Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Workout Wednesday - Stairs and Resistance

After missing last week's Workout Wednesday it is time to get back to it. My whole week was a little screwy last week, but I am back on track this week, even with a crazy snow storm we had.

Next week I start marathon training! Always a favorite!!!!  A huge part of running is a strong core; let's be honest, a strong core is a huge part of living. Because of that I am focusing on pull ups and push ups for the next few weeks. I also picked to focus on those two things because I can do them at home. This means I have no excuses during the busy holiday madness, even if I can't make it to the gym I can still get in a solid set of pull ups and push ups at home.

Today's workout is going to involve pull ups and push ups, along with a few other fun things. A great workout I can sneak in during nap time. I am using stairs for this workout, if you don't have stairs substitute 90 seconds of high knees.

5 sets of stairs
5 pull ups (or high band rows if pull ups aren't an option)
10 push ups
15 squats
20 sit ups
4 sets of stairs
RPT resistance exercises
3 sets of stairs
RPT resistance exercises
2 sets of stairs
RPT resistance exercises
1 set of stairs

And another day is done!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Who Defines a Family?

It has been another holiday week, it has also been a week since I have posted. I have spent the week enjoying (most of the time) my crazy crew and doing all the normal Thanksgiving fun.

This year my husband and I decided we didn't want to do our normal Thanksgiving Day activities of jumping from house to house in order to make appearances with all the different families, We didn't want to have a day of chaos. It is the holiday season, over the next few weeks everyone will be visited at some point in time. Instead we decided to spend the day with those that matter most, our kids. We made Thanksgiving at our house and invited family to join us.

In today's world the word family has a much broader definition. In the last few years my family has grown exponentially. The marriage to my husband brought two beautiful, a hodge-podge of in-laws, and an ex-wife. Yes, I just included an ex-wife as part of my family. The reality is she will always be a part of our lives, whether it is for good or for bad. It has taken a few years to get to where we are today, but today I can say it is for good. Rory and his ex-wife have been able to take a step back from themselves and focus on what is best for the girls that will forever unite them.

Because they have been able to get past themselves and focus on the important things in life this woman is no longer the ex-wife and all the negative connotations that accompany that phrase. Instead she is the girls mom or simply Tiffany.

In the last 5 years we have added two more kids into our family. Both of my own children know and love Tiffany as well. She has come to most of my little guy's birthday parties and he happily greets her with hugs. She held my baby girl in the hospital and more times to count since then.

With 50-50 custody and two households that rely on self-employment we all have learned to work together. Our schedules get crazy and impossible for others to plan on, but together we have been able to consistently provide two warm homes. Two homes where chaos is normal and love is abundant.  Two homes in which these girls can thrive.  Only by including each other as part of our families has this truly been possible.

As I sat at my Thanksgiving table I had a heart full of love for all the faces that I saw. Let's be real, if I was sitting at a Thanksgiving table surrounded by cousins and their families, aunts and uncles I see only during the holiday season, and what ever other odd faces appeared this would not be the same feeling. Instead I looked at the faces of four wonderful children that have blessed me into being a mom, a husband that I love dearly, my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and Tiffany.
That night, as my husband and I talked about the day he asked me "Are you happy ?" It was so easy for me to reply "Yes."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

30 Day Challenge - Core and Greens

This week started a new boot camp session, which also means this week started a new 30 day challenge. With each session we take a few minutes on the first day to discuss a direction for our next 30 day challenge. The next time we meet I come with a challenge prepared. Each individual gets to decide if they want to commit, but if they do the whole group is expecting follow through.

A few sessions ago we started having two challenges, a nutrition and a fitness challenge. This go around we have a core challenge and a green smoothie challenge. For 30 days we have a different core workout to complete. We have often just done 30 sit ups a day, but I get bored easily and I have decided that sit ups are super boring. So I set up 30 days of 30 workouts. Variety is key not only for our bodies but also our brains. 

30 situps
3x30 sec. planks
30 bicycles (each leg)
30 leg drops
30 v-ups
30 russian twists
15 situps
15 pushups
30 sec side planks each side
30 weighted situps
30 single leg drops
15 v-ups
15 bicycles each leg
30 plank with jacks
30 straight leg situps
30 windmill situps
30 russian twists
3x30 sec planks
30 situps
15 v-ups
15 plank jacks
30 single leg drops
30 weighted situps
30 v-ups
30 pushups
30 russian twists
30 straightleg situps
30 windmill situps
30 leg drops
30 v-ups
30 bicycles each leg
30 plank with jacks
10 v-ups
10 pushups
10 v-ups
Along with our core challenge I also challenged the group to 5 green smoothies per week. This gave a couple days of wiggle room. I picked this challenge because 1) I had half of the group requesting a green smoothie challenge and 2) this the perfect challenge for the holiday season. 

