Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Don't Let Comparison Steal Your Joy

I'd like to thank the creators of Pinterest for bringing us such a fun way of procrastinating, while somehow allowing us to feel productive at the same.  We have pinned fun ideas for our children's birthday parties, recipes that help make dinner quick and healthy, and crafts we couldn't wait to dive into.  I found the image above on Pinterest!  We have also scanned images that have made us feel like our homes are messy, unorganized disasters; our closets are boring and outdated; and we are tired and uncreative.  It can be unintentionally tempting to allow Pinterest to make us feel guilty, but that's because we are comparing our very real lives to what we see in a staged, well-lit photo taken with a fancy camera.  Instead, let's allow Pinterest to continue to be a platform in which to inspire and challenge us.  Take that organization advice, but don't beat yourself upside the head with a neon file folder for not getting your office "Pinterest perfect" tonight.  Pin those freezer meals, but don't let your ego get freezer burned if you don't have enough time in your busy day to assemble them. 
While I'm at it, I just want to clarify that Momster Mash exists to bring the stories of other women to you amazing Momsters, not to make you feel guilty or inadequate.  My desire for Momster Mash, is to inspire you to make a lifestyle change you may have been putting off, to bring you encouragement by sharing a story of a Momster who personally understands why you feel overwhelmed, or to give you a different perspective on motherhood.
I heard a great idea today...a gal and her friends share pictures of their very real, messy homes on Wednesdays.  Strength in numbers, right?  Well, this is my kitchen tonight. A real, honest, messy, used "non-Pinteresty" kitchen. A picture of a real kitchen that might look familiar to you, but one that you might not see on Pinterest.  I will make this kitchen look great before I go to bed, only to be fully used first thing in the morning, and this is what it will look like again tomorrow night.
Live your life, and love the messes you create while raising a family. We will miss these messes one day! 
Oh yes, and please don't let comparison steal your joy :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Date Jar - Part 2

I've been on a Date Jar kick lately.  I made one for me and the hubby, and then one as part of a wedding gift for a friend, and now one for my parents' wedding anniversary.  However, my parents live in Central Washington, so I had to come up with some different ideas for their area.  Thanks to Facebook and my friends for helping me out with some great ideas!

If you'd like to create your own jar, check out my 50 First a Jar post and add some of these below!  I also created a tag to attach the jar - simply save the image below to your computer, and then print on cute paper!
Driving Range
Hockey game
Baseball game
Mini golf
Watch the sunset
Columbia Park picnic
Garage sale shopping
Go for a walk (hold hands)
Manito Park, Spokane
T Maccarones, Walla Walla
Comedy club
'Fever' arena football game
Recreate your first date
Put together a puzzle
Cheese tasting at Cheese Louise in Richland
Brushes and a Bottle - wine and painting class, Tri-cities
Shooting range
Richland Players theatre
Casino - Legends or Wild Horse
Bookwalter - wine tasting, dinner, bocce ball
Mezzo Thai - cooking class
Sternwheeler Dinner Cruise
Tagaris Winery - Saturday night blues band

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nicole: Part 3 - Real Woman, Real Life

We are all on the constant look-out for easy, healthy, tasty meals...right?!  Nicole has some advice to help curb the unhealthy munchies and make mealtime tasty and healthy:
"First, I always try to prepare ahead of time.  I buy lost of fruits and veggies and as soon as I get home I wash it all and cut it up and have it ready to use in the fridge.  If it is not easily accessible...I'm tempted to eat chips or junk food.  I also use my crock pot a lot.  One of our favorites is fiesta chicken.  I put 4 chicken breasts, shredded carrots, bell peppers, salsa, garlic, and cumin in the crock pot on low in the morning.  By dinner time it's ready to be shredded and put into tortillas, over rice, or even on top of lettuce.  My secret is also using big lettuce leaves instead of tortillas for my tacos.  One of my biggest cravings is for crunchy, salty foods.  So in order to satisfy that craving, I make stove top popped popcorn.  Popped with coconut oil and I only sprinkled a tiny bit of salt and pepper on it!  Perfection!"
Nicole is human has cravings like all of.  "Some of my favorite 'treat' meals were nachos, pizza and bacon cheeseburgers!"  But Nicole has a new way of treating herself now that her eating habits have changed. 
"One of my favorite sayings is 'if you look good while you're working out, you'll feel good while working out!'  Every time I met one of my small goals, I would treat myself by buying a new workout outfit.  Even though I was sometimes so tired getting up at 5 am, I was excited to wear my new workout clothes!"
I like that.  In fact, I wore my new shoes (the pink ones) to the gym tonight and I have to admit I was a tad bit more excited about going! :)

