Summer Break!


It’s the last week of school and I’m trying to get mentally prepared to have the kids back home full time for the summer. I love having them home but also get stressy about not having my personal time and space to exercise and sit quietly. 

I’m a big exercise home body, I like to be alone to be focused and not to be interrupted by anything. 

The trick I learned last year is pretty simple, but it takes me some time to adjust. The one big lesson I learned was to not have any expectations of how our day will play out. Kids are home and they need their mommy, and it’s our time to reconnect after a busy school year. I need to be ok with “winging” my workout time and not be so stubborn about my schedule because “my” schedule will become “our” schedule.  I know I’ll always get my workout done when the opportunity appears. Some days the kids settle into a movie or craft buying me an hour to get sweaty, or I may set my alarm for 5:30 in the morning and lace up for a early run or in the evenings when my husband is home and the kids are in bed. I need to be ok that my workout may include my kids joining in or having my workout broken up through out the day. We plan to be out and active a lot, so that all counts for exercise too. 


I find having high expectations just sets me up for disappointment and puts me in a grumpy mood. Having more flexibility with my time is healthier for me and I tend to move through the day with ease. 

My kids tend to give me my space but there are times when they just want my attention and challenge me for it and that’s ok! 

Another thing I learned last summer was to have a calm morning routine of breakfast making and talking about what we feel like doing and making our daily plan. My kids LOVE being a part of making the plan so they know what to expect each day and are mentally prepared for it. They love being home and sometimes it’s a challenge to get them to leave the house! Hopefully the calm morning routine and plan making will give me a sense of where I can fit in my personal time and give my kids what they need for the day. 

Being in the moment with my kids is  a huge goal of mine this this year. Living a little more spontaneously and freely. 

So, I’m currently preparing myself for the change our summer breaks bring and really looking forward to it. 

Excercise has become a big part of my life, I will make it all happen just not on the rigid schedule I’ve become accustomed to during the kid’s school year. In turn, I am giving my kids a fun, calm and fullfilling summer. 

Happy summer everyone !!

Thinking about doing a Whole30? …here is my take on it. 

Before I did my first Whole30, I was terrified! All the stories I had read online and with friends made me question if it was all worth it. The list of detox symptoms and crazy feelings didn’t leave me excited and jumping for joy to start. But I knew I needed to jump in with both feet, because I needed to get a grip on my health, needed a better understanding of food and what food was doing to me, and to discover how it was making me feel. Of course I wanted to lose some weight and to figure out a healthy food balance, too.

I knew there was something in my diet that was giving me bloat, mood swings and weight gain. Obviously the candy and chips was a big part of it, but I needed to learn what MY body wanted and what would make it run better. I figured, it’s only 30 days, I can do ANYTHING for 30 days.

I Instagrammed the shit out of the subject and joined a Facebook Whole30 group. I learned the hard way that there are some tough Whole30 divas that don’t want to hear about your banana and egg concoction because it breaks the rules. BEWARE: not everyone is on the same journey. I don’t follow all the rules of life so why would I doing this! 🤷🏻‍♀️

Everything was compliant in my books, and I left that group soon after to join another W30 Facebook group that had kind gentle souls who didn’t pass judgment. 

The weekend before my Monday Whole30 Day 1, I prepped and cleaned and prepped and cleaned, I listed and made a menu. Got my hubby in on it too! Gahhh, it’s a lot of work, but being prepared brings you peace when that sugar dragon appears. 


Day 1, 2, 3 and 4 were surprisingly easy and exciting. I felt in control and had all my meals ready; I had the plan! Well, Day 5 rolled around, and look the fook out! I woke up with a raging headache and attitude! I would have eaten anything sugary to make my dragon go back to sleep. Sugar is a crazy drug and I definitely felt the urge of it, so scary! 


I had a few days of fighting the demands. I had a lot of alone time, walks, hot baths. I went to bed super early every night. By day 15 I was on track, super bored of food and wanted my life back. I made no plans with friends, I didn’t want to be put in any situation that would lead me to “failing”. 

When I reached Day 30, I felt pretty bad ass. I felt so good and people noticed the difference. My skin felt better, I slept better, my insides functioned better, I was nice to my kids! I told EVERYBODY that would listen to read Whole30 and to give it a try. I just felt amazing. 

Whole30 is not a forever thing and I don’t recommend you do many full rounds but a 5-10 day reset every couple months is very helpful to clean it up if you’ve fallen. It always reminds me how great I feel when my body has the right ingredients to work. 

