How to Prevent Tick Bites (+ Safe Tick Removal)

I can handle childbirth, bodily fluids, and poop… but ticks? Ugh! Fun fact (if there can be anything fun about ticks): they don’t bite but they technically sting. Either way, a tick bite can be very harmful. Here are some of the steps you can take to prevent contact with ticks, and what to do if one…

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Healthy Easter Basket Ideas the Whole Family Will Enjoy

Since we largely avoid candy and other processed foods, I have to get creative and come up with other Easter basket ideas each year. As kids, my brother and I always looked forward to Easter and getting baskets with a chocolate bunny and going on Easter egg hunts. Because of these special memories I work…

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Bacon Lime Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

My family loves sweet potatoes. We grow and eat a lot of them (read about my first sweet potato growing experience) and I’m always excited to try new ways to use them. Bacon and lime are always a great combination and are delicious with the sweetness of the roasted sweet potatoes. Bacon Lime Sweet Potato Salad…

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Things I’m Loving Friday #281

Hey friends! Happy Friday to YOU! I hope you’re checking in today after a great week. It was a relatively normal week around here as we got back into the groove after our short vacation last weekend.

Chase started soccer on Monday (it’s not a real league or anything but just a way to introduce young kids to soccer) and he was all about it! Ryan and Chase play soccer in our kitchen and yard ALL the time, so Chase was beyond pumped to be able to put his skills to the test and actually kick a ball into a real goal. It was adorable and his enthusiasm for soccer was the best part!

As for the weekend ahead, we’ll be kicking off the fun with a birthday party today and then the rest of the weekend is up in the air. I’m hoping for fun activities during the day and early bed times at night. (<– This is motherhood, my friends.)

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and I hope to see ya around here again next week!

Things I’m Loving 

A while back, I mentioned my love for the How Not to Die Cookbook and while I initially ordered it on my Kindle, I realized last week I don’t like cookbooks on my Kindle. When it comes to cookbooks, there’s nothing like a hard copy filled with beautifully appetizing images of recipes to motivate me to spend some time cooking healthy food for my family and a Kindle version just didn’t cut it. I felt a little ridiculous paying for the cookbook again, but I wanted a hard copy and knew I’d use it a lot so I went for it and am already so happy I did! I’ve been referencing the cookbook so much more and the recipes are wonderful. They’re plant based and filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, delicious seasonings, beans and grains and we couldn’t get enough of the lentil shepherd’s pie in our house last night!

I also recently ordered another cookbook for myself after my friend Laura raved about the Whole30 Slow Cooker Cookbook since I’m a sucker for pretty much any recipe I can make in my slow cooker or pressure cooker. I’ll be diving into some of the recipes I’ve made and loved from this cookbook on the blog next week when I highlight last week’s weeknight dinners but suffice it to say they were a slam dunk!

Also, I’m just curious — When it comes to trying out new recipes, do you guys still frequently use cookbooks or are you all about finding recipes online? I do a mix and find new recipes all over the place but my favorite places to find new recipes to try in our house include food blogs, magazines (Clean Eating is my go-to!) and good old fashioned cookbooks.

During our quick trip to Gatlinburg last weekend, we popped into Savannah Bee Company to pick up some honey and a sample of their hand cream lured me into buying some to bring back home. I instantly loved the way the thick cream hydrated my dry hands and one of the women in the store told me the hand cream is particularly popular with nurses and doctors who wash their hands all the time because of the way it moisturizes and leaves hands feeling nourished. I’ve been keeping it on my desk in our home office and using it twice a day or so to give my dry wintery hands a little extra love and it feels wonderful.

  • Burn Boot Camp Arm Workout

It’s been a while since a Burn Boot Camp arm workout has really put me through the ringer but this one did just that yesterday morning! Arm days are my absolute favorite and when I leave the gym with that tingly arm feeling it makes me oddly giddy. I knew I had to immediately write down this workout to share with you guys because it is a great one to keep in mind if you’re looking to hit your biceps, triceps, shoulders and chest in one workout. I also wanted to have it on hand to reference for myself in the future because I loved it so much!

The above graphic does not include the finisher which was smokin’ and looked like two rounds of the following: 40 second alternating bicep curls + 20 second bicep curl hold + 40 second alternating bicep hammer curls + 20 second bicep curl hold. Yes, it was just as killer as it sounds! (Note: You can easily find demos of all of the above exercises on YouTube!)

