A Day in the Life

I thought it would be fun to document another day in the life here on the blog (that hasn’t had a post in like a year-whoops!). It is such a gift to be able to stay home with Cecelia (just turned 4) and James (10 months). I also love being able to work around our schedule with Shaklee, contribute financially with a passion of mine to help other’s improve their health and work with some amazing friends. So here is a day in our life from last Tuesday!

7:30 a.m. James is up! I am usually up with him several times during the night (I know I know). I am greeted with smiles and I scoop him up from his crib and we open the blinds throughout the house. C is up shortly after and wants to read books we checked out from the library so we head to the couch and read while I nurse James.


She loves wearing Joe’s tshirts to bed lately, it’s so cute.

I make them breakfast, Cecelia requests blueberry oatmeal with peanut butter and sliced banana, and James has his usual of fruit (berries usually) and a scrambled egg.


Those bed heads kill me! Love them. While I’m making breakfast and putting away the dry dishes Cecelia signs her name on her thank you cards from her birthday.


I need to place a Shaklee order for our family and a few others, so I do that while they’re eating and playing.


The kids play and I get a few things done while sipping my coffee. I can’t tell you how much I adore the way Cecelia loves on her brother. She is so nurturing, loves taking care of him and playing with him, and he thinks she is the coolest person around. No one makes him laugh as hard as she does and he lights up when he sees her. I pray they would continue to have such a close and special relationship!

Cece plays this fun game she got from Joe’s parents for her birthday.


Eventually it’s nap time, so I read to James and C cleans up her room (his crib is in there).


I close the blinds, turn on the sound machine, sing to him and lay him down and close the door.

I make myself breakfast and C plays with these fun Melissa and Doug puffy stickers that go in these pet shop scenes.


Toast with jam, cheddar, and an egg (so good), fruit and my Vitalizer.

James finally goes to sleep after fussing and C and I paint for a bit.


I put on Peppa Pig for her and hop in the shower. I fold laundry, talk to my sister, and C and I read books.

James napped from 10:55-12:30. He’s up and I nurse him and make lunch. I get out leftover peas for him and C asks for the same (um, yes, do you even have to ask?!). He eats peas, cheese, and an orange, C has peas, almond milk, fruit salad, and a banana with almond butter, She is such a chatter box which is so funny because around a lot of people she is extremely quiet. I warm up leftover quinoa and green beans, and slice up a chicken sausage and heat in the pan really quick. It’s delish! Once I eat all the chicken sausage I top the rest with feta ha.


I also take an extra B Complex and Vita D for energy, mood and immunity support.

b complex and vita d

After lunch the kids play in Cece’s room while I wash the dishes and James comes out like this. Haha I love that she put this fishing vest on him!


2:00 I get the jogging stroller out of the shed and we walk to the grocery store. It’s a lovely, sunny day!


We get veggies, fruit, and pork chops for dinner tonight. On our walk home I call one of my besties/teammates and we catch up and strategize on a few things.

3:00 We are back and C helps me marinade the pork chops (soy sauce, grapeseed oil, few cloves fresh minced garlic, ginger and brown sugar) while James gets into my baking pans as usual.


It seems like the bag is leaking already so I clean up the counter with these:

shaklee germ off wipes

C tells me “Mama, James got into the tissues” (the boy loves tissues!) and picks them up for me (seriously she rocks). She colors and writes, which has been so fun to watch her grow and learn.



3:40 I go to lay James down for a nap but he’s been having a weird week and won’t go down for one of his naps sometimes. I try and even nurse him to sleep but it’s just not happening so by 4:25 I bring him back out. During that time C and I chat and snack on apples with almond butter.


We play and I work on a binder for my new business builder I’m meeting with after bed time. By 5:00 I turn on an episode of Wild Kratts for C and then Joe is home! He showers and then plays with the kids while I finish up the binder and make a simple dinner.



After getting James cleaned up and ready for bed, I nurse him, read, pray and sing a song and lay him down. He’s so tired he goes right to sleep. I say goodnight to C and head over to my sister’s house for a wonderful meeting with my dear childhood friends and Shaklee teammates. My job rocks.

9:00 head home-1 mile, thank you Lord-and catch up with Joe and eat a Chobani Flip (so good) on the couch.

I get ready for bed (often times later than I should) and pass out in bed.

Is this how everyday looks? Nope! A few things not seen in this day that can typically be seen throughout my week: Life Shake, Bible study, meltdowns, chores, hanging with my fam and my BFF, preschool, oh and time wasted on my phone (instagram, you suck me in).

I’m always in need of grace and so thankful for how God cares for us, equips me, and so so grateful for the precious family and friends He’s given me.

“So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Galatians 5:9



What’s In My Hospital Bag (from a second time mom)

I feel like this pregnancy has completely flown by, and I’m at that weird place where I cannot wait to meet our baby boy and want these last few weeks to go so quickly, and the other part of me wants to just soak up this sweet time, enjoy sleep, and cross off some more tasks on our to do list. Joe was saying how he can’t wait for the baby to nap on his chest, and if this baby is like his big sister, that will be a favorite place to sleep. Cecelia is her usual sweet self about her baby brother and helping me “orgazine” (seriously, ask her to say “organize” it’s so stinking cute).


