Friday, March 29, 2013

Fresh Friday March 29

Real Food Runner

I can't believe it is already the end of March!

A special someone is turning 5 on the 31st.  I cannot believe my babiest baby is turning 5.

Okay.  Drying my eyes and moving on to Fresh Friday.  Three things that made this week extra special fun and freshly fantastic:

My hello, Kitty biscuit case.  Looks like saltines and is oh-so amazing, right???

Getting to hang out with my sister from another mister!

(Finally!) Got to go for a run outside.  And not bundle up like I am on Hoth.  It was just what I needed!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quinoa Tuna Casserole

I LOVE homemade tuna and noodles.  It is a comforting, flavorful dish that is also great re-heated.  But for the last year or so we have been slowly inching our way away from pasta.
What used to be a once or twice a week meal has now become an almost never meal choice for my family as a whole.  The boys love a good box of Annie's Mac n Cheese, but JF and I rarely make or eat pasta ourselves.
But then the snow started falling.  And I was reminded of a few years ago when I had made a giant recipe of tuna and noodles during a blizzard.  So what is a girl to do?

Use Quinoa!

This recipe is a quicker take on true tuna and noodles.  I do plan on trying it again making my own bechamel sauce rather than the condensed soup.  Although the organic cream of ____ soups have truly been a prayer answered for my cooking needs!

1 box (12 ounces) organic condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup greek yogurt OR mayonnaise OR Veganaise
2 tablespoons milk of your choice
1 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a cheddar/jack blend)
black pepper to taste
2 cans water packed Albacore tuna, drained
Cooked quinoa: cook 1 cup dried quinoa based on package directions
2 cups cooked broccoli
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350*
Coat a square 8x8 baking dish with oil of your choosing (butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)

In a large bowl combine the soup, greek yogurt, milk,  1 cup shredded cheese and pepper until well blended.
Fold in the quinoa, tuna and broccoli.

Spoon the mixture into the baking dish
Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheese and parmesan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden on top.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Not Workout Wednesday

So I am sort of stuck.
Not because I don't have any posts or ideas for posts.  I have some great posts ready and waiting and a few really great spring fitness ideas.
And a few recipes.
But, I am stuck because I don't know if I should post them yet.
A few weeks ago I vented about feeling like my blog isn't reaching as many people as it could/should.
I was given lots of helpful hints in the form of acronyms I had never heard of, blog sites that scare me, and host sites that scare me even more.
I mean, I dropped out of journalism school.
The last computer class I took involved typing and just a smidge of spreadsheet stuff.
I know nothing about HTML.  SEO.  FTP.  WP.  WP self-hosted.
Blerg! I stay here where I can just sort of float along, post some pretty good content that gets viewed by a great core group of readers?
Or do I branch out and tackle something that I know nothing about?

I haven't been posting much of anything lately except for link-ups because I am "saving" my good stuff for when I move.  Or don't move.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My weekend in pictures (and a video!)

The weekend started with a Friday evening egg hunt.  Held inside at the local YMCA it was perfect because of the cold and snowy weather.  E deemed himself to old to hunt eggs (but not too old to eat his brother and buddy's candy.)  Levi had so much fun hunting for eggs in the nursery where he plays when I work out.

I love having Saturdays off, but I also love the chance to sub!  Saturday students are always in such great moods and it is always a joy to share classical Pilates.

Lots of snow overnight Saturday to Sunday made for a pretty drive to my 6 week intro class.

The gorgeous view from the fitness room.

When Sunday looks like ^^ this, your class will probably look like this: 

But that 's okay.  I went through the complete intermediate classical work and ran a mile on the indoor track.  I was also bored waiting for students to show up and snapped lots of pictures.  And made a couple Vine videos.  Below is what happens when you leave an energetic Pilates instructor unattended.

 How was your weekend?  

Did you get snow where you are?

Egg hunts last weekend or coming up?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Social March 24

Sunday Social

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Don't forget!

Todays theme seems to be inspired by spring.  I need a breath of spring as we just got even MORE snow over night.  

At least I get in one more shoveling session this year :)

1. What is your favorite thing about spring?
The days start to get longer, everything is green and growing and coming back to life!

