How To Beat Holiday + Winter Weight Gain

How is it almost October? HOW?!?!?! 

I feel like I blink and it's a new month! It also doesn't help that since back-to-school week, my life has been on a steady routine, cycling day after day. Fall is defiantly upon me. So are the holidays, tailgating, chili-cook offs, cozy nights in with carbs and more carbs. However, if I don't do something to offset my future fatty food fetish, I'll be wearing my fat jeans permanently.

Which means... It's time to kick off the 3rd annual 30/30 Walking challenge! 

Starting October 1, 2016 through October 30, 2016, I challenge you to join me in beating winter and holiday weight gain and a slew of other crappy things. I promise, you're going to love this! 

So what is the 30/30?

I wish I could take credit for the 30/30, but I first learned about it on an episode of, The Doctors. The most popular 30-day weight loss challenges were put to the test. Many failed to show results, while others were too difficult to stick with, but one proved to be the real deal, The 30/30 Walking challenge.

In a nut shell: All you have to do is walk thirty minutes a day, for thirty days. Here's the best part, you can walk at any pace you want, snail slow or train for the race walking Olympic team--if there is one?  You don't have to diet, lift weights or fall on your face in a Zumba class. You can eat what ever you want, though a healthy diet is certainly going to produce better results. 

It's easy, no need to walk fast, at the same time of day, or even all thirty minutes at once. Just add thirty extra minutes of walking to your day. Walk slow, just walk. 

The walking challenge is a totally body, mind and spirt revamp. In 30-days you can lower heart attack risk, lose weight, add years to your life, sleep better and of course, better your overall health and mood.

(New mothers on maternity leave, this challenge is CRUCIAL for you. Your mind, body, mental health, raging hormones and newborn will thank you every step of the way. )

Just think... in two weeks you could be sleeping better, have lower cholesterol losing weight, and be a healthier, happier person.

How could you not want to at least try?

It's important that you find a way to easily incorporate 30-minutes (total) of walking into your day. The goal being to find a way to stick after the 30/30 is over.

Reel in your co-workers, family, friends, neighbors. Create a 30/30 group. If you have a fit-bit, see how many steps you take walking 30-minutes. Make that your goal the first week or do the 10,000 step challenge. The buddy system, is a great way to make this stick! Last year, I did the challenge with a girlfriend after we dropped the littles off at school. We still walk together in the mornings.

Here are a few ideas to help easily blend the 30/30 challenge into your day:

  1. If you take public transportation to work leave 15 minutes early and walk to the next stop or station. (I know, for those non-morning people this is a stupid suggestion)
  2. At lunch, walk 15 minutes away from your desk, eat, then walk back--maybe even the long way back.
  3. On the weekends, go explore a new (historic) town or nature trail with the family.
  4. Take the stairs all month, maybe even go up a few extra flights then come back down.
  5. Only need a couple things from the store? If one is close enough, walk there!
  6. On rainy days, clean or organize a closet for 30 minutes, better yet, go to an indoor mall for some retail therapy.
  7. Park in the furthest spot from the door 
  8. For a week straight, walk out of your front door and take a different street or path and see what you find.
  9. Download an awesome mystery ebook to listen to while you walk. TIP: Only let yourself listen to the book when walking, this might get those walks stretched out well past 30 minutes.

Once you commit to the 30/30 Challenge, tell as many people as you can that you are doing this to add accountability. Get a support group to help encourage and hold you accountable.

It's just 30 minutes for thirty days.  It's not hard or an on going commitment.  This is a challenge that you know you can do. The best part is that October first is a Saturday this year. This gives you a two day start without work/school complications.


Join me on the 30/30 and follow me on your favorite social media channel.

                   Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+

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19 DIY Family Halloween Costumes Anyone Can Make

Whether you're a semesters or all thumbs when it comes to sewing (Like me!), the following 19 family Halloween costumes, anyone can make! 
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11 Fun Facts About Fall + The Autumn Equinox Totally Worth Knowing #FirstDayOfFall

Happy first day of Fall!  In honor of the Autumn Equinox and the promise of a future of rolling tides of cool weather and beautiful foliage, I thought I would do a little research to find out why it's called fall after all. I found some really great stuff totally worth sharing, I hope you enjoy!

1. Levels of testosterone in both men and women are at their highest in the fall. Scientists speculate the surge may be a result of ancient mating instincts (e.g., the fall “rutting season”) or that decreasing daylight somehow triggers it.

2. According to NASA, autumn is “aurora season” because geomagnetic storms are about twice as frequent as the annual average during the fall.

3. In response to colder temperatures and less light during the autumn months of September, October and November leaves stop producing chlorophyll, the green pigment that helps capture sunlight to power photosynthesis. As the green fades, the leave’s other pigments shine through. 

4. Red and purple leaves are caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.

5. The word “harvest” comes from the Old Norse word haust, which means “to gather or pluck.” As people moved to the cities, “harvest” fell out of use and city dwellers began to use “fall of the leaf,” which was shortened to “fall.

