Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Today: Peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars.

I recently found myself scrolling through the entirety of the Internet (it’s an uppercase word… until June 1…) for a good granola bar recipe and scanning the contents of our pantry, hoping the stars ingredients would align.  

gluten free peanut butter cranberry dark chocolate granola bars

It was 10:30 on Sunday night, and I had no business being awake, let alone attempting to make granola bars… but sometimes we get peer pressured into these things (i.e. I did it for the Mama Beasts Spring Challenge points…).  And in this case, the pressure paid off.

I should know better than to mess with baking recipes (unlike cooking, there’s some actual science and measuring involved) and you know I’d never be so bold as to question my queen Martha… but um… I messed with a Martha recipe (this one for peanut-butter granola bars — you’ll see I made a few changes, but used her recipe as a guide).  Mostly because I needed to work with what I had.  And because Martha seemed to have forgotten to include chocolate chips.  She’s got a lot going on.  

I’ve made these granola bars twice now (proof that they don’t take a lot of effort or time or thought, all things I seem to be perpetually lacking).  

I’m always looking for filling, mostly-healthy snacks and these turned out to be both.  And they don’t taste like an old shoe (always a plus).  That’s a terrible way of telling you they’re delicious.  They’re delicious.  

peanut butter cranberry dark chocolate granola bars

Homemade peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars

gluten free, makes approximately 12 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips 
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • Pinch of sea salt (I use Maldon flakes)

Directions

  1. Prep work:   Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment or freezer paper, leaving a bit of overhang. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, cranberries, almonds and dark chocolate.
  3. In a small sauce pan over low heat, mix nut butter, oil, and palm sugar until sugar dissolves.  Remove pan from heat and mix in egg white.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into prepared pan, pressing mixture evenly with a spatula.
  5. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, allow to cool in pan (approximately 10 minutes).
  7. Remove baked granola (technically, they’re not bars… yet) from the pan, using the parchment or freezer paper and freeze overnight on a cookie sheet.
  8. Cut bars to desired size, store refrigerated.

Recipe notes:  You could include just about any nuts and dried fruit.  I don’t recommend skipping the chocolate.  (Because, really, why?)  You could throw caution to the wind and cut them after cooling, but I found freezing the bars really helped keep them from crumbling.  Martha’s recipe calls for light brown sugar, which you could use if you don’t have palm sugar on hand.  Similarly, you could substitute (1:1) coconut oil for vegetable oil.  The Maldon is definitely optional, but I have such a thing for salty/sweet.  I used 70% cocoa chocolate chips and Bob’s Red Mill gluten free rolled oats, but again, use what you have.

That’s basically my life’s motto at the moment… use what you have.  Or, like, order it from Amazon Prime.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Very interesting read: The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It via lifehacker
  • Attempting to read an actual book (one that is not about “positive parenting” or “thriving toddlers” or “making your dog promise to live forever”) …I’m currently on page 13 and consider that a huge victory
  • Catching up on some postcrossing 

Today: April goals (and a printable calendar).

I didn’t feel like painting April showers, so I skipped right to the May flowers.  Hope you don’t mind.

April goals (and a printable calendar)

april calendar printable

Materials used: Winsor + Newton professional watercolors and gouache; round brushes (4 and 8), liner brush (0); super-inexpensive mixed media paper (from the kids’ craft aisle at Target)

click here to download your free, hand painted April calendar

April goals

Family

  • Set plans for Nick’s baptism
  • Pick a new Audubon sanctuary to visit this month
  • Make a “warmer weather” bucket list (because I never did this in March… semi-related, it’s going to snow next week…)
  • Day trip to the Cape

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world and twice at home (per week) and increase weekly mileage
  • Increase low plank hold to 45 seconds, high plank to 2 minutes (gettin’ there!)
  • Continue to keep food diary (this is something I got back into a few weeks ago — it’s been really helpful… and eye-opening)

Home

  • Donate newborn and baby clothes (seeing as both my children are toddler-sized, including the four-month-old)
  • Consign or sell our single running stroller
  • Get the deck ready for spring/summer
  • Continue to meal plan on Sundays (it’s really helping to cut down food waste)

Bring on the April showers.  So we can cut to the May flowers.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your April?

