Nourish: A New Cookbook + 2 Recipe Sneak Peeks!

I know you can find SO many recipes online these days, especially with Pinterest, but I still love a beautiful, hard copy cookbook, where I can flip through the pages and put tabs on the recipes I want to try. And I found a gorgeous new cookbook that appeals to both my food-lover and fitness-lover sides!

I received Nourish: The Fit Woman’s Cookbook by Lorna Jane Clarkson to review as part of the SweatPink Ambassador program. Lorna Jane is the founder of Lorna Jane Active Living, a super stylish fitness clothing line. Her approach to health involves an active lifestyle and well-rounded, healthy eating habits.

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Nourish is not just a cookbook. It is a beautiful book with fantastic photos of healthy foods and inspirational moments. It is a book that will help you focus on good eating habits and break several healthy eating myths. It is a book that shows you don’t have to eat bland food to eat healthy food.

I will admit that Lorna Jane uses quite a few ingredients I don’t usually keep around, so not everything in practical for me. But every recipe is well put-together and will keep your active body fueled well with lots of real food. Despite my initial hesitations about the uncommon ingredients, I did find several recipes I was excited to try. And I had to pick a summery one to get started.

The Chocolate, Banana, and Almond Yoghurt Pops were the first to draw me in! 

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I love the combo of chocolate, nut butter, and banana, and I’m always a fan of adding Greek yogurt to up the protein level.

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These pops were relatively easy to make and the maple syrup and banana added just the right amount of natural sweetness. And here is the recipe for you to try yourself!

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Chocolate, Banana, and Almond Yoghurt Pops

Ingredients:

1 cup (280g) unsweetened greek-style yoghurt
2 tablespoons natural almond butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 small banana (130g), sliced thinly

Directions:

1. Combine half the yoghurt, almond butter and half the maple syrup in a small bowl.
2. Combine the remaining yoghurt with the remaining maple syrup and sifted cacao powder in another small bowl.
3. Using the tip of your fingers, carefully press banana slices on the insides of 6 x ¼-cup (60ml) ice-block moulds. Layer almond mixture and cacao mixture into moulds, alternating which mixture you start with. Push in sticks.
4. Freeze 3 hours or overnight until firm.

prep + cook time 15 minutes (+ freezing)
makes 6
nutritional count per pop protein (4.6g), carbohydrate (13.1g), total fat (6.7g), fibre (0.4g).

There are also several breakfast recipes that sound delicious to me, especially this Quinoa, Mushroom, and Spinach Frittata. I’m not always great about getting enough veggies in my day, but throwing some veggies in with eggs is the perfect way to start the day! Here is the recipe for you:

Quinoa, Mushroom, and Spinach Frittata

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut oil
200g (6½ ounces) swiss brown mushrooms, halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup (50g) baby spinach leaves
¾ cup cooked white quinoa
6 organic free-range eggs
¼ cup (60ml) iced filtered water

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
2. Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan (top measurement about 20cm/8 inches); cook mushrooms with garlic, stirring, until mushrooms are browned and tender.
3. Add spinach and quinoa to pan; toss gently. Whisk eggs and the water in a medium jug until frothy. Pour the egg mixture into pan; cook frittata over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes or until about halfway set. Place pan in oven; cook frittata about 15 minutes or until browned and set. Garnish with mushrooms and spinach leaves.

prep + cook time 40 minutes
serves 2
nutritional count per serving protein (25.7g), carbohydrate (14.9g), total fat (19.2g), fibre (4.5g).

Doesn’t that sound fabulous?! There are lots more wonderful recipes where these came from – dinners and lunches and desserts and snacks and even juices for all purposes! I also love the Lorna Jane includes information about super foods and her top healthy eating habits.

Are you excited about all of this healthy eating talk like I am? Join the movement with #LiveLoveNOURISH. You have the opportunity to be 1 of 10 winners that will get their own hard copy NOURISH cookbook. The most active participant will receive a cookbook AND a $200 Gift Card to Lorna Jane!

Show us how the NOURISH cookbook works for your lifestyle – in between work, play, sweat sessions, etc! Join the live Twitter Party tomorrow night (7/9) 6pm PDT/9pm EDT. Click here to tweet and enter to win —> Tweet: Join the #LiveLoveNOURISH initiative w/ @LornaJaneActive @FitApproach! Giveaway of: 10 NOURISH Cookbooks + $200 Gift Card to #lornajane!