At 35 weeks, I’m feeling great, and I’m so thankful for that. I don’t know at what point in my third trimester when pregnant with Cecelia that I started experiencing some unpleasant pregnancy symptoms, but I’m thrilled that this third trimester has been so different! I had insomnia during the night when pregnant with her, back pain, as well as carpal tunnel pain that would radiate from my elbows down to my hands, especially when I woke up. I also got incredibly swollen with her-seriously my feet and ankles were huge, and had several instances of the dreaded charley horses, which thankfully I’ve had only once and it went away quickly after rubbing my calf. I suppose I still have time for those things to come, but I also know now how to help relieve some of those things with Shaklee in case they were to pop up in my final weeks (For ex.: OsteoMatrix or Chewable Cal/Mag for the charley horses and insomnia, Alfalfa and OmegaGuard for the swelling and carpal tunnel.)

With all that said, I thought I’d share what I’m packing in my hospital bag! I was so fortunate to be in the room with my sister last year when she was in labor with my nephew, and I was seriously so impressed at how she handled everything drug free, and she credits that to some of the amazing safe and natural products she used during labor. I’m going into this labor with some of the same thoughts that I had with Cecelia (see how long I can last without an epidural…maybe I will get one, maybe I won’t ;)), and I do plan on doing a lot of the same things I did the first time I labored, if I’m able to. Some of those things are using an exercise ball, squatting during contractions, and laboring at home until the contractions got to the point of, “do not talk to me!” I am also so thankful I was able to have lots of skin to skin time and nurse right away with C when she was born, and I’m praying I’ll be able to do with Baby Boy too. I didn’t have Shaklee in my life back then though, so here are some of the things I’ll be doing differently, especially after seeing how much they helped Katie and reading so many other Shaklee moms’ stories and recommendations.

Sidenote: If you want any information on prenatal health, please contact me!

Shaklee Physique and Performance

1. Performance. This is Shaklee’s all natural hydration drink with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. You have probably seen me talk about it in the summer for during and after workouts. I seriously love this stuff and am really excited to have this during labor-which is obviously a HUGE workout! It hydrates better than water alone, replacing essential electrolytes and speeding recovery, maintaining blood-glucose levels to sustain intense energy output and to increase stamina.

2. Chewable Cal/Mag. I will be using these during and after labor. Magnesium relaxes muscles and calcium stimulates muscles to contract. Katie was chewing these throughout her labor to help with her contractions (and the nurses were so impressed by how well she handled natural labor-she honestly made it look easy), and it also helps with the uterine cramping that comes after delivery. I plan on chewing 1/hour or 2 every 2 hours. Also, for any of my pregnant friends, Cal/Mag has really helped so many of my friends with heartburn, and is also great for preventing charley horses.

3. Energy Chews. My plan is to have these before pushing. Each Energy Chew delivers a scientific blend of caffeine from natural green tea extract, plus L-tyrosine, L-theanine, B vitamins, and vitamin D. And there are no artificial flavors, sweeteners or added preservatives you’ll find in other energy products.

4. Physique. I will be mixing this yummy powder with milk after delivery to help repair muscles. It is clinically proven to naturally enhance the recovery process after exercise, and contains a unique protein to carb ratio that allows your body to receive a full spectrum of amino acids over time and restore muscle energy. My friend, Harper, said she consumed half the container within the first couple days of her children’s births and believes it is what made it so easy for her to bounce back so quickly.

5. Stress Relief Complex. I will be using this for any anxiety, whether it is during labor or in the postpartum days. The anxiety that occurred three years ago with my postpartum hormones was definitely a challenge and I’m happy to know this next time I have more knowledge about nutrition and safe supplements that can really help with that.

6. Herb-Lax and Fiber Plan. This is a healthier alternative to the stool softeners provided by the hospital. My daily probiotic, Optiflora, will also help.

7. Pain Relief Complex. I will be trying this as an alternative to Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

8. Vitalizer (my prenatal), for pre and post labor. In addition to vitamins and minerals, it also contains Optiflora, which is the most bio-available probiotic option with its patented triple encapsulated delivery system. I seriously LOVE Shaklee’s probiotic! This is so important during pregnancy as well for the gut flora of the baby, to help with immunity, digestion, and their skin. The Vitalizer strip also contains OmegaGuard, which is so important for the developing baby’s eye and brain health, as well as for postpartum moms to help with the baby blues/depression. I’ve been taking Vitamin D throughout the winter, as well as B complex, and will continue to take both postpartum to help with the baby blues as well. And with all of Shaklee’s products, you are guaranteed everything will be pure, safe, and effective, unlike many other supplements on the market.

Back at home…

9. Alfalfa. I’ll take this if needed to increase milk production. Fortunately I didn’t seem to have an issue with that with Cecelia, but I’m throwing it out there for any other moms who may need a boost in their supply. It’s helped so many of the nursing moms I know! It also reduces swelling so that can be really helpful with how swollen I may end up getting.

10. Lecithin. As a natural emulsifier, I’ll take this for any plugged ducts, which I did get when nursing C. Lecithin is a natural compound that helps your body’s ability to absorb and make use of fat-soluble nutrients, which are critical to a wide range of body functions. I also love Garlic, which is beneficial for fighting mastitis and other infections.

Shaklee Labor Products

Shaklee Energy Chews and Cal Mag

Vitalizer and B complex

Additional items I’ll be packing:

· Snacks! Meal bars, trail mix, dried plums, Justin’s almond butter packets & apples, pistachios, protein balls…I was SO hungry after delivering Cecelia and was so thankful for the snacks my mom brought for those nighttime nursing sessions.

