is there hope that they’ll be distributing across Canada soon as well. If you can’t wait for that grab a couple friends who you can split shipping with.

Dr. Jody Carrington is-equal parts factual, relatable and honest. She gives all the research based facts in a simplistic enough way that you can clearly relate to the message while also learning beneficial information. She gives it to you straight. If you were a kid, you have kids or work with kids this book is for you.

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