Don’t forget to check out the Lorna Jane site for lots of awesome fitness clothing and read more about the Nourish cookbook!

 

I received this a digital copy of this cookbook to review plus a $50 gift card in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

21 Day Fix: Final Results + Thoughts

21 Day Fix done, baby!

Can I just say that it is totally awesome to finish a whole fitness program in just 21 days?!

You can read about how I felt about halfway through the program here, but now that I’m done, I wanted to share some final results and thoughts!

Everyone has been asking about results, so let’s start there…

21 Day Fix Before After Front

I still get a little self-conscious posting pictures like this, but I also want you to see my actual, real-life, non-photoshopped, mama body progress! The pictures don’t look drastically different, but everything feels WAY different! I lost 5.2 pounds and 7.5 inches overall in 21 days!

21 Day Fix Before After Side

I’m still working on that abdomen area – thank you very much to my precious boys – but I did lose three inches off my waist and I am THRILLED with that progress. I know that sticking pretty close to the eating plan was the most helpful for that loss of inches.

This might be my favorite part of the transformation…

21 Day Fix After Back View
And I wouldn’t have realized I was getting that definition back there if The Hubby hadn’t mentioned a few days before I completed the 21 Day Fix. Strength training has become something I love, and the 21 Day Fix has just the right amount for me, even throwing in dumbbells for  some cardio moves. Like I’ve said before: I don’t work out to be skinny. I work out to be healthy, lean, and STRONG. I love that the 21 Day Fix improved my muscle strength and tone!

A few final thoughts and answers about the 21 Day Fix…

The workout variety and length {30 minutes} and the eating plan were the most crucial to my success with this program. And let’s be honest: only being 21 days long helped as well! Autumn says a lot, “You can do anything for 21 days!” And I really believe that!

Since I’ve also done Insanity and T25, I may do a whole post comparing the three programs, but someone asked about how the 21 Day Fix compared to T25 specifically. T25 is 60 days, so much longer. T25 includes some recipes and suggestions for eating, but not as detailed as the 21 Day Fix. Both have great short workouts and include a modifier in case a move is too hard or you’re needing to take things down a notch. After doing two programs with Shaun T, I liked having someone new leading the workouts, but I think they are both motivating! I also liked that the 21 Day Fix included yoga and Pilates. And the 21 Day Fix is much less expensive!

The 21 Day Fix did a GREAT job of resetting my eating habits. I officially ended on Sunday, but I’m still planning out my food for the day and I like being strategic about how I fuel my body. The 21 Day Fix does a calorie deficit for 21 days and after 21 days you need to bump your calorie intake back up, so I’m enjoying eating a little more now, but also eating a lot BETTER.

I’m a big fan of the 21 Day Fix. And everyone has time for it! If you’re considering it at all, just GO FOR IT! I’ll cheer you on the whole way!

If you have any other questions about my experience with the 21 Day Fix, I’d love to answer them! Just leave a comment or email me!

Looking for a Beachbody coach to order through and encourage you along the way? My friend Natalie would LOVE to help you out! Email me at homewiththeboys at gmail dot com if you’d like to get connected!

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21 Day Fix: Halfway Done!

Just an FYI: I am not a Beachbody coach anymore, so this was written simply to let people know my thoughts on going through the 21 Day Fix! No money to be made in this post for me!

During a race training, I usually put on a little weight due to carb loading and such. After each of my half marathons, I’ve experiences a running slump, so this time I was pro-active in starting a new fitness program a week after the race.

The 21 Day Fix was my choice and I started last Monday, May 19th. A few details about the 21 Day Fix if you’re unfamiliar with it:

6 easy-to-follow workouts on 2 DVDs + 2 extras

  1. Upper Fix.Targeted resistance training helps shape your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs.
  2. Lower Fix. Firm and tone your entire lower body while you blast fat and burn calories.
  3. Total Body Cardio Fix. Keep your heart rate up and your metabolism revved high long after the workout is over.
  4. Cardio Fix. Get your heart pumping and your body moving as you melt away the pounds.
  5. Pilates Fix. Strengthen your core, elongate your muscles, and firm your hips and thighs.
  6. Yoga Fix. Improve your balance, flexibility, and strength as you help relax your muscles.

21-day portion-control system

These seven color-coded containers and Shakeology ® shaker cup deliver exactly the right portions every time, so you never eat too much, and you’re never hungry. Fill them up with as much food as you want—if it fits, you can eat it!