Whole30 was a life changer and I will forever cook this way and lean towards the foods my body craves. 

So, if you are planning your first Whole30, keep it simple!, plan to be bored and miserable for many days of it but keep in mind that it is ONLY 30 days and it’s only food. 

My simple menu consisted mostly of the below. I would stir fry it or make it into a salads. I would purchase fresh herbs to make it flavourful. 

▪️coconut milk and cream (in my tea, coffee, curry, soups)

▪️shredded chicken 

▪️flank steaks 

▪️cut up raw veggies, steamed and or roasted veggies

▪️ sweet potato hash or just noodles sweet potato 

▪️avocado/guacamole 

▪️ Nuts. Lots of nuts!! 

▪️hard boiled eggs (so many eggs in all forms)

▪️baby spinach was added to EVERYTHING

▪️chunky tuna salad with all the veggies was a winner at least 3x a week.

▪️pickles!!! 


I had the Whole30 shopping list on my refrigerator to remind myself what I could have.  I felt like if I just ate whole foods, I was safe with no added crappy ingredients, but I always read the labels of canned or boxed items. Also, when it came to meats, even though I couldn’t afford to buy all organic and free-range this and that, I bought the best that I could afford. 

Don’t overthink it, keep it simple, and remember to be kind. 🤗😂

Good luck 😉 

Running Tips – getting started. 


If you are gearing up for your first 5k or half marathon there are a few  things that I need to share with you. If I knew these things before I started running it would of made my journey a whole lot easier. 

First, let’s talk shoes! 


Please please pleeeease get fitted for a proper pair of running shoes, non of these Walmart trainers. Go to a running store and they’ll narrow it down to the right shoe that’s best for you. They’ll analyze your running style and foot strike.  To be honest, it is trial and error to find the perfect shoe and that will happen over time but start with a recommendation from a pro. All shoes will feel amazing in the store but the true test is after you’ve run a few miles in them.  Use a treadmill, so if the shoes don’t cut it, you can rerun them. Most stores will not return them if worn outdoors. After a few years I’ve figured out that I’m a Saucony girl all the way. 

Training schedule 

Find a training schedule or join a clinic that fits with your needs and goals. If you’re not new at this running thing but want to train for a race, you can get print one off from google! Most training programs for any distance are 12 weeks long. Read the entire schedule and look at your life and see how this fits in. Plan it, schedule it and get pumped to start. Realistically there WILL be interruptions during this 12 week period. People get sick, other obligations need to fit in too. Life happens! Also, don’t over do it. The training schedule is designed to build your strength and endurance. Trust the training and don’t do more then it suggests or your setting yourself up for injury.

Find a buddy system

These buddies will be your lifeline. They’ll push you and encourage you, they’ll set their alarms and meet you on those cold early mornings, they’ll hold your water belt when you need to pee.  If people are depending on you, you won’t let them down and vise versa. The buddy system saved me during our cold winter training mornings. Accountability is a must! 


Let’s talk about chafing, shall we!!!!


Chaffing is a serious pain in the ass…. literally. There is nothing worse then coming home from a run, peeling off your schweddy clothes and stepping into a warm shower and get hit with that sting, it’s like a jelly fish wrapped itself around you and stung you in all the privates. I learned quickly that Vaseline was my best friend. I put that jelly on all my lady bits. I’ve narrowed it down, for me anything over 12k requires Vaseline. The chafe heals quickly but if you keep chafing in the same spot, over time you’ll have a nice red scar. So, Glide or good old fashion Vaseline in all those tender areas. You’ll figure it out 😉 

Spend your money on good quality gear. If you buy good quality it will last and you won’t need to replace it for along time Every year I invest in one good peice, I now own a good pair of winter weight leggings, lighter spring fall leggings, one good pair of capris and shorts. I can’t stand clothing that bunches(chafing) or always needing pulling up. You want your clothing to work as it should. My once a year big spending goes to LuLu Lemon for all my leggings. My tops are off the sales racks at the running stores, The GapFit or Joe Fresh here in Canada. Always always get it on sale because I find running clothing is very over priced. 
At first you’ll find yourself very tired after your training runs, take a power nap. This tired feeling does go away as your body gets stronger.  Listen to your body and rest after each run and be sure to fuel your body with what it needs. I like a nice carb and high protein meal after each run. I’m also 42 years young so naps are a daily business around here. 

