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Toddler Approved Smoothie Recipe

Toddlers are tricky little creatures. Some days they love vegetables, the next day they hate them. They’re hard to read.

However, my 2 year consistently loves smoothies. It’s literally 15 degrees outside and she still wants a smoothie. Sneaky me, I decided to put spinach in her smoothie…

toddler smoothie ingredients

toddler smoothie ingredients

I used to buy fresh spinach and would use that in smoothies, but I recently bought frozen instead. GREAT idea!! Fresh spinach is delicious, but it also goes bad relatively quickly. Frozen can also replace ice in your smoothie so it’s a win-win.

Here’s what I used for Brooke’s smoothie:

  • half a banana
  • handful frozen berries
  • handful frozen spinach
  • tbsp flax seed
  • half cup orange juice
  • splash of milk
hers and....hers

hers and….hers

The only changes I made to mine were no juice, a little more milk, and water.

sassy pants approves

sassy pants approves

Is that some serious attitude or what? She takes smoothie time very seriously.

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Good stuff. I love when I can sneak spinach into smoothies. My favorite smoothie lately is a little less green and a little more chocolatey..

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Here’s my favorite:

  • Chocolate protein powder
  • cinnamon
  • banana
  • cocoa powder
  • peanut butter
  • coffee 
  • milk, water, and ice

It’s delicious. Delicious I tell you.

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FYI, that picture does not do it justice. Lucky you, you can also see my chicken thawing in the background!

Hurray for winter smoothies!!  Polar Plunges can’t stop our smoothie making.

Cardio Shoulder Scorcher

Scary name huh? I thought we needed a little drama in our lives. This workout is awesome. It really is a shoulder scorcher so heads up! There’s also 30 minutes of cardio but it’s broken up into ten minute segments. I like to break up the pain. :)

 

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I did 2 treadmill runs and 1 ten minute segment on stairs. Do whatever cardio you’d like! Here’s more information on the exercises:

Chair pose with shoulder press- chair pose is a classic yoga pose. You basically sit down in a narrow squat like you were going to sit in a chair and hold that position. Grab a pair of light dumbbells and perform shoulder presses while in chair pose.

Front raise overhead- light weights here too! Start standing with arms down in front of you holding dumbbells. From there, raise them straight out in front of you, to shoulder height, all the way up overhead, then back down again.  I think these are really hard!

Bosu ball plank walks- flip the bosu so blue side is up. Start in a plank position with hands on bosu. From there, drop down to one elbow, then the other, then back up to one hand, then the next. Repeat.

Bosu ball burpee- this is a class burpee except your holding on to the bosu ball the whole time! Black part is facing you so when you hit the ground, the blue parts on the floor.

Isometric scaption- here is a link explaining this further. Switch arms at 30 seconds.

Plank with front raise- grab some light weight. Start in a straight arm plank position. Stay in plank and perform a front raise one arm at a time alternating for 1 minute.

I went through this this one time and that was plenty for me! Let me know if you have any questions! (Sorry for misspellings,etc. I did this on my iPad and it was pretty rough).

20 Minute Tabata

Hi guys! I have a great workout for you today. I did this workout last week and it was enough for me. I’m tellin’ you, Tabata workouts are killer.

I did two different Tabata workouts: one on the treadmill and one lower body focused.

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1st Round:

-Box jumps- So, 20 seconds of box jumps followed by 10 sec. rest 8x through. You can jump on anything: box, bench, etc. If you’re in a gym, try to find a box higher than a workout bench just to be sure you’re pushing yourself.

– Squats on bosu. Perform on the black side of the bosu ball. You can use weights if you’d like.

– Bench hop overs- ugh these. Stand on one side of a workout bench and place hands on bench. From there, hop up and over to the other side. Repeat.

– Crunches on bosu- Lay down on top of the blue side of the bosu ball. From there, perform a crunch. It’ll hurt I promise. :)

 

2nd Round:

So, this treadmill workout should technically take 4 minutes. If you take longer though, don’t worry about it. Do your best!