21 Day Fix™ Workout Program

The concept is short, intense, varied workouts and a calorie-deficit plan to be followed for three weeks. I wasn’t super excited about the calorie-deficit part of this program at first, but I did like the portion control concept. The Hubby and I are not fans of dieting, but I knew that needed a reset in the way I was eating. The nutrition plan from the 21 Day Fix looked like a good place to start.

I just crossed the halfway point of my 21 Day Fix today and wanted to share my thoughts so far:

21 Day Fix Half

WORKOUTS

I LOVE the workouts. I’ve done Insanity and T25 as well and I think the 21 Day Fix workouts are my favorite. They are less jarring, more varied, and contain quite a bit of strength training. I adore strength training. And I am being stretched by both the Pilates and Yoga workouts – let’s just say I need some help in the area of flexibility! I also really like the instructor, Autumn Calabrese. She is encouraging and motivating, but not overly bubbly. I haven’t tried the bonus workouts, but I am excited to test them out!

NUTRITION

I don’t like being told what I can or cannot eat. But I needed this. The booklet that comes with the 21 Day Fix helps you figure out how many of each container {pictured above} you can eat each day. It also lists all the choices for each container. For instance, the red container can be filled with chicken, lean ground beef, yogurt, eggs, etc. The hardest part for me has been limiting my carbs. Maybe because I L-O-V-E carbs. I also haven’t had coffee in 11 days because I only like it with lots of creamer. The first day was hard, but I’ve been fine without since.

The nutrition part requires planning, but that planning also keeps me from just grabbing anything to eat when I am hungry. I have cheated a few times {hello, date night!}, but otherwise I’ve stuck to the plan pretty well. More veggies, more protein, more self-control – all good things for my body!

RESULTS

You’re probably wondering what kind of results I’ve seen in the past ten days. I’ll show the before and after pictures when I’m all done. With most programs, I wouldn’t be checking my “stats” this early on, but with a 21-day program, the halfway point comes pretty early! I wasn’t doing this program to lose a lot of weight, but to get stronger, leaner, healthier, however in ten days, I have lost 2.8 pounds and  four inches off my total measurements, including an inch and a half around my waist!  I’m extremely happy with those numbers!

That’s my check-in at the halfway point of the 21 Day Fix! I finish up June 8th and will post my final thoughts and results on Monday, June 9th! Let me know if you have any questions! And my friend Natalie is a great coach if you’re looking for someone to order through and get support!

Have you tried the 21 Day Fix? What were your thoughts?

 

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Personal Bests

I approached my last race weekend without a clear goal. After having run a sub-2:00 half marathon in the fall, I wanted to pace a friend for their own personal half goal, but that plan fell through and I was left running the half by myself and not really sure of my aim for this race.

The Hubby, on the other hand, had a very big goal in his marathon: to qualify for the Boston Marathon. As he would move up to the next age bracket in time for next year’s marathon, he needed to run a 3:10 marathon or less to qualify. This was just his second marathon, but he is the most dedicated, hard-working person I know, and it didn’t seem crazy to me at all that he would shoot to take 45+ minutes off his previous marathon time.

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We chose to race in Fargo again because we love the flat course and the friendly people. And the weather that day added to the reasons we love Fargo – 45 degrees and no wind at the start. A runner’s dream weather.

Because of that weather, great crowds, and a healthy body, I decided to make another sub-2:00 half my goal for the day.

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It was hard, but it was fun. It was all about me and Jesus. I was constantly praying and calling on His strength to get me through. And He got me there in 1:58:43! A new PR for me by 50 seconds! And I remembered to look happy as I crossed the finish line! {see this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about}

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The best part about doing a half on the same day The Hubby does a full is I can be at the finish line when he comes through. Because of tracking, I could tell approximately where he was, and at the 20 mile update, I was worried. He was five minutes off where he wanted to be. I had no idea what he was thinking or how he was doing, so I just prayed – for God to give him strength and for him to know this race was a success no matter his finishing time.

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I get super emotional at races, so when I saw him come around the corner with just a few hundred feet to go, I started crying and yelling a whole lot to cheer him on. And that’s when I saw the best sight: he was smiling. A HUGE smile. With arms flexed, he crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles in 3:19:22. AMAZING. 36 minutes faster than his previous marathon. 36 MINUTES.