2.  What is your favorite kind of flower to grow and receive?

I love to grow geraniums!  I know they are hardy and inexpensive, but I don't have the greenest of thumbs and geraniums and I get along well.  I am usually able to keep one alive for multiple seasons!
I love to receive any kind of flowers!  Just knowing that someone thought of me enough to give flowers is the best.

3.  What is your favorite nail polish color?
Foie Gras by China Glaze for the Hunger Games collection.  Its a subtle plum color that just makes me happy to look at.

4.  What is your favorite outdoor activity?

5.  Do you have any fun spring plans?  Details?
The plan has been to run the Trolley Run with E and some of his friends/friends parents.  The race is not until April 28 so I am hoping that we still have time to train for this 4 mile race.

Okay, now it's your turn!  Blog about it and link-up here OR leave me your answers in the comment space below.

As usual, a big thanks to Ashley and Neely for hosting this link-up!

Is it just me or is there a lot of basketball on TV right now?

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Why is it that some of the healthiest, yummiest food looks...well...not so pretty?
Today, my recipe is one of those.

I just LOVE overnight recipes.  It feels like Christmas Eve or like waiting for the Tooth Fairy!  Mix a few ingredients together and wake up to magic!  Or breakfast.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your milk of choice)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
Optional add ins:
1-2 tsp sweetener of your choice (I used honey, but maple syrup, agave, raw sugar--all would work great)
A few shakes of cinnamon

Place ingredients in a bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate overnight, but will taste even better 48 hours later!

For my bowl I added a mashed banana and about 1 tbsp of sunflower seed butter.  Microwaved for 30 seconds and *bam* a super tasty and comforting breakfast.

What add-ins are you going to use?

Does this count as a "raw" recipe?

And, now, I would like to interrupt this blog post for a moment of cuteness and real talk:

Have you seen this?  Eeeep!  Or, rather, Peeeep!  It is so cute but also so very true!  Maybe I am just having a girly/mom moment, but seeing this on GMA this morning made me want to tear up.  And re-post on Instagram.  And now blog about it.
We really are all the same on the inside.  

Pink, green, turquoise, mint...we are still marshmallow fluff on the inside!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Have you heard of Influenster?
I hadn't until just a few months ago when my friend and fellow blogger Michele shared about it on her blog.  She offered to invite those interested to the site and I, of course, wanted to check it out.
I admit, I got kind of lazy with my account for a while but I am now having lots of fun.

The site is an online community set up for sharing and learning opinions on cutting edge products, services, entertainment, etc.

They do a really good job explaining it so please click here to learn all about Influenster.

It isn't about getting free stuff or feeling obligated to promote anything. You may have the opportunity to receive products to review, but joining the site is not a guarantee.  As a member you can take surveys to see if you qualify for different promotions.  I am super excited that I will be reviewing the Sugar 'n Spice Vox Box that just arrived yesterday! To me it's like Trip Advisor, but rather than just being about travel it includes products and services to check out, read reviews and write reviews for.  So fun!

For me, it's fun to review products, take surveys and earn "badges" on the site.  If you are a fan of sharing your opinion and getting others opinions then your will like this community!

I can invite a handful of people via email so if you are interested leave your email address in the comment section below.

If you don't want to post it there you can email me directly.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pilates and Fibromyalgia

Pilates, when practiced regularly, gives you a brand new body.  But what if your body is in constant pain?  I take calls and emails on a weekly basis asking about doing Pilates and if it will help with _______ issue(s).  One of the most often mentioned is Fibromyalgia.

Those with Fibromyalgia are often in a state of constant pain or muscle tenderness.  Trigger or tender points are also common, meaning that specific parts of the body are sore or tender to the touch.
The causes and a cure for Fibromyalgia are unknown.  Those suffering often feel tired, helpless (wouldn't you if a disease you had didn't have a cure) and weak.

So, what's the good news?  Pilates can be VERY helpful for those with Fibromyalgia.
I have worked with many students throughout the years with Fibromyalgia and many of them continue to work with me now, year after year.
Pilates is not a cure for any disease, but it can ease symptoms and help you to better deal with what is going on.  The students that I work with tell me that movement helps to relieve the pain, focusing on fixing their posture is very helpful for day-to-day life, and that having a stronger core and more muscle control helps them to get through flare-ups and accomplish more when they are feeling well.

