2013 Reader Favorites

It's pretty interesting to look back and see which posts you looked at most this year.  Here are the top 5.

Quesadilla Pie.  It's everything you would hope it to be.  If you haven't yet, you should make it.

Slow Cooker Curried Chicken.  This is one of the best slow cooker dishes I've ever made or had.  I need to make it again soon.  It makes plenty and is a curry with a good deal of flavor.

Broccoli Cheese and Spinach Soup.  At a time when we're all craving more veg, this is a good one where you won't skimp on flavor or feeling like you're eating like rabbit.

My First Stitch Fix.  We all seem to care about me caring about fashion.  Point taken.  In a couple months when I feel like I'll be wearing clothes for longer than this weird in-between post partem stage I'll get a fix again.

Canned Tomato Sauce.  It makes me happy to think you're interested in canning too.  Here's to using all this sauce...

Creamy Leek, Mushroom, and Zucchini Pasta.  Note to self.  I should make this again soon.

Thanks for a great 2013... here's to more food in 2014!

if I were going out for new years

photo from anthropologie

If I were going out for new year's I'd want to wear this dress.  It's festive yet understated.  It's got sparkle but not too much.  It can be simple or pop with some bright lipstick and high high heels.

I won't be going out for new year's though.  I'll be in pajama's fighting my new 9 PM bedtime and watching Homeland.  I won't be eating anything fancy either, though someday I'll be back to cooking fancy things and going out (Benjamin hopes..).  

New Year's can seem worse than Valentine's Day to many.  I can understand why.  So much pressure for one day, one night.  It's really stressful just thinking about it.

Whether you're out on the town or home wearing your pajamas, do what you want, worry about yourself, and have yourself a happy eve ringing in the new year, even if you're sleeping when that happens (I make no promises..)

how am I going to do this?

I'm going to be honest here.  My mind begins to race anytime both kids need something and I wonder how I'm going to do this.  For the most part I've had family around the past month.  Meaning, basically the whole time.  Either my Mom was there, Benjamin was home from work, or we were with family for Christmas.  This past week Benjamin has been home from work so life with two is still a lot more than life with one... (a LOT more) but overall we can handle it and end the day feeling good.

But then I think- okay, so how will I feed my family when it's just me?  How will I feed myself? Yes, food remains important here, especially to a hungry toddler, and hungry nursing mamma.

I'm seriously considering making meals at night when the kids are down that just need to be reheated in the dutch oven the next day, or when slow cooker meals call for cooking on low for 8 hours, I'll do that overnight.

I think I'm going to stock the fridge with fruits and vegetables and become one of those people who cuts everything up when they get home from the store because I'm not sure I'll be able to peel and cut a cucumber up for Anderson when Tucker needs me too.

I'm not freaking out here, just realizing our family has changed significantly and with that we'll be making some changes.  I'm soaking up this time when Benjamin has a break from grad school and glad he's had this time at home with us as we transition into being a family of four.  When I asked him how I was going to do this he said, "well, many people have done it before..."  After expressing I was hoping for some more sympathy he now says, "Yes, it's a lot of work..."  He even commented on how long it took us to get out of the house the other day to get to church, only to find out that church was cancelled this past weekend.  Thankfully we made it to another church and enjoyed a morning out singing about Christ's birth- I love that the church was still singing Christmas songs!

And so, back to the meals- here are some I'm considering making soon.

Slow Cooker Lentil and Curry Soup- made it before and it's a healthy winner

Ina's Winter Minestrone- got my first Barefoot Book for Christmas and this is calling my name

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Lime Soup- who doesn't love tortilla soup?

Sriracha Chicken- I seriously need to revisit this dish.  You marinate the meat overnight and the next day just throw in a 9x13 and bake it and serve over rice.  Yum.

Needless to say I think the Time Savers link on my blog will be expanding...

Any tips experienced mamma's can offer?!

preserving Christmas memories

 I started this post when I had about 30 seconds before Anderson came down from his nap and I am told, "hold me, hold me Mommy.."  As I'm writing this I have about two minutes before Tucker will be hungry again.  I still don't know how many Mom's keep up with their blogs and I'm convinced it's because they have school age children.

