As the weather warms up, it gets easier to be active outside. The fresh air can motivate you to run a little farther than when you are on the treadmill at the gym. Start tracking your activity, water intake and protect your skin while you are enjoying the summer sun. Get out there and have fun!

If you need a little extra motivation to stay on track and you want to record your workout achievements, grab this free fitness tracker printable.

Free fitness tracker template

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Here’s what you need to arm yourself for success while exercising outside this summer. Stay hydrated, protect your skin and get out there.


Summer Fitness Essentials for Exercising in the Heat


1. Thermos’s Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid (it connects to your fitbit to accurately track your water intake!)

2. Athleta Mesh Runner’s Cap

3. FlipBelt (this fits my iPhone 6 Plus)

4. Nike Womens Flex Running Sneakers

5. Athleta SPF 50 Pacifica Top

6. Lululemon Pace Rival Skirt (these have “sticky”shorts underneath which work great for tennis and running)

7. Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker

8. Beautycounter Stick Sunscreen SPF 30 Broad Spectrum

Get out there and have some fun outside! Even if you are just running after your little ones at the playground, you might as well look stylish while you are doing it this summer!

8 Summer Fitness Essentials for Women

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After enjoying Mother’s Day brunch and some family time, here’s this week’s meal plan for all of you. Time is tight when it comes to making dinner so I’m checking the prep time on recipes for you. A recipe can be simple with few ingredients, but if it takes over an hour to cook on the stove, it may not be right for the weeknight menu plan. For more labor intensive options I’ll make a note of it going forward.

Quinoa taco lettuce wraps

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Meatless Monday: Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Lettuce Wraps, GF, DF, P. (recipe source)

Tuesday: Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato skewers (recipe) GF. Prep ahead for this one. Cook time is only 12 minutes, but you want to marinate the chicken in the pesto for a bit to enhance the flavor. Serve with brown rice. (note: kids often LOVE kabobs; they can be a fun way to introduce new flavors like pesto. We also had success with fish kabobs too.)

Wednesday: Veggie Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce (recipe) GF, DF.

Thursday: Rainbow Pizza (recipe), to save time we make the pizza on Naan bread. Offer new veggies and lots of color to kids and let them build their own pizza.

Friday: Fish tacos. This fish taco recipe is just gorgeous; save yourself some time and buy the precut coleslaw veggies. They are just as good. Skip/reduce the sriracha sauce for the kids. Add in to the grown-up’s serving!

Weekend: Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Mint Salsa (recipe). We made it this over the weekend and the flavors worked so well together. On the side I served quinoa with 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint mixed in. The chicken is best marinated for a bit in balsamic vinegar, but the recipe truly could be a weeknight meal too.

Fish taco recipe


Superfood Quinoa Bowl- Vegan/GF recipe:  make one batch of quinoa for the week and use it here and as a side with the Balsamic Chicken recipe.


Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal GF, DF- make this recipe ahead of time and bake early in the morning. I may make it and serve it for lunch and then save the leftovers!

Homemade Granola- I’m going to start playing with this my favorite homemade granola recipe to remove the brown sugar and still make it unforgettable. Orange zest may be another add…stay tuned!


Coconut Cashew Energy Balls, GF, DF- I’ve mentioned this recipe to so many friends it’s worth adding it to the menu again.

BONUS Recipe!

I remembered I had to add this Maple Oat Mixed Berry Crisp I made for a dinner party this weekend. It’s from Real Food Whole Life and it came out amazing. Our hosts couldn’t believe it was actually a healthy dessert! It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free.


p.s. Love and Lemons provides one of the recipes on the blog this week. Their new cookbook is gorgeous! 


For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Beware the barrenness of a busy life. -Socrates

While on vacation, it becomes easy to see some of the habits we have when it comes to our schedules and connectivity. The daily influx of notifications on our phones. Texts. What’s up on social media now? The email inbox continues to fill as so many things compete for our attention. Quiet is so hard to find these days and I wonder if you feel the same. March Break starts at the end of the school day today here in Canada and it’s a great time to push the reset button before the spring season begins.

We have to make a conscious effort to avoid the glorification of busy. I fear that if we don’t, our kids will only know a world of to-do lists, dings and a lack of quiet. The immediacy of filling their needs is hard to live up, unless you are an iPad. Making them wait is a life lesson and it is taking great effort sometimes to slow them down and be present. If they are so busy, where is the time to create and imagine? Boredom in the week ahead may be a good thing.

If you don’t feel busy, you may wonder if you are doing enough. I read about bloggers with much bigger platforms than mine who homeschool four plus kids and still manage to be in so many places at once. Some days I think, why can’t I do that too? Other days I am wise enough to step back and wonder if they are doing it all themselves, or do they have help? The same goes for stay at home moms, working moms and everyone in-between. Busy is a part of life, but is doesn’t need to define us.