How Pilates helps:

  • teaching the mind and the body to work together helps provide a certain amount of control to relax painful muscles.
  • gaining muscular strength to improve daily functions.
  • breathing awareness increases and helps with relaxation.
  • gentle twisting movements, like Saw, can promote nerve function and increase circulation.
  • learning how to properly hold and move the body is essential for those in pain.  
  • moving may be the last thing you want to do when in pain, but for those with Fibromyalgia moving the correct way and incorporating breathing can help to ease symptoms.
To begin Pilates training:
  • check with your doctor to make sure you are ready for exercise.
  • find an instructor that holds a Pilates Method Alliance recognized certification.
  • talk with the instructor before beginning training to set up a plan for your specific needs.
  • Schedule at least on private session before beginning a class.

Most of my students with Fibromyalgia begin with private sessions for no less than six weeks.  I recommend at least one private session a week in addition to group classes.  This allows me to really watch form and to give modifications based on the students needs.
Know that each class will be different for you.  Communication is key to success.  Some days I can really challenge my students and other days, if they are having a flare up, the class will focus on more gentle movements, stretching and slowing down the work.  

Don't skip class just because you are having a flare up.  My students with Fibromyalgia typically feel much better after a class, even when their trigger points are tender.  We slow it down or skip certain exercises if needed.  Movement almost always helps on these days.

If you have questions about Pilates and Fibromyalgia, please ask in the comment section below!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Social, March 17

Happy Sunday and Happy St. Patricks Day!  I can't wait to eat corned beef, cabbage, and beer bread for dinner this evening!  
How do you spend you St. Patricks Day?

Sunday Social

Question time!

1. What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

I love to go running in the rain!  It feels so good to have the rain fall on my face and it makes the miles fly by.  Of course, watching a movie, snuggled up on my couch is always great, too :)

2.  What is your favorite thing to do on a summer weekend?
I LOVE to go to the Farmer's Market!  There are several great ones in my area and there is nothing better than getting to know people in the community, chatting with everyone at the market, picking out veggies and fruits as a family and then going home to prepare what we bought.  I am so looking forward to it this year!

3.  What is your favorite spring activity?

Finally getting to get outside and run in lighter clothes, play with the kids later into the evening and impromptu visits to the park!

4.  What is your favorite way to spend a winter day?

If it's a true winter day with snow and cold then staying at home working on fun crafts with the boys is my favorite way to spend it.  Last month when we had two big snow storms we got out a leather crafting kit, made play dough and baked cookies!

5.  What is your favorite season and why?

Summer!  I LOVE warm weather, long days and the overall laid back feeling of summer.  Baseball games keep us busy but we counteract that with lazy afternoons in the woods, swimming and, of course, I try to catch a longer run once a week.

6.  What is the best birthday you ever had?
I love every birthday I have!  This year was pretty great.  Celebrating my birthdays with my grandma in St. Louis were probably the best.  We both have February birthdays so shared celebrations and shared cakes sometimes happened and made for some great memories. it's your turn!  Link your blog up here!  
Not the blogging type?  I would still love to hear your answers so please comment below!

Don't forget to follow me on bloglovin'

Thursday, March 14, 2013


The news that Google Reader is shutting down July 1 comes at a great time for me! As you read yesterday I have been frustrated with not getting my blog "out there" for everyone to see. Then today I read that Google Reader will be no more so it lit a fire under me to add my blog to bloglovin. 

To follow Forward From The Heart on bloglovin' please click here!


Coconut Brownie Dip

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It is no secret that I am a big fan of sweets.  It is really difficult for me to go an entire day without some kind of treat.  But I know how bad sugar is for the body and I am always in planning mode to give up refined sugar.  Sigh.
While scanning blogs and Pinterest I have noticed all sorts of recipes for various "healthy" desserts.  Of course I click on those links and I am usually disappointed to find that the recipes use fake sweeteners, aka poison, or some other sort of chemical-laden ingredient, like pudding mix or Cool Whip.  It has taken me a little time to brainstorm and test recipes but I have come up with what I feel are some really great healthy alternatives to traditional desserts!