· Shaker bottle for Physique

· Nursing tanks (2)

· Comfy lounge pants (2 pairs)

· Comfy cardigans/wraps

· Flip flops & moccasin slippers

· DSLR camera

· Phone and charger

· Toiletries & makeup

· Multipurpose cream

· Baby boy’s going home outfit & hat

· Cute swaddle blanket for Baby

· Boppy

· Bananagrams (Joe and I always enjoy playing this game together and played after having C.)

· Gift for Cecelia from her baby bro


I got a couple Destination Maternity nursing tanks from Buy Buy Baby on clearance for only $8.49 each! The purple (wrinkly) pants are Gilligan and O’Malley from Target and are SO soft.


The baggies have measured servings of Physique and Performance. And I’ll definitely be bringing more snacks than what’s pictured!

Ahhh we are so excited to meet this precious boy and hold him in our arms!

If you want to try any of these products, mention this post to me and receive a free Performance or Energy Chews with any purchase of 50pv or more (offer ends May 31, 2015).

Weekly Meal Prep

In in effort to get back to making more of Joe’s meals while he is away at work, I decided to carve out some time this weekend to do a little prep for him (and for Cecelia and I). After basically a couple weeks of eating wonderful meals at other people’s houses, it was actually really fun to go to grocery shopping with my little crew and do a lot of cooking this weekend! I missed it!

I started with making Joe some breakfast burritos that he can easily pop in the toaster oven or microwave before leaving in the early morning. I also noticed some protein powder on the counter this morning when I woke up, so it looks like he took a shake as well! He loves this kind because it tastes so creamy and delicious, and I love that he’s getting high quality, non-GMO protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.

vitalizing protein

The breakfast burritos were super simple: tortillas, cheese, eggs, and Trader Joe’s breakfast chicken sausage (I actually used TJ’s maple breakfast chicken sausage that we had leftover from our breakfast that morning, so I’m saving the sweet apple for something else.)


I like these tortillas from Costco because the ingredient is so simple and short-they also taste great! They’re refrigerated and you do have to cook them on each side for about 30 seconds, but it’s no big deal. I cooked some extra to use for dinner this week and just placed in a ziploc bag in my fridge.


For 5 burritos, I scrambled up 8 organic eggs while the tortillas cooked on the griddle.


I waaay overestimated how much aluminum foil to use.


The only bummer was that I overcooked some of the tortillas because some edges got crunchy and were hard to roll up! Sorry Joe…

Next up: chicken salad and homemade chicken stock.


I cut up some of the rotisserie chicken for the chicken salad, and combined with diced celery, halved grapes, scoop of natural mayo, sea salt and pepper. I cut up the rest of the rotisserie chicken for buffalo chicken tacos to make during the week. I took the bones from the chicken and placed in my stock pot with the leftover celery, some carrots, 3 cloves of sliced garlic, fresh parsley, 2 bay leaves, heaping teaspoon of sea salt, and some peppercorns. I covered it all with filtered water and let simmer on my stove all day and night until I went to bed. Then I strained it all with a fine sieve and now I have some nice stock in my fridge ready to go when I make soup this week. IMG_6005

I also cut up some carrots and placed in a little water to snack on with hummus.

Next up: protein balls.


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Stir ingredients together, roll into balls, and store in the fridge. Feel free to add chia seeds, dried fruit, chopped nuts, etc! 


Cecelia always likes to help me with these-she will stir, roll into balls, and of course ask to sample!

This morning, we made some of our homemade cinnamon almond butter.


Next, I want to bake some healthy lemon blueberry muffins today. It’s SO frigid outside, so pretty much all I want to do is stay in our warm little house and bake and cook with my girl! I’ve also had some strong nesting urges in the form of wanting to donate/purge, organize and clean everything! A date day to Ikea with Joe is definitely in our future. Also, I really need to get in some prenatal workouts–my sister gave me some DVDs that sadly have just been collecting dust-time to change that!

Stay safe and warm, friends!

The First Trimester!

As many of you know by now, we are expecting a baby due May 1, 2015! We are all so excited and I have to say, I think Cecelia is going to be such a wonderful big sister! She loves her baby cousins so incredibly much, is so sweet and gentle with them, and has been so excited about “her baby.”


Photo from the fabulous Nicodem Creative

I’m also happy to say that I am out of the first trimester (17 weeks on Friday!), and feeling so much better! I thought I’d share some of my experiences from those first 12 weeks.

We found out I was pregnant on August 23rd. We started trying the month before, and I totally thought I was pregnant then and took 4 tests! So when the second month came around, and it was the day I should’ve gotten my period, I asked Joe if I should take one. He thought I should wait, but of course I was way too impatient, and while Cecelia was napping, we saw those amazing two lines. Joe and I found out at the same time, just like we did with Cecelia. Joe prayed for me and the babe, and in the days that followed we excitedly told Cecelia and our immediate families (by having C wear a Big Sister shirt I got at Carter’s). Cecelia’s reaction was so sweet-she asked if she could see the baby and when we said we couldn’t see the baby in my tummy yet, she asked, “Can I just take a peek?” She said maybe it was a girl and that she wants a baby sister (she also tells us she wants a baby brother so I know she will be so happy either way!).