Green smoothies have all the vitamins and minerals that are great for our bodies, but they also have a secret hidden power. Green smoothies help curb cravings. When my afternoon munchies hit I can tell what I started my day with, serious sugar craving or cravings I can't quite seem to place generally link back to no green smoothie that day. On those afternoons I end up making an afternoon green smoothie and 90% of the time it is exactly what my body needed. As the holiday treats come out I know that I will be less tempted if I have started the day out right, green smoothie and a workout. This doesn't mean I won't indulge every once in a while, but it does mean that on the days I do I know my body has had plenty of good healthy stuff to go with that bit of holiday sugar delight.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Fit Friday - The Beginnings of the Holidays

Hello Fit Friday! The holidays are everywhere right now, including here. Ruthie is here with a fantastic side to add to any feast this season. And I am talking tips to keep these holidays healthy.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes are a must try for your holiday feasting this year!  *horseradish-mashed-potatoes 5
 Add a little bit of kick to holiday feasting with our Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, they take mashed potatoes to the next level.  You'll be pleasantly surprised at the tasty addition horseradish makes in this classic side dish!  *horseradish-mashed-potatoes 2
 Horseradish Mashed Potatoes have a bit of butter, half and half, and then most of the moisture comes from reserved water from boiling.  It's a great trick to keep them moist and fluffy without adding a ton of calories!  My grandmother used to put a cube or two of butter and lots of cream into her mashed potatoes- they were tasty but holy-moly SO loaded!  Horseradish Mashed Potatoes on are a must try for your holiday feasting this year!

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Recipe Type: Side
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 5 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt, according to taste
  • 1 teaspoon country style horseradish, according to taste
  1. In a medium sized pot bring salted water to boil, enough to cover potatoes.
  2. Add potato cubes and cook 8-10 minutes or until a fork pierces through easily.
  3. Reserve 1/2 cup potato water, drain remaining juice, and return potatoes to pot.
  4. Using a potato masher or ricer, mash to coarse-smooth consistency.
  5. Add butter and mix.
  6. Add half and half and mix.
  7. Add reserved potato water a tablespoon at a time until reaches desired consistency.
  8. Add sea salt, adjust to taste.
  9. Add 1/2 teaspoon horseradish- tasting with additions.
  10. Serve and Enjoy!

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes are a tasty twist for your holiday feasting! Enjoy. 

 We all know this next week is all about family, fun, and of course food. I love how many races I see happening Thanksgiving morning, but let's be real Thanksgiving is not about the races, it is all about the food....and the family.

So let's talk about staying healthy this Thanksgiving.

1) Don't skip out on meals earlier in the day
2) Start your day with a sweat session
3) Watch your portion sizes
4) Drink mostly water. Limit alcohol and sugary drinks
5) Fill your plate with salads and veggies
6) Watch your add-ons (gravy, butter, salad dressing, cheese, etc.)
7) Eat slowly
8) Give away leftovers
9) Go for a walk after dinner
10) Enjoy the day! There is so much more to today than what goes in your mouth. Enjoy time with family, old traditions, make new traditions, and strive to finish the day feeling good inside and out!

Happy Fit Friday!!  
Much Love and Peace ~ Nichole and Ruthie

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Workout Wednesday - Running Circuit

After being MIA for a few days I am back with a great workout to get you going. It is the end of the year and I am trying to finish up my Run the Year Challenge, which means most of my workouts will involve running for the next 6 weeks. If there is another baby in my future I need to not take on high mileage challenges the year of that birth.

I also love these types of circuits on days I am tired. I was explaining to couple of my friends the other day that you should always have a couple of cardio-weight circuits in your back pocket for those days that you don't really want to do anything. When you are mixing it up it just seems so much easier to get it done in 5 minute chunks instead of running for an hour or weights for an hour.

Treadmill Circuit
Warm Up 5-10 min
5 min run (this should be at 75% effort)
25 push ups
25 squats
25 sit ups
5 min run
20  push ups
20 squats
20 sit ups
5 min run
15 push ups
15 squats
15 sit ups
5 min run
10 push ups
10 squats
10 situps
5 min run
5-10 min cool down


Friday, November 11, 2016

Fit Friday - Yummy Cookies and Sick Kiddos

Fit Friday is here with another fantastic recipe from our favorite fit chick in the kitchen, Ruthie! Ruthie is full of healthy twisted recipes, enjoy this week's yumminess! I love a yummy snack when stressed, tired, and worn out. Those are also things that all bring on sickness, keep on reading for some sick fighting tips from this momma!