I asked Nicole if she had any words of advice for anyone out there who might be struggling with a healthy lifestyle, and I am inspired by what she had to share about taking time for ourselves.  It's a much needed reminder to not neglect our own body and well-being:
"There are times in our lives when we have a lot on our plate and are juggling twenty different balls.  Adding one more challenge, one more thing to work just too much.  We are all real women, with real messy homes, real busy jobs, real crazy wild kids, and real hungry husbands.  We may be going to college, starting a new career, or starting a new family.  We are taking care of our families, our parents, our friends, and our neighbors and pouring out to everyone around us.  But if we're not taking a small chunk out of our busy, hectic REAL lives to pour back into ourselves, to invest in our health and happiness, then we are going to end up empty women.  Tired.  Unhappy.  Unhealthy.  Unfit.  If we are happy with who we see in the mirror, if we are healthy and fit and strong and confident, then we will be better wives, better moms, better daughters, and better friends.  But it may seem like a huge undertaking or you may have big, unreachable goals.  Take it one step at a time.  Baby steps.  One small goal at a time.  Instead of saying you want to start working out, an easier more attainable goal would be doing cardio 3 times a week and buying a new workout DVD.  Instead of trying to change your eating habits all at once, try just getting rid of all junk food and sweets.  Write those goals down and put them up where you can see them every day and will be reminded of what you're working toward.  If you mess up and give up and have a rough couple of days, it doesn't mean you have failed.  Get back on that healthy wagon.  Get focused and try harder!  There are unlimited do-overs and restarts!  That's life.  That's reality.  Take one step at a time, one day at a time, one goal at a time.  You can all do this!  We are all strong determined women who have conquered so much in our lives and it's time we focus on ourselves and making us healthier, happier and more fit!"
Thank you for sharing your success and advice, Nicole.
You are an inspiration, and a beautiful Momster!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Banana-Berry Dairy-Free Green Smoothie

In conjunction with Momster of Month Nicole's story of her health journey, I thought I'd share something healthy and delicious.  This is my go-to when I want something healthy, refreshing, an easy snack, or a tasty addition to breakfast. Craving a late-night sweet?  Make this instead!  It will totally satisfy your sweet tooth, and you can go to bead guilt-free! 
I use the Nutribullet (from the makers of Magic Bullet) to make my juice and smoothies, and I LOVE IT! I love that it is compact and doesn't take up a lot of room and it is SO easy to clean. 
Banana-Berry Smoothie
- 1-2 handfuls mixed greens, kale, or spinach
- 1 banana (cut in advance and stored in the freezer gives this a frothy smoothie texture)
- 1/2 frozen mixed berries
- 1/2 granny smith apple (or whatever fruit you have on hand)
- Small handful cashews
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1 T flax oil
Add cold water to the fill line on your Nutribullet and wiz it up! 
Another tip, is to get everything except the water in your Nutribullet at night and store in the fridge.  In the morning, when you stumble into the kitchen like a zombie, or you're rushed getting out of the house with your kids, all you have to do is add water and blend.  One less thing you'll have to think about in the morning, decreasing your chances of making a "bad" breakfast decision...and your kids will like it too!
This is a great way to get some healthy greens, like kale, and you won't even taste it :) The health benefits of kale warrant an entirely separate post, so CLICK HERE to find out more. This recipe is very versatile, so add or omit to your liking or what you have on hand.  Frozen berries are more cost effective and they last longer, so I always have some "in stock".  I don't always keep the bananas in the freezer, but they last longer that way, and I love the texture it gives to the won't miss the dairy!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nicole: Part 2 - Running Toward Her Goals

Through her journey of weight loss and health, Nicole is learning that there's more to getting fit than just the number on the scale.
"Since muscle is more dense than fat and a pound of muscle is the size of a lime, but a pound of fat is the size of a softball, if you're incorporating weightlifting and strength training into your workouts, you will be gaining muscle and losing fat.  Your number on the scale may not be changing as quickly as you would like, so you need to gauge your results by measurements and how your clothes are fitting!  Track your progress by how you feel, how you're sleeping, how your workouts are improving, how your endurance is progressing, how you're getting stronger and if you are feeling healthier, happier, more fit, and more confident!  Because that's what's most important!"
Nicole has recently overcome many fitness challenges and this is just another way she can see how much progress she is making on this journey.  Running, even jogging, has always been a huge obstacle for Nicole; she "HATED IT"!  She recalls grade school end-of-the-year play day when all the kids would run a mile, "I couldn't do it.  I did not have the endurance or stamina.  And it got even worse in junior high and high school.  I eventually quit playing high school sports because they all required running of some sort." 
So as Nicole lost weight working out for an hour, 5 days a week, and completed small goals she set for herself along the way, she knew there was a huge goal she was ready to tackle...
"I started out a little at a time.  I got on my treadmill and would run as far as I could until I felt my heart was about to burst.  At the beginning, that was a half mile.  I walked for a minute, caught my breath and would keep going until I reached 3 miles.  Eventually, I could go farther and farther.  I began to love it!  It was so rewarding to see my progress; I would feel so alive!"
To overcome her biggest fitness obstacle, Nicole decided to run a 5k.  All the way through.  Without stopping. 
Nicole says this was her "Everest", but she did it and "it was so awesome"!  She has since completed many other 5ks and a 10k and says "Running is still very, very challenging for me.  It never gets easier, I just get stronger!"
Thank you for the motivation, Nicole, and for proving that change is just a mindset away.  I just love your positive attitude!