Monday, October 30, 2017

Nutrition Effects More Than What We Eat

We've talked about listening to your body when it comes to running, but today I want to talk about listening to your body when it comes to eating. Nutrition is obviously an important thing. We've been taught that our whole lives and we teach our kids about nutrition in hopes that they make good eating habits in their lives. I won't pretend that I'm a super healthy eater. I've never loved veggies all that much and I've always had a big love for junk food.  But I do have to say that I've had a really good feeling for what my body wants and needs as far as food goes.

I'm not a nutritionist or a doctor, so take this as you will, but I believe that our bodies will tell us when it needs something that it's lacking. When you aren't sleeping well at nights, your body feels much more tired than normal and it's telling you that maybe you should go to sleep early that night instead of staying up to watch one more show. And I think the same goes for eating right. When you're a baby, you cry when you're hungry because your body is telling you it needs something.

Nutrition effects more than just what we eat though. The other day I got busy getting kids ready and to school on time and doing chores around the house that I didn't eat until around 10:00 AM. (I know that's not a big deal for some people but it is for me). I'm not one of those people who "forget to eat" I've always found that a little weird because I love food and I always want food. But the other day I noticed things that were happening when I was putting off eating.

I was getting frustrated with the kids easier.

I was tired.

I didn't have the motivation to workout like I had planned.

Suddenly nothing really sounded GOOD to eat because it would either take too much time and effort to make the food or because it was not healthy-ish food.

Nutrition has a big effect on our workouts! Everything about nutrition effects this.  From when we decide to eat to what we put into our bodies, it all has an impact on how our workout will go.  We make sure to give ourselves enough time between eating and working out to make sure we won't get sick on our run. When we get done with our run we make sure to eat good recovery food with protein in it to help our bodies build strong muscles. We make sure to eat foods that will give us the energy we need to finish our workouts and push ourselves harder.

The way we eat also effects the way we sleep. When we don't get enough to eat, you wake up in the middle of the night hungry and it makes it hard to fall back to sleep. This is why when you have babies that used to sleep through the night but start waking again, they suggest upping the amount of food that you give them.  That's also why when you up your mileage more and more, you sometimes wake up starving. Your body burns more, so you need to be replenishing it more with healthy foods.

Nutrition effects the way your brain functions. Have you noticed that on days that you're in a rush and grab something super easy and quick while you run out the door, that the rest of the day kind of feels exhausting and your focus isn't on your work and you don't have the energy or motivation to get anything done?  (This goes for kids and school too) You will do so much better on your work, or getting your to-do list done, when you make sure to get something more than a granola bar or a cup or juice as you run out the door. Having a good breakfast (and honestly waking up a little early to exercise, too) will help your mind wake up and help you be more productive during the day.

I've never been a big fan of dieting (because, again, I love food) I don't follow any sort of diet. I eat what I feel like eating. But I do try to be conscious of what kinds of food I'm eating and what my body needs/wants.  When we went on our family trip down to Bryce Canyon last week, I made sure to pack healthy snacks and options for lunch and breakfast. We only went out to eat lunch (which saved us a lot of money). But when we got home I really wanted a vegetable. And I'm not a big veggie fan. I knew that vegetables were what my body really needed. So I roasted up some veggies (my favorite way to have them) as part of our dinner the next day.

I think a big reason that I'm able to tell what my body needs now is that I got into the habit of making healthier choices, to begin with.

I still eat the junk (oh my, do I love the junk!) but I made sure to start stocking up on easy, healthier snack foods for me to grab when I get hungry in the afternoon. Instead of having a piece of candy, or another brownie or leftover cupcakes from someone's birthday party, I started snacking on peanuts. They are more filling and a little healthier than the junk food for me.

I make sure to eat something good for breakfast. Instead of having a bowl of the kid's cereal, I make a big batch of granola and that will last me a couple of weeks. I put it on yogurt and top it with lots of fruit.  It keeps me full until lunchtime so that I don't even have to worry about what to snack on.

One reason we start to feel hungry might not be because we are actually hungry at all. One of the big reasons people tend to snack and feel hungry is because they are actually thirsty. I'm not great at drinking water but I'm working on drinking more water than I normally do.  Instead of having milk at lunch with my sandwich (or whatever else) I choose water. And I always have water at dinner time. If you struggle with this because you don't like the taste of water, you can try Hint water. I tried Hint and loved it, you can read more about it HERE. Or you can add a little lemon to your water to help with the taste.

I try to make sure that I'm not eating later than 7:00 PM. I fast from 7PM until about 9AM and then I have breakfast (you're breaking your fast that's why it's called BREAKfast). Getting the habit of eating a snack while you watch a show every single night before bed can make you gain weight, don't sleep as well, and it's just not a great habit to have anyway. Trevon and I will have a late snack for our "date night" when we have at home date nights after the kids go to bed. Every other day we are pretty good about just having water or nothing after 7.