Before we get started, let me just say that I know this recipe has coconut in it and that people either love or hate coconut. If you are the type that hates coconut, PLEASE keep reading and know that the coconut can easily be omitted without compromising taste :)

And now...drumroll please...

Coconut Brownie Dip

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup nut or seed butter (I used sunflower butter bc of L's allergy)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp oats
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4-6 tbsp sweetener of your choice (I used maple syrup, but you could used agave or honey, too)
1/3 cup dehydrated coconut
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a food processor first place the oats and pulse a few seconds.  
Add the all other ingredients except the coconut and chocolate chips.  Blend until smooth and scoop into a bowl.  Fold in the coconut and chocolate chips.
For extra fun, top with a little extra coconut or chips.
This dip is great at room temperature or chilled.  You will want to store it in the fridge.
It's great with fresh strawberries, bananas and apples.  L and I also snacked on graham crackers topped with Brownie Dip.  Or you can always just eat it straight from the bowl!

As I said, L loved it, so it's preschooler approved.  My mother-in-law volunteered (sort of) to do a taste test.  She knew it was brownie dip but didn't know it was made with beans.  She gave it 2 thumbs up!

Enjoy this recipe and please let me know if you try it!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sometimes I wonder why I even try

I love that I have this blog.  I have met some wonderful people just because I have a blog.  I have gotten to try some really awesome products just because I have this blog.  I have an outlet to share fitness and health tips, advice on how to deal with anxiety, my favorite recipes and, if I do say so myself, my wicked awesome Workout Wednesday feature where I introduce my readers to someone that is so inspirational and strong with working out and eating right.
I am doing something totally wrong.
I feel like I have some really great readers out there.  I love hearing comments from all of you.
I feel like there are businesses out there that take me seriously and allow me to review and giveaway their products.
I am so honored that so many have let me share their health and fitness stories.
And I didn't really start this to be popular or make money...but...

I go to other blogs.  Lots of different blogs.
And everyone has more followers than me.  I know, I know.  The Google Friend Connect number means not so much.  Say the people with a bazillion friends.  I have held at 39 for well, ever.  DON'T GET ME WRONG I love all 39 of you!  I do!  But when I am reading other blogs and see their GFC number at 398 or 1,239 or 33,781 I can't help but feel a little sting.

And when I hold a contest and have 50 entries but then head to another blog with hundreds or thousands of hurts.  And I feel bad for the company that felt I was a good fit to promote them.

I'm not looking for fame or fortune with my blog, but I am looking to reach the most people I can.
And, I will readily admit, I thrive off of constant feedback.  Even if it is "constructive criticism" at least it's attention.  And I enjoy succeeding at what I do and I feel like I am totally not cutting it here in blogland.
So, if you are reading this and you can tell me what I am doing wrong, please do!
I advertise on other blogs.
I offer ad space.  PS- I can't even get anyone to SWAP with me.  Seriously.
I do product promotions and giveaways.
I tweet.
I Pin.
I Facebook.
I Instagram.
I write guest posts and comment on other blogs as much as possible.
I try to share about myself without oversharing.
I try to keep it fun and positive.  Excluding this post, of course.
And, most importantly, I feel like I am posting helpful, fun information.  Maybe I'm not.  I don't know.

Sorry, this is a complete whine fest and I really shouldn't be whining at all today.

2 Yoga Poses everyone can (and should) do!

One of the many benefits of yoga is the way you can get a deep stretch and deep breaths at the same time.  What better way to relieve stress, decrease aches and pains and clear your head?
I feel like most people think they are not flexible enough, not fit enough, or just not ready to try yoga.   The thing is, though, is that yoga can be done by everyone!

Here are two of my favorite yoga poses:

Triangle Pose:
Strengthen your legs while releasing tension in your low and mid back.  Open up your hips and chest to increase flexibility, relieve stress, and promote better breathing.  Also aids in coordination and balance.
Step 1:  Stand with your left foot forward, about 2 feet from your right.  Aline your left heel with the arch of your right foot.
Step 2:  Using a block (pictured) or a chair place your left hand beside your foot.  Straighten both legs and rotate your upper body so that your right arm is reaching up.  Align your arms with your gaze either up at the right hand or down at the left.
Step 3:  Even out weight on both legs.  Lift your chest.  Take deep breaths.  Relax your shoulders.
Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Lift your left arm over head and reach up and behind, keeping both legs straight.  Take a deep breath.
This isn't an official yoga pose, but it feels so good to lengthen the torso and lift the head.  