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I couldn’t have been more proud and he felt the same. I think I was even more proud of him than I would have been if he had qualified for Boston that day because he trusted God + his training and listened to his body and did the very best he could do in those given moments. What could have been a great big disappointment was an overwhelming success for him because he had set more than one goal for the day, and he met two of those three goals – a new PR and breaking 3:20. He’ll have another shot at Boston. I just know it. But he wouldn’t have another shot at enjoying the accomplishment of that race on that day. I love how he latched on to the achieved goals and floated through the rest of the day on Cloud 9! I don’t think he stopped smiling for even a moment the rest of the weekend.

What did I take away from this day? Joy. A little stomach discomfort for the afternoon, but mostly lots of joy. An appreciation for setting several goals at different levels for one event, knowing some things just aren’t in our control. And the realization that we must always celebrate progress and personal bests.

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It is such a bonding experience for us to share this love of running. These race weekends away are fun, but knowing that your best friend in the world really gets what you love is just the best. And celebrating personal bests together is even better!

Congrats, honey! I am SO proud of all the hard work you poured in to this marathon and your freaking awesome finish time! You are my inspiration + hero! I love you!

 

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Why Race? {4 Reasons to Sign Up}

The Hubby and I are about to tackle another race this weekend: his second full marathon and my fourth half.

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In between all of those, we have done many other races of varying lengths – 5K, 10K, 10 mile, 15K, relays, and so on. Some people would say we are crazy to take on several races a year and keep paying race fees to participate, but we definitely have our reasons, and based on the turnout for most of the races we attend, I’d say a lot of people would agree!

Why Race? Final

If you’ve haven’t taken a step into the world of racing yet, let me give you a few good reasons why you should consider it…

My First 10K17

The Motivation

Having a date circled on the calendar for my next race is extremely motivating. When you pay a race registration fee, you’re probably going to be more invested in your training so that money is not wasted. There is also the motivation of telling others you are doing a race and then wanting to give it your best shot for accountability reasons. For internally motivated runners, the idea of setting a personal record at a race is more than enough to get them running faster and longer! I keep signing up for races to keep my momentum going!

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The Gear

I’m not going to lie: I love getting race shirts and medals and all the other fun things that can come along with a race! And most of the big races have great expos the night before where you can check out the latest and greatest running gear and get lots of samples! Yes, we do have our race medals proudly displayed in our home! And yes, I LOVE dressing up for fun runs!

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The Atmosphere

Everything feels alive and exciting on race day. There is such a buzz in the air. And I love that most of the races I have done are in fairly unfamiliar areas for me, so I’m experiencing new scenery as I run. The start line, the signs along the way, and especially the finish line are all special and unique at each race and often set the tone for a fun run!

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The Community

This is reason #1 we keep going back for more races. There is nothing quite like the running community. Chatting with other runners anxiously as you wait for the gun to go off, the people who cheer you on as they pass you or vice versa, people lining the course with hilarious signs and lots of encouraging words, the shouts and whistles as you cross the finish line…if you haven’t experienced the community that happens at a race, sign yourself up for one NOW. I have never attended a race where I felt judged or unwelcome – I’ve always started the race with the contagious excitement that surrounds me and left feeling like runners are some of the best people in the world. It doesn’t matter whether you are walking a charity 5K or running a marathon, the community that happens on race day is one of my favorite things ever.

M2M Team Photo Post-Race

And I can’t help but think of this verse when I am at the starting line of a race…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1

I’m super excited for our race this weekend, but I know we are both feeling the nerves as well! If we come to mind, would you please pray for The Hubby and I? The race is Saturday morning and we would love prayers for healthy bodies + tough minds, great {cool} weather, a FUN race, and for God to be our strength + guide for every single step! Thank you SO much!

What do you love about races? Do you have one coming up?

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The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!

How does $698 worth of amazing ebooks on the topics of motherhood, homemaking, faith, marriage, homeschool, health + wellness, financial stewardship, pregnancy, holidays, self-care, working from home, and more for just $29.97 sound to you?!

And how about $200 worth of bonus products, memberships, and store credits FREE in addition to those 78 ebooks for just $29.97?

You are going to LOVE the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale that starts today and you only have SIX DAYS to snag this fabulous deal!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle offers ebooks on some of my favorite topics from some of my very favorite authors!  Some of my favorites include:

  • The Warrior Weekend by Pat Schwenk: This fabulous ebook is a weekend retreat guide for fathers teaching their sons how to be Godly men. Included in the guide are stories, activities, and applications for real life – a great bonding experience for dads and their boys!
  • The Weekly Homeschool Planner by Jolanthe Erb AND The Simple Homeschool Planner by Tsh Oxenreider: I’ve used elements of both of these planners and think at least one of them will be exactly what you are looking for to plan your homeschool days, weeks, months, and the whole year!
  • 21 Days to a More Discipline Life by Crystal Paine: I LOVED going through this 21-day plan for leading a more disciplined life. Crystal makes the steps very doable but they also stretched me to think beyond my current haphazard plan towards a more organized, productive life!
  • Real Food on a Real Budget by Stephanie Langford: We are a household of always-hungry boys {and parents} trying to eat well and stay on budget, which can be hard with the cost of healthy food! Stephanie has great tips and suggestions for making healthy eating more affordable for any family!
  • Write Through the Bible by Trisha Gilkerson: The Gilkersons have a wonderful series of Write Through the Bible printables to help your children practice handwriting AND learn Scripture at the same time.
  • 76 Free Things to Do With Kids: A Real Mom’s Guide by Shannon Brown: Every mom loves free activities to do with their kids! This is a great resource to have going into the summer months!
  • Discipleship & Discipline: Practical Parenting Help for the Desperate Mom {ecourse} by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae: This course alone is worth the $29.97. The wisdom and grace these women share for moms is so inspiring and encouraging. Every mom should participate in this ecourse.


So how do you get these AMAZING books plus many, many more?!

First of all, this bundle is only available for SIX DAYS: 8am EST Wednesday, April 23 until midnight EST Monday, April 28. After those six days, you will not be able to purchase this particular bundle ever again!

The bundle is available in two formats: PDF only for $29.97 and PDF + Kindle for $39.97. To learn more about which bundle would be better for you and any other questions you might have, please visit the FAQ page!

Special deal just for Home with the Boys readers!

TODAY ONLY {4/23/14}, if you share this post about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle on social media, you are entered in a giveaway for a free bundle – either to keep for yourself or give to a friend! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter below! Winner will be announced + emailed Thursday morning so everyone else will have time to purchase! If you decide to purchase today AND enter, I will refund the price of your bundle if you win OR you can give the free bundle to a friend!

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I hope you love this bundle as much as I do! Happy reading!

 

  • For any questions regarding the bundle, including how to download and read your ebooks, check this FAQ page.
  • For all of the fine print on this bundle, please visit here.
  • For more about the wonderful couples who put together these fun bundles, visit here!
The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Staying Hydrated Naturally!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Healthy Living Blog Tour

Today’s post is part of the Healthy Living Blog Tour, bringing you practical tips for a more natural approach to life. Read more about the full schedule and the awesome giveaway to go along with it here, then enter to win at the bottom of this post!

During my first year of running, I was also a nursing mother. After long runs or really hard runs, I would find myself feeling sick or crampy and it was just miserable. I couldn’t figure out why I was having so much trouble until I realized I was not hydrating well. As a nursing mom, I didn’t even think about the extra fluids I would need to keep myself hydrated.

Even after I was done nursing, it still took me one more miserable post-race sick day to realize I needed to get serious about hydration. Not only did I rethink my hydration plan during runs, I also started looking at how much water I was really drinking on a regular basis and the level was pretty low.

My goal now is to stay well hydrated daily, even more so leading up to long runs + race days, and I’ve found new ways to add variety to my water intake in a natural way. Here are some of my favorite ways to stay hydrated naturally:

Staying Hydrated Naturally

Coconut water

I do not drink coconut water on a daily basis, but it has been my #1 help for rehydrating after a long, hard run or race. Coconut water is high in potassium as well as electrolytes. Some people don’t like the taste, but I don’t mind it, especially when I know it has helped me avoid sickness and cramps after a run.

SodaStream

We made the investment in a SodaStream earlier this year in an effort to cut back on pop and it is so much fun! There are lots of natural ways to flavor you DIY soda water at home, but my favorite so far has been with citrus essential oils. Using a glass cup {no plastic}, I put in some ice, followed by soda water, and then 1-3 drops of wild orange, lemon, or lime essential oil. It took me a little bit to get used to no sugar in my “fizzy” drink, but now I find it so refreshing! I drink at least 16 oz. of citrus soda water every day. Not all essential oils are ok for internal use, but these citrus oils from doTERRA are safe to ingest. Find out how to get your own essential oils here.