I ran between 5.5 and 6.0 the entire time, just changed the incline. So, your first round will be 20 seconds run at 5.5 speed and 7.0 incline. Then you can come back down to 1.5 or 2 incline for your rest of 10 sec. Next 20 sec will be at 7.5, etc.

Hopefully this makes sense! I always worry Tabata workouts don’t make sense. Just let me know if you have questions!

 

Meal Prep Monday: Freezer Burritos

Oooo I’ve been having so much fun in the kitchen lately. It’s funny how a day of cooking can make you feel so productive!

I’ve been trying to save money and time by dedicating a full day to cooking meals.  I prep some food for the following week and keep it in the fridge, but also make full meals and freeze them. This past Saturday was my second time prepping meals. The first time around, we had enough food for about a week and half (not including produce and other perishable items like yogurt).

It does take me a day so I’ve been choosing a weekend day usually Sat. or Sunday. This past weekend Saturday was fine with me since we were being pounded by snow (Seriously??? Too soon!).

ffburr

Anyway, one of the meals I’ve been making are freezer friendly burritos. These are great especially for quick lunches. Yesterday,  I made 12 burritos! I keep them stored in the freezer. Whenever someone wants one, we just take one or two out, pop in the microwave, and lunch is served!! Here’s what you need for burritos:

Freezer Friendly Burritos

  • zip lock freezer bags (gallon)
  • wax paper
  • foil
  • 1-2 pounds of ground meat (I used 2 pounds for 12 burritos. We used elk meat)
  • flour tortillas – can be white or wheat.
  • whatever fillings you want!! I used black beans and green chili. I also seasoned with taco seasoning. You could add rice, salsa, Rotel, etc.

burr

I use these tortillas from Costco that you have to cook on a skillet before using. It requires a little more work, but they are amazing. Regular, store bought tortillas just can’t compare anymore.

burr1

First, I cooked the meat, beans, and green chili together. Next, I filled each burrito with a little filling and folded them up. Can I just say, I don’t know how Chipotle and Q’doba professionals fold those monster burritos. They are skilled. Seriously. I can barely fold a tiny little homemade burrito. I don’t get it.

Next, I wrap each burrito in wax paper, then in foil and pinch the ends. I save the foil pieces and sometimes wax paper pieces and re-use them the next time I make burritos.

burr2

Once every burrito is wrapped, I place in a zip lock freezer bag, label, and freeze!! It’s really easy and just so nice to have something readily available to eat.

burr3

12 burritos!

12 burritos!

I added my freezer burritos to the rest of my freezer goodies. I’ll post on those later!

burr5

 

Do you prep food for the week? Any freezer friendly recipe recommendations? 

Lower Body (low impact) Workout

I’ve walked by the row machine about a billion times in my life. Generally shrugging it off like it was mostly geared towards older people or “beginners” (because I’m so advanced?). This goes to show how naive I am.

My interest in it began to pique when I noticed Crossfitters using the machine. We all know Crossfitters are hard core, so there must be something to it?

I generally love me some high impact workouts-running, HIIT workouts- you name it, I like it. I choose higher impact workouts because they’re highly effective.  They raise your heart rate, therefore burning cals.

Well, lately I’ve been experiencing sore ankles which I think is the result of old shoes and probably too much jumping around. So, I finally decided to give the row machine a try.

I strutted into the gym the other day like I owned the place with the intention of rowing for 30 minutes straight. After about 7 minutes, my plans changed.

I ultimately decided on 20 minutes of row machine broken up into two ten minute workouts with lunge walks in between. Are you lookin’ for some butt burnage? This outta do it.

Row Machine Workout

Row Machine Workout

Here is some information on how to use the row machine:

-Set the resistance. This is found on the wheel part of the machine. I read that experienced rowers usually have the resistance between 3-5 so I’m not sure if something was wrong with mine or if it was just different because mine was around 20. So, fiddle with your rower to find a good resistance for you. You want it to be challenging, but not so challenging you can’t finish rowing for 10 minutes.

Aim for around 20 strokes per minute. There will be a little display on the top or side of the row machine telling you your SPM number.

