The Happy Healthy Summer Challenge

Week Three:

Weekly Wins:

  • Be active for 150 minutes each week. Plan it and track it!
  • Write your WHY where you will be reminded of what you want to accomplish.

Challenge: Nourish yourself! Make it a point to eat well this week and think of a way you’d like to improve your eating habits.

There are soooo many benefits of eating well; you’ll have more energy, stronger bones and muscles, and you may reduce the risk of serious health issues such as diabetes or heart disease. 

Build a better brain! A 2015 study found that certain nutrients in food may help with your memory and protect against dementia. Look for foods that contain:

  • vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • flavonoids and polyphenols (phytonutrients found in fruits & veggies…and wine!)

Think About It: So… how much do you know about the food you eat? Do you read nutrition labels? Know the correct portion sizes? Do you eat the RAINBOW? …and I am not talking about Skittles!

Because this challenge is FOR YOU – I am only here as a guide – what do YOU want to accomplish with food? What we put into our bodies is so important – give yourself some time to think about a food goal.

Eat more fruits & vegetables.

Cut out excess sugar.

Swap out snacks for healthy choices.

Have a meatless meal more often.

Eat out less.

Fun Fact: May 22 is National Vanilla Pudding Day!

Vanilla is rich in antioxidants and can help heal the body and boost its immune system. Want a healthy take on Vanilla Pudding? Make a pudding with chia seeds! Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants and are full of fiber and protein. Try this recipe to celebrate National Vanilla Pudding Day!

Vanilla Chia Pudding (Made with Almond Milk) – Choosing Chia

Have a happy, healthy week!


The Happy Healthy Summer Challenge

Weekly Wins

  • Be active: 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week!
  • Plan and write out your activity plan in your notebook – it really helps!

Week Two:

Challenge: The What & The Why: Decide on a goal or what you would like to accomplish in the next few months.

This week’s challenge is all about YOU! Well, every week is going to be about you, but you get it! This 12 week challenge is truly about happiness and being healthy – so what is your goal for the next few months? What is a goal that will bring you joy? Bring you health?

Eat better.

Get more sleep.

Drink more water.

Read every day.

Embrace a hobby.

This is your What.

The next step, in finding motivation to stay the goal with your goal is to find your Why. This is a key step to delving into the reason why you want to set this goal. Finding your Why also provides a mantra to hold onto when motivation wanes or excuses start to creep into your thoughts.

Simply put, ask yourself “Why?” five times. Developed in the 1920s by Toyota – who still uses this technique for problem solving – the Five Whys help find the true answer to a problem. Here is a slimmed down example from a leading fitness expert and body building champion – who needed to get back into shape after life got in his way:

Here are my answers to the 5 Whys Exercise…

(maybe you can relate to some of them)


Q: Why do you want to lose weight and get back in shape?

A: Because I want to lose fat, improve my health, and maintain a lean body year round.


Q: Why is that important to you?

A: So I can look lean, athletic and feel good about myself. 


Q: And why is that important?

A: I want to standout as someone who is in shape, positive, healthy, energetic, and fit.


Q: And why is that important?

A: I’ll feel more confident about myself. I’ll be able to do things that right now I don’t feel comfortable doing.


Q: And why is that important?

A: I’ll be able to enjoy living my life to the fullest and do the things I want to do without feeling shame, guilt, and embarrassment. I’ll have more energy, more confidence, and I’ll set a positive example.

What would I want to be my mantra:

I want to live my life to the fullest. 

So go ahead and give it a try! Find your WHAT and your WHY.

Use your notebook to work thru your WHAT & WHY. When you find your true WHY, it helps to keep that near you – write it on post it’s and place where you will see it daily – your bathroom mirror, in your car, on the fridge. 

Be happy! Be well!

Well, hello there.

It’s been a while. I’m still here…I have all ten fingers and toes. All three kids and the husband. The two thug cats are still here – taken to blackmailing us for food, continuing to silently judge us. Samson the Giant Dog is doing great – and still giant. One of us got a bigger butt, we run into each other a lot, but I won’t point any fingers or paws as to who has the Wide Load sign on their rear end. The last couple of years have added quite a bit of sitting around to all of us.

So what did we do during the pandemic? We. Got. A. Ferret.

Meet Ferris Bueller the Ferret. Or, the Fur Noodle.

He’s cute, but stinks, but so do most of the teen aged boys that come into my house, so we’ve accepted or at least learned to tolerate odd smells. They – the boys not the ferret – try to cover up whatever smells intentionally or unintentionally coming from their bodies with copious amounts of body spray, cologne or other scented body products. I braced for the expenses of food with teens, but no one warned me of the sheer amount of money they throw at making themselves smell good/look good for their school days and social nights. The ferret is perfectly happy being stinky all by himself. My daughter won the argument (see the last 2020 post below) – and Ferris is here to stay. Truth be told, Ferris has been a good distraction and a good laugh for the last couple of years.

But we have survived – and the school year is almost to the end! Another summer to look forward to…another end of the year backpack reveal to share…

To be continued….

The Wildlings

Corona Time

The Wildlings Have Arrived.

And if you fall, don’t scream. You don’t want that to be the last thing she remembers.
— Tormund Giantsbane, Game of Thrones

Our school district doesn’t go live until tomorrow. So today was deemed a free day. I had emails to send out, groceries to order and worked on the Great Home Purge of 2020 that started a few weeks ago. 

The kids were left alone. All day. I could tell they still were around by the sheer amount of dishes in or near the sink (that is a step in the right direction!!). I didn’t hear much from them. Except for one asking for lunch, one asking when their pc parts were being delivered (3x) and the oldest asking for a ferret. ???

I also found an empty cookie dough wrapper in the trash. It’s a new package, from one of the most recent grocery runs. I am not sure what I should be more concerned about, the raw cookie dough, the amount (the package was NEW) eaten, or how FAST these kids will go through our food supplies.

They even missed a chunk in the corner of the package. But it made it in the trash. And for that, I am thankful.

Tomorrow starts the schooling. Let the learning begin!


It’s A Wild World

It’s hard to get by just upon a smile. Because NO ONE IS AROUND TO SEE IT. This is truly a crazy, crazy time to exist. But, in true Virgo fashion, I will stay positive, and organize, and clean, clean, clean.

And now, I have EXTRA helpers. With a lot of time on their hands. No school, no work. So, buckle up, suburbia. This is going to be a wild ride.

Disclaimer: This pandemic is very serious. I am adhering to the CDC recommendations. That being said, I will NEVER get the thought of a cold Corona with a lime out of my head. corona-beer-on-beach

So, here it is.

Corona Time, Day 1

Our house is stocked and sanitized. Toilet paper in each bathroom. Antibacterial soap in each dispenser. Kids told me they have never smelled the house so clean before. Thanks, I guess? Probably not a good sign. But, hey, it’s not like they have been expert hand washers before either.

First order of business. Chore chart discussion. Again. I have had this stinkin’ chart for months a year. It’s been hit or miss on chore completion. Those suckers are crafty with their excuses. But, today, TODAY!! They did their chores willingly. 

Well, a new graphics card, more ram and two new games ordered might have had something to do with it. And maybe the, “Do your school work, do your chores, don’t fight, and the internet stays on.”. Pick your battles, pick your tactics, I say.

Ever see a chore chart that has daily chores, weekly zones AND a three week rotation so those kiddos can’t confuse you with their moans of, “I did that LAST weeeeekkkkk!”? I am very proud of it. So proud that I will try to upload it in the Printables section. Always ready and willing to help a momma out!


Good luck out there. And check back in with me. I know that we will have some very fun  stories on this adventure. And. I. Am. Alone. With Them.

Summer Fun 2018

We are going back to the fun of a daily walk through the awesomeness of mom. I’m the kind of mom that is two steps forward, 1, 245 steps back. It’s fun to see what I can accomplish and what I can mess up or my kids can destroy on a daily basis. Lord, I love them and all their brashness, their brattiness, their bravado; wouldn’t change it for the world. So it is a “good thing” #Martha Stewart, to chart the course of the cray-cray they call summer.

Let’s see how this summer pans out – follow along for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…


DAY #1
First Monday off of school.
Awesome mom: Rocked the 5am gym workout with my crazy motivated mom friends.
Aw, Wha?? mom: Totally messed up daughter’s dentist appointment time. 10am vs. 12pm.

samson hungry

No one told me Sam, the Giant Dog is out of food. Why can they make sure to tell me that they are out of Cheez-Its, Concealer, Batteries, etc. But emptying the last of the dog food into his container does not trigger a conversation???

Want to play a game?

End of the school year. Again. This year, no touching memories. No tears.
Let’s just have a little fun this time around…before the craziness begins.