When people ask me how I do it all, I’m always a little hesitant to answer. For me, I like having lots of things going on. It gives me energy and fills my need to learn new things. However, I also check out for two months of the year at the beach to recover from the pace of this lifestyle. It works for our family, but may not for others. Everyone has to decide what level of busy works for them.

Everyone is busy. Parents singletons, grandparents. They are all busy in their own life stage. It’s not a competition. When someone asks, “how are you,” talk and share about what is filling you up, instead of what is filling your calendar. If you can’t think of what is filling you with joy, then it may be time to give that calendar a little edit.

Next up on my reading list is Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy by Alli Worthington. As I plan to rebrand this website in the coming weeks, I’m excited to read through the book and see what direction this little space should go. Blogging has never been a way to keep me busy, but more as a creative outlet. Sometimes we all need to write down what’s in our head to make room for more.

If you want to listen in the car instead as you play the role of chauffeur (me lately), take a listen to this podcast episode. As host Jess Lively said:  This episode is perfect for anyone who is over-scheduled, overwhelmed, or wants to drop the word “busy” from their vocabulary. I listened to this over a year ago and the comment about “e-brain” has stuck with me. Take a listen and see if you can climb out of the trap of answering busy, instead of really sharing what’s bringing you joy.

For those of you in Canada, enjoy your vacation week. I’m looking forward to ours and seeing where our open schedule takes us each day.

Breaking Busy Book: How to find peace and purpose in a world of crazy by Alli Worthington

Green Smoothie Recipes Your Kids will Love

I pulled together our list of green smoothies your kids will love. My kid’s favorite snack lately is a smoothie, always with a dose of greens. My two year old runs into the kitchen saying “moothie” until I make him one. Smoothies are a great way to sneak additional vegetables and fruits into your kids diet, and your own if needed. We usually make one large smoothie and split it up between the three of us in the afternoon. Both kids like the green smoothies and I’ll share today some super simple recipes that are kid-approved.

The good news is both kids drink green smoothies. The bad news is they often want them before I get dinner on the table so I find it can affect how much they eat when we sit at the table. I’m slowly trying to find a balance between offering them healthy vegetable-filled snacks and not take away from eating vegetables on the plate. The fiber isn’t lost when you make a smoothie, but I do think it’s important for kids to continue to experience the different textures of cooked or raw vegetables on their dinner plate.


We are using the Blendtec blender that I received as part of a Stonyfield yogurt campaign. The blender really is amazing and I think I’ll always have one of these high speed blenders from now on. We are using the Wildside Blendtec Blender.

Green Smoothie ingredients

There are a few key ingredients I use when I make smoothies for us:

  • Spinach
  • Coconut Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Frozen Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Melon
  • Chia seeds (optional)

I generally never add any sweetener (like honey or agave) as I don’t want to give the kids a taste of a sweeter option. If something tastes too “green” I can soften the taste with the addition of more citrus or an apple. Yes, there is still sugar in the fruit but there are also a ton of vitamins that are beneficial.

Wondering how we serve our smoothies? I use our pint size mason jars and these glass smoothie straws (only one has broken in 3 years of using glass straws with the little kids). JJ loves his blue one and Madison has pink! If we are on the go, I also serve the smoothie in our favorite reusable squeeze pouch.

Here are just a few of our favorite recipes. Combine in the order listed and blend well.

If you want ALL of my smoothie recipes in one handy printable recipe book, click here. All recipes are kid-approved!

Green Monkey Smoothie

Green Smoothies Your Kids Will Love

*where it says water, you can sub in coconut milk to make it creamy, almond, oat, cashew or your favorite type of milk.

Mango Monkey

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 cups spinach

1 banana

1 cup frozen mango

Alligator Surprise

1/2 cup water

1/2 a medium avocado scooped out (we make this to use up leftover avocado)

2 cups spinach

2 cups frozen pineapple


Green Queen

1/2 cup of water

2 tablespoons of flaxseeds (or chia seeds)

2 clementines, peeled

1 banana

2 cups spinach

1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks

Berries and Spinach smoothie

The Blue One

(which really comes out more purple than blue)

1/2 cup water

1 cup yogurt (we use our homemade yogurt)

1 cup spinach

2 cups frozen berries

Head over here for one more bonus green smoothie: Coconut Kale Smoothie!

If the kids are not into anything green, you can also try my Paleo Pumpkin Pie Smoothie recipe.  Happy blending! I hope these green smoothies your kids will love helps make getting more vegetables into them a lot easier for you.