Eat when you feel hungry, and eat something good. It's totally fine to have a treat or junk once in a while. Just make sure that what you're eating most of the time is good, healthy food. Healthy food doesn't necessarily mean organic or gluten free or whatever else is the fad right now. Whole food, fresh foods, homemade foods. those things are all healthy too.  Don't stress about it too much (some people make eating way too hard), just be conscious of what is going into your body. Make the choice to make dinner instead of picking something up on your way home. Make the choice to have whole wheat bread instead of white. Make the choice to eat an egg for breakfast instead of cereal. Just be conscious of the food choices you're making and listen to your body when it tells you what it needs.

What is the hardest thing for you to get in your diet?

What's your favorite trick to getting enough water?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fast Friday Update

Hello! How is everyone's day going? Who's ready for the weekend!? It's been a while since I've given an update on our daily happenings. So I thought I'd share a few with you today.

My parents have a lot of big trees in their yard so every year when the leaves start to fall we have the kids help rake them up since we don't have to do that in our neighborhood. It didn't take V long to catch on to jumping in the pile. 

The weather has been nice enough for us that we have been able to go to the park and play outside without a lot of bundling up so we've tried to make the most of it. There were a lot of other young kids at the park the other day and 2 of them were little girls V's age. He didn't know what to do about that. So he spent a lot of time just standing by the swings and staring at me.

We had a church fall party the other day. They had lots of fun things for the kids to do. (The girls jump at any chance to have their face painted) They had a really fun little glow in the dark obstacle course that, I think, was the kids' favorite thing. We went through several times. 

I shared this on my Instagram, but this is why I never eat breakfast or lunch at the table. Every time I sit to eat it, M sits by me and waits for me to give her something to eat, and V just goes ahead and eats mine haha. 

What is your favorite fall time activity?

Where do you eat your meals most of the time?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Little Passports USA Edition: Michigan and New Mexico

Guess what came in the mail this week?  The girls get so excited to get the next Little Passport package in the mail. One thing they really love is that the subscription is sent to them so it says their name on the envelope.

They didn't waste any time getting it open.  We like to open these in a big space so that we can spread it all out over the floor. 

This month they sent us an activity book, stickers, and some fun 3D puzzles all about Michigan and New Mexico. First, we dove into the create your own adventure activity in the Michigan side of the activity book.  The girls thought this was really neat that they got to choose the story. The activity book also had a dot-to-dot, sudoku puzzles, word searches, experiments to try and even some recipes in there for the kids to try out. I love that it gives kids this option because it's fun for them, and they are learning. It gives them a really good way to entertain each other and themselves that doesn't include TV, movies, computers or any other electronic devices. That is something I've always felt really strongly about, that kids shouldn't NEED electronic devices to entertain them or to keep them focused on something. 

When we got done with a few of the activities and reading about those states, we put the stickers in their sticker journal and J got to work writing about what she learned about the states and what she liked most. The journal is fun because it gives the kids promptings and helps them think of things in a really constructive way. 

The last activity we did was building the 3D puzzles. M wanted to build the car (Michigan talked about the Model T Ford and how cars were made in the USA). The car was a little tricky and I suggest (unless your kids are older) helping out a little bit on this one. 

And J made the bat (New Mexico talked about how there are a lot of caves and bats in their state). The bat was easy enough J only needed a little help putting it together. 

Little Passports is a really great way to keep your kids interested in learning when they come home from school or when they are school breaks.  You can choose from several different subscriptions depending on age, and subject.  We have done the world edition and are now doing the USA edition (which is a little older age group) and so far my kids have loved getting both. You can sign up HERE for a subscription if you think this is something a child in your life would love.

How many states in the USA have you visited? Which were your favorites?
  I have visited something like 20 and I was fairly young when I went to most of those so I'm not sure I can for sure say what my favorite was. I really liked New Hampshire and Vermont a lot when I went there as a teenager. 

What is your favorite way to entertain your kids without electronics?

*Thank you to Little Passports for sending us this subscription to review. All opinions on this product are my own. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Hiking In Bryce National Park

Over the weekend we loaded the kids up and headed down to southern Utah for some hiking with family in Bryce National Park.  Normally we have a portable DVD player that the kids will watch movies on during our road trips. We are a little behind the times and our family doesn't own a tablet. Anyway, we didn't bring it this time and decided to bring games and books and coloring stuff instead. That won't happen again I don't think because J ended up getting car sick. I never really had that problem so I didn't even think about that.

Anyway, as soon as we got down there, even before checking into our hotel, we met up with some of my family and started hiking. It was really really windy. And if it weren't for that wind it would have been really nice weather. So please excuse my high school cross country sweatshirt in all of these pictures. I realized on this trip that I need to update my jacket wardrobe.

I've grown up in Utah and we did a lot of camping and hiking growing up, but somehow I'd never been to Bryce National Park before. It was amazing and so much fun! 

The first hike we went on was about 3 miles total and was pretty easy for the kids. The hikes start out up above all the hoodoos so you hike down inside to get to all of the trails. The hike in and out are switchbacks and they are a little steep. But we all made it on this hike really easy.

On the hikes we've been on as a family before, we have always borrowