Help me celebrate my dad’s birthday by donating to his fundraising efforts!

My dad is a pretty dedicated guy.  He is a dedicated father, husband and an amazing grandfather.   He seems to always have the best advice, that one line that puts everything into perspective.

For the last 8 years, he has also been dedicated to raising funds and completeing the almost 600 mile bike ride to Los Angels to participate in the AIDs/Lifecycle .   ALC is a 7 day ride from San Francisco to Los Angles to raise money and awareness in the fight against AIDS/HIV.

My dad spends countless hours logging countless miles on his bike to prepare for this ride (not to mention stay in great shape and enjoy his retirement).

He has also become very active in his local bike community and has become an advocate for bicycle safty.  He writes articles for his local paper, speaks at bike club meetings and has even had sit down meetings with others in the community on how to better share the road between bicylists and drivers.

I cannot think if a better birthday gift than to help him reach his fundrasing goal.

It’s easy to think that HIV/AIDS is no longer a problem. Medications have come a long way, and people are living longer, healthier lives. This is why the work of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center is so vital. These agencies continue to provide the critical services and education needed to meet the growing needs of our community. We ride to raise awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS among participants, their donors, and the general public. We ride because—in the current economy—our agencies need these funds more than ever. Ultimately, we ride so that someday, we won’t have to.

So please, considered donating to my dad and his ride this year. Remember, even $5 will help him reach his goals and help 2 great organizations reach their goals! You are supporting a great cause and a great man.

Go to his personal donation page here 

Happy Birthday Dad!

ALC is an amazing, fun and ‘different’ kind of fundraising event!

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Hummus and avocado on a rice cake makes a great afternoon snack!

My husband and I have been working very hard (and pretty successfully!) to loss some of our post-baby weight.  I call it post baby weight, because most of the extra weight that we both gained was not during my pregnancy, but in the year after our second daughter was born.
 
 

As I mentioned in last weeks Fit Tip Friday post, Cauliflower Pizza Crust, we had become too reliant on take out, sugar and caffeine to fuel our days with two young children.
 
 

I noticed that a big part of my healthy eating breakdown would come during this late afternoon time.  I’d get the kids down for a nap, and I’d be ready for a snack, or a treat.  I found myself always raiding the candy stash, making my self a second vanilla latte or toasting up a big piece of sour dough bread smothered in cheese (or lets face it, sometimes all three).
 
 

I realized that a big part of this afternoon snack was  just the habit I had gotten into.  By thinking of some healthier options ahead of time, I find that I make better choices when I get to that time of the day.
 
 

One of my current favorites now is  a brown rice cake, with roasted garlic hummus (1 TBSP) and slices of avocado (about 1 oz).
 
 

This snack comes in at about 135 calories, 6.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of protein and 22 grams of carbs.  In addition it is packed full of healthy fats and over 20 vitamins.  The protein and the fat help you feel full and sated.
 
 

I have found so much of cleaning up my diet is just rethinking the way I normally do things!
 
 

What are your go-to healthy snacks??

I just received a first birthday party invitation.  I love first birthdays!  They are such a fun celebration!  They are as much a celebration or the parents, as the kids.  “Hey!  We survived the first year!!!”
 
 

I have a few go-to gifts when it comes to First Birthdays (click on the pictures to see the products on amazon)
 
 

1.  Plan Toys Wooden Blocks- $20

This is a great set of small blocks.  Perfect for little hands, and both my kids loved to chew on them as well.  And my 3.5 year old still loves to play with them.


 
 

2. Green Sprout Organic Bath Toys- $24

These are a little pricey, but they are SO cute and they are machine washable.  Everything in the bath goes in my daughter’s mouth and other bath toys can get really grimy.


 
 

3. Battat Hug Links- $15

This is a favorite toy in our house.  Its actually many toys in one! Each ring is a rattle by itself, they link together to form a chain and (my daughter’s personal favorite) they can be taken in and out of the container!  And, like everything else at this age, they are great to chew on!


 
 

4. Wood Ramp Racer- $35

This is another toy that still gets much love in our house well past the one year mark.  I find myself playing with it when ever we play cars.  I love to watch the hypnotic rhythm of the cars going down the ramp.  I love the simple wood design too.


 
 

5.  Radio Flyer Classic Tiny Trike- $70

If you’re looking for something that is a little more of a keepsake, classic kids toy, you can’t go wrong with Radio Flyer.  Again, this toy has gotten use well beyond one year.  And it is just so darn cute!


 
 

6.  Green Toys Vehicles- $20

Green Toys are VERY popular in our house.  We own the pink dump truck, the garbage truck, the boat (as well as the sand toys and kitchen set).  Its a local company that makes their toys out of recycled plastic.


 
 

7. Doll Stroller- $30

Regardless of gender stereotypes, both my kids love to push around their dolls and stuffed animals (and sometimes each other) in this little doll stroller.  It folds like a real umbrella stroller for easy storage.


 
 

8.  Cardboard Stacking Blocks-$12

In my experience, kids under the age of 4 love toys they can stack, knock over safely, and fill up with other treasures.  These cardboard blocks fit all of those criteria!   Its great for eye-hand coordination and no one gets hurt if the stack goes flying!


 
 

Oh…now to decide what to get the birthday girl!!  What are your go to toys for this age?

If I have learned anything while being a parent, it is that things usually don’t go as planned.  And for a planner by nature, this has proved to be challenging for me.  Right now, one child is home from school sick and the other is in her crib boycotting her nap.  This was not how I had planned this day to go! But I have been working really hard to embrace the chaos and even enjoy it!

I had already thrown in the towel on this week, that nothing was going to “get done.”  I reminded my self that my children are the most important thing in my life and making sure they are happy and healthy is my main goal every day.  That means that everything else I have planned on any given day, just might not get done.

Then, while flipping through my favorite blogs, I saw this post on Babble about Parenting Mission Statements.  And I decided a mission statement was exactly what I needed to put this crazy days (which is really every day, right??) into perspective.
So here is mine;

 

To say “I love you” to my children every day.  To raise them to be kind, accepting, contribution members of our community and to always lead by example.  To learn to embrace the small moments and not sweat the small stuff all at the same time.

So, that is what I am going to do today, and tomorrow and the day after that.  And I hope somewhere in there I can go grocery shopping, get some work done and maybe clean up the cheerio explosion.  But only after I build a block tower.

What is your Parenting Mission Statement?

Ahh…Pizza

As I mentioned earlier this week, I am addicted to Pinterest.  I love browsing and have found some pretty great ideas.  Like organization tips, crafts for the kids and most recently, recipes.

Last week, I tried this recipe for cauliflower pizza crust.  And let me tell you…it was delicious!

My husband and I have working hard to clean up our diet over the past month.  In the year of having two kids we had become way too reliant on coffee house pastries,  take-out for dinner and dessert with wine to relax after the kids were in bed.  We were (and are) in the trenches, but we weren’t taking care of ourselves.  (More on our journey back to health later.)

One of the efforts we have been making is to eat more vegetables and less carbs.  So when I saw this cauliflower pizza crust, I was excited to give it a try!

The version on Pinterest is from this website.  Her recipe is an adaptation from this recipe “the original cauliflower pizza crust”.  And I modified the recipe a bit more!

I wanted to make two individual pizzas and I wanted to cut down on the overall cheese used, so I upped to amount cauliflower used and decreased the cheese.  I also wanted to up the veggies used for the toppings. We used pizza sauce, fresh spinach, caramelized onions, roasted cherry tomatoes and one Aidell’s Sausage (1/2 a sausage per pizza). You could use anything you wanted for toppings.

Bump Life Version of Cauliflower Pizza Crust

adapted from an adaptation of an adaptation

Crust

  • 2 cups ‘riced’ cauliflower
  • ¾ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • Olive oil (to brush on crust)

Toppings- All the topping must be precooked, since you only broil the completed pizza

  • Pizza Sauce
  • Spinach
  • Roasted Tomatoes (halve cherry tomatoes, put in baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and roast in oven while backing the crusts for the same 15 minutes)
  • Caramelized onions- I love the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe.  I like to cut the onion with a mandolin to get them thin, It takes a while, so I always cook a whole onion when I do it. You can keep the extras in the fridge and they are great in scrambled eggs in the morning!
  • Aidell’s Sausage:  We wanted the flavor, but to also keep the totally calories low, so we just used 1 sausage (split between pizzas), cut it thin and sautéed it in a pan.

“Rice” the Cauliflower

Add 1 large head of cauliflower (or I used 1 bag of prewashed cauliflower) through the grater attachment on your food processor (or you can grate it by hand). Don’t over pulse, it should look like a grain (or I thought it looked like fine shredded cheese).  Placed riced cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minute.  There is no need to add water.

I used all the cauliflower I microwaved, but the original recipe said to just use 1 cup and save the rest.

Pizza Crust:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix all the crust ingredients together and divide into two piles on the cookie sheets.  Pat out to two 8” circles (about ½ inch thick).  Brush with olive oil (or spray with olive oil spray).

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes

Baked crusts

Remove from oven, top the crust with sauce, cooked toppings and a sprinkle of cheese (we used a pretty light sprinkle of cheese to keep the total cheese used to about 1 cup).  Broil for about 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted.

Dig In!!

*Depending on what toppings you use, this recipe comes in at about 300 calories per pizza.  If you used more meat or cheese than we did, it would be higher.  The crust by it self is about 300 calories for the whole recipe.

Candy-Free Easter Baskets. Good mom? Mean mom?

I’ve decided not to put any candy in my kids Easter baskets this year.

I am not against candy.  I let my kids have candy and treats pretty much on a daily basis (well, not the 1 year old…she still thinks yogurt melts are a treat).  But a few recent incidents have made me rethink the need for candy in their baskets

  1. Brady has a cavity– I am beside myself with parenting remorse over this poor little guy who now has to be sedated to have a cavity filled.  The dentist has said that some kids have groovy teeth and the ‘healthy’ All Natural Annie’s Gummy Bunnies we have been giving him are probably the culprit, despite teeth brushing.
  2. The need for treats is causing melt downs-  I am noticing more and more that he is not content to have 3 jelly beans or 1 Hersey’s kiss.  He is constantly pleading for ‘just one more’.   I feel the treats are becoming not a ‘treat’ but a norm.
  3. Sugar is Addictive– More and more research is showing the sugar triggers the same pleasure centers in the brain as drugs.  My husband and I both have a strong sweet tooth and we have just gone through a major detox ourselves.  We feel better and have lost weight because of it. It is so easy to become completely dependant on it, and I don’t want to set my kids up for this.
  4. We often use it as a bribe, not a reward “If you get dressed, you can have a treat” or “when you get ready to go, you can have a treat in the car”
  5. They still will get plenty of Easter Candy Between the community Easter Egg hunt and the easter gifts that came from both sets of grandparents, Brady is not going completely candy deprived.

I had already decided to severely limit the candy when I was out shopping for basket fillers.  Because of the cavity, I am trying to stay away from the sticky, gummy treats and go more with chocolate that is easier to brush away.  But as I started to fill the baskets…there were so many great fun things, that I put the few candy items I had purchased back in the bag and went with a completely candy free basket.

So here is what I put in each basket:


Brady:

  1. Bubbles
  2. Spider Man sunglasses (for our beach trip this summer)
  3. Spider Man night light (do you see his current favorite super hero)
  4. New Crayons
  5. Pool dive toys
  6. A painting craft project
  7. Play dough (I get the party favor bag, they are small)
  8. Plastic eggs filled with quarters for his piggy bank obsession
  9. Phinnes and Ferb Pez dispenser (I put the actual pez candy away in the cupboard.  He like playing with the dispensers too, and he can have the candy later)

Rylan:

  1. Bubbles
  2. A sun hat (also for our beach trip)
  3. Small sand toys
  4. Playdough
  5. Sidewalk chalk (I hope she doesn’t eat it)
  6. A stuffed bunny
  7. A light up toy (to match one Brady already has and wont let her touch)
  8. Empty plastic eggs (she’s one, she just like opening them anyway!)

We are going to color hard boiled eggs Friday and I think Easter morning they will be so excited to find eggs and their baskets hidden in the back yard, I don’t even think they will notice what is missing!

What do you think?  Candy free or am I being a scrooge?  What the treat policy in your house?

Do you rely on this to get you through the day? Me too…lets learn more.

A few weeks ago, a friend, fellow fitness educator, blogger and mom (in fact, when we met I think she was just barely pregnant with her first son) asked me to take part in her series on adrenal fatigue she was running on her blog www.radliferocks.com.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant at first.

First, because I am “so busy” (and I put that in quotes because saying you’re so busy is almost a cliché these days; yeah, yeah Megan, we are all busy). The thought of putting one more thing on my plate just seemed too overwhelming.

Second, because I didn’t know anything about adrenal fatigue and a quick google search left me a little skeptical.  I have a background in nutrition, it was my major in college and some of my professors were and are at the forefront of Nutrition Science.  I also freely admit that it is a growing and evolving science that I certainly don’t know everything about, but between my educational background and my years of being a personal trainer, I feel like I get a bit jaded by whatever the next nutrition trend is.  I feel like I have heard it all;

“Oh, you’re not eating gluten? I see.”