  • Peppermint Flavor + Healthy Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothies

Anyone else a huge fan of McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes? The thick, sweet mint flavor gets me every time! Inspired by the seasonal treat, I’ve been making a healthified version of the shamrock shake at home but it’s more or less a mint chocolate chip version because it’s both chocolaty and minty. A winning combination in my book! The key to the smoothies Shamrock Shake-like flavor is a teeny (and I mean teeny) splash of Frontier Co-Ops’s peppermint flavor. (I bought mine at Whole Foods.) It’s made with only two ingredients — peppermint oil and sunflower oil — and a little bit goes a long way! It transforms an otherwise basic smoothie into a peppermint paradise!

My favorite combination for a healthy mint chocolate chip smoothie includes a base of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, frozen cauliflower, frozen banana, a scoop and a half of chocolate protein powder, two handfuls of fresh spinach, a spoonful of cashew butter, a splash of peppermint flavor and a small spoonful of cacao nibs. So darn tasty!

My love for Beatriz Williams’ books continues on with A Certain Age! I finished reading this novel earlier this week and it was another winner. Though probably my least favorite of her novels (but still 100 percent enjoyable!), the book sticks with Williams’ usual format and follows the lives of two different women simultaneously, Theresa Marshall, a wealthy, married, high-society woman and Sophie Fortescue, the bright-eyed young daughter of a wealthy inventor, recently engaged to Theresa’s brother, Ox.

Set in the 1920’s, Theresa and Sophie’s lives become intertwined not only because of Ox, but also because of Theresa’s lover, Octavian, who serves as Ox’s cavalier and presents Sophie with the engagement ring, only to become captivated by the young woman. A love triangle unfolds and with it comes the potential destruction of two families, twists, turns and even a murder mystery.

  • Friday Flashbacks

Total Body Pyramid Workout (I love a quality pyramid workout and working my way up the pyramid in this workout = A serious sweat fest!)

Chocolate Superfood Energy Bites (Sneak some superfoods into your snack time! You’d never know these fudgy bites contain superfoods like spirulina, wheatgrass and spinach!)

Superfood Energy Bites

Question of the Day

What is one thing you’re loving this week? 

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A Simple Mindful Method to Deal with Tiredness, Loneliness & Stress

“I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.” ~Byron Katie

By Leo Babauta

A loved one has been going through a hard time, dealing with tiredness, stress, and loneliness, and my heart goes out to them as it does anyone going through such struggles.

They can break your heart, these difficult emotions.

But beyond compassion, what I tried to help her with is a fairly simple method for dealing with these difficulties mindfully. I offer it to you all as well, as something to practice and test out.

Here’s the method, to practice if you’re feeling stress, frustration, loneliness, sadness, tiredness:

  1. Notice that you’re feeling this difficult emotion, and notice how it feels in your body. Bring a sense of curiosity to the sensations, just being present with them for a moment.
  2. Notice what thoughts you have in your head that are causing the emotion. For example, you might be thinking, “They shouldn’t treat me like that” or “Why does my job have to be so hard?” or “These people are stressing me out! Things should be more settled and orderly.” Or something like that. Just notice whatever thoughts you have. Maybe write them down.
  3. Notice that the thoughts are causing your difficulty. Not the situation — the thoughts. You might not believe that at first, but see if you can investigate whether that’s true.
  4. Ask yourself, “What would it be like if I didn’t have these thoughts right now? What would my experience be right now?” The simple answer is that you’re just having an experience — you have feelings in your body, but you also are experiencing a moment that has light, colors, sound, touch sensation on your skin, and so on. It’s just an experience, a moment in time, not good or bad.
  5. In fact, while this experience is neither good nor bad, you can start to appreciate it for what it is, without the thoughts. Just seeing it as a fresh experience, maybe even appreciating the beauty of the moment. Maybe even loving the moment just as it is.

Obviously some of these might take some practice. But it’s worth it, because while you might not be able to get rid of tiredness (some rest would help there), you can let go of the thoughts about the tiredness that are causing you to be unhappy. You might not be able to get rid of the loneliness, but you can let go of the downward spiral of thoughts and emotions that make the situation worse.

And just maybe, you can find some incredible love for your experience in this moment. Yes, you feel tired, but you can love the tiredness, and everything else in this moment, without needing anything to change.

from Health & Wellness

241: Biohacking for Moms, Anti-Aging & Raising Amazing Kids With Ben Greenfield

My guest today is the exceptional Ben Greenfield, and since he won’t share his mile-long list of accomplishments himself, I’m going to brag on him for a bit. He is a life-long complete nerd (which I can say because I’m one too). He started college at 16 and studied anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, pharmaceuticals, microbiology, biochemistry,…

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How to Create the Best Garden Soil

If you know anything about organic gardening, you may have heard the saying “feed the soil, not the plant.” Creating healthy soil for plants to grow in is the best way to have a healthy garden that produces without synthetic fertilizers. Knowing that is one thing… knowing what to do is another! It’s tempting to skip…

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