Cranberry, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Cookies are a healthier cookie that taste like everything you've been craving in a cookie and more! SO Delish!!  They're packed with plenty of healthy-yummy-goodness too. . .  with the oats, whole wheat flour, milled flax seed, applesauce, dried cranberries, pecans, and dark chocolate!  YUMMMmmm. Cranberry, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Cookies on are a healthier cookie that taste like all you crave in a cookie! Delish!!
 I'm completely telling the truth when I tell you that these Cranberry, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Cookies are one of my all time favorite cookies!  They totally are.   You'll love them too, I promise!  They make A LOT of cookies but the cool part is that they freeze really well, so whenever that little sweet tooth kicks in. . . you've got a healthier way to satisfy it right on hand. :) Cranberry, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Cookies on are a healthier cookie that taste like all you crave in a cookie! Delish!!
 Cranberry, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Cookies recipe originally came to me via a friend who got it from a yoga spa. . . no one will ever believe they're good for you!  Most of the moisture in these cookies comes from applesauce with just a 1/4 cup of butter- which for 70 cookies is hardly anything at all!   Oh, yah.  I did remember to mention that it makes enough to feed a whole a yoga spa, right?!?!  You'll love them fresh or out of the freezer- no worries.  Cranberry, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Cookies on are a healthier cookie that taste like all you crave in a cookie! Delish!!

Healthy Cranberry, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 70
  • 7 cups whole rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 C milled flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups light brown sugar or 1 C agave (or 50/50)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites (to reduce fat/cholesterol), room temperature
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 cups sliced pecans
  • sea salt to garnish each cookie
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Coat half sheet pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whip butter and sugar or agave; cream until smooth.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, scraping with each addition.
  5. Add vanilla; mix.
  6. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, flax seed, baking soda, and sea salt; whisk together.
  7. Add dry mixture and mix until 80% incorporated.
  8. Add oats in two batches mixing between each addition.
  9. Do not over mix.
  10. Add dark chocolate, cranberries, and pecans; stir to incorporate.
  11. Drop cookies onto prepared pan by the tablespoon or use a large cookie scoop.
  12. Add a sprinkle of sea salt to each dough ball before cooking.
  13. Bake at 350 for 12-15 min or until edges are crispy and lightly browned.
  14. Store in airtight container.
  15. Dough can be frozen for two months or last one week in the fridge.
  16. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 2 months.
  17. Makes approx 70 cookies.
  18. * if using only agave, add an additional 1/2 C whole wheat flour

Cranberry, Pecan, Dark Chocolate Cookies will be you favorite new cookie!  Enjoy!!

  The season of germs and sickness is here. I have cleaned up more vomit over the last couple of weeks than I care to remember. This means that I have skipped right over one of the key tips to staying healthy, avoid sick people, but I am practicing tip number two fervently, clean!!!!

That brings me to tip number three and four (the tips Ruthie and I am here to help with) eat right and exercise. With that being said let's talk workout!

We are doing a chipper today. A chipper is one of those workouts that scare us when we first look at it, instead of looking at the whole you need to break it down into doable chunks. Stay focused on the completing that chunk you are working on and don't stress about what is still to come.

No Equipment Needed Chipper:

100- jumping jacks
90- walking lunges
80- ice skaters
70- situps
60- squats
50- pushups
40-  dips
30- bicycles
20- burpees
10- inch worms with a push up

Don't let the numbers scare you! This is a very doable workout. Break it down and do it right!

~Much Love and Peace~
Ruthie and Nichole

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Workout Wednesday - Goals and Sick Kids

It is Workout Wednesday and I am home with sick kids. So, I have had a change of plans today and decided to share my workout plan. This workout stems from the current goals I have set for my Holiday Accountability group, 50 pull ups and 100 push ups a week. Technically I have all week to do them, but let's just hammer them out today!

Once I get the very congested 6 month old down for a nap and get the vomiting 4 year old settled down with a movie it will be my turn, for at least a few minutes. Time to get out the pull up bar and make the most of my few minutes.

Sick Kid Workout:

5 sets of stairs
10 pull ups
20 push ups

Rpt 5x or as many times as I can before I have a child needing mom.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


The need to drives me, I am sure it drives many of you too. We all want to feel accomplished in life. We all want to set ourselves up for success. The question is, do we do so at the risk of reaching for the stars? Do we hold ourselves back?

A running group I am a part of started a Holiday Challenge last week. With that challenge we set our own goals and get points for sticking to our goals. I made goals that I knew I could achieve. They may have required a little bit of work, but nothing too much. I justified this with everything I have going on with kids and our business.

As I was running today I realized that I needed to take a second look at my goals. I made goals that were not going to help me move to another level, they were even going to help me feel successful by achieving them. I needed to step it up a notch for myself. A doable notch though. A notch that would require a jump to reach instead of just a step to reach.