“No, I haven’t tried the Paleo diet.”

“Yes, lots of people are doing South Beach”

“I am sure your uncle did lose 30 pounds on Atkins”

I figured adrenal fatigue might just be the next thing on that list of trends.  But I agreed to go along with it because Selena is awesome and she was a huge help to me on my blog with her series on Green Smoothies.
 Then I read her post, and to quote Selena;

“So I went on my way, doing what I do best: EVERYTHING.  I am a very driven person, and push myself to be great. It is unacceptable for me to aim for anything less than the stars.”

I chuckled because she was describing me. She went on to talk about what she had done in the last few years;

  • Had 2 kids- check!
  • Took on new clients- check!
  • Started a blog- check!
  • Tried to be a good wife and mother- check and check!
  • Family drama- check!

She felt like things were falling apart. She was fighting nagging injuries. She was often emotional.  She was always feeling exhausted.  She was feeling a little extra padding around the middle.  She was relying on coffee and too much sugar to get her through the day.  I couldn’t have described my life better myself.

Even this afternoon, my to-do list said, write adrenal post, but I had just got the baby to sleep and I thought, “I could raid the kids Easter candy, make an iced coffee and watch trashy TV instead.”

And I realized, I NEEDED to write this post!  Not because I promised Selena, but because I needed to find out what I could do to listen to my body better.  I needed to get the information on adrenal fatigue, test out some solutions and make my own conclusion about what is going on for me and I am sure for many, many moms out there.

So, come with me as I learn about Adrenal Fatigue and test out Selena’s theories and solutions.  Am I completely sold?  No, not yet.  But I am completely sold on the fact that nutrition is the foundation of a healthy life and a healthy mama is the foundation of a healthy family.

Lets find out what this is all about together, shall we?

I have a problem….Like I might need some sort of rehab kinda problem.

I am addicted to Pinterest.

I love Facebook, I do, but lately I can’t get enough of Pinterest.  It is a great place to procrastinate.  But I have also found some great ideas.  Like this Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe that I made for dinner on Sunday night.  (Its turned out delicious, read about it here).

As I said yesterday, March was a busy month.  And when I get busy, I like to reorganized my ‘systems.’

Does anyone else do this??  A good friend and I joke that whenever we feel a little overwhelmed with all the plates we have spinning, it means time to go shopping for a new calendar!  Because the reason we are feeling flustered must be because our calendar is too small, or too big, or not blue enough.  Or we have the wrong pen.  I firmly believe that feeling overwhelmed is simply a matter of having the wrong color post-it notes!

So, Pinterest has been my go to place for getting some new ideas on how to streamline my to-do listing, my file system, my calendar, my post-it note system or day dream about an amazingly organized pantry.
Here are a few of my favorite organizational pins:

Visual To Do Lists:

I’ve become pretty reliant on my phone for my planning, calendar and list making.  (I personally love omnifocus)  But sometimes it is nice to just see something on front of you on paper.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas.

Printables:

Source: bit.ly via Megan on Pinterest

House Organization:

After Baby #2 came along, I lost my home office.  Now I do most of my work at the dinning room table, or at Starbucks.  But I daydream about a way I could carve out a tiny bit of space for myself.  I LOVE this idea!  But then again, I don’t really have a closet to spare either!

Source: curbly.com via Megan on Pinterest

Source: readymade.com via Amy on Pinterest

Maybe I need a office in a box???

Source: bhg.com via Megan on Pinterest

This pin gave me a great idea to update my Ultimate Diaper bag list, especially now that my kids are a little older.  Stay tuned for a whole post about this one!

Source: bhg.com via Megan on Pinterest

Welcome April!

Wow! Here it is April already.
I hate the cliché “Time Flies,”  But March just whizzed past.

My big milestone happened early in the month.  I hit 100 posts!

It gave me a great time to reflect and see where I’ve been, where I am going and where I still am….in the trenches!

My only two other big posts for the month are a perfect example of how in the trenches I still am.  My kids have been sick…a ton.  And I’m always exhausted because no matter what kind of sleepers you have (I like to think I have great sleepers), as moms, I don’t think we will ever get a full night sleep again.

But in true “it takes a village” fashion,  I was honored to have so many awesome experts here at Bump Life to guest post and pick up the posting slack!