Now, Christmas is over but with New Years still ahead I'd say many are still in the holiday spirit.  It's worth posting these pictures to me to preserve the memories of Tucker's first Christmas when Anderson showed him the lights on the tree, "Look Baby!" and when he sweetly sat for me when I asked him to.  I'll also preserve that sweet two year old face holding his baby brother that is getting older looking by the day.

Some memories from this Christmas which aren't captured will remain with me as well.  Namely, Christmas eve service where I stood in the back of the balcony, swaying my newborn, singing Silent Night, and looking down at a grandmother with her hymnal open singing with her grandson.  It took about everything in me to not start crying right then and there.  Of course my Mom then said, "did you cry?!"  I was a December baby so she can still recall the very real hormones a new mom experiences.

What Christmas memories will you hold onto this year?

tucker: one month

Tucker is a second child so he won't be getting weekly photo shoots like Anderson.  I have to take pictures of this boy when I can and today that meant in the moments when his brother was asleep and he was happy and content.

Tucker isn't a bad baby by any means but he's still a baby so when he's fussy he gives little time for us to respond to his needs.  Usually that means he is either hungry, wants his diaper changed, or is tired.  Such a baby.

Being a second also means he's really not technically a month old but hey, I'm not sure when I'll sit down to my computer next so here you go Tucker, your one month post.  Looking good babe.

drew parisi's stuffed acorn squash

Today's post comes from Drew Parisi.

A nutrition consultant and nutrition educator, Drew Parisi, NC aims to support adults, children, and entire families in nutritional and lifestyle modifications that provide real nourishment and real health, from the inside out. She loves helping people sift through those contradicting health claims to put individuals in control of their health through education, support, and nutritional therapies based on each person’s unique biochemistry. Drew lives and works in Silicon Valley, California, but enjoys working with clients all over the world as they participate in her online seasonal cleanses. For daily tips and inspiration, connect with Drew via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

What should I be eating to be healthier? I get asked this question a lot (especially this time of year). While answering this well requires a more personalized approach, the short answer would be balance – balancing your blood sugar, that is. 

I run four seasonal cleanses each year, and my winter cleanse is all about balance. After a season of celebration and indulgence, it’s nice to have a little help to get back on track, wean off the sugar and caffeine, and restore energy and vitality through seasonal vegetables, good quality proteins, and nourishing fats. 

I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite recipes from Balance, A New Year’s Detox. This is one of my favorite winter comfort dinners that still promotes stable blood sugar and steadies your mood, energy, and weight. The cinnamon is great for blood sugar stability, the garlic and onion for immune support, and the combination of beef, squash, and quinoa will provide steady energy. Enjoy!

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4

2 medium acorn squashes (about 2 pounds), halved and seeded
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
¾ lb. ground beef
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
2 tsp. sea salt
½ medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups filtered water
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squashes, cut sides down, in a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
While the squash are cooking, heat oil in a 4-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl or plate using a slotted spoon, keeping as much cooking liquid in the pot as possible.
Add onion, and cook until slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining tsp. salt and the quinoa, and stir to combine. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until quinoa is tender and the water is gone.
Remove from heat, and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and add reserved beef, raisins, parsley and pine nuts.
Scrape out baked squashes, forming ¼ inch thick bowls, and fold flesh into quinoa mixture. Divide among squash halves and return to oven. Bake until warmed through and tops are browned, 12 to 14 minutes.

Sometimes I make extra of the meat mixture to have as leftovers for lunch the next day. It goes well with a side of spinach or braised cabbage.
Feel free to mix up your meats – this would be equally delicious using ground turkey, lamb, or even bison.
If you’re not detoxing (avoiding dairy), add a little shaved Parmesan cheese. I like to shave off a few big pieces of Parmesan for maximum flavor with less cheese.

some newborn photos

I have high hopes of taking some more newborn photos of Tucker this weekend before he starts waking up more and while he's still tiny and can sleep anywhere.

Until then here are some I snapped the other day.  I'm not too happy with them but I got a few I like and I guess that's all I need- just a few good ones.

I may attempt some pictures of Anderson and Tucker together like the ones I've seen on Pinterest but I'm pretty confident that won't go so well.  We can try though and hope for at least one or two good ones.  We tried the other day with just a few results which are precious to me, but then again I am their mother.

guest post: gluten-free pumpkin muffins

This post was written by Becca Eliasen, a work-at-home mama of two, lover of Jesus, bookworm, and secret One Direction fan. She blogs at While You Were Napping and loves to connect on Twitter and Instagram (@beccaeliasen).

Recently, our pediatrician recommended that our three year-old son try a gluten-free diet. To make life easier, our whole family is now gluten-free. At home it hasn’t been too difficult to switch up our meals because there are so many g-free alternatives available at the stores we usually shop at (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods). I’ve swapped out sprouted wheat for gluten-free Udi’s bread for Cruz’s daily peanut-butter-and-jelly. We’re eating almond crackers and brown rice pasta. For dinner, I love to throw together Asian-inspired bowls (brown rice, beef, broccoli with an orange teriyaki sauce is a staple around here), so again, that hasn’t necessitated a big change. So far, so good.

But one day, early on in our gluten-free days, we were at a playdate and encountered our first experience in saying no to a snack. Even though I had brought our own snack, being denied a tiny, deliciousmuffin was just too much for Cruz. And really, wouldn’t you lose it too? I made it my goal to find a good gluten-free muffin that we could whip up quickly (with a three year old and a six month old, quickly is the name of the game) and easily enough for it to become a staple; something I could make for a playdate. This recipe is great because you can substitute ingredients in or out, depending on what’s in your pantry. If you prefer a sweeter muffin, you might consider adding some pure maple syrup to the batter.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a big bowl, mix together:
1 can of pumpkin (or a couple of mushy bananas)
1 C of almond milk (using a vanilla flavor would be yummy too!)
2 eggs
1 T baking powder
1 T vanilla
3 C of oats (we purchase gluten-free oats at Trader Joe’s)
2 handfuls of dark chocolate chunks (or dried cranberries or shredded coconut-- whatever makes your heart sing)

Bake in muffin tins for 30 minutes. Enjoy with a cup of coffee and a friend.

Christmas Time is Here

Our tree makes me really happy this year.  The popcorn adds a special touch that I grew up with.  Did you know that if you freeze the strands you can use them year after year?

Anderson met Santa and quickly told him he'd like a blue race car then got very very shy.  Tucker of course had no concept of who was holding him.

A friend lent us this little red Christmas sleeper and I'm so glad she did.  It's been perfect for these occasions and mr. almost 9 pounds will probably only get a few more wears out of it before it's too small.

As for today I think my Christmas shopping is done, cards will go out this weekend I hope, and we may attempt to make buckeyes today.  It's one of those things we just have to do around here. 

Guest Post: New Mom (Anytime) Gift Guide

Today's Guest Post is from Michelle Perez of Simply Complicated.  I met Michelle in college and since then she has gotten hitched, had a baby, and lives in Guatemala where her family are doing some great work.  Read more on her blog and until then, check out her gift guide for new moms!  Thanks, Michelle!

I am a new mom to and am still very much in the ups and downs of learning how to how to take care of a very small human and myself. Even though I think all new moms would be happy with a nap, a long shower and a meal on their doorstep I have put together a gift guide that stretches a bit beyond the basic. You could say this is just in time for the holidays, but the truth is, this is an anytime of year gift guide. Enjoy.

We all know new moms like and appreciate home cooked meals. But I was surprised as a nursing mom, how hungry I was all. the. time. Friends of mine were so sweet, because they brought over a meal AND muffins or bread or baked goods for breakfasts and late night snacks. How cute would these kitchen towels be wrapped around a bag of freshly baked muffins? Or cookies. They have the anthro look, but at half the price.  

(side note: check out Willa Kate for some super cute gifts ideas for mom & baby. Kelsey, from Words of Williams, just featured a few of their products. I love this bag and these baby headbands.)

2. SUPER Fast (almost) Instant Drying Top Coat
So apparently Oxblood Nail Polish is the color for the season. But if you’re a new mom you know that trying to paint your nails during nap time is risky. The moment the polish goes on, the little one cries and how do you pick up a baby with wet nails? My mom got me these: Duri: Drop N Go Drying Drops and it is the only way I can attempt to paint my nails with a little one around. It really works, trust me. Wouldn’t it be a cute little stocking stuffer with a your favorite color polish and a new nail file?

