Things We Love – FIT4MOM

A short while after I had my second daughter a former co-worker friend of mine contacted me. She, like me, had also been a teacher and, like me, decided to stay at home rather than return to teaching after the birth of her first baby. She raved about a Mommy and kid stroller fitness program she had joined called, Fit4Mom. She told me she was planning to become an instructor, and I should do it too.

She invited me to attend a class with her in San Diego. I went. I loved it. I immediately returned home to find out all about classes where I lived.

I attended for my free week, and knew THIS was where I wanted to be. I started with the intention of someday becoming an instructor, and a few months in I received my teaching certification!

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I have been teaching classes now for almost 3 years, while breastfeeding, a third pregnancy, breastfeeding again, and now pushing 3 big girls around in my BOB stroller. Thankfully, one is now at school most days, so pushing 2 kids is a piece of cake!

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I love Fit4Mom and their motto of “Strength in Motherhood.” It is truly a place of fitness, fun, and strength. It is where you will find your tribe, community, and have the opportunity to thrive as a mom alongside other strong moms!

Visit the Fit4Mom blog to find classes near you, read motivating blog posts, and join the community whether you are a member or not! If you don’t have classes in your area, I highly suggest you find out more about starting your own franchise. It is such an incredible program and there are moms everywhere looking for this type of community to find their place!

I also highly recommend the podcast, “Motivating Mom,” by Fit4Mom founder, Lisa Druxman. It is filled with awesome tips and motivation for moms in all stages of motherhood.

Let me know if you plan to check out a class near you!

Rach Signature48

Loving Your Kids for Who They Are

I love parenting wisdom from Christian experts, authors, and speakers. However, in this first year as a new mom, picking up a big book to read at the end of a long day has seemed overwhelming and exhausting. That is why podcasts and daily broadcasts, specifically from Focus on the Family and FamilyLife, have been such a lifesaver. They usually are 30 minutes or less and I can find different topics to listen to right on the apps on my phone when I have a pocket of time throughout my day!

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This week, I listened to the interview of the authors of No More Perfect Kids, Jill Savage and Kathy Koch, on Focus on the Family. They discussed different points about the high expectations parents have for their children and more in this 3-part interview that I would love to share with you!

In a culture that is so perfection oriented, where parents feel like the behavior of their children is a direct reflection of themselves (Yes, me included even in these first 11 1/2 months…), it was such an encouragement to hear how important it is for us as parents to create an environment that is safe for our children to fail.

1. Excellence vs. Perfection

Excellence is attainable, perfection is not. We have these high expectations for our children and we often focus on what they are not doing well enough. Even if we are saying a lot of positive things, we need to remember that negativity is LOUD. Every child is dying to hear that they are LOVED and they are GOOD ENOUGH!

2. “Raise the children you were given, not the children you wish you had”

There is a two step process when your child is different than your expectations and dreams for them — GRIEVE and KNOW. Grieve the sadness you feel that you won’t be able to share in something that maybe you did or that you were hoping for them. Then, take the next step and really tune into who they are, study them, observe their interests. And, then, celebrate who they are, internally and externally.

3. “Come to Momma Attitude”

This concept is all about PROGRESS, not PERFECTION. It is based on the idea that when your child is learning how to walk, you are encouraging them to take more steps and “come to Momma”. The child usually takes a few steps, then falls down. We, as parents, celebrate those steps and encourage them to get back up and try again! So, when they turn 8, 9, 10 and they “take a few steps, and then fall down”, why do we see that as imperfection or unacceptable instead of progress?

4. “Perfection Infection Parenting”

Perfection Infection Parenting is not allowing our kids to fail, when failure is not safe and expectations are unrealistic. When this is the environment you create as a parent, you will spend all your time correcting your children, and not connecting with them. Good parenting needs both. Children need correcting but they also need to hear “I’M SO PROUD OF YOU.”! Connect with your children by asking them, How did you do it?, What caused the success?, What do you think you may do next?

As parents, we want a home and family environment to be open and honest, not a place where our children feel like they can’t fail. Don’t forget the power of encouragement! Also, don’t forget that your kids are watching you – How do you respond to your own failure? We need to show ourselves grace and show our kids grace, because of the grace that Jesus has already given for all of our failures! Ultimately, parenting is hard and I’ve learned that I am not in control of my child like I thought I would be (it’s been a long 8 months of struggling with the napping battle). So, pray, turn to God for wisdom in raising your children, and ask Him to show you how to love each child for who they were created to be!