6. The shorter days and cooler nights are a signal to animals to begin storing food in their nest/dens and fat on their body.

7. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) can lead to weight gain during autumn and winter. Lack of vitamin D reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage.

8. Autumn holidays include Labor Day, Grandparents Day, Patriot Day, Autumn Equinox, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, and Thanksgiving.

9. Each autumn, monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. to Mexico and some parts of Southern California. They fly at speeds of 12 to 25 miles per hour. Monarchs are the only insect that migrates to a warmer climate 2,500 miles away.

10. The autumn equinox signals the aurora borealis, a.k.a the Northern Lights; geomagnetic storms are twice as likely to occur during the fall due to cool evening weather.

11. The pumpkin was first named by the Greeks. They called this edible orange item “pepon,” which means “large melon.”

Have I told you lately how much I love my Pepon Patch?

What's your favorite thing about Autumn, Fall, Harvest?

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This Combo Will Get Your Baby To Sleep, FAST!

**Today I am partnering with Fade Away Sleep Sounds to share my secret for getting my son to sleep, relatively easily! All opinions are my own.

When someone tells me they have a newborn or infant, I always ask, "How are you sleeping?".  Just their initial facial expression alone answers my question. The parents with infants who sleep through the night smile a huge proud smile, before carrying on about how great their child sleeps.

I was never that parent.  I cried when I was asked that question.

My son didn't sleep through the night (10pm-7am) until he was eight months old. The first six months of my little guy's life, he nursed around the clock sleeping in mostly 4-6 hour stretches. I would have lost my mind if it hadn't been for the bedtime routine and Mr. Giraffe's baby sleep sounds.

My sister, a mother of two boys, now nine and ten years old, had a bad sleeper, and learned the hard way to "stick to the routine like your life depends on it." She also insisted that I get a sound machine to soothe my infant to sleep. She was right on both accounts.

Did you know, it's hard for baby to adjust to the quiet world outside of mommy's loud tummy?

The problem was finding the right white noise for baby sleep! So many sound machines make this strange tempo sound. I needed a white noise or something familiar to my son when he was in the womb. Sounds like my heartbeat, blow dryer, vacuum or water running. 

In lieu of blowing up my blow dryer, I found a white noise machine buried deep in a stuffed giraffe, then paid WAY too much for it.  

All was great until one particularly gross tummy flu destroyed Mr. Giraffe. I dug out the sound maker and have used it by itself since. Even though the white noise got my little guy to sleep like a charm, no way was I going to pay for another overpriced stuffed animal!

If you have a rotten sleeper or have really long bedtime battles, I cannot recommend enough starting a bedtime routine followed by sleep sounds for babies. And rather than pay an arm and a leg for a stuffed sound machine, check out Fade Away Sleep Sounds. 

A dad invented it. He too had a crappy sleeper and loved his sanity.

Watch This:


The Fade Away Sleep Sounds tracks offer a unique feature with it's fade away to silence. This way parents can help their kids fall asleep on their own and at the same time wean them off of the white noise since a track lasts for only 60 minutes in total. The last ten minutes is a slow fade out that gently helps the child to sleep on its own. 

Parents always make the best stuff! We know what works, not the big corporate giants. 

I love entire concept and range of familiar sounds Fade Away Sleep Sounds offers.  You can listen to the tracks on their YouTube channel, here. Or start downloading Fade Away Sleep Sound Tracks, HERE!

I really cannot express enough how important the bedtime routine and the combo sound machine became to my son's sleep and my sanity. Four years later, when we travel, the routine and white noise has yet to fail me in getting the little guy to sleep. I stick to the bath, bed, books, lights out, sound machine on, and I plan to do this until he protests or I send him to college! 

What's your sleep secret? Which track would be best for you baby? Hairdryer, running water, thunderstorm, clothes dryer, electric fan, washing machine, vacuum? 

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This Conversation Will Save Your Family's Life #NatlPrep

Is your family prepared for a natural disaster? A house fire? A terrorist attack? Do you have an emergency plan? Have you designated meeting points and a contact person? 


Me either. Until yesterday, I never even considered making a family emergency plan. I didn't even know there was such a thing. Thankfully, I stumbled onto Ready.Gov doing research for an article, and my life was changed. Possibly, saved...

Did you know, September is National Preparedness month? This year, Ready.Gov is pushing the initiative to:

Don't Wait, Communicate. 
Make Your Emergency Plan Today. 

Last night, I spent some time researching ways to be prepared and keep my family safe in a multitude of crappy scenarios. I found a wealth of information on how to make a family emergency plans, what I need to know, checklists and the importance of having a 72-hour survival kit. 

Below are a few of the resources I found useful for creating a family emergency plan.

First, POP QUIZ!  How prepared are you?

Second, What's in your Emergency Bag?  Here are a few things to consider packing...