3. Contigo: BEST Spill Proof On-the-Go Thermos 
For the coffee or tea drinker in your life, these are a mom’s best friend because they are throw-it-in-your-purse-diaper-bag-or-car spill proof. No joke. No leaks. Nada. They’re made for hot drinks, but if you’re nursing and trying to stay hydrated you can just fill it with water and take it wherever you go. I usually buy a two pack. One for mom and one for the husband. 

4. A Lisa Leonard’s Necklace with Charms for Each of Her Little Loves
This one and this one are on my wishlist. 

5. Baby-proof/Teething Necklace
Let’s be honest though, as soon as your little one can grab and pull you can say good-bye to hanging necklaces. Except for this chic-baby-friendly-chewable necklace! I am eyeing this one and this one from Lady Lee and Drew Jones etsy shop.

6. The Perfect Cuddle Blanket
We received one of these as a gift for our little girl and it is absolutely thee softest, best cuddle blanket we have. My only complaint…is that it’s not bigger. Well, The Little Giraffe does make adult size blankets! They are ridiculously over priced, but if you’re in the mood to splurge you won’t be disappointed. (Although I bet you could find something similar at Costco ☺)

7. Instagram Photo Books RIGHT from your iPhone with Artifact Uprising
Let’s be honest most moms have grand plans of starting a baby book for their new little bundle of joy…but if you’re like me, that bundle of joy takes up a lot more time that you expected and the baby book you purchased remains empty. I love this company because they combine quality printing with super easy and efficient ordering. (read: you can click and order off your phone!) You can finally use the hundreds of photos that have been sitting on your iPhone and have an adorable photo booked shipped to your house for $16.99. How cute would it be to do one for each month? Baby-book guilt be gone!

8. The Gift of a Haircut 
At about 6-8 weeks after the birth of a little one, most moms are ready for a little break. They are also usually ready for a haircut! My sister was here right at the 8-week mark and she watched my daughter so I could spend an hour getting my haircut. It was a godsend. What a great gift to get a new mom a gift card for her to get her hair cut and offer to watch the baby? 

New moms have lots of stuff: baby stuff, nursing stuff, stuff for guests, etc, etc. Basically there are just lots of new things around the house that don’t always have a “place” yet. Grab 2 or 3 of these super cute and practical boxes (I like these from Home Depot for just $6) and fill them with a meal for the family or your favorite magazine or book. Mom gets a little something special, plus a super cute box to keep the house organized.

10. Reading Time
Ok, these books are really for mama and baby, but they are two of my favorites: 
If I Could Keep You Little and You Are My I Love You! And for any Spanish speaking families, this one you can get as a bilingual English/Spanish book, Tu Eres MI Te Quiero

Now if you’re trying to keep to a budget this holiday season and can’t get one of the following for a new mom in your life, never underestimate the gift of a nap, a meal and a shower ☺

**I was not compensated for any of these recommendations. All ideas and links are because I really like the product.**

tucker's first two weeks

We made it to two weeks!  After Anderson  I realized that the first two weeks with a baby are hands down much harder than labor (in my experience.)  Sure you have adrenaline that gets you through the first few sleepless nights but then reality hits, exhaustion sinks in, and in this case taking care of a toddler as well really takes man-to-man defense.  Having my parents around to help every day with Benjamin in the midst of finals and now out of town to be with his Mom during brain surgery this week has been crucial.  If it weren't for them I'd in no way be writing this post right now as both kids are napping and I should seriously be in bed too.

Tucker really is a good baby.  I asked for a fully-cooked nursing baby and that's what I got.  He was tongue-tied which we realized at his 3 day appointment and took care of on day 5 at a pediatric ENT, but otherwise he's been a champ.  Since getting the tongue-tie taken care of he's nursed better and is already over his birthweight, only fitting into a few newborn onesies anymore and already into size 1 diapers.

Although we couldn't quite tell who he looked like at first he is most definitely his Daddy's little boy, looking more and more like Benjamin.

As for Anderson it is definitely an adjustment.  It was great to have Benjamin home when we did so that he could take him to run errands or play out in the snow.  He loves the baby but is also doing some of what I expected- his sleep has regressed, he's becoming more independent, and as we say he is often "testing testing" us on a number of things.  It's not fun feeing like I'm telling him "NO" all the time, but on the other hand we have to nip this behavior in the bud and not let it continue!  

Ok, now it really is nap time for me.  As we say to Anderson, "night night..."