Frozen Fruit

Fruit in water looks pretty and frozen fruit can also help it stay cold. Frozen fruit is also a great way to add subtle flavor to your water. My friend Beki from The Rusted Chain mentioned the delight that is frozen pineapple in water, and after giving it a try, I have to agree! Frozen berries are also very yummy!

Good Old Water

Yes, I’m trying to tell you about variety here, but I really do love water as is. Ok, I prefer ice cold water, to be perfectly honest. But I’ve found that having a water bottle I love helps me drink more “plain old water” in a day. An insulated Camelbak has been my water best friend for a while now. I take it everywhere with me and it is the biggest help for me staying hydrated in the most natural way! I will admit to having bought a new water bottle for myself when I need new inspiration to drink more – no shame in that!

Staying well hydrated is important for so many aspects of our well-being. Pick some natural ways to make your water more exciting and you’ll find your whole body thanking you!

What is your favorite way to stay hydrated naturally?

*****

Are you a boy mom interested in getting started with essential oils? We have a class happening just for you this Thursday!
Boy Mom's Guide to EOs
Brooke and I will be casually discussing the ways we use essential oils as boy moms and we’d love to have you there! For more info and to sign up, come join The Oily MOB group on Facebook!
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As part of this fun blog tour, you can enter to win a Family Physician Kit full of great essential oils to use with your family and in your home! Just enter below!

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I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and receive commissions and/or bonuses from doTERRA.

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly.
The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

A Mom’s Guide to Better Sleep

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a hard time falling asleep. I would lay in my corner room with the pink and blue heart wallpaper in our home on the corner of the block and listen to the wind blow through our huge evergreen tree, cars driving by, people out for a night walk. I wasn’t usually scared, but I was a worrier and that manifested itself mostly at night. I can’t even really remember what I worried about back then, but this difficulty falling asleep carried through to adulthood.

Once I became a mother, I found myself exhausted enough that I was falling asleep fairly soon after my head hit the pillow, but now I wasn’t sleeping very soundly. Mothers hear every little noise in the night, don’t we? And although I don’t worry too much before I fall asleep these days, if I’m awakened in the night, I do have a hard time drifting back to dreamland.

I had a startling revelation when I got my FitBit for Christmas. This device is worn on my wrist all the time and tracks my level of activity throughout the day. It also tracks my level of restlessness during the night. I don’t have a newborn or even a nursing baby anymore, but I was shocked by how restless my sleep was and by how often I wake in the night. No wonder I’m so tired during the day!

Armed with this information, I’ve been on a mission to get better sleep at night and I’m sure some of you are searching for similar relief! Here are some of the most important things that have led to a better night’s sleep for me…

Mom's Guide to Better Sleep

1. Stretch before bed

We carry a lot of tension with us throughout the day – lifting and carrying children, scrubbing, picking up, all kinds of work and the stress that comes with it leave us tense as we wind down our day. I’ve found a little stretching or foam rolling before bed helps my body relax and power down. I started using a foam roller after I started running and it feels like a deep tissue massage for my hamstrings, back, calves, and so on. Like a massage, it can hurt to get the muscles worked on, but afterwards, I find everything much looser. The slow movements of stretching and rolling also have the added benefit of being very calming.

2. Wash your face

I do a terrible job of remembering to do this on a regular basis, but when I do wash my face with warm water before bed, it helps wash off the things that have collected during the day and leave me feeling clean and refreshed as I lay down.

3. Read

There is just something about reading that gets me in the right frame of mind for sleep Well, except when I get all wrapped up in a an awesome fiction book I can’t put down and it is part of series and I stay up reading until 1:00 a.m… {I’m looking at you, Lisa T. Bergren} Most of the time, I try to read one chapter of a good, uplifting book before bed and that is just right.

4. Clear your mind

When I couldn’t fall asleep as a girl, I would often start praying about whatever was worrying me and then drift off in the middle of praying. Doing something to clear your mind will help keep you from staying awake with your thoughts. Praying is perfect when worry, fear, or anxiety keep you up. I’m also a brainstormer, so I’m often up with all sorts of dreams, plans, and goals swirling in my mind. I keep a notebook by the side of my bed to make to-do lists with things I’m afraid I will forget or to jot down ideas that pop into my head, such as writing topics. I also keep my Joy Dare journal in my nightstand to jot down a few gifts from the day to end on a high note!