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio                    
  • Flashlight and extra batteries                                                                             
  • First aid kit
  • Local maps                                                                               
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Depending on your needs, additional items could be added:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers                                               
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Fire extinguisher                                                                       
  • Matches in a waterproof container                                                            
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Books, games and/or puzzles
  • Paper and pencil
  • A first aid guide

Third, and the most important, What's the emergency plan? Rather than list all the ways to plan for various emergencies, I am going to send you to the very best resource I've found for making an emergency plan, Ready.gov. There's a wealth of information, downloadable checklists, tips, and even online games kids can play to experience various emergencies.  Click the image or link below.

How do you plan for emergencies? Have you experienced a family emergency and have a lifesaving tip? PLEASE SHARE!!!

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Because Mommies Have Sensitive Tummies Too #DrinkPremama

This post was sponsored by Premama as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in the post are my own.

Sensitivity should be my middle name. I'm thoroughly sensitive from the inside and out. From my sensitive skin to my feelings, to my tummy, I am always dealing with one sensitivity issue or another! 

This was never more true than when I got pregnant. I struggled daily not only swallowing my prenatal vitamin, but it upset my stomach to no end. Knowing I had to take them, I talked with my doctor about other options. That's when I found out, hard pills are not the only way to take a vitamin. 

This information changed the game. 

First I tried a chewy vitamin, but the flavor was so yucky, I had to hold my nose chew them up, then wash them down with water.

I was so annoyed that something so good for me and baby, made me so sick!  

Thankfully, the wonderful people at Premama knew there were preggies in need of vitamins, delivered in a convenient non-pill non-nauseating way. 

Now that the hubs and I have started talking seriously about having #2, getting my health and diet in check are essential. And since my diet doesn't always deliver the vitamins I need, making sure I get my recommended daily intake is very important to me. 

What's more, Premama Prenatal vitamins can be blended in Smoothies! Check out these super food Premama Prenatal smoothie recipes!  *(Don't forget to Pin the images for later!) 

Berry Bomb Smoothie

 I seriously LIVED off smoothies when I was pregs with Ollie. 

Tropical Island Escape Smoothie:

If, like me, you struggle with swallowing pills or get an upset stomach from vitamins in the morning, definitely give the entire Premama a try. You and your growing baby will be so glad you did! I know Ollie and I were both stoked with I got my prenatal vitamin under control. 

Premama is so sure you will love their essential vitamin drink mix, they're giving away a  free sample of either Premama Lactation or Premama Fertility through September 29, 2016! ? To get yours, see below. 

TIP: Now through September 25, 2016, Premama is on super sale at your local Meijer Stores! To find a store near you, click here!

Premama Facebook Sampling
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Creating Balance In Your Parenting Partnership

NOTE: This is the conclusion to yesterday's post, The Mistake So Many First Time Parents Make, where I shared a back and forth email between myself and a reader exposing the ugly truths behind control-freak (first-time) moms, and dads either not sure what to do or are getting away with doing the minimum. Today's post is a continuation of the email exchange, and the magic that happens when you communicate with your parenting partner to create a better balance.

Now, where we left off yesterday was me telling Kate, "It's important to be open with Will about feeling overwhelmed, but also know you take on too much by your own accord. 

This is what happened when Kate talked to her husband: 

KATE: Guess what?! Hubby is currently upstairs putting George to sleep for the first time... Fingers crossed.

ME: Yaaaaaaaaaay!!! Bravo. Small steps. I'm so happy for you!! Let me know how it goes!

KATE: 8:08pm, George is asleep, kitchen is cleaned up and I am sitting on the couch!!! Heaven! 

I look back to the first year of parenting where I was a scared, control freak first-time parent. I was so full of anxiety, I couldn't sit down. I was constantly rushing around doing one thing or another to ensure my son was well fed, cared for and in a sterile safe environment. Then, at the end of the day, I would plop down on the couch exhausted, resenting the hell out of my husband for not helping me. 

He insisted he would help if he knew what to do or I didn't bitch at him for doing things wrong. He also expressed frustration about me constantly standing over him telling when and what to do with his son because of the, "routine".

It's true, that routine was everything to me and having everything just right was important to me, too. Even though the new-parent anxiety was plentiful enough to keep me on the move, mentally and physically I was falling apart. 

What's sad is that my husband is an exceptional father, and fought me every step of the way to prove that. I just struggled so much with how his ways were not like mine, and at the time, I thought my ways were the best. I was such a bitch! (Sorry, baby. I love you!)

Please learn from me on this one, if you resent your parenting partner because you carry the majority of the load, take a look at the reason why. Is it because you won't let your partner do anything? Or when you do, you critique everything to the point of berating their parenting ways?  Or is your partner a lazy shit that needs a fire lit under their ass?

Regardless, if you are worn out and need help and it's sitting on the couch in the other room, speak up, step back, delegate. Something. Find a way to open the line of communication, like Kate did, to create a better parenting balance. Trust me, your entire family will benefit from you relaxing a little. 

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