Guess the contents of the kiddo’s backpack at year end!
What could he have brought home from school?
What never made it home or will NEVER make it BACK to the school!
(So sorry, school! We will try to be better…)
Could there be anything moldy, furry or still breathing in that pack!?


What we found:
Assignment notebook last filled out on February 14, 2018.
School library book.  Single winter glove. TWO calculators.
Flyer for a school trip with a past deadline.
Invitation for a birthday party – in May – never saw it before.
Strange rope from who knows but important enough to have in a Ziploc bag.
Last count – over 25 Sharpies.
I am thinking this kid is a raccoon or one of those animals that hoard things…

Last year’s backpack game was even MORE fun.


What we found:
Sweatshirt. Dirty pair of socks (impressive that both socks made it home in one backpack). Christmas elf hat AND a broken candy cane…easy to date those items… There was also another birthday party invitation – unattended, a volunteer request sheet (sorry, school, wish I could have helped!) and a handful of reading logs that were never completed.

Oh, and a major league autographed baseball.
deerball.jpgJust because you need those kind of things to succeed in school.

So another school year has passed. I will once again take the time to sort thru the old assignments, toss the broken pencils and dried out markers, and keep the unused folders and notebooks (some times too many of those) to use next year. And also clean out the lunchboxes.

One came home with things like this in the lunchbox I haven’t seen in MONTHS.
Body spray that isn’t his – unless someone gifted it to him in a moment of necessity. And TWO camp dvds…


Guess that is better than anything moldy, furry or still breathing…

And for that very last time, I will take a few moments to savor the empty aisles of peace and tranqulity of a Target before summer begins.


Happy Summer to you all!
Especially to our teachers. Thank you for making sure they all got home safe and sound.  I am sure those school hallways are pretty quiet right about now.
Enjoy your sunny days!


Oh, The Places You’ll Go…like, Crazy.

I have to admit right off the bat that I am NOT the best at working on projects ahead of time. Always has been the case. Even dinners are usually last minute wonders. Or cans of soup….

This morning, yes, THIS morning, my middle minion and I put together his costume for  Literary Character Day. He choose Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games. First of all, I was mildly surprised that he has taken to the book – or reading anything that does not include sport stats. Secondly, I was mildly shocked that he decided to dress as a character. This kid doesn’t participate in any spirit day dress ups EVER; not even interested in pajama day; a day you would think all kids take advantage of. Not that wearing sweats Every. Single. Day. is really much of a difference…

Back to the Hunger Games. Today is The Big Day. Today is the day I still hadn’t made Peeta’s spear. Every day this week has been filled with work and sports and school and scouts and laundry and feeding two-legged and four-legged creatures. So the minion and I had 2 hours to get this character ready and make our weapon.

I like to think of myself as crafty and fairly handy. I also know to think of myself as unorganized and forgetful. I knew what I wanted to do, but spent about 43.5 minutes of our precious time trying to locate my tools of the crafty. I found some scraps of black foam core (yes!) to make the shank. But could not find my Xacto knife or my spray adhesive. I had JUST used those things last week…how could I have misplaced them so soon? And why the heck could I not remember where I had put them? I have a craft section dumping ground in my basement…but my go-to’s had gone-to somewhere I had no idea.


Time to go to  Plan B – cut foam core out with scissors? Tears the paper. Kitchen knife? Duh, my knives are so dull, they can’t even cut a tomato…who am I kidding.  Still don’t have any idea for the handle of our killing stick. I seriously considered cutting off the handle of our broom (it’s not like I really ever clean our floors, let’s be honest).

Clock keeps ticking – and coffee is kicking in. I am now at Defcon 3 – barking orders to any kid or dog that is in eyesight or earshot. “Hold this”.  “Stop looking at the TV!” “Where’s my phone? Who’s texting? No, don’t read it if it’s from your dad.” “Is that our dog barking? Well, let him in!” “Where are all the Sharpies? How could we be missing ALL OF THEM?”

We are now at Plan C-D. Crazed and Desperate. The moment that the big guns are pulled out.

The Stapler and The Tape.

Elmer’s Glue is great for moms who are organized, well groomed and sing while they help with make their kid’s school projects. The Stapler is for us last-minute moms. I take the chopped up foam core spear and cover it in black cardstock and staple the shit out of the blade so much that if our school had metal detectors it probably would get confiscated. Gold metallic marker covers up the staples. No string could be found to attach the blade to the stick – metal pipe from a clothes rack – so I used The Tape to put it all together. Stripes drawn around the tape didn’t make it look half bad. Could even pass for an Organized Mom craft project!!

