Acai Bowl | Runner/Yogi Recovery Meal

Acai bowls are one of my most favorite indulgences. I label them as an “indulgence”, not necessarily because they’re “bad” for you but because I do try to limit my sugar intake and they tend to be packed full of natural sugars. Also, I tend to eat them like I haven’t seen food in days. That being said, what they are GREAT for is replenishing nutrients after a few days of intense running and/or training. A welcomed recovery meal.

Acai berries are generous in their benefits, full of antioxidants and heart healthy components. I once read they have the same heart and cholesterol benefits as red wine. While, I’d never replace red wine with anything, it’s nice to know there’s another option out there. Check out this link for some additional benefits of Acai: 12 Health Benefits of Acai Berries.

You can make your bowl with a myriad of fruit and topping options, so this has the ability to morph into whatever your palette pleases.

Here’s what I used:
2 frozen Sambazon Acai berry fruit packs
1/3 cup vanilla Lifeway Kefir
Side note: if you haven’t incorporated Kefir into your life, you’re truly missing out on its outstanding benefits. Click on the above link and read all about it. It … is … amazing. I’m a big fan of the Madagascar Vanilla, but they have a variety of flavors. Some can be pretty sour since it is a probiotic, so you’ll want to find the one that’s right for you.
Fresh blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries
Granola – I used Kind peanut butter cluster (small handful)
2 tablespoons of chia seeds for the sprinkling
Siggi’s vanilla yogurt for the dolloping
Honey for the drizzling

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Let’s start with the Acai super fruit packs. You’ll want to keep these frozen until you’re ready to make your bowl. Run them under water for a few seconds until they start to break apart. Then, open up and throw in your blender. Put your Kefir (you can use your choice of milk or yogurt if you’re not quite ready to invite Kefir into your home) in and blend away until you have a nice frosty/frozen yogurt-esque consistency.

Put your Acai blend in your bowl and then start adding your fruit. You can make it as pretty as you want or just throw it all on and mix it up. I added a healthy dollop of Siggi’s yogurt and like to slowly spoon some with each bite since it adds that extra tangy balance to the sweetness. Drizzle your honey, throw on your granola handful, sprinkle your chia seeds, and you’ve got your recovery meal in a bowl!

As I noted before, you can use any combination of fruit with Acai. Papaya and mangos are delicious when they’re in season. Bananas are a great addition as well. I’ve seen people blend in peanut butter with their Acai for extra protein … tons of options.

Hope you enjoy!

Leading in the Home | Self Improvement & Chore Chart to Train Up a Child

I’ve continuously been purposeful in finding ways to inspire and motivate Griff to be the best version of himself (starting young is crucial), while also engaging him in being mindful of helping others and every day basic acts of kindness. Visual learning has proven to be a strong influencer of putting into practice what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s not only a conversation starter and every day reminder, but it also holds both parent and child accountable for the goals, motivators, and teachings of the week. Presenting the Self Improvement & Chore Chart! I continue to organize my home with lean management principles …

Let’s start with the Chore Chart. Griff and I have actively been having conversation about being a household contributor for the last few months. I’ve been incorporating him into household duties as much as possible to help him understand what goes into maintaining a home. Little things make a difference and give kids a sense of responsibility and ownership of work. A reward system is always helpful, as it certainly motivates little ones to focus on the task at hand. You can get pretty creative week to week as you help them take on additional responsibilities.

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The Self Improvement Board has to be my favorite part of this project, as it has the potential to morph into a creative force for you and your littles to grow together. For me, I wanted to incorporate a Biblical focus for the week (Fruits of the Spirit), as well as some ways we can help, goals, and the proud championship of our Florida State Seminoles (’tis the season). There’s absolute value in maintaining a consistent approach to this type of learning, but there’s also flexibility in your areas of focus. Anything you can do to engage your littles is a win-win.

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While I wrote all of the information and tasks on the board, Griff thought of his own “How Can I Help” and “Goals”. It’s important to me that he play an active role in these areas from week to week. I want to ensure he’s really thinking about how he can apply himself in these arenas and then commit to following through during the week. Ownership … it’s a virtue.

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This was a wonderful project to do together. A Sunday afternoon well spent! I know I’m biased, but I have one amazing young man who was born to do great things in this world, and to be a blessing to all who cross his path. Proud Mom.

Side Note – I picked up all supplies at Target (one stop shop). The Chore Chart pictured here was under $10 and came with the check/smiley/star magnets. Bonus!

Personal Pampering | #Momlife

Single Mom life is no joke. Between all the household chores (I can slay some plumbing issues, pesky smoke alarms, and car tires), grocery / essentials shopping, cooking / meal prep, all of Griff’s school projects and after school activities, workouts, and balancing these with a full-time career … well, let it be known this one woman show can be exhausting at times and calls (more like screams) for some rest and relaxation. Whew.

While schedules are tight and life is always heaving things my direction, I’ve found it’s crucial to get in some “me time” whenever and however I can. Sometimes, it’s tough to physically get away to the spa or salon, so I improvise. Enter, personal pampering. Side note – this is also very budget conscious (jackpot).