Today: The week ahead + a free planning printable

True Life: If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done.  And sometimes even if I write it down, it doesn’t get done (can’t win ’em all).  And sometimes I write down things I’ve already done, just for the satisfaction of crossing something off.  Whatever.  Here’s a free printable.

The week ahead

click here to download your free planning printable

I use a weekly planner (the Get to Work Book — love it) to keep track of appointments, writing and art projects and general “to dos,” and Co-Schedule for an editorial calendar, but I prefer something simple when it comes to my weekly plan.  After a little design trial and error, I came up with this pretty number, and thought I’d share it.  Feel free to download and print and plan all kinds of things.  

I stick with a Monday start partly to pretend I’m a sophisticated non-American (just kidding… kind of) but mostly because I like carving out time on Sundays to plan for the week ahead.  If you’d prefer a file with a Sunday start, reach out or leave a comment below and I’m sure I can help you out.

You might use this weekly planning printable for

  • Meal planning
  • Food log
  • Scheduling workouts
  • A gratitude diary
  • 1-2 must dos (or want to dos) per day
  • Daily doodles

I laminated mine using a 3M self-sealing pouch (you can find them on Amazon in packages of 10 for less than $10, or in the office supply aisle at Target) and use a fine tip dry erase marker, rather than printing a new page every week (I feel like I am forever living dangerously… in the low ink zone).  

Time to go write something down.  And maybe, eventually do that something.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your #1 productivity tool?

Today: Last week’s workouts + a SLS3 running belt giveaway

What is it about spring that makes me want to be a runner again?  

That year I ran two marathons (the Walt Disney World Marathon and the NYC marathon <– click though for recaps, if you’d like to read about very mediocre running, but above average emotional expression) seems like ancient history, but give me a new pair of kicks and a 60 degree day and you’d think I was heading for the starting line (more likely: I’m heading to Target because I forgot to buy hand soap… but remembered to buy chocolate chips…).

last week's workouts

Regardless, I’m looking forward to several spring races (the Marine Corps Honor Run in Southie and the Corrib 5k in West Roxbury for starts) and sort of feel my running mojo coming back.  Whatever that means.  If you’re getting back outside to train, I’ve got a great giveaway below that might make your (running) life a little better.

Last week’s workouts

last week's workouts

Monday: Mama Beasts — I’m always a little giddy when the deck of cards comes out (and I’m impressed at how many ways Antoinette puts those cards to use!).

Tuesday: Mama Beasts spring challenge workout (at home) and a long walk with the little people.  Grace went on a two week nap strike (and attempted to eat a crayon while I changed Nick’s diaper), so escaping getting out of the house felt very necessary.  It’s amazing what a little fresh air (and ocean views) can do.

Wednesday: Mama Beasts and BeFit abs + arms

Thursday: Push-up playdate with my sister-in-law, Colleen– we earned a point for our MB team for every push-up we completed in an hour.  I’m still working on being able to do regular push-ups on my toes (hello, two children… and a temporary goodbye to core/back strength), but got 163 good form push-ups done on my knees.   I rounded out the day with a gentle flow from OneOEight yoga.  

Friday: Mama Beasts (followed by an adorable egg hunt for the little ones!)

Saturday: Mileage day for the MB challenge — a morning walk and an afternoon trip to the track for a total of 5 miles.

Sunday: Rest.  Any by rest, I mean… Easter candy.

SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt Giveaway

SLS3 giveaway

I recently received a dual pocket run belt from SLS3 and have used it on several outdoor runs and walks, and loaned it to Nick for a rowing workout.  I’ve used other running belts in the past, and this one is far more comfortable (it doesn’t bounce around and has a wide, fully adjustable belt) and it can hold an iPhone 6+ (and comparably giant phones), keys, IDs, gels, snacks, and heavens knows what else. I look forward to continuing to use it for spring runs and races and am thrilled to host a giveaway today.

sls3 giveaway 

The giveaway is open for a week, and a random winner will be chosen and contacted by SLS3.  Please enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The dual pocket run belt is currently on sale at Amazon for $16.90 (more than 40% off the retail price).  Additionally, you can receive 40% off the entire SLSTRI website using the code BLOG40.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary running belt in exchange for my review and hosting this giveaway. 

Also On Tap for Today:

Upcoming races?  Or belated Easter egg hunts?

Today: Last week’s workouts + a BeFit giveaway

Consider this post a two-for-one special… two weeks, one post.  Or, a three-for-one if you count the BeFit giveaway.  I’m all for rounding up.

last weeks workouts be fit giveaway

Last week’s workouts

Monday: Class with the Mama Beasts (a new session just started, and Saturday classes will be starting soon — check out the Quiet Beasts website for more info), BeFit Cardio Extreme (12 minutes)

Tuesday: BeFit Dynamic Strength (12 minutes), yoga (Mellow Me Out with One0Eight.tv — I am obsessed with this slow stretch)

Wednesday: Class with the Mama Beasts 

Thursday: Rest day (and lots of stretching… my birth week had me feeling especially old and creaky)

Friday: Class with the Mama Beasts, BeFit Lower Body Blast (10.5 minutes)

Saturday: Special challenge class with the Mama Beasts (aaaand it was a tough one)

Sunday: Rest

last weeks workouts befit giveaway

BeFit Toned Abs + Arms

…and the week before last week’s workouts

Monday: Class with the Mama Beasts 

Tuesday: BeFit Toned Abs and Arms (13 minutes)

Wednesday: Class with the Mama Beasts

Thursday: Make-up class with the Mama Beasts — 12 Days of Christmas!  I’m really glad I made it to this class, as I missed this workout when Antoinette ran it in December, just after Nick was born.  I had to scale back some of the running (indoor laps instead of outdoor) half-way through… I pretended I needed to be close to the babes, but in reality, my lungs and legs were burning).  Merry Christmas, body!

Friday: Class with the Mama Beasts, BeFit Toned Abs and Arms — class three days in a row was no joke, but I really liked the abs/arms workout from earlier in the week, so I snuck that in, too.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Yoga (Mellow Me Out… again, and a yin yoga class)

BeFit Giveaway

last weeks workouts befit giveaway

In addition to making it to class four times both weeks (there was an extra class held both weeks), I managed to sneak in a few short at-home workouts, too.  I’m really enjoying BeFit’s 30 Day Workout Calendar, which corresponds to this YouTube playlist.  The program is free to access — I definitely recommend checking it out.

Each workout is short, but intense (check out this intro video to learn more) — perfect for fitting in between appointments, during nap time, or whenever your schedule allows.  You could work through the 30 day calendar as it is laid out, or pick and choose, as I have been doing.  This program is both really well organized and manageable (especially when you consider how little time you need to carve out) — and the variety of workouts has kept me feeling engaged and motivated.  

befit giveaway

As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I was given the chance to review BeFit’s 30 Day Fat Burn program and received a generous gift of BeFit nutritional products from the company.  

Because I’m breastfeeding Nick, I am not taking any supplements (just a prenatal vitamin and my good ol’ Floridix for anemia), but I’ve heard great things about the products we received from my fellow ambassadors and look forward to trying them in the future.  I’m especially excited to try the pre-workout formula, as well as a few of the whey protein recipes that BeFit has shared on Instagram.  If you’d like to win your own gift set from BeFit, please see details below.

You can use any of the following methods to enter (each option will earn you an entry; please leave a separate comment below for each entry): 

Giveaway restrictions:

  • U.S. only
  • One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from BeFit through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner. 

One winner will be randomly chosen on Thursday, March 10th.

This post is sponsored by BeFit, in partnership with Sweat Pink.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Really helpful… and kind of cool: 36 Pictures To See Which Muscle You’re Stretching via Be Young Be Green 
  • Listening to Grace repeatedly talk about how she is going to pick up the Easter Bunny and take him for a walk (???)
  • Catching up on #makeyourmarkMARCH

What’s your favorite work out these days?

Today: March goals (and a printable calendar).

It’s March 1st, which means

march goals printable calendar

Materials used: Zig Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors, Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen (black), round brushes (sizes 2 and 4)

You can download your March calendar here.