FullSizeRender (3)

The minion is at the bus stop now. Dressed in his black (Under Armour) shirt, army green cargo pants (purchased after basketball practice at 9:45pm last night), an old army surplus ammo bag as a knapsack and a (plastic) knife tucked into his shoe. I am at the kitchen table with my cold (3rd) cup of coffee, barely touched. My kitchen is a mess. The basement looks like the craft section of a Hobby Lobby exploded. I did get a little crazy, but we did it. I am exhausted, yet triumphant. I am proud that my minion stepped up and volunteered to portray a character for school. And now I need to go put my crazy back on its shelf. Maybe when I put it away I will find my spray adhesive…

And I hope they let him in the school with his weapons….
Here is the knife he first selected to bring in. I said no.
You’re welcome, 
Ms. Literacy Teacher.

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The Final Countdown

So this is it. Five days left of school. Every teacher, every parent, every kid has a calendar somewhere just ticking off those days. FIVE.

We are now at the typical WHATEVER WORKS TO GET US THRU stage.

Reading logs, school projects, tests…let’s just turn something in. Shorts that are too short, shoes that are falling apart…haircuts…let’s just wait until next week. Let’s just get thru this!

This week, I refuse to put any more money in their lunch accounts. They are now reduced to making & taking a lunch. Since the final days are upon us, I am happy to help make those last few nutritional nuggets. Those sumptuous sandwiches that most likely will come back half – or not at all – eaten, crackers crushed to fine grit and empty juice pouches – straws still stuck in them – leaving their sticky film all over that lunch sack. Whatever. Just. Five. More. Days.

Here is a typical “beginning of the school year” lunch:


Deli Turkey on Fresh Pretzel Bun / Cucumber Slices / Berry Infused Water

Here is what was on today’s WHATEVER WORKS lunch menu:


Peanut Butter Taco / Cheezits / Apple Slices / Gatorade or Juice Pouch

As you can see, Peanut Butter Tacos are nothing special at all. It’s been my way to get the kids to excited about a piece of bread with some peanut butter on it. It was especially handy when I would have a small child hungry, whiney, and overtired and I just needed them to eat and eat quick. I don’t even need a plate. One slice of bread can fit in a mom’s hand – slap that PB on it, a quick fold and there is a PBT! WHATEVER WORKS.

Are These Clean?

Um, sure they are, son. Just wear them!

A weekend of baseball and kid karting usually means laundry doesn’t get done as much as I would like. Today I realized 20 minutes before the bus was due that one kid was missing some article of clothing that was actually clean. For 10 seconds, I contemplated and calculated – if I turned the washer on Express and the dryer on High, threw in a few towels to help the drying process would I get a clean pair of shorts…yea. NO. That would be pushing it.

So. WHATEVER WORKS. Grab the first pair, quick smell test (moms are brave like that) and here ya go.

Mom, really. Are these clean?
I said yes. Just wear them!
(and why does it matter all of a sudden??)

This is the same kid who will not change his underwear daily. I know. I find the clean ones still on his dresser. Clothes are gone. Clean underwear left behind.

This is the same kid who is happy to sleep in the same clothes he wore all day  – most likely for sports – and continue to wear them until someone – me – orders showering and a fresh change of duds. That could go on for days without intervention, I’m thinking.

So, here we are. That WHATEVER WORKS TO GET US THRU stage. That same feeling we had last year and the many years before. FIVE DAYS TO GO. Even I am excited for that final bell ring at the end of this week. I am excited to see the kids run off that bus for the very last time this year.

Just as I will be excited to see that bus again come September.

So summer – come on in. I am glad you are here. And stay awhile!

My Caesar Salad


Serves 4

3 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast* (you may substitute shredded parmesan cheese)
½ teaspoon low sodium soy sauce (or balsamic vinegar)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
½ teaspoon minced garlic
⅛ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Pepper to taste

Romaine lettuce
Green onions
Snow peas

Cashews, raw

To Do:
Whisk all dressing ingredients in a large mixing or salad bowl.

Chop lettuce, carrots and green onions. Add salad to bowl. Toss to coat with dressing.

Add in snow peas and cashews. No croutons needed!!

*Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, nutty taste as an alternative to cheese.