I started taking these high quality supplements while breastfeeding Cecelia. I heard about Shaklee when she was about 6 months old, and started the Vitalizer a couple months later. When Joe and I knew we wanted to expand our family, I added in an additional B-Complex, since folic acid is so very important even before conceiving. Dietary folate, a critical B vitamin, isn’t easily absorbed, so Shaklee developed a unique folic acid coating that makes the nutrient more accessible to promote absorption. This regimen is what I have continued to take while pregnant.

Vitalizer and B complex

I started to feel really nauseated at 6 weeks, and having just a little bite of these bars would help ease my stomach. Then I completely lost my sweet tooth for a couple months and wanted nothing of them hah!

Meal and Snack Bars

I’ve been keeping notes from each week on my Google drive, so I’ll share some of those here.

FOUR WEEKS: Still feeling well, no aversions, eating a lot of protein and salads, seem to crave more salty and spicy foods. Noticed I get out of breath much more quickly (blood volume increasing?) and feeling more breast tenderness and-sorry tmi-peeing more often! By the end of this week though, I’m starting to get super tired and have to take a nap-30 glorious minutes that I so needed! Getting some sciatic pain at night.

Mmm that was a good breakfast. Roasted those potatoes super fast in our toaster oven and they were so good!

FIVE WEEKS: Sciatic pain better at night. Still want more savory foods. When I’m not pregnant, I usually have a sweet tooth. This desire for more savory foods is similar to how I felt with Cecelia. Perhaps it’s another girl? We are so so so excited for a boy or a girl! By the end of five weeks, I’m starting to feel nauseous. The night before I was six weeks, I felt like I could throw up, which made me panic. I HATE throwing up (who likes it?) so I started to feel anxious which obviously doesn’t help. I prayed, asked Joe to pray, and thankfully felt a bit better by the morning.

SIX WEEKS: Definitely feeling more nausea and having a queasy stomach, especially in the evenings and night time (another similar symptom from my pregnancy with C). Feel better when I’m standing. So emotional and hormonal-been crying quite a bit. Appetite is all off. Evenings are hardest and if I wake up during the night. C has been such a blessing to me. She went and got me more saltines and we are laying in my bed together eating them. I asked her if she wanted her water bottle and if she could get it from her bed. She wanted me to and I told her OK but my tummy doesn’t feel good and she said, “OK” and got down and got it herself. She has been going to get her own snacks like a cheese stick too. Such a good helper. She was rubbing my tummy and said, “I like that baby right there,” and another time I asked her, “Are you going to teach your baby brother or sister how to…” And she said, “Dance! And I’m gonna kiss her! And play tag with her! When she can walk.”

I’m drinking a little bit of ginger ale and a lot of Performance (all natural “gatorade”) so thankfully I’m not dehydrated. Craving and eating baked mostaccioli and toasted Subway subs. Cannot wait for the first Dr. appt in a week! No surprise here, but Joe has been taking such amazing care of us. Coming home from work and taking care of me, playing with Cece as usual, running out to get me food, cleaning the house, and putting C to bed. Yesterday he took Cecelia to his parents all evening and then today I came home with her from my parents and the house was spotless, laundry folded, new internet hooked up, all after a hard days work, and he never complains! I love him so much and I’m so grateful for him. Our parents and my sister, Katie, have been helping me and supporting us SO much too. I am so blessed, thank you Lord for my incredible family.

SEVEN WEEKS: starting to feel better. Still not normal but not so nauseous and feel more normal emotionally too. Been eating sooo much Panera lately: salads, soups and sandwiches. Trying to not let much time go by between eating otherwise I feel so nauseous.


Monday, September 15: spoke too soon. Feeling awful today. Had to call mom in the morning and once again she cared for us all day. Have no appetite and more nauseous. Try to eat mashed potatoes and few bites of chicken for dinner. Cried again at some point this week (lots of crying during these sick weeks). I miss spending time with Cecelia, feeling like my happy self, grocery shopping, cooking, and just feeling like a healthy, normal human. I’m not trying to sound like an ungrateful complainer, just being honest with what I was experiencing. BUT I had my first Dr appointment and got to see the baby and hear the heartbeat–I’ve been wanting that for weeks and it was such a blessing! Heart rate was 171 and measuring right on track-thank you Jesus!

EIGHT WEEK: Have waves of worse nausea and waves of feeling more normal. Still tired and can only take quick cat naps before I’m just wide awake. Some insomnia during night too where I wake up and am wide awake. Ate an orange and English muffin with peanut butter for dinner (had pizza earlier which didn’t settle well). Went on a beautiful walk at night with Joe and Cece-feels good when I’m up and walking but then I start to get those uncomfortable hunger type pains. Felt good enough to put Cecelia to bed which was a very sweet time.

Saturday: Majorly craving sushi and fish tacos!! So nice to have an appetite and got the fish tacos. Realize I’m still not normal after I eat, but so thankful to be functioning, out with Joe and Cecelia, and enjoying a beautiful day. Ate dark chocolate for the first time in weeks.


Sunday: really think I’m turning a corner! Still not my normal self but better! Bought more oranges-loving them! Still eating out all the time though. I can eat salads etc but just do not ever want to cook. The idea of drinking one of my own smoothies makes my stomach churn. So thankful I am feeling better!! But now I’m nervous something could be wrong-how obnoxious am I?!