-Secure your feet. You don’t want your feet slippin’ around while you’re rowing!

-Bend your knees and grab the row bar with arms straight. From there, power off or “drive off” your feet so your legs are basically straight (slight bend) then pull the bar towards your chest. This should all be a fluid motion.

 

Give it a try! It is for sure a cardio workout but also legs and core. Like I said, my buns were burning!  Let me know what you think!

 

Easy Mashed Cauliflower

I have a favorite new side dish: mashed cauliflower. I first caught wind of mashed cauliflower when it started to circulate in the Paleo/low carb world. I tried it a couple years ago and, looking back, put way too much liquid in it resulting in cauliflower soup. It was good, but not really what I was looking for. Well, I decided to give it another shot and am so glad I did!

it might sound a little intimidating at first but it really is so easy. Trust me, I’m super lazy and I’ve made it three times in the past two weeks.

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Easy Mashed Cauliflower

(can be paleo, vegan, and gluten free)

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp butter (can use ghee, coconut oil, or vegan substitute)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk (can use almond milk)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • dash of garlic powder (to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

first, cut up your cauliflower into florets. Next, steam it either in a steamer or the microwave.

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Once it’s steamed, just throw everything into the food processor (or blender) and blend until it has a mashed potato-like consistency.

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my favorite helper!

my favorite helper!

stealing some mash...willow's not amused

stealing some mash…willow’s not amused

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Yum!! Try it, I swear you will like it!

Here are a couple variations to try:

  • Roast some garlic cloves and add to the mash
  • Add rosemary or other spices
  • Use half and half for a creamier mash
  • Lighten up cals by using skim milk and a little olive oil
  • Try only coconut: coconut milk and coconut oil
  • Add cheese! Parmesan is good….but so is every cheese in the history of cheese so you can’t go wrong!
  • Use a potato masher for a chunkier mash

Delicious!

November Home Workout

Hi ya’ll!! It has been way too long since my last post, but we won’t dwell on that. Everything is good on my end!!

My post partum bod is coming along (I’ll do an update soon) thanks to many workouts and cleaning up my diet (at least on most days). I do belong to a gym, but we live pretty far from it so I only stop in once or maybe twice a week. That means most of my workouts these days have been at home. Some days I do an old Jillian Michael’s DVD or find a workout on a blog, but other days I make up my own either involving just body weight or kettlebells (we have three laying around, yay!).

This particular workout is bodyweight only so you can do it anywhere-no excuses!! Bodyweight workouts are great to have in the back of your mind for those times you either can’t get to the gym or you’re away from home with no equipment. I swear bodyweight workouts are just as hard as workouts involving weights.

Without further ado, here’s a quick workout for your viewing pleasure:

Home workout

Home workout

So, a typical tabata workout means 8 rounds:  20 seconds of “work” then 10 seconds of rest per exercise. The per exercise part used to get me. So, in this case, you would go through and do 20 seconds of pushups (followed by the rest of 10) 8 times in a row, then move onto squat jumps. It gets pretty brutal around the 4-5th round.

The first few moves you are probably familiar with, but here is a breakdown of the last couple:

Dips- Tricep dips. I did these on the edge of our fire place but you can perform these on a chair or bench.

 

Skater Jumps-

skaters

These are great! Start on one foot (let’s say your right). Jump off your right foot to the left landing on the left foot. Repeat back and forth.

Pike Push-Up- Start in the downward dog position. From there, perform a pushup. The emphasis is more on your shoulders in this exercise compared to a traditional push-up which is all chest.

Plank with Leg Lifts- Start in high plank position (hands on floor). Lift your right leg off the ground, then your left. Alternate back and forth.

 

It’ll burn baby!! Let me know if you try it!

5 Weeks Post Partum

5 weeks! I want to say it has flown by, it also kind of feels like we’ve had Willow around for years. Maybe that’s the no sleep talkin’.

Anyway everyone is doing well! I wanted to update you on my post partum bod. I started to workout a little which has been nice. It can be a bit frustrating at times because it literally feels like starting from square 1, but ya gotta start somewhere right?

 

Workouts

Typically, most doctors recommend waiting about 6 weeks until you dive back into a workout routine. That recommended waiting time is a bit of a generalization because it kind of depends on your own personal healing time and what you consider working out to be. So, basically, you want to check with your doctor first. Of course, I haven’t checked with mine, so maybe don’t listen to me :).

My “workouts” have been fairly light though. I haven’t ran or been doing any high intensity training, mostly just lifting some weights and walking. That alone has made me sore! I try to remind myself that the strength and muscle will come so just be patient. The more important thing for me is working on the diet.

Diet

When I say “diet” I’m not on a traditional diet by any means, I mostly mean eating whole foods and trying to get off the sugar addiction. Honestly, so far things are going pretty good. I started using the My Fitness Pal app again (awesome app! tracks your food and exercise) to really see what I’m eating and that really does help. It can be a little tedious but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad.

 

Kale smoothie! Kale, milk, protein powder, and banana

Kale smoothie! Kale, milk, protein powder, and banana

I’m really trying to use the app strictly to see what I’m eating, not to necessarily consume less calories. I’m breastfeeding so I do need to make sure and eat enough calories. It’s kind of hard to find that perfect number where you can produce enough milk, but also lose some of the extra weight from pregnancy. I’ll let you know when I find it!

I’ve noticed several articles too on exercising and its’ affects on breastfeeding. Apparently there was an article published in 1992 claiming a mother’s milk was higher in lactic acid after exercising and that babies did not respond well to the taste. From what I’ve read, that generally doesn’t seem to be a problem. In my experience too, it hasn’t been. The bigger problem I find with breastfeeding and exercising is that my boobs are enormous and it’s hard to run or jump :). Two sports bras may be in my future.

Post Baby Body Update

Not much to update here really. I weight about the same, give or take a pound. I thought I’d lose more weight but I think I’m being a little impatient.

5 weeks post partum

5 weeks post partum

bod1

I despise posting these pictures. I feel so awkward but it’s a great way to measure progress!

 

Happy Labor Day!! I hope you’re all enjoying your time off!

Mommy Guilt

Is it me, or does it seem like women are ridden with guilt all their lives? Or at least their adult lives? Most women want to have some sort of career or professional/personal life, but also want to have children at some point (most women…not all, and that’s cool). The problem they face of course is feeling guilty if they go back to work OR feeling guilty for not working. It’s almost a lose-lose situation.

I constantly feel crappy about the lack or career. I love my children but it would be nice to have some sort of personal life beyond them (no offense Brooke or Willow). On the other hand, I realize I should thank my lucky stars that I can stay home with my kids because a lot of mothers can’t. Ughhh..the grass is always greener right?

Anyway, this post is mostly about the lack of attention my two year old is getting these days. I find myself turning on the TV more for her because I am feeding the new baby or trying to make dinner or just don’t feel like dealing with her.  I HATE seeing her stare at the TV. I feel like such a shitty mom. I just don’t know what else to do sometimes.

Brooke’s also started to get a little aggressive with the new baby. I think it’s to get attention from me because she will swat at or towards Willow then look right at me. I try to distract her typically with one of her toys instead of just saying “no” (because that doesn’t work), but sometimes I get so upset with her.

I’m thinking about putting Brooke in a daycare once a week. Not so much for my sanity, but mostly so she can act like a toddler and not have me either telling her “no” or giving attention to the baby. It must be hard on her to have this sudden change. I know it’s hard on me!

Any tips on handling a toddler with a newborn in the house are much appreciated!

 

(Hopefully this post makes sense I wrote it in like, 5 minutes because Brooke’s being a two year old :) ).

 

Two Under Two

Hi! Been a while huh? A lot has changed over here. We moved for the 500th time and had our baby girl, Willow, on July 26th.

Willow Elizabeth Gray

 

All is is well with her so far. We had a somewhat stressful end of the pregnancy because she was measuring small so they diagnosed her an IUGR baby (intrauterine growth restricted). I had an ultrasound once a week and a non-stress test (checking her heart rate) twice a week.  No actual problem was ever found so we sort of assumed she was just a small baby and guess what? She was…kind of. She was 6lb 7oz so not that small but compared to Brooke (8 pounds) she was small.