We started off the month with Jessica Edelen giving us her words of wisdom on how to pick a preschool for your little ones.  The good news is Brady finally got into a preschool for next fall and this article helped me see how important it is, as a parent, to trust your gut sometimes.

The guys over at Prepare Us helped me check one thing of  my never ending to do list, get prepared for an earthquake!   Their ready to go packs are amazing and they gave us some awesome tips on how to make sure You are Prepared for a Disaster.

Sharon Lincoln, CPCC, inspired us to do a little spring cleaning in our brains with Spring Cleaning: Letting Go of Old Thoughts

Chalita Photikoe, L.Ac., gave us some solid, straight forward advice an how to get pregnant with Tips for Trying to Conceive

Wordless Wednesdays have become a favorite of mine and I got to a few this past month.  Images are so important in our lives these days, but I love how an image can make me think and reflect on my life and my kids a little more. (click on the images below to read more)

So here we are in April!  I am up early, while the rest of the house is still asleep.  I am looking forward to the month ahead.  I have a lot of great posts coming up, and more awesome guest posters.  I’m going to try posting a few recipes I have tried and get back to some of my favorite lists and answering some of your questions.  So stay tuned!

Have anyone you think might like to join us this month?  Forward this post over to them or have them join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bumplife

Wondering how to get this sign?? Read on to find out!

I am so excited by today’s guest post!!  Chalita shares with us tips for how to GET pregnant.  These are questions I get all the time and never really new the answers to…until now!  Read on and learn….

******************************************************************************

Guest post by Chalita Photikoe, L.Ac.

Starting to plan the family of your future or trying to conceive can be a very exciting time.  Here are some tips that can help you get pregnant faster and boost your body’s fertility.


Know when you ovulate. 
It is a myth that women ovulate on day 14.  This is based on the assumption that all women have a 28-day cycle each and every month.  Most women do not, and furthermore it is common for ovulation to vary from month to month by as much as 5 days.  Purchase some reliable ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), and begin keeping track of when your most fertile days are.


Time intercourse. 
If your partner has a normal sperm count, begin having sex on day 10 of your cycle, or when you first get a positive on your OPK, which ever happens first.  There after, have sex every other day until you get a positive OPK.  Once you get a positive, have sex 2-3 days in a row.  Skip one day, and then have intercourse once more.


Track your cycles.
  Free online services such as fertiltyfriend.com can help you keep track and chart your cycles.  You can easily enter in basal body temperature, OPK results, intercourse days, and much more.


Increase your cervical mucous. 
Healthy, copious amounts of cervical mucous  (CM) nourish the sperm and maximize travel time and travel conditions to the egg.  As we age, cervical mucous can decline.  Healthy cervical mucous looks and feels like raw egg white.  If yours is less than optimal, increase water intake and limit alcohol and caffeine.  Taking 3000 mg of evening primrose oil a day from the beginning of your cycle up through ovulation can also help to increase the quantity and the quality of CM.


Check your lube. 
Most lubricants, in order to extend shelf life, have harmful additives and preservatives that have been shown to kill or adversely affect sperm motility and mobility.   PreConceive Plus and Pre Seed are two lubricants that are not only preservative and additive free, but also have ingredients that help nourish and feed the sperm, similar to a woman’s natural cervical mucous.


Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  
Studies have confirmed what practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have known for thousands of years. Acupuncture can improve fertility by regulating and stabilizing hormone levels, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, and reducing stress.


Increase blood flow to the pelvis.
Any regular cardiovascular exercise and deep stretching targeted at the pelvic region increases blood flow to the genitals, which can make sex more pleasurable and can also increase the chances of implantation.  Yoga, power walking, jogging or cycling all target the pelvic organs.  Regular exercise can also decrease stress and improve your mood, both important factors when trying to conceive.

 

Chalita is the owner of Chalita Photikoe Acupuncture in Mill Valley, Ca. In 2010, she expanded her private practice to include a community room offering $35 acupuncture treatments. She believes that healthy and happy mothers are the cornerstone of healthy and happy communities.  For more information, visit www.ChalitaAcupuncture.com.

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About Bump Life

Bump Life is a place to support moms and families across all aspects of our lives. A place for tips, expert advice, parenting resources and entertainment. A great place to come for information, support or just a break from our crazy lives. From fitness to finance, from diaper bags to diaper duty, for everything bump, babies and beyond, you'll find it all here at BUMP Life!