NINE WEEKS: Friday: well apparently baby wants me to know he/she is just fine! Back to being nauseous! Twice I did half a unisom before bed which helped my nausea to go away and didn’t leave me feeling drugged the next morning. Finally got my sushi craving fix with some cooked sushi. Still not eating normally though. Can’t eat much and stomach still not normal. Cravings: pickles!! Eating a lot of Trader Joe’s kosher dill pickles. Eating an orange every night. Also craving a Chicago style hot dog, but I get a cheeseburger instead.

TEN WEEKS: Feeling better and more energized–getting more accomplished! Still want a hot dog with everything and so many pickles! Went to Trader Joe’s for the first time in many weeks and stocked up. So wonderful to want to grocery shop and cook again! And noticing now I get hungry like I used to-not the horrible hunger that makes you feel sick. I got TJ’s all natural beef hot dogs and Joe grilled them and I ate two! Been making nachos lately too haha. So happy to clean, run errands, and cook again!

ELEVEN WEEKS: So grateful to be feeling better and better. Still super tired in afternoons and/or evenings and going to bed early but I still sleep horribly. I wake up to pee, or I get some insomnia during night, and still feel queasy during the night and before bed. During the night and this morning I think I felt my uterus (hah that sounds so weird)! I never knew I could when pregnant with Cecelia and I don’t know what made me press around on my stomach but it felt so hard! So cool! 11.5 weeks Dr appt first time with doppler-heartbeat was 166 BPM! I gained one pound in a month.

TWELVE WEEKS: This week flew by!! Feeling sooo much better! So thankful!!! Sleeping better too! Had like two tiny little waves of queasiness-nothing horrible! Still loving oranges. Drinking some coffee again and normal appetite, although still don’t have a sweet tooth (besides fruit) like I normally do! Also loving orange juice with my breakfast. Here was toasted sourdough, egg, cheddar, avocado, and sriracha.


Thanks so much for following along on this crazy long post! I’m 16 weeks now, and the weeks are seriously flying by. Those sickie months went by at a snail’s pace, and now I can’t believe I’m feeling tiny baby flutters in there, and that we will be finding out if there is a baby boy or a baby girl in just a few short weeks! Really soaking up this time, and getting so excited as I think about our family of four.


Healthy Road Trip Snacks and Vacation Tips

Hi hi! Just a quick note, in case you have my blog saved in a blog reader, I will be changing the domain to www.nestledandnourished.com. Just wanted to give you the heads-up!

We recently travelled 9 hours to the border of Missouri and Arkansas to spend a few days with all of Joe’s immediate family. We had an absolute blast and I already want to plan another trip for next summer. I savored being together as one big family, wiping away tears from laughing so hard, exploring a beautiful new place, and making wonderful memories together.


Something I try to do when we travel is pack healthy and delicious snacks for in the car, and even planning ahead for a few simple and healthy meals (like breakfasts) while on vacation. We were fortunate in that we were staying in a house with a great kitchen to cook in, but I even feel like some of the things we did could be easily done with just access to a mini fridge.

IMG_5723 e_edited-1

Unpictured: organic green grapes (I took them off the stem and quartered the grapes for my two year old and placed hers in the little snack size bag and the rest I split up into two sandwich bags. Also packed us turkey sub sandwiches, cheddar popcorn and kettle corn.

I sliced up those apples and placed in a bag, and we we packed our cooler full of drinks like LaCroix, water bottles, fruit, sandwiches, the cheese sticks, and the veggies (which, oops, we never ate those!).

Cecelia loves fruit leathers, bars, and fruit/veggie pouches. I usually get her Lara bars, but I was at Target and saw those Cascadian Farms chocolate chip ones and thought she’d enjoy something new—turns out she’d rather have her usual, but she still ate them throughout our vacation. Her absolute favorite snacks in the car though were the protein balls (recipe below), grapes and the Trader Joe’s dried fruit-specifically the dried mango. Pretty much any time we are in the car she asks me if I have a bar or pouch, and if say, “No, I don’t think I do,” she will ask, “can you check your purse?” haha.

These protein balls are a HUGE hit every time I make them.

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Protein Balls

Stir all the ingredients together and roll into balls. You can store them in the fridge, but I do like when they’ve sat out for a little bit and aren’t as hard.

Eating While On Vacation

Like I said, we were fortunate to have a kitchen and a grill, so we were spoiled by Joe’s parents cooking us up some wonderful meals: chicken salad, fruit, green salads; grilled marinated chicken with baked potatoes and veggies; hot dogs and hamburgers with baked beans and watermelon; pizzas and salad, etc.

My mother-in-law made a grocery run for us before we got there and I gave her a list for breakfasts. Cecelia loves oatmeal so every morning she had Trader Joe’s blueberry oatmeal with almond buter and sliced bananas. I either had strawberry or mango protein smoothies (blended with almond milk and frozen fruit), or plain yogurt with chia seeds, berries, raw honey and almond butter. I keep my chia seeds in a glass jar at home, but found a random empty sprinkles jar and packed some chia seeds in there and covered with saran wrap and rubber band around it for travelling.

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For snacks we had trail mix, yogurt, cheese and crackers etc. In full disclosure, I ate my fair share of chips and brownies too (everything in moderation?), and went to town on pimento cheese and crackers after being out on the lake all afternoon! I swear if I swim for even ten minutes I’m like a ravenous beast.