5. Essential oils

If this hadn’t worked for me, I wouldn’t be sharing it with you right now. We’ve started using essential oils in our home and my friend Brooke recommended spreading a little lavender on my pillow before bed to help me sleep more soundly. And it totally did. I saw a noticeable decrease in the amount of restless and awake time on my Fitbit even the first night. And then I tried the Serenity blend from doTERRA and WHOA. I slept the same amount of time I normally sleep that first night I used Serenity but I slept so well and woke up feeling very rested. While I love lavender for all sorts of things, I love the smell and calming effects of Serenity even more. You may need to experiment to see what essential oil is the most calming for you! To find out more about the oils I use and recommend, visit my essential oils page and please feel free to contact me with any questions!

I still get woken up in the night by this child or that child on occasion, but overall my quality of sleep has improved immensely since implementing these few aspects into my nighttime routine. I kick myself when I leave one out and wind up feeling exhausted the next day…or maybe that was because of that great book again…

What helps you sleep better at night?

 

Disclosure: I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and receive commissions and/or bonuses from doTERRA. I am not a medical professional. The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly!
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Natural Room Sprays for Stinky Boys!

Happy first day of spring!

Between sports, playing outside, and just plain growing up, we’re entering the world of stinky boys. Yes, I still have one in diapers, too, so we’re covering all ends of the stinky spectrum! In all honesty, I contribute just as much to the stink with my smelly workout clothes!

We’ve tried all number of air fresheners and some of them smell simply delightful…but they are loaded with chemicals and we just don’t need that floating around our house! I would much rather freshen our “stinky boy” air that my guys are so proud of with natural room sprays and I have a few favorites to share with you today!

Natural Room Sprays

All of these room sprays use essential oils, a new world I am loving and learning all about! Just put the suggested oil and water together and give it a good shake to mix it up before you spray!

Purify Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Small spray bottle
  • 2-3 drops Purify essential oil blend {buy here}
  • Water to fill bottle

Purify is an amazing cleansing blend that I have found to be fabulous at eliminating odors and “clearing the air!” The scent is not overwhelming and it really does give the area a refreshing atmosphere!

OnGuard Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Small spray bottle {mine was 3 oz}
  • 2-3 drops OnGuard essential oil blend {buy here}
  • Water to fill bottle

OnGuard has a wonderful fall smell {my favorite time of year} AND it has great immune-boosting properties! Plus, the boys think the name is really cool, like something a knight would yell!

Room Sprays Big

Lavender Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Large spray bottle
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil {buy here}
  • Water to fill the bottle

This is great to mist in bedrooms before bedtime. I’ve also sprayed it around our school work area to promote a little more calm – anything to help when homeschooling two boys and trying to keep a third entertained!

A few notes for these natural room sprays…

  • Even though my picture has cute colored plastic bottles, certain oils can cause plastic bottles to disintegrate. The ideal small bottles for these sprays are dark-colored glass bottles which you can find here. They will also help the oils in the spray retain their effectiveness.
  • You can make room sprays from many of your favorite essential oil scents! Just follow similar ratios as those listed above!
  • I use doTERRA essential oils because they are what I know and love. They are pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. For more information about doTERRA Essential Oils and how to order them for your family, please click here!

Essential Spring Cleaning Blog Tour

For more great spring cleaning with essential oils tips, visit these lovely sites today:

For a full list of all the posts in the Essential Spring Cleaning Blog Event, click here!

Have you made your own room spray using essential oils? What is your favorite scent?


I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and receive commissions and/or bonuses from doTERRA.

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly.

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14 Miles

I ran 14 miles this weekend. In one run.

14 Miles 3

I might not believe it if it weren’t for the fact that God made me hyper-aware of everything I was feeling and seeing and hearing during those 14 miles. It’s like He didn’t want me to forget a single thing about my longest run ever, one that only He could get me through.

It was 36°, sunny, a little wind here and there, but nothing unbearable. Only a runner would think this was a great day to run, right? But it totally was.

Of course I needed to use the bathroom once I got to the lake but it was locked for the winter. No worries – a port-a-potty saved me just before mile 2!

From my very first steps, I was surrendering the whole run to Him. 14 miles is daunting, terrifying, not my everyday thing. I needed Him from step one. And I felt Him the whole way.

My lungs were not cooperating the first few miles. I have exercise-induced asthma so this is an ongoing battle with varying degrees of difficulty based on the season, weather, my health, etc. I needed to adjust to the chilly air and the wind in my face at times, but as I warmed up, they worked with me better, too!