Turning the Age I've Always Wanted to Be

It makes sense that today I turn 30. Married for a few years, 2 kids, a home, a little family. It's what I would have hoped 30 would look like. 

Truth be told I've been looking forward to turning 30 since at least high school. I always believed with 30 would come a form of confidence that isn't fully embraced in your twenties.  I find that to be true today. There's a greater sense of knowing who I am, who I want to be, and what I can confidently say "no" to. 

A product of the 90's I can't help but think of Tim Mcgraw's song "in my next 30 years". When the song came out I thought Tim was so old. Ha.  Now I think of those lyrics and want to tell Tim- of course I won't stay up so late, I have little kids. And yes, I do think the next 30 years will be the best years of my life- raise a little family and hang out with my (husband). 

So here's to the next 30 and a hooray for finally being the age I've always wanted to be. 

The Intelligent Nest: Advice on Adding a Sibling

Today's Guest Post is brought to you by Kristen of The Intelligent Nest.  Kristen knows what she is talking about and her advice is always so welcomed by myself and other parents, not just because she has kids herself but because she is passionate about the study of child development.  
Intelligent Nest strives to empower parents, from all backgrounds, using theories from preeminent child development researchers and theorists and the latest science, to transform their home into an Intelligent Nest. Through examining how parents engage and converse with their children, schedule and provide activities, organize their homes or more simply “parent”, Intelligent Nest aims to equip parents with the information they need to make intelligent, balanced parenting decisions.  To achieve this end, Intelligent Nest is proud to offer seminars and consultation services.

When thinking of guest posts I knew I wanted The Intelligent Nest's take on transitioning from one to two kids.  She of course did not let me down and I hope you find this article helpful if you're adding number two, three, or even four to your family!

Sharing mom and dad with a new sibling is never easy.  From the moment mother’s baby bump takes up room on her lap, older siblings know that something is about to change.  Some children will fight the good fight to try and fend off intruders and some will embrace their new sibling with open arms.  Most kids go through both phases with equal fervor.  Ease into the addition of a new brother or sister with these five tips:
Read a Book: Children learn well from stories and books because the message is non-confrontational and relatable.  Stories give children a positive outlet for processing life.  Books offer a chance to confront a difficult situation before it arises and for a child to gain perspective after a rough encounter.  Before baby arrives and for months following, read your big kid stories about the experience of becoming and being a big brother or big sister.  I recommend: On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott, I’m a Big Brother/Sister by Joanna Cole, We Have a Baby by Cathryn Falwell (great for very young children) and The New Baby by Anne Civardi.

Balance:  If you never “resorted” to TV or babysitters, adding a second, third (or maybe fourth!) sibling to the brood might be the precipice to your long withheld relinquishing of your parental ideals.  Many parents find the transition from one baby to two lends the feeling that “something’s gotta give.”   Accept that home life will change and that seeking balance will breed sanity instead of instability, which is essential for the development of your new baby as well as your older child.  Happy Parents = Happy Babies & Happy Babies = Happy Parents

Routine Machine:  Children thrive through routine.  Routine offers them a sense of predictability and control in what they perceive as a chaotic world.  Adding a new baby is exciting, but it is also stressful and adds to life’s chaos.  To minimize stress and anxiety stemming from the new addition, keep to your older child’s routine as much as possible.  For example, seeing their cereal bowl in the same place at the same time of the morning will bring siblings comfort and will help ease the stress of seeing you holding (or nursing) the new baby while preparing breakfast.  

Big Kid v. Big Baby Older siblings need time and space to transition into their new role of big brother or big sister.  Some days and moments will be very exciting and easy to accept and others will be very upsetting and difficult.  Do not expect your child to always behave like a “big kid”.  Give them space to yo-yo a bit and experiment with being a baby again.  The new baby will remind them of all the wonderful aspects of being a baby.  Thankfully, being a baby is a bit boring and older children will eventually choose to let go of babyhood and embrace being a “big kid”.  Make sure your big kid is able to choose the role on his own instead of being forced to assume a position they are not ready to accept.  