I’m so glad I also packed my Performance powder as well. This is Shaklee’s hydration drink that you mix with water-it has no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives, it tastes so refreshing, and is clinically proven to hydrate better than water alone. The mornings that I worked out I was so happy I brought it with! I’ve also run with it before and love how it doesn’t make me feel nauseous like water alone can while working out. I’ve had the lemon-lime and orange flavors and I like both a lot, but orange is my favorite.


The hills there were no joke!



Another must-have while on vacation? Sunscreen.

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I love this stuff. Hypoallergenic, safe for all skin types and members of the family (ask a Dr. if your child is under 6 months old), plus it has patented Vital-Repir+, which contains antioxidant vitamins and minerals that protect your skin from premature aging by neutralizing harmful free radicals. I also appreciate that it doesn’t look white or grey (or even purple, seriously I have honeymoon pictures where Joe and I look purple because of the sunscreen!), and that it goes on easily and isn’t pasty.

One more Shaklee item that was super handy to have with us:


A spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of Basic H2 (a wonderful organic cleaning concentrate) was awesome for quick clean ups in the car, sticky hands, a picnic at the beach, and wiping down counters at the rental house.

Oh! I completely forgot to snap a couple other pictures but I also love using my morning face moisturizer before going out in the sun since it has SPF15 in it and visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles, as well as the herbal blend multi-purpose cream, which was awesome after swimming and showering and being in chlorinated water multiple times a day. It is definitely one of my new (to me) favorite products.

What are some of your vacation or road trip essentials?

Quick and Healthy Meals

I have a few super simple meals to share with you, several of which are gluten and dairy-free, for those who need that option.

Let’s start with an easy breakfast (or snack), that looks like sludge, but tastes great!


“Banana Split” Smoothie (serves 1)

Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed, blend and enjoy! I wouldn’t go into this expecting an ice cream shake, but it is still delicious and packed full of nutrients. And for those who haven’t tried spinach in smoothies yet, no you cannot taste the spinach at all! I love this protein powder because it contains non-GMO soy, protein, fiber, 23 vitamins and minerals, and leucine (which is an amino acid that signals your body to retain muscle), and it contains no artificial colors, preservatives, or sweeteners.

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Here’s a delicious option for lunch or a quick dinner. I’ve been making variations of this for years (it was on my old blog), and many have seen it on my instagram or facebook feed. I just love this so much and seriously “mmm” my way through it.


Mediterranean Quinoa

  • cooked quinoa (if I make a batch ahead of time, I like to warm it up for 30 seconds in the microwave)
  • baby spinach leaves, torn into smaller pieces
  • kalamata olives
  • sliced cucumbers (I love baby cucumbers)
  • feta cheese
  • pepperoncini peppers
  • red bell pepper, diced
  • tomato, cut into bite size pieces
  • fresh basil
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

Feel free to leave out an ingredient you don’t have/like, or add anything you think you’d enjoy, like grilled chicken, other herbs, etc.

Whenever I make this, I always wish I made more when I finish the bowl!

(Even with ugly, out of season tomatoes.)



Here is another super easy meal that you could enjoy for lunch or dinner. This was inspired by one of the guys who works at my Trader Joe’s, but I just bulked it up a little bit.


Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Pesto Tortellini (serves 6-8)

  • 2 boxes of roasted pepper and tomato soup
  • 1 (16ox) package of pesto tortellini
  • fresh spinach
  • fresh basil
  • black pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, heat soup over medium heat with a few handfuls of torn spinach, and sprinkle in black pepper (we like a lot), cover, and allow to simmer & spinach cook down. Follow the directions on your package of tortellini and cook, drain, rinse with cool water, and add to pot of soup. Top with fresh basil.

This is one of those meals where I had no idea what to make that night and was happy I had the tortellini and soup in the pantry, and pretty much always have fresh spinach in the fridge. 


Here’s a gluten-free and dairy-free chicken nugget recipe we enjoyed this week.


Gluten-free and Dairy-free Chicken Nuggets (serves 2-3)

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup almond meal (mine is from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp grape seed oil
  • 2 eggs

Start by heating 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat (you will probably need to cook the chicken in two batches). In one bowl, beat the eggs, and in another bowl combine the almond meal and spices. Dredge chicken pieces in eggs and then almond meal mixture, and place pieces spaced apart in the hot pan. Flip over after 3-5 minutes and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes (I can usually tell my chicken is done by it’s texture-if it seems really “squishy” it’s not cooked. Otherwise you can just cut a piece in half if you’re unsure).

Joe made us a delicious honey mustard dipping sauce to go with which was just equal parts honey, mustard and mayo.


These were served with roasted broccoli (one package of frozen broccoli florets, placed on oil misted baking sheet, sprinkled with creole seasoning, and baked for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees). We also had it with these roasted potatoes (potatoes cut into bite size pieces and tossed with grape seed oil, rosemary, sea salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and roasted for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

I wiped down the counter after dealing with raw chicken and eggs with these amazing disinfecting wipes:


They work 34% better than Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes and 17% better than Lysol Disinfecting Wipes at soil removal (source: Sterling Laboratories).

Friday night Joe and I attended our first Shaklee regional conference with my sister, that once again reaffirmed that I made a great decision to partner with this company to help create healthier lives.