Listen to the broadcast of Love Your Kids for Who They Are (Part 1)

[Part 2 and Part 3 are also available}

Buy the book No More Perfect Kids on Amazon or you make a donation of any amount to Focus on the Family and get this book as your gift!

Which of these points really resonated with you?

Bekah Signature48

I scream for ice cream!

I have a new favorite. Have you heard of this stuff?? It is AMAZING. 

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Why is it so good? It tastes good still like ice cream and is so much more healthy for you! It may not be as healthy on the wallet, but we all deserve a splurge once in a while right? It has more protein, less sugar, less fat, and only added natural sugars. And did I already say it tastes AMAZING?

INGREDIENTS:

 Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, milk protein concentrate, brownie dough (flour [wheat], sugar, butter, cocoa [processed with alkali], soybean oil, white rice flour, vanilla extract, organic soy lecithin, salt), organic cane sugar, prebiotic fiber, high fat cocoa, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, natural flavors, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.

“so where’s the sugar?

In short, we use organic stevia. Stevia is a plant native to Paraguay that’s been used to sweeten foods and beverages for more than 200 years. And, because it’s so tasty, we use it as a sugar replacement. We also use Erythritol, which though it has a rather scientific-sounding name, is actually another all-natural sweetener found in fruits like pears and grapes. Though it’s technically a sugar alcohol, it’s unlike the others because erythritol doesn’t affect blood glucose or cause bloating.” -halo top website

Flavors

  • vanilla bean
  • chocolate
  • mint chip
  • cookies and cream
  • cookie dough
  • birthday cake
  • pistachio
  • red velvet
  • oatmeal cookie
  • peanut butter cup
  • smores
  • lemon cake
  • sea salt caramel
  • chocolate almond crunch
  • strawberry
  • black cherry
  • chocolate mocha chip

Social

Instagram: @halotopcreamery

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HaloTop/

GO TRY SOME!

Bethany Signature48

Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air…it’s Valentine’s day!!!

This Valentine is sent to each one of us from God!!! Read it and believe it..it will change your life!!FullSizeRender-1

Here are my Favorite Valentines…IMG_1702IMG_1708FullSizeRender-8IMG_3056      FullSizeRender-13FullSizeRender-9

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My little Valentines are irresistible, full of JOY and make me praise God for His blessings of family, EVERY DAY!

What brings you joy and puts a song in your heart?

Kerry Signature48

Date Night Ideas AT HOME

If you are a mom or dad of young ones, like me, it might be hard to get out for date nights as often as you would like. Or maybe you are more of a homebody, trying to save money, or wanting to plan a GIRL’S NIGHT in!

Whatever your situation, here are some great ideas to spend time with your special someone at home on Valentine’s Day.

FOOD IDEAS:

Make a fun, easy dinner

Cook together

Cook something new, or a fancy dinner you don’t usually make, but really like!

Order in!

Have an indoor picnic

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My favorite easy food is pizza. Form it in a heart, write with pepperoni and voila! a very special meal.

DESSERT and DRINKS:

Do a beer or wine tasting

Make ice cream sundaes

MOVIES:

Watch the first movie you ever watched together

Watch movie and make popcorn (pick the movie the day before so you don’t waste date night time picking a flick)

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PLAY:

Play a game for 2 – Puzzles, Card Games, Boggle, Scattergories, Carcassone, Settlers of Catan

Play video games.

Trivia Game – How Well Do You Know Your Partner, How Well Do You Know Me?, Newlywed Game

ACTIVE:

Do a home workout together

Put the kids in the stroller and go on a walk around the neighborhood. But talk about YOU, not the kids!

Do yoga together

Do Karaoke. Seriously. YouTube “Karaoke Songs With Lyrics” and get singing!!

Do this silly couples challenge: Try to go all the way around your spouse without touching the ground. It’s really funny AND requires you get very close. Should start some sparks as you laugh!

ROMANTIC:

Look at your wedding album. Share your favorite moments.

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Plan a date night for the future.

View More: http://jennadawnrenfrow.pass.us/couples

Plan a trip together. View More: http://jennadawnrenfrow.pass.us/couples

Share your favorite thing about the other person. See how many things you can list!View More: http://jennadawnrenfrow.pass.us/couples

We hope you enjoy this list and use some of these ideas this Valentine’s Day. Let us know if you do, and of course share YOUR ideas so we can add to our list for next year!