Here’s what you’ll need (give or take):
– Essential Oils lavender oil and a diffuser. If you don’t diffuse oils, you can always use aromatherapy candles.
– Wine (a given)
– Nail polish for your fingers or piggies (or both)
– Facial mask of choice

Keep it simple with your at home spa time. A little goes a long way when you can just enjoy the peace and quiet.

Tonight is a multi-tasking kind of personal pampering. Earlier, while Griff was in the bath, I capitalized on this window of leisure and gave myself a homemade mani. Essie polish is an all time fav, as it’s easy to apply, quick to dry, and lasts thru all the aforementioned day to day Mom life tasks. Plus, they have such fun colors to accessorize your style. This week’s color is “between the sheets” creamy grey. Love it!

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After dinner and a riveting episode of Bubble Guppies, Griff is now tucked in like a burrito and settled in his room, so I’m taking advantage of the rest of tonight’s quiet moments!

Next up, a hydrating honey dew and chamomile mask, full of antioxidants [and paraben free], for all the moisturizing and rejuvenation my tired face needs. This is a cream base mask that you generously apply, let your skin absorb throughout the night, and wash off in the morning. It absorbs thoroughly, so you don’t have to worry about messy residue on your bedding or clothes. Tip – be sure your hair is securely fastened and out of place, as to not wake up with strands dried to your face (possibly speaking from experience). The next morning, you’ll rise well-rested; always a welcomed feeling.

You can find this particular mask in most any local drug store. I’m currently wearing it as I type and let me just say … not only does it feel refreshing but it smells so good, I could darn near eat if off.

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Ta-dah!

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The rest of the night is my kind of luxury … vino, feet up, and The Olympics. GO TEAM USA! Relax and enjoy! I’m “Mom life”ing it with all you Mom’s out there!

Fall Decor Favs – Subtle Touches for Holiday Warmth

Have I mentioned how much I adore all things Fall? Yes, well here are some lovely home decor ideas to channel your Thanksgiving spirit and the warmth of the season …

Outdoor Foyer. If you’re anything like me, you love a good “welcome home” from a long day at the office (or wherever it is you’ve been spending the majority of your hours laboring). Your outdoor foyer is the perfect place to create this personal greeting, while also dressing up the neighborhood. Careful … this could get competitive, especially in Texas.

A wooden wreath drenched in colorful leaves, miniature pumpkins and gourds is my signature front door display, and very easy to put together. Brown doors create a wonderful backdrop for all Fall colors; however, if you have a painted door, you may find yellows and reds work better for your display, depending on the color contrast present.

I also love a good wicker basket, filled with leaves, pumpkins and gourds, and complete with a forest flare (how darling is this little fox, peaking out for a hello?). This is another “easy to throw together” item – the more rugged and natural looking, the better. Here’s what we have so far …

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To add to the foyer festivity, integrate some tiny hay bales as benches with friendly scarecrows perched. Adorable, if I do say so myself … and kids love them!

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Arrange with some yard art (sunflowers make a lovely contribution) and garden flag(s) and you’ve got the beginnings of a wonderfully warm outdoor foyer. And we haven’t even been to the pumpkin patch … what potential!

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Bonus – the outdoor foyer doubles as a supreme backdrop for family photos. Can you stand it?!

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Table Centerpiece
. I’m a big fan of subtle touches in the home to highlight the season. Pictured below is a breakfast table centerpiece. I like to incorporate some color from my household pallet (aquas and teals my way) to offset Fall colors, adding an additional layer of panache to the decor scheme. This makes for a beautiful color burst contrast, while still keeping the warm undertones of the season.

Bonus – you can still see your breakfast/lunch/dinner company with this low setting table display.

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Plants. Mums, sunflowers, and the other typical harvest botanicals are great; however, if you want to try something new and interesting, try mini pepper plants. Can you say, caliente?

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Hope you’ve been inspired to get those creative juices flowing! Always remember, a grateful heart is a happy heart and this is the season to spread thankfulness with every encounter.

Basic Homemade “Happy”

Growing up, I had the wonderful privilege of being raised by my mother (an incredibly dynamic, multifaceted woman of many talents), in tandem with my grandmother, and great-grandmother (amazing combination of women); three generations of Southern class and elegance intrinsically pouring foundational lady-like virtues into me. My grandmother (a.k.a. Grams) was always an advocate of bringing smiles to faces with small gifts she deemed as a “happy” or “happys” – the “little things” that reminded someone they were thought of, loved, and valued. Someone can also be yourself, if you’re looking for a “pick me up” or just a simple reason to add an extra piece of joy into your life.

The summer months are fantastic for outdoor activities and evenings on the patio. Mason jars (a classic Southern staple) double as perfect vases for subtle decor touches. I picked up these tiny yellow roses to freshen up the home, mind, and soul. Tiny arrangements like these also make lovely gifts that are sure to encourage, edify, and lighten the mood of any room (and heart). When gifting, consider writing a message of hope and encouragement, tied with burlap string. My Grams’ motto in life was always that life was about other people; one you realized this, you truly began to live. Be someone’s reason to smile today …

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