Anyway, she was and is healthy so that’s all that matters.

Sleep and Emotions

So, it’s been two and a half weeks. I’m really trying to enjoy the newborn stage this time around. Last time it was pretty tough. So far, emotionally, it’s been easier. I don’t feel quite as depressed as I did last time. I go up and down of course. Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed by our situation but I know lack of sleep has a lot to do with it.

My babies

Willow has been an okay sleeper. She typically sleeps 2-3 hours at a time although a couple nights ago she was up about every 45 minutes-it was torture! Thank god Brooke is a great sleeper and wakes up around 8 so I don’t have to get up too early.

I think I am enjoying this stage more this time around but I admit, I’m looking forward to her getting a little older so she will sleep better. It’s such a shame these newborns have such a terrible sleep schedule. It would make a world of difference with just like, 6 straight hours of sleep!

The Birth

All I can say is, epidurals are amazing. So, because we were diagnosed with an IUGR baby, they wanted to induce me a week early. Sounds counter intuitive right? Apparently, small babies have a higher risk of mortality and morbidity the closer they are to 40 weeks or beyond. So, they induced me at 39.

Since I was induced, the day was just long and painful. They gave me pitocin to start contractions which lasted forever. When they told me I was 5cm dilated-and that’s it- I decided I wanted an epidural. Willow was sunny side up too so I was having a lot of back pain. I just decided, what’s the point? Labor is hard enough so why not make it easier on me and my body with an epidural? It’s not a dangerous option by any means so I tried it out.

After the epidural, I was basically a difffernt person. I suddenly had a rush of energy which was only because of the lack of pain. It was awesome! Not to knock natural birth, but seriously, wow. I didn’t feel a damn thing and I was thrilled.

The pushing part only took 45 minutes this time compared to the almost three hours with Brooke. It was a little weird because I never really knew when I was having a contraction so it was hard to know when to push, but it could have been worse. I could have been feeling every contraction :).

It was a very different experience but all was well in the end. Willow was healthy and so was I and that’s all that matters!

The Bod

I’m healing up pretty well (I think) and starting to get antsy about working out again. It’s still too soon, so I’ve been trying to go on walks and focus more on my diet.

I ate fairly decent during the pregnancy but am definitely a sugar addict. Ugh, damn you sugar. It’s just so good. Getting off the sugar train is going to be challenging. I’m trying to start slowly by finishing up sugar laden foods (like granola and flavored yogurt) then replacing them with healthier options. I know myself well enough to know if I cut it out cold turkey and think I’m replacing it all with veggies, that’ll last a day and the veggies will soon be in the trash.

That being said, I’ve really been enjoying salads lately, but probably because I use ranch dressing. That will be another switch: lower calorie dressing.

I gained almost 40 pounds during this pregnancy. I think I gained a little less with Brooke but I started at a lower weight this time. It’s amazing how your abs feel after birth: nonexistent (bowl full of jelly ha).

I’m planning on documenting my body after baby journey. I’m not a fan of the these post-partum pictures, but I think pictures are a good way to measure progress.

Here’s a before picture taken back in October (I was planning on trying to gain more muscle but then I got knocked up oops) compared to my two weeks post partum bod.

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Ughh…awkward pictures.

Starting Weight: 105
Pregnancy weight at 39 weeks: 138
Weight two weeks post partum: 127

I was thinking I’d drop more weight than I have, but I think I’m being impatient.

So that’s my starting point! Next week, depending on how I feel, I might start doing a Jillian Michael’s 6 pack abs in 6 weeks DVD. I’m definitely not expecting 6 pack abs (although I’d be cool with that), I just want to get some strength back.

I will keep myself accountable through the blog! It’s up to you guys to make sure I don’t fall off the wagon :).

 

by the way, this post took me 3 days to finish. You’d think it would be epic but in reality life just gets in the way! I also wrote it on my Ipad so forgive any typos.