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun. Running is supposed to be joyful, it’s active meditation, therapy and an amazing calorie burner. It’s not easy out there but once you find your rhythm you’ll feel so good. Just don’t give up, trust your training. You’ll get stronger and most runs will feel amazing. I say that because some really suck but the hard runs are what gets you stronger physically and mostly mentally. You are training your body but always training your mind to tolerate the “pain”. 

Your body is capable of amazing things and you are stronger then you think. Your mind will try talk you down and tell you to stop, but just keep going, if only for one more minute. Mind over matter sista. 


Let’s go!! 

Chicken Stew

This is a family favourite and it’s full of clean ingredients. No artificial flavours and chemicals like the canned or store bought. It’s so easy to make, so why wouldn’t you?

What you’ll need-

(Cut all ingredients to bite size)  

6 small yellow potatoes 

4 chicken breasts (about 3 cups)

4 celery stalks

3 large carrots (about 3 cups)

2 small onions 

1 cup green beans

1 cup corn (optional)

2 boxes of chicken broth (946 ml box)

2ish tbs olive oil for sautéing the veggies 

2ish tbs olive oil for browning the chicken 

4 tbs flour of your choice I used all purpose flour  (making a slurry at the end to thicken )

1-2 tbs Basil

2-3 tsp Sage

2-3 tsp Garlic salt

2-3 tbs Dry Parsley 

Sea salt (add for taste)

⚪️ First, heat olive oil in a deep large pot, sauté all veggies  (except  green beans)

⚪️⚪️ In a separate pan, heat olive oil and brown the chicken. Sprinkle with salt while cooking. 

⚪️⚪️⚪️ Add the browned chicken to the large pot along with the chicken broth and all the spices and simmer for 60 minutes or till all the veggies are soft. Add the green beans to the pot for the last 10 minutes (green beans can get mushy  if over cooked) 

⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️ Make your slurry and add to the pot and stir till thickened. 

Add the flour of your choice to a bowl and measure 1 cup of the simmered broth to the flour and whisk till blended. Add to the large pot and stir, the broth should thicken. You may add more flour to the pot of you feel it needs more thickening. (You could also use corn starch)

⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️ Give your stew a taste, if you feel it needs more of the above spices, add and store at this point. 

Tip:

(Make a slurry- Measure out the flour into a small bowl – use one tablespoon to thicken a small amount of sauce or up to four tablespoons for a big bowl of soup. Add a cup or so of the hot cooking broth to the flour and whisk until they’re completely combined. This is your slurry)

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Hash 

I found this recipe during my first Whole30. It’s a great side to any meal, and you can really change it up with whatever you have in your fridge. Sometimes I even add bacon!!! So, today I made it with the following ingredients, but be adventurous and add any vegetable you like! Asparagus and broccoli is banging in this dish. 😆 I plate this with eggs, chicken, steak, sausage. It’s great with just a sliced up avocado!


What you’ll need:

2 tbs olive oil

2 sweet potatoes diced 

4 potatoes diced 

3 cloves of garlic minced 

4 celery stalks diced 

1 Bell pepper (today I used red) chopped 

2 small/medium onions chopped 

2 cups fresh baby spinach 

Salt and pepper (use your favourite seasonings)

⚪️ Preheat your oven to 350F while you prepare the vegetables. 

Dice your potatos, celery and bell pepper. I like to cut them fairly small so they cook faster. Mince your garlic cloves. 

⚪️⚪️ Heat oil in large oven-safe pan and add all the ingredients except the spinach (add spinach at the very end after you take it out of the oven)

Add your salt and pepper and sauté till the onions are soft and the potatoes start to turn brown. Place the pan in the oven. Roast for approx 25-30 min, until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir every 10 min. 


Once your hash is all cooked through, remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then stir in your fresh spinach. Sprinkle more salt and pepper if desired. 

I sometimes add garlic salt and paprika!! 


Enjoy! 

Lara Bar Energy Balls

I found this recipe during my first Whole30 and was amazed how easy it was. I would snack on one or two after a run or workout. These are so easy and cheap to make,  I have not bought any Lara bars since! 


This recipe is the easiest and such a healthy treat for the family. My kids love them and think they taste like caramel. I always triple the recipe!!

Prep time – 15 minutes

Serving – 15 balls (when I triple the recipe)

What you will need:

Food processor or heavy duty blender

30 grams cashews

80 grams of pitted dates

Pinch of salt 

Only 3 ingredients!
⚪️ Measure and combine all the ingredients in the food processor, pulse/blend till you reach a good crumble. If your dates are on the dry side, add a teaspoon or two of warm water and pulse a few times to make the mixture sticky. 