Little Helper:  While it is important to point out all the reasons why the new baby will improve your big kid’s life, it is even more crucial to use Baby as an opportunity to help teach your child empathy.  Empathy is a key skill that can predict success and happiness later in a child’s life, according to research.  Empathy also makes home life easier in the short term.  To build empathy, offer plenty of opportunities for your child to “help” the baby.  In cases where it would be unsafe to “help”, substitute a doll for the baby and encourage your child to work right alone side you as you care for your babies together.  (I recommend the Stella and Sam Dolls by Manhattan Toys for very young children.  For older children, find a life like doll that you can bath, change a diaper, offer a pacifier, clothe, etc…).   Stress how happy the baby feels when she is cared for and how glad you are to have a special helper.  Describe in detail what your child is doing to help and let them draw their own conclusions.  Young children will feel more confident and proud of who they are and draw intrinsic worth from their industry.  

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season

Today's post is from Robin Long.  Robin is a Pilates instructor and the creator of The Balanced Life, a website dedicated to helping women take a balanced, guilt-free  approach to health and fitness. For encouragement, tips, and online Pilates workouts, visit Robin’s website, follow her on Twitter, or connect with her on Facebook. Or join her on 11/11 for Slim & Strong in Six: your pre-holiday Pilates program!

It’s that time of year again. 

When cold weather beckons us into hibernation. 

When rich, comforting dinners take the place of fresh fruit and salad. 

When every weekend provides an opportunity for one too many drinks and five too many desserts.

I love the holidays as much as the next girl. But I don’t often love the way I feel when January 1 rolls around.

Am I alone in this? 

As a Pilates instructor and wellness blogger it’s a part of my job to stay healthy over the holidays. If I’m not healthy, I can’t work. And if I’m not feeling good in my own skin motivating others is next to impossible.

So rather than trying to be “perfect” over the holiday season, I focus on a few key strategies to stay healthy throughout the holidays.

Hopefully these tips will help you too.

5 Ways To Stay Healthy During The Holiday Season

Put a plan in place.

If you read my blog or participate in programs you will hear me talking about planning ahead until I’m blue in the face. 

I can’t stress it enough. 

Without a plan exercise falls by the wayside and healthy eating is too much work. Especially if you have little ones at home. 

Before Thanksgiving rolls around make a detailed exercise plan and start meal planning every Sunday (I share how I meal plan right here).

Focus on Monday – Friday

There will be parties. Lots of parties. And you should ENJOY them! 

So rather than stressing about the weekends focus on Monday – Friday. 

Sometimes we think too black and white (I’m on health kick vs. I’m eating so bad I may as well continue eating bad until I’m ready to diet and lose the weight). Let’s ditch this way of thinking. If you know your weekends are going to be indulgent, keep your diet clean and exercise throughout the week.

Indulge if it’s WORTH IT.

Treats abound over the holidays. It starts with the Halloween candy bowl and continues right through New Year’s champagne. 

So choose your treats wisely. Rather than trying to avoid all sweets, pick and choose the indulgences that are TRULY worth it. That stale piece of cake in the break room at work? Skip it. That delicious homemade apple pie on Thanksgiving? Go for it. 

Too often holiday weight gain is from mindless treats that aren’t really worth it.
Keep cocktails light.

Again…the parties. Oh the parties. 

Confession: one year I gained 15 lbs by drinking copious amounts of Original Temptation….what is that you might ask? That’s the ridiculously delicious generic brand of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Let’s just say, my pants weren’t fitting on January 1. 

Lesson learned: keep cocktails light. Skip the egg nog (or Original Temptation) and opt for wine, spritzers, vodka and soda or a glass of bubbly.

Get your sleep.

Life will be undoubtedly busy over the holiday season. Which means sleep may suffer. 

But sleeping is one of the best things you can do for your health. Isn’t that great news? Just LYING there will improve your immune system, inhibit weight gain and improve your mood. 

Studies show that when you’re low on sleep you’re significantly more likely to reach for unhealthy food options (chips, candy, sugar) to give your body the energy boost it needs. This happens on a hormonal level so relying on will-power will hardly help.

Those are my 5 tips to keep the holidays healthy. Take time to enjoy the season and don’t beat yourself up for partaking in the holiday fun. Just be sure to balance it out with a healthy dose of rest, exercise and self-care.


introducing tucker james sears

Tucker James Sears was born December 2, 2013 at 11:51 PM.  
He weighed 8 lbs 3 ounces.

His much anticipated arrival came quickly and has brought us much joy and little sleep this past week.

Thank you Lord for another healthy baby boy!