March goals 

Family

  • This is mortifying… but I still need to make Nick’s birth announcement…
  • Date night afternoon at the museum
  • Make a few playdates for Grace
  • Make a “warmer weather” bucket list

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world and twice at home (per week)
  • Meet my fitbit goals (10,000 steps/30 minutes of activity/10 floors climbed) 5 days a week
  • Increase low plank hold to 45 seconds, high plank to 1 minute 
  • Register for 2 spring races
  • Less TV, more reading

Home

  • Organize and donate Nick’s too-small baby clothes 
  • Wash deck windows
  • Limit food waste

Community

  • Make plans with friends
  • Win March Madness (or whatever)
  • Enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Southie

I hope your March is… super.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on tap for your March?

Today: Last week’s workouts | 003

I think I skipped a week.  I think no one cares.  Let’s move on.

Last week was the final week of the Mama Beasts’ winter challenge and I’m sort of disappointed that it’s over.  I think I’m going to start giving myself imaginary points for workouts, non-Cheeze-Its dinners and routine “me” time.  Points are weirdly motivating.  

They also distract (sort of) from the actual work — the past few weeks flew by and I’m left with some pretty solid good habits.  Like eating breakfast.  And staying tuned in during workouts at home.  And being a bit more mindful of my tendency to snack when stressed. 

last week's workouts

Last week’s workouts | 003

Monday: The Name Game – Class was canceled due to snow, so we were given a “name game” workout to complete at home.  Each letter of the alphabet had a corresponding number and exercise (for example, E = 50 squats). There were extra points awarded for completing your first, middle and last name… I got through E-L-I and considered whether or not I could legally change my name to Eli Smith… or something even a letter or two shorter than my ridiculously long name.  When it was all said and done (I broke it up over the course of the day and it took me until almost 10 PM to finish), I completed:

  • 75 burpees
  • 25 power burpees
  • 90 second wall sit
  • 50 crunches
  • 200 air squats
  • 50 biceps curls
  • 100 high knees
  • 90 second high plank
  • 90 second low plank
  • 200 step-ups
  • 300 mountain climbers
  • 50 plank jacks
  • 50 triceps extensions
  • 900 swear words

You could easily come up with your own “name game” workout and use random (or not so random) words instead of names.  I’m definitely holding onto this one for future use.

Tuesday: Plyo pyramid (another at-home workout)

Wednesday: Class with Mama Beasts

Thursday: Yoga (Happy Hips + Hearts flow from OneOEight.tv), “Booty Burner Pyramid” from a past MB challenge

Friday: Class with Mama Beasts; Class (and the challenge) ended with a Beep Test (it has a bunch of other names — more details here thanks to the Internet).  This was my first time running a beep test and admittedly, had no idea what was going on… so I am looking forward to redeeming myself at the next opportunity.  Also, I downloaded a beep test app and fully intend to train under the cover of darkness in our driveway.  Or whatever.

Saturday + Sunday: Rest (I think I was still sore from the name game).

Also On Tap for Today:

If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?

Today: Last week’s workouts | 002

Last week, I treated myself to an in-the-house only yoga mat (my other mat has spent some time outdoors, on the beach, and being run over by toddlers wielding doll strollers).  It only took one unrolling for Grace to claim it as her own.  She told me she’d share it with me and then demanded I do squats and “exercise with my feet.”  Lord, help me.

last week's workouts 002

I do appreciate that I am able to workout with both children at my side, as challenging as that can be at times.  I want them to see exercise as an opportunity to care for themselves.  I want them to feel strong, capable and proud of themselves and their bodies.  

And hopefully, down the road, they’ll have a much better understanding of how those bodies work.  For instance: They will know that before they were born, our belly buttons were not connected to one another by an umbilical cord (a fact I came to grasp just weeks before Grace was born… so that was special).

Anatomy aside, here are last week’s workouts. (I’m including FitBit stats this week for the heck of it). 

Last week’s workouts | 002

Monday: Class with Mama Beasts // FitBit: 16,065 steps, 6.71 miles

Tuesday: At home workout (for our Mama Beasts challenge) // FitBit: 12,121 steps, 5.06 miles

Wednesday: Class with Mama Beasts // FitBit: 11,517 steps, 4.81 miles

Thursday: Yoga and a little time playing around with my Stretch Deck (a great, portable reference for people who know they need to stretch, but are too lazy/tired to put much thought into a routine).  I signed up for a free trial with OneOEight and have been loving their online yoga classes and guided meditations.   You can select classes based on length, vibe, etc. // FitBit: 10,048 steps, 4.2 miles

Friday: More yoga. // FitBit: 10,056 steps, 4.2 miles

Saturday: At home tabata workout (for our Mama Beasts challenge) // FitBit: 7,073 steps, 2.97 miles

Sunday: Rest // FitBit: 13,509 steps, 5.64 miles

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you moving this week?