⚪️⚪️ Roll into bite sized balls 

I prefer to store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I enjoy them more when serves cold. 
Enjoy! 

Nathan’s Vapor Shadow Review 

It’s only been a month or so since I bought this hydration vest but let me tell you, I’m already in love. It’s so freeing not having a belt around me.

I am no ultra runner (yet) but I am a Marathon runner and this vest will be amazing for this summer’s heat and trails this. This light weight vest is so pretty, don’t you think? the colours are so bright and happy!

This has been designed for the female body, it fits snug in all the right places. It fit perfect snug, “bounce-free”. I was afraid it wouldn’t fit over my not so small chest, but no issues there.

All the amazing features are endless and way more then what I need, but it’s all I need and I feel so ready in the vest. I’ll never need to replace it and never have that clumsy waist belt to deal with! This vest has so many pockets! Front pill pocket, extra front water bottle pocket, front mobile pocket, two pockets on either side by your waist, a whistle, a zip up pocket at the back, hidden pocket for an ice pack!


The various pockets are many but are suited to different usages, once you figure out where everything is, the pack is quite intuitive.

Oh, all the straps! I had to wrap them around the vest to keep them from flapping around. A bit annoying but I’ll fine tune them as I go.


My first long run was sub zero, -17c…. freezing! Sadly my hose froze. So maybe the colder months are not ideal? I read that if you blow the water back into the bladder after each sip there shouldn’t be freezing but, no. I was just told that you can wear the vest under your coat and run the water hose down your arm sleeve, I’ll try this next time.
I was worried that the 2 litres of water would feel like bricks on my back but I was pleasantly surprised. The weight was nothing, very evenly distributed. I didn’t even feel it after a few minutes of running. The sloshing water noise was a bit new but again, didn’t even notice it after a few minutes.

I can’t wait to have at it this summer on some serious runs and fill up my pockets with snacks and all the things!

So far, this was a smart purchase and so happy I spent the money on such a well made and thought out design 10/10 Nathan’s !!

My Journey

Before and during
Fitness goals evolve over time. Mine look different than they did when I started in 2014.

Before finding my fitness routine, I felt tired, unattractive and frumpy and grumpy. I just wanted to fit in my clothes, not take hours to choose an outfit and stop feeling so down all the time. I wanted to look good, feel energetic again and stop hiding behind layers of clothes.I really needed to lose some weight that I had gained after having two gorgeous babies.

Not sleeping well for years, not paying attention to what I was feeding myself and being inactive created a woman I didn’t recognize. I was just too tired to care and it spiraled into me just not feeling like me anymore.

Before and during (1 year later)
Early in 2014 I saw this advertisement for a 90-day challenge on my Facebook page. It was a free 90-day workout plan that I would actively do with a community of moms that were feeling like me. It’s called Bikini Body Mommy, and I’m sure you’ve heard of it! It was starting that upcoming Monday so I got myself all pumped to start.

I opened up an Instagram account and searched for Brianna, the lead of the challenge. I started to follow many of the moms that were also doing the challenge – some of us still keep each other accountable to this day. The accountability with the Bikini Body Mommy community was so powerful!

My workout space was my bedroom, I had some hand weights and I killed that challenge man, KILLED it. For 20 minutes a day for 90 days! I lost my first 15 pounds, I was hooked.  I continued with Brianna’s next 90-day challenge and lost another 5 solid pounds, 20 in total.

I started to look around for something new and more challenging, I found Fitness Blender. Oh man, I was terrified and excited to try something new, but heck, I was in my own house with no onlookers, I can do anything! Fitness Blender gave me all new stuff to work with. Guys, they are such a motivating and real couple to workout with! Their website and YouTube channel is filled with FREE at home workouts of all kinds and very user friendly. They offer everything from low impact, boxing, HIIT, strength training and so much more. I can’t tell you how much they have changed my life.

I used their free programs for about a year and bought my first 8 week program for $10!!!!! TEN BUCKS for such an amazing 8 week program that I own and can do over and over again. (I now own 5 of their programs). They have several programs you can buy and they are all amazing! Or use their free ones!

You can build your very own monthly workout by using their website calendar all for FREE.

Fitness Blender Calendar

If you are looking to start something and unsure of where to begin, start with Fitness Blender and work out in your own home. All you need is some weights and some dedication. Results take time, so just keep at it.