Saturday we plan on enjoying the day together as a family, running a few errands, and helping with the children’s ministry at our church. Sunday morning will hopefully include a long run, church, and then celebrating my BFF’s birthday! So excited for the sun and warm temps to return this weekend-I still can’t believe it was snowing today, and we were sweating on Monday. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Question: Any fast and healthy recipes you love? Feel free to leave a link in the comments!

A Day in the Life

I know my life is not glamorous by any means, but I love it. This is just a really, really sweet time in our lives, and it was actually a lot of fun to record all the little details of the day. I wish I had done this at different points of my daughter’s life to look back on (and probably cry). I feel like as a parent I just crave cementing memories in my head. I can’t slow time down, so I just want to hold on as long as I can. Ok, deep thoughts, let’s get going on Thursday’s recap:

6:57 a.m.

Wake up when I hear Cecelia. Head into her room and scoop her up from her crib. I want to bring her back into my bed to snuggle (and so I can doze back off for a few minutes since she woke me up during the night), but she is requesting oatmeal so we head straight to the kitchen. Once I get going, I’m awake and feeling good. She has Trader Joe’s blueberry oatmeal with sliced bananas and I make some coffee and wait to eat since I’m not hungry yet.



That mug was a little memento from our anniversary trip to Sedona, AZ. It makes me happy.

I start putting away dishes and get out some steak to marinade. Cecelia sees it and asks, “Is that watermelon?” (pronounced “wagermelon.”) I tell her it’s steak and she replies “I love steak.” Haha.



Once she’s done eating I clean her up and start a load of a laundry.


Laundry detergent on the left, and Nature Bright stain removal on the right.

While I do laundry, C starts cooking in her kitchen. A sweet friend handed this kitchen down to us, and since our home is small, it ended up in the laundry room, which actually works out great.


I make the bed

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and ignore the sight of the other side of the room (piles of mail, clothes to go through, bags of goodwill stuff, etc.)


I’m hungry now so I make a bowl of 2% Greek yogurt with blackberries, strawberries, sliced almonds, chia seeds and some raw honey. I think I’ve bought raw honey before that wasn’t so hard, but this just wasn’t runny at all. Can I warm it up so I can drizzle it, or does that defeat the purpose of it being raw and retaining the nutrients? Need to look into that…



Several years ago, Joe and I put this little food station together. When you don’t have a ton of space and storage, you have to go vertical, and it is just so handy to have some of these things easy to grab (chia seeds, nuts, craisins, chocolate chips, quinoa, brown rice, etc.)


Of course someone else wants some yogurt as well…


So I make her a bowl with organic whole milk yogurt, chia seeds, blackberries and honey. We both take our vitamins.


Mighty Smarts aka “fish oil chewy” and Incredivites for her. Note the tiny fingers trying to grab the bag.

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Vitalizer for me (this contains fish oil, multivitamin/multimineral/antioxidants, and probiotics). FYI if you purchase Vitalizer you automatically get membership for free ($19.95 value, no renewals or minimum purchases) and can save you 15-25% off Shaklee products. 

I get Cece dressed and notice her plant is looking dry, so I water the plants around the house.


I need to take a shower since I didn’t take one the day before, so I turn on some Daniel Tiger for C to watch and move some laundry along as well. 


Throw on one of my “mom uniforms” aka t-shirt and jeans (it pretty much alternates between that and yoga pants and a zip up). C and I head outside to play. Katie drops off my niece while she gets her haircut, and the girls turn my heart to mush as they play.


Before walking to the park, I grab a bar to snack on.


We play at the park for awhile and it is such a gift to be enjoying the warm weather, watching these two girls giggle and listening to them sing as they swing. Just so, so thankful. Also, C has her daddy’s agility and climbs up everything like it ain’t no thang. I drill in her head a million times how I need to be standing right next to her when she climbs. Oy.

The girls play for awhile and then we head back home and the girls play with bubbles and chalk. We sit and talk with my wonderful neighbors for a bit, and then head inside for lunch.

This picture KILLS ME.


The girls have these hot dogs, frozen peas, and a pear. We do not eat completely organic so I won’t specify everything that is organic and what’s not since it just seems silly. They see me cutting up a bell pepper and cucumber and want some of those as well. I also make a green smoothie after lunch (unsweetened vanilla almond milk, plain yogurt, spinach, a banana, frozen pineapple and frozen mango). In my opinion, Trader Joe’s has the best frozen pineapple and mango. The girls love to sip the smoothies out of tiny plastic tea cups.


Katie is back so I make us a big salad. Spring greens, cucumbers, avocado, carrots, bell pepper, pecans, feta, and turkey. I sprinkle on a little garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper, and drizzle in some balsamic and olive oil.



The girls head home and it’s nap time. We read some stories from Cecelia’s High Five magazine and then we sing and I lay her down. She wants me to hold her hand until she falls asleep and I agree.

Once she’s down, I finish eating my salad while standing at the island and checking facebook and instagram–I know, not good. I wash the dishes from breakfast and lunch, fold a few loads of laundry, drink the leftover green smoothie, change into workout clothes, and then head outside to finish pulling the insane amount of tiny maple trees and weeds that are growing in our mulch beds. I can’t believe how just 48 hours before, we were wearing coats, and now I’m sweating in shorts and a tank top. May is by far my favorite month of the year. 





I cannot wait to get fresh mulch down and plant some flowers! After spending a little over an hour cleaning out most of the beds…but procrastinating on the back of the house because that area has WAY more issues than a few weeds…I head back inside.