Revolved Triangle Pose:
Strengthen and stretch the low and mid back.  Twisting exercises have also been shown to promote nerve health.  Also aids in coordination and balance.
Step 1:  Hinge forward from the hips and place your right hand on the brick (pictured) or chair to align wrist, elbow and shoulder.
Step 2:  Gently rotate the torso to reach your left arm up to the ceiling.  Align the left and right arm.
Step 3:  Stand evenly into both feet.  Gaze should be up at the left hand or down at the right.  Keep the left leg as straight as possible.
Step 4:  Holde for 3-5 breaths.

Repeat this with the right leg forward and the left leg behind.

Trainers Tips:

  • Make sure your muscles are warmed up before stretching.  Post workout would be great, but even if you have just finished running errands or cleaning the house you will be warm enough.
  • If you don't have a mat, no problem.  You should be fine on regular flooring with bare feet.
  • The stretch should make your muscles feel warm, not on fire.  If there is a burning or painful pulling, back off and lessen the stretch.
  • Don't get too caught up in trying to make these poses "perfect."  It is your stretch, so just melt into it and breath.
  • As always, make sure your doctor has said you are healthy enough for physical activity.
Opening the chest and stretching the back are great for physical health as well as for mental well-being. I think if everyone did these each day the world would be a happier place, don't you?

Will you be trying these poses?

What is your favorite yoga pose and why?

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Zumba and Me, week 2

I did it!  I went back to Zumba on Saturday!  Plus I had lots of friends there which made it extra fun.

JF and E came with me.  They did amazing!  I can honestly say that a lot of my friends husbands wouldn't go to Zumba.  Yay me!  
JF even said he didn't hate it and would go again.
E kept up very nicely but he wasn't a huge fan of the booty-shaking.  I can't blame him.  I doubt most 10 year olds are.

Real men do Zumba!

My friend Angie also was there!  We have known each other for over 10 years!  We met working retail together and she also happens to be a fitness addict.  She has come to lots of classes at the Studio and was in my first ever Zumba class years ago!
We chatted after class and agreed that, while this super-huge Saturday class is lots of energetic fun, there were also advantages to our 3 and 4 student classes back at the Studio.  The instructor(s) of the smaller classes could really break down each movement, tell us what we were working, why and how. In the larger class it's all about keeping up, but the crowd makes it fun, and easy to hide!

I felt a little more in control of my body in this second class.  JF mentioned that I looked like I was trying really hard and I was!  First class was all about not falling over.  Second class I felt like I could try, TRY I said, to look a little less robotic and a little more at ease with the steps.

Real friends do Zumba...
and all sorts of other fitness classes you tell them about.
Thanks, Angie M!

Okay guys...bad news bears time.
The bad news:  I won't get to go to Saturday Zumba this week.
The good news:  I am getting PILOXING certified!  About a year ago I took a class and loved it.  We tried to offer it at the Studio but our instructor moved away.  This Saturday there is a workshop and I will be there!  So, even though I am missing Zumba I will be training to teach Piloxing (gulp!) learning to teach choreographed fitness moves (double gulp!)
Of course, I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Funday

Today has been fun!  Both boys were off school so we went to Crown Center, one of our favorite places to go in Kansas City.
We also got to stop my my best friends new loft.  

Fun at Funville, a hands-on free exhibit.  

Surf City!

Bumble Bear and Grumps the Clown

Creepin' on my boys!

 I love capturing my boys when they are just acting natural.  Here we are waiting for lunch.  L is patiently holding his bag of chips and cheese while E slurps his soda.

Eggplant pizza from d'Bronx.  So good.

And a little seasonal decorating:

I am not a huge holiday decorator but my mom makes the cutest crocheted shamrocks so I hung them from my favorite decorating element: jute.

How has your Monday been?

Do you decorate for holidays?

What is your favorite place to go for a day of fun?