My new home gym space
Cross training  with Fitness Blender  and my running has been the best thing for me. Having the at-home workouts and running gives me a ton of flexibility, which is important to a busy stay-at-home mom.

Now that I’ve lost most of the weight that I set out to lose, I often get asked what my next goal is. To be honest, I don’t have any set goals. Ideally, I just want to fit into the clothes that are in my closet, I want to be strong and run long distances without injuries and create a healthy home. I want my kids to see and learn from me. And above all, I don’t want to go back to being that depressed mom.


In all, it makes me a better person, a friend, a better mom and wife.

Fitness is health! Find what you love and go with it.

This is living.

Kelly

Find Your Tribe 

Let’s face it, winter running sucks hard most of the time, especially when you need to do it alone. There are days that I would skip if I didn’t have someone depending on me. Having a race booked and a training schedule to follow helps too, but the one thing that gets me out there in this bitter Canadian winter is my running tribe. I love them dearly.

You need to surround yourself with like-minded people – people that hold you accountable and push you and challenge when you think you have nothing left.

I’ve been so fortunate to have met an amazing group of women in my community that love to run just as much as I do. They depend on me just as much as I depend on them. You really need to enjoy your running company, because 2 + hours on the road with someone that isn’t your cup of tea makes for a looooong run! Also, there are many TMI moments out there, so pick your tribe wisely.

If you are new to this running thing and you want to pursue it further, I highly suggest you network your community and rally some troops. You need a running tribe that will set their alarms at 5am and meet you on the corner with their headlamps on. There is nothing more badass then a group of strong woman with headlamps giggling through the streets.

Today was one of those days when I really didn’t want to run. The sidewalks were iced over and so were most of the roads. While I was contemplating to run or not, Linda reached out at the right time and we talked each other into it. Off we went!

Peer pressure at its finest.

Kelly

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins 

Tweaked an old recipe to give it a healthier twist. Your kids won’t even notice.


These came out perfectly, not too sweet and so moist!

What you’ll need:

2 cups all purpose flour 

1 cup coconut sugar 

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract 

1 egg

1 small mashed avocado

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 

1/2 cup milk or nut milk 

1/2 cup light olive oil 

1 tbs coconut oil to grease the muffin pan or use muffin paper cups.

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (sprinkle on top of each muffin)

⚪️Blend all dry ingredients in your mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer), once well blended, add all your wet ingredients and mix till nice and smooth.

⚪️⚪️ Fill each muffin 3/4 full and sprinkle each with chocoate chips.

⚪️⚪️⚪️Preheat oven to 400 and bake for approximately 18-20 minutes.

Makes a bakers dozen !
Enjoy!

My Next Race!


This will be my second year of endurance running, and my husband and I are both training for our next big race, our second Around The Bay race. My good friend Amy, who lives just down the street, is also training for it. You really need a good support network to keep you motivated during these cold winter months.

Around The Bay is a 30k race around the Hamilton Bay of Lake Ontario. People travel from all over to participate. Did you know that Around The Bay is older then the Boston marathon! ?

The first 20k is an “exciting”, scenic, and fast route through Hamilton Ontario. The final 10k treks through rolling hills along the scenic North Shore Blvd. It’s a challenging course, but the energy of the people that are running it and the people that live on the course give an extra boost.

One thing that always stresses me out is the unpredictable weather. Race day is March 26th, and here in southern Ontario the weather is dicey in March and April – winter is still lingering but there are hints of spring in the air. Maybe it’s a girl thing, or maybe it’s a runner thing, but dressing with the right gear is so so important.  Too little clothing and you freeze your butt off for 3 hours, or if you dress too warm you sweat then freeze your butt off. The Weather Network becomes your favourite app for the week leading up to your race, and pretty much every hour up until race time so you can fine tune your layers. Since this race changes directions a few times, the wind and temperature can change quickly. I will most likely have three outfit choices for the morning of and decide at the last minute based on the expected weather.

I’ve learned that you need to be prepared to remove layers as you’re running and be able to put them back on once the temperature changes again.

That waiting time at the start line can be long and cold. Some runners buy heavier layers at the thrift store to wear over top of their normal gear, then toss them aside when they’re all warmed up. I saw a ton of retro jackets along the streets of Hamilton and dollar store gloves that runners tossed when they were done with them. The city picks them all up and it’s all donated.

What I also learned from last year was at the start line you need to keep up with the pack because you’ll get trampled. It’s a huge field of racers, but once the pack thins out, you can find your own pace.

45 days and counting. 5 more long runs to complete.