Super refreshing iced matcha tea goes down so easily. It was 90 degrees outside!


Cecelia is awake! When I come in her room she says, “Look, you don’t have clothes on.” I had on shorts and a tank top-she cracks me up. She gets changed into more summery clothes since it’s so hot, and says “tank top like Momma.” I ask if she wants a snack and remember she had requested almond butter the other day, so we make some in the food processor.


And take some selfies while we wait…

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Her kisses are the SWEETEST.



Cecelia gobbles almost all of this up (plus more almond butter-she loves it). 



Yay! Dada’s home already! He showers and then we head to the store to grab another propane tank, some guac and beer (you know, the essentials). My dad is coming over since my mom is out of town visiting my grandparents, and Katie, Sam and my niece come over as well.


This is Cecelia’s pear tree we planted the spring she was born. I love when it blooms!


Little tree hugger.

Papa and the boys entertain the girls and Joe handles the grilling while I put together the sides for dinner.

We have steak (that sadly, I didn’t love), grilled pineapple, barbeque chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and a salad.



Katie brought some treats from Trader Joe’s for dessert. I enjoy a few of these yummy banana slices.


C takes a shower and gets into her ballerina nightgown. Papa does puzzles with C while Joe and I clean up.

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Joe gets C down for bed while I put laundry away, wash the dishes, and make his lunch for tomorrow.

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Sandwich with ham, pepperjack, spinach, mayo, and spicy mustard on whole wheat, with pineapple, blackberries, chips and guacamole, and dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Every morning he drinks a protein shake.

Cecelia is having a hard time going to sleep so Joe comes out and I take his place. For the past month or so she has not been wanting to put herself to sleep a majority of the time, especially at bedtime. I don’t know if it’s a developmental thing with having new fears (she tells me, “Cece won’t hear noises,” like she is reassuring herself). It’s tough but also a very tender time to pray with her, sit in the glider and just snuggle and sing. Sometimes we’ve let her cry it out which is really hard, and other times I feel like I’m going to go crazy–just to keep it real. She finally falls asleep, I head to the couch and work on this post for a little bit, and then hop in the shower since I was feeling gross from sweating most of the day. Joe and I head to bed and I read “Power of a Praying Wife” for a few minutes before I shut off the light at midnight and fall fast asleep. Thankfully, C sleeps through the night (yeah…not an every night occurrence), and I wake up at 7:00 the next morning while she snoozes past 8.

Life isn’t perfect, but I pray I don’t take it for granted. Some days I eat a bunch of garbage, and then feel like such. Some days I feel like I got nothing accomplished. Some days are exhausting or frustrating, or… you get the picture.

But today? It was a really good day.


A little intro…

Hello all!

I’m very excited to be blogging again-it’s been a long time and I’ve missed it! This site will be a mix of the type of things you could find on my previous blog: recipes, our family, little home projects, thoughts on faith and motherhood etc.


I also wanted to share that I have taken the amazing opportunity to work with my sister and become a distributor for Shaklee. In case you don’t know, Shaklee is the #1 natural nutrition company in the United States. Since I was a teenager, I have loved growing in my knowledge of health, nutrition and green living. Working with a company that absolutely excels in those areas, (and allows me to stay at home with my daughter) is a wonderful fit for me.  I first heard about Shaklee almost two years ago from my sister, Katie. After asking tons of questions and learning a lot about the company and their products, I started off using the nontoxic cleaning line. I was so impressed with how well they worked, the price, and the fact that I could let my baby girl help me clean without worrying about her being exposed to harmful chemicals, or my homemade cleaners that reeked of vinegar (seriously, one of her favorite activities is cleaning…I hope that continues for a very long time).


We then began using the supplements, protein, and skin care line as well. After sharing how much I loved these products with other people, I decided, why not have Shaklee pay me for doing just that?

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I am learning so much, and while I do not have the natural personality of a sales person, I am extremely passionate about living well, sharing what I’m learning, and helping others. I’ve been drawn to natural products for years because of my desire to fill our bodies and homes with safe ingredients. However, when I was looking for those products I really didn’t know anything about the companies behind them, or the validity of their claims. I was relieved knowing that Shaklee is so unique in that they test for purity, safety, and effectiveness before, during, and after production, they have abundant peer reviewed  research, they are the first company to become climate neutral (they leave no carbon footprint on the environment), and offer a 100% money back guarantee. If you’d like to see a video of what makes Shaklee different, click here and if you are wondering “why supplement?” check out this video.  Side note: I know sometimes I will sound like a cliché saleswoman (“money back guarantee!”), so please forgive me. I just want to be sure to provide important information with those who are looking, and I feel like this blog is the place to do it.

Like I said, this won’t just be a blog about Shaklee, but I will have informative posts every so often for those who desire that kind of information. Such as:

Pre and postnatal health and supplements

Cleaning the home

Allergies, asthma and eczema

Mental health: stress, anxiety, ADHD, etc.

Losing weight, joint health, increased athletic performance, gaining energy and so on…

I really hope this blog will be a wonderful resource. If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, you can subscribe to have each post sent to your email. Feel free to get in touch with me (lauren.breeden@gmail.com)  if you have any questions. You can also read more on my Shaklee page.  My next post will be filled with pictures and notes about a day in my life (meals, what my family and I are up to, etc.) Thank you for joining me!