Today: February goals (and a printable calendar).

Writing out goals for January proved to be very motivating and (mostly) productive.  So I figured, let’s keep on keepin’ on.  Also, I made you another calendar.  

And I want you to eat your vegetables.

february printable calendars

Materials used: Micron pen (black 01), Pigma brush pen (black, fine), Koi watercolors

Because I care.

You can download your February calendar here.

February goals

Family

  • Make the birth announcement I forgot to make last month (can’t win ’em all)… because nothing says second child quite like announcing his birth two or three months later
  • 2 trips to the children’s library (and maybe visit a different branch)
  • Date night out!

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world, and twice at home (and share with you all, for accountability’s sake) each week
  • Meet my fitbit goal (10,000 steps) 5 days a week
  • Less coffee, more tea
  • Read something other than articles about babies and/or toddlers and/or sleeping and/or eating and/or crying

Home

  • Create a better, more sustainable daily maintenance routine (my current routine is “It’s time for bed.  Holy crap!  Where did all this… crap come from?!”)
  • Donate, recycle and throw out even more things (last month was a good one for purging)

Community

  • Keep looking for a new parish
  • Share at least one friend’s post or project a week (I failed miserably at this last month)
  • Plan a weekend play date with friends

Oh.  And eat more carrots.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is On Tap for your February?

 

Today: Last week’s workouts | 001

In an effort to make good on my January goals (uh…three weeks into the month…), I’m sharing last week’s workouts.  This was my first full week back in the game, so to speak, having been cleared to exercise by my midwife the week prior.  

Also, to be clear, this “game” I speak of is basically dressing in lululemon, getting the babes packed up, searching for my phone/keys/sunglasses/wallets/extra change of clothes/keys again/extra package of wipes/and snacks (always snacks), attempting to leave the house, sometimes succeeding, always arriving with spit up in my hair, and occasionally participating in a workout.

I bought an 8 class pass with Mama Beasts and started back last Monday.  The timing could not be better, as the group’s winter team challenge kicked off mid-month.  We’ve been earning points for workouts, logging our meals, staying hydrated, making time for ourselves and occasional special challenges… like squat day.

I’ve also been making use of my home gym in a bin and “do anywhere” workouts found on YouTube and Pinterest.

last week's workouts

Last week’s workouts | 001

Monday: First day back at class with the Mama Beasts — this is also the day I realized how much coordination it takes to leave the house at a specific time with both Grace and Nick.

Tuesday: At home ladder workout… and 315 squats… because I mis-read the instructions for the aforementioned “squat day” and overshot by 100+.  Needless to say, I could barely walk after this.  All in the name of points.

Wednesday: Class with the Mama Beasts

Thursday: Random yoga flow (thank you, Pinterest*) and gymnastics class with Grace.  I fully participated in the warm-up and stretching… like, to the extent that it may have made the coach and other parents uncomfortable.  Regardless, it felt good.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday + Sunday: Plank weekend.  I totaled 17 minutes (in sum, not in a row) of planks of all sorts (high, low, side, modified) between the two days.  And um… that’s all I did workout-wise.  I can only hope my form was as good as Grace’s.

last week's workout planks

It would appear I haven’t cleaned under the sofa recently.  Or ever.

*Random aside regarding Pinterest: Am I the only one who finds Pinterest completely annoying lately?  I have to scroll through 800 sponsored or “picked for you” pins before I find anything that’s not junk.  Oh, and one of those “picked for you” pins the other day was “How to get a thigh gap.”  (It was recommend for my healthy living board….)

On one hand I was like, that’s not okay.  And on the other hand, I was like, Bahahahaha.  That ship has sailed.  And I’m waving it off in my maternity leggings, which I refuse to give up. Like, ever.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Taking the Jeopardy! online test.  I have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but a girl can dream.
  • Painting (I made an appointment with myself and my art cart)
  • Sort of meal-planning and definitely food shopping

What are your favorite at home workouts?