I run at a beautiful lake in town when I can and there is always something new to discover. That day I heard lots of fun new bird calls, probably from birds just happy to see a little warmth and sun returning to the area!

The lake was still frozen, but ice and snow and thawing and refreezing had given it the appearance of white caps in the middle of a windy summer day. In the few thawed spots near the shore, geese were hopping in and out of the water and making all kinds of noise.

My plan was five easy pace miles to start, followed by five miles at my goal race pace, and then four “easy” miles to finish it out. The fast miles started and actually seemed to help my breathing a bit…and I ended up going a little faster than planned!

Halfway through my fast miles, I rounded the corner to my car to grab a drink of water and found my guys waiting there to cheer me on! They had left a note on my car in case they missed me! That was just the boost I needed to power through the second half of my run!

The last mile of my race pace miles was a little less…fun. My knees were feeling a little achy on any hills, and this last mile had a big hill followed by a long stretch across a dam…into the wind. As this was mile 10, I was not really looking for an extra challenge, but it felt GREAT to just tackle it!

When you run around a lake two whole times, you’re bound to cross paths with some of the same people out running or biking or walking, and in this case, some of them several times. I try to smile at everyone I pass at least, even saying hi if I can muster it up – I can’t help it, it’s that positivity thing in me – and at this point I was getting lots of “sympathy” and “empathy” smiles. You could probably tell I have been running for a long time and some of these people had been, too! I even got a “Hot damn!” from a guy running the other way around mile 11 – it seemed to be in response to how many times I had passed him running, but my hubby thinks he had other thoughts :)

Just before mile 11 was also when my FitBit told me I had reached my calories burned goal for the day! It was only 3 p.m.! That was a good laugh.

I try not to do much counting down during along run, but once I passed ten miles, this mentality was totally helping out: “I only have ‘x’ miles left! I can totally do this!”

Miles 11, 12, 13 felt GREAT! I was supposed to be back down to my easy pace but when my Garmin chimed for each mile, I realized I was never quite as slow as I intended.

Yes, I did look at my Garmin the very moment I passed 13.1 miles, my previous distance PR, and I couldn’t believe I was almost there. Every step now was the farthest I had ever run at one time. It seemed appropriate that an older gentleman that had walked past me once or twice passed me not long after and gave me a nod and a thumbs up.

I’m not going to lie. As great as 11, 12, and 13 felt, I was starting to feel the drag during mile 14. I just kept wondering why my watch hadn’t beeped yet and looking for landmarks that might help me figure out how much farther I had to go!

And then it beeped. 14.02 miles. 2:11:45. BAM.

14 Miles 2

And yes, my earwarmer was upside down the whole time.

I still had about a half mile to walk back to my car and my legs weren’t thrilled about that at first, but I was grateful for that cool down time, both physically and mentally – a little time to just savor the outdoors and the accomplishment of a new distance PR.

I ran the whole thing by myself, without music, and probably wrote 37 blog posts as I ran, of which only about two could be remembered worth anything afterwards. I prayed a lot and even talked out loud to God. I did not have one bored moment during the run – only peace and determination and a whole lot of dependence on the One who created this body and gives it every ounce of strength. It was all a very reflective time until…

I got back to the car and it wouldn’t unlock. I had kept the key fob in my bra the whole time and it got sweat in it. Well, this car needs that fob, because when I just used the key to open the door, it set off the car alarm. Let the embarrassment and panic ensue. It all worked out, but I will not be carrying a fob in my bra ever again!

I gulped down a bottle of coconut water to hydrate and headed home. I called The Hubby to tell him I was done and broke down in tears. Doing something you’ve never done before and never thought you could do can be pretty emotional!

In the past I’ve had trouble with stomach issues after long, hard runs, but since learning how to fuel and hydrate my body better, I’ve had very few issues. It was such a blessing to be able to scarf down a pizza after my shower, and then get right to work making a carb-loading dinner for The Hubby whose long run would be the next day. Sure, I was sore and tired, but I didn’t feel like I was going to collapse and that made the day even more of a win!

My longest run ever day ended just perfectly. Big J wanted to do everything he could to help me get comfortable – helping with a coaster for my smoothie, getting my ice packs ready, carrying things upstairs for me, volunteering to stay up all night massaging my legs! I took him up on everything but the all-night massage.

After foam-rolling and icing, I just soaked in the gift of this day and this life and drifted off for a really sound sleep.

14 Miles 1

I ran 14 miles. In one run.

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