Along with setting goals that challenge me a bit more I also need to be okay without success at every notch along the way. There will be and are days I just can't do it all. Instead of letting those days weigh me down as I get into bed thinking of all the goals I didn't accomplish I need to finish my day feeling a bit lighter as I think of all the things I did accomplish and are no longer a weight on my shoulders.

Growing and succeeding will not always go together. Sometimes growing will come through my failures and I have to be okay with that.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fit Friday - Healthy Lasagna and A Sweet Track Workout

Hello Fit Friday peeps! Hope you have had a fantastic week! It has been a sugar loaded week at my house, definitly time for a killer workout and a yummy, healthy dinner. If you are feeling me you are going to be happy you are here! Let's check out Ruthie's recipe for the week and follow it up with a sweat session with me!

White Chicken Spinach Lasagna is a healthier spin~ starting off by working some magic with a jar of light alfredo sauce, adding in chicken, fresh spinach, and whole grain lasagna noodles.   *white-chicken-spinach-lasagna 1
 White Chicken Spinach Lasagna will be totally be a hit with the whole family!  They'll love the way it tastes and you'll love how simple it is to make.  Just a few minutes putting it together and then throw it in the oven for an hour!  No cook the noodles separately, which I personally happen to be a big fan of.  Nobody will ever guess it's been "health-ified" either. . . hahah!  Awesome.   *white-chicken-spinach-lasagna 2
 White Chicken Spinach Lasagna is one our chilly weather must-makes.  There's something that's so comforting about warm, fresh baked lasagna right from the oven.  I happen to think lasagna is even a little bit better on day two~ just the way the sauce soaks into the noodles over night and all the flavors meld together in that oh-so-fabulous way!!   Mmmmmmmmm.  SO good!  *white-chicken-spinach-lasagna 5 *white-chicken-spinach-lasagna 3

White Chicken Spinach Lasagna
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
  • 2 (16 ounce) jars light parmesan alfredo sauce (I like prego)
  • 1/2 cup onions, medium dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (9oz) package whole wheat lasagna sheets
  • 3 cups chicken breast; cooked and cubed
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat 10x13 baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, sdd onion and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
  4. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cook until onion is softened (approx 2-3 minutes).
  6. Stir in alfredo sauce, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  7. Stir until cheese is melted, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. In prepared pan begin layering 4-5 pieces lasagna noodles, add 1 1/2 cups of sauce and spread evenly over noodles.
  9. Next evenly distribute 1 cup of chicken, 1 cup spinach, and then 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  10. Repeat layers 3-4 times ending with parmesan cheese on top.
  11. Evenly drizzle 1 cup of water around the outside of the pan.
  12. Cover with a foil tent, being careful not to let foil touch top.
  13. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a fork inserted in the center inserts easily.
  14. minutes before baking time is complete- remove foil top and finish cooking if a browned top is desired.
  15. Enjoy!

White Chicken Spinach Lasagna is a fun spin on the classic lasagna recipe~ I know your whole family will adore it! Enjoy. 


I am sure you all have much stronger will power than I do, but this week has been a week of candy, sugar, and a whole lot of foods that don't make me feel so hot. I have found one of my best ways to "flip-a-switch" is a good hard workout. One of those workouts that leave me dripping,  exhausted, and happy.

With that being said we are hitting the track!

400 meters sprints
20 pushups
Rpt 4x

Easy lap

Sprint the straight aways
Walking lunges around one end of the curve
Broad jumps around the other curves
Rpt 4x

Finish with one last 400 meter all out sprint!

This is supposed to be a hard, cleansing workout....make it hard!

Have an amazing Fit Friday! 
Much Love and Peace~ 
Nichole and Ruthie

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Workout Wednesday - Push Ups!

We all have our pet peeves at the gym; the guy doing bicep curls in the squat rack, the girls that show up for a fashion show instead of a workout, etc etc etc.... One more on my list, the person doing 100 "push ups" when their neck is moving more than their arms. Stop going for a 100 "push ups" and aim for 20 actual push ups!

Good form....what is it?

Here is an awesome checklist I found for push ups:

1) Keep your neck in a neutral position. This means that your neck won't move.
2) Keep shoulders back and stable. Shoulders won't round or go concave. Engage them and stabilize them.
3) Hands stay directly below your shoulders. When people get tired or are weak those hands tend to get in front more and more.
4) Keep pressure on the outside of your hands. This will protect your wrists.
5) Hips and torso straight. Core is engaged and stable.
6) Full range of motion.This means that your chest will skim the ground.

Push ups are awesome. You can do them anywhere. You can switch 'em up and try out different variations.  And they work multiple muscle groups. It is one of the first exercises I start focusing on when I am making my way back after having babies.

The challenge....perfect push ups! Get a friend that will keep you honest and do as many perfect push ups as you can. Take that number and strive to build on it.