Rach Signature48

 

To Red Card or Not to Red Card

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To Red Card or not to Red Card, that is the question??…. But it shouldn’t even be a question! I held off for so long, but wow am I so grateful that I finally bit the bullet and signed up. I know, I know every time you go through the Target line they ask you if you want a Red Card… It may get old, but they really are only trying to help your quality of life. How many of you shop at Target weekly, or maybe even daily some weeks? How many of you have trouble keeping track of all your receipts? How many of you like free shipping? And how many of you like discounts and added benefits? If you raised your hand or said me to any of those questions, I think it may be time you take advantage of the Target Red Card. You may be thinking, “really, one more card”, but did you know it doesn’t have to even be a credit card? You get a debit card that is linked to your bank account with no credit charges or fees. So what are the actual benefits?

  • 5% off all purchases
  • Keeps track of all purchases
  • Longer time to return items
  • Free shipping on all online purchases
  • You make the target workers so happy when you get to say you already have one
  • Special Pharmacy rewards

5%… really??  That’s 5% on all food, gifts, baby items, clothes, sales, clearance items…. It’s a great savings on top of great deals already!

How can you say no??

So next time that friendly person in the red shirt asks you, say yes! It has definitely improved my life, helped my budget, and rewarded my spending habits.

Bethany Signature48

We Love Discounts!

This month is all about things, people, and activities that we love! Something that we all LOVE is a bargain! Living in California means that we all pay a “pretty penny” for the sunshine and ocean breeze 🙂 So, we have all become accustomed to searching for discounts and finding the best deals. This could be as simple as price checking a product on Amazon or doing more research to figure out timing of sales at a store. Here are a few of my most recent discoveries when bargain shopping…

  1. Buy Buy Baby has to put baby food 50% off when it is three months out from its expiration date.

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2. Costco has quite a few discount tricks to be on the look out for: A price ending in .97 is a deal decided by the manager; A price ending in .49 or .79 is a manufacturer’s special; A price tag with an asterisk means that the item has been discontinued.

3. Get additional discounts at Target with the Cartwheel App (more on this in a future post)! Want even more of a discount…Check out Bethany’s post TOMORROW to read about why you should get a Target RedCard! We just got one and we LOVE it!!

4. Shop at Sprouts on WEDNESDAYS for Double Ad Days when two weeks of ads overlap. Save even more using the app for more specials and mobile coupons! We love buying our produce on Wednesdays at Sprouts because there are such great deals!

5. Zulily is one of our favorite websites and apps to find Baby Clothes and Toys, Party Supplies and many other Mom-Need purchases! All the prices are discounted and we have found some really great birthday gifts, home decor, and some favorites and go-tos such as Pack-its!

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My Little Shopping Buddy :)

Bekah Signature48

Light Minestrone

On these rainy and cold winter nights, one of our favorite things to have for dinner is a big bowl of steaming hot soup. This recipe is loaded with healthy veggies and has a fresh and light flavor. The addition of a small scoop of pesto and a sprinkle of grated parmesan on top adds a special richness and yummy flavor. This soup freezes well for at least 2 months, so I made a big double batch of this to put in my freezer. i will be sharing freezer-friendly recipes like this over the next few weeks as I get ready for our kitchen remodel.

NEW LIGHT MINESTRONE
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leek, white and light green parts only (about 2 leeks)
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 cups unsalted chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
2 cups chopped yellow squash
2 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup uncooked pasta
5 ounces Lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
1 Tablespoon oregano or Italian seasonings (adjust as needed)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper or to taste
1/4 cup homemade or high quality pesto (Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add leek, carrot, celery, and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Place 1 cup cannellini beans in a small bowl; mash with a fork. Add mashed beans, remaining cannellini beans, squashes, bell pepper, green beans, pasta, Italian seasonings or oregano, salt and black pepper to pan. Increase heat to medium; cook 20 minutes. Stir in kale; cook 10-20 minutes until kale becomes soft.

3. Place 1-2 cups soup in each of 8 bowls, or follow freezing instructions. Top each serving with 1 ½-1 teaspoons pesto and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.FullSizeRender-2

 

FREEZE: Cool soup completely. Freeze flat in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag for up to 2 months.
THAW: Microwave soup in bag at MEDIUM (50% power) 5 minutes or until pliable.
REHEAT: Pour soup into a large pot. Cook over medium heat, partially covered, 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with ½-1 teaspoon pesto and 1 Tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.FullSizeRender-1

Light Minestrone
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
On these rainy and cold winter nights, one of our favorite things to have for dinner is a big bowl of steaming hot soup. This recipe is loaded with healthy veggies and has a fresh and light flavor. The addition of a small scoop of pesto and a sprinkle of grated parmesan on top adds a special richness and yummy flavor. This soup freezes well for at least 2 months, so I made a big double batch of this to put in my freezer.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • NEW LIGHT MINESTRONE
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leek, white and light green parts only (about 2 leeks)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups unsalted chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 2 cups chopped yellow squash
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup uncooked pasta
  • 5 ounces Lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano or Italian seasonings (adjust as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • ¼ cup homemade or high quality pesto (Trader Joe’s)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add leek, carrot, celery, and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Place 1 cup cannellini beans in a small bowl; mash with a fork. Add mashed beans, remaining cannellini beans, squashes, bell pepper, green beans, pasta, Italian seasonings or oregano, salt and black pepper to pan. Increase heat to medium; cook 20 minutes. Stir in kale; cook 10-20 minutes until kale becomes soft.
  3. Place 1-2 cups soup in each of 8 bowls, or follow freezing instructions. Top each serving with 1½ teaspoons pesto and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.
  4. FREEZE: Cool soup completely. Freeze flat in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag for up to 2 months.
  5. THAW: Microwave soup in bag at MEDIUM (50% power) 5 minutes or until pliable.
  6. REHEAT: Pour soup into a large pot. Cook over medium heat, partially covered, 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with pesto and Parmesan cheese.

 

What are your favorite recipes to cook for these cold wintery nights?

Kerry Signature48

How Do You Show Up?

This week we have had an emphasis on LOVE and SELF LOVE! Loving yourself is at the core of everything. Believing that you are worth love and knowing every day that you are loved by God should be like oxygen for your body, mind, and soul.

I love this quote by Charles Bukowski, “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”

Isn’t that a concept?

Love yourself first. If we don’t love ourselves first, we don’t feel our best, we don’t give our best.

This affects EVERYTHING: how we show up in our daily lives, how we love others, how we treat others, how we interact with our children,

So here’s my challenge for you this month. Take a look at how you are showing up. It starts with you. It starts with love.

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What is one way you can love yourself better?

Is it the way you talk to yourself when you look in the mirror? Is it the way you fuel your body? Is it how you prioritize yourself and time for you?

Share ONE THING you plan to do to love yourself better so you can SHOW UP with your BEST SELF in February in the comments!

Rach Signature48

Celebrate YOU!

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Celebrate yourself! Love yourself! Be excited with who you are! In a month where so much focus is on loving others, I wanted to take some time to remind you to love yourself too. Now don’t take this to the extreme and think I am telling you to be self consumed, take it to help you discover who you are. But you will be so much better to others if you first love the person God created you to be. You will be such a better wife if you are confident in who you are. You will be a better mom if you aren’t comparing yourself to all the other moms. You will be your best self if you love who you are.

Rachel said it pretty well the other day on her social media post

Loving yourself is a necessary, DAILY process.
Loving yourself means taking care of YOU so you can show up and put your best foot forward.
Loving yourself means putting your oxygen mask on first BEFORE helping others.
Love your body. Fuel it right. Feed it right. Move it in a way that bring you JOY.

Rachel’s facebook

So as she is reminding us all to love ourselves and take care of yourselves, I want to take it the next step to actually celebrate yourself. Think about your favorite three qualities that you enjoy about yourself. Think about your strengths. Live proud of those because that is who God created you to be.

Do you feel beautiful? Are you living fearfully and wonderfully made? You are beautiful. You are unique. YOU are YOU and that is the most exciting part. Celebrate who you are. You are created with love, purpose, and wonder. You are God’s masterpiece. Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Do you feel the power in this verse?

Often we struggle with feeling beautiful.  We can easily pick out our own faults and weaknesses, we can easily compare ourself to others, we can easily covet what we don’t have. But is that really who you want to be? We as women are destined to be filled with the beauty of who we are on the inside. Yes, we have things to work on. Yes, we have moments where we make mistakes and feel ugly.Yes, we fall down. But God created you to be beautiful. God can pick you up. And God has a plan for you. So today, promise to take one step. Look to celebrate. Vow to dance and sing when no one is looking. Let yourself look in the mirror and smile. Love You for You. Celebrate what God is doing in you. You are worth loving.  You can be celebrated. You are enough. You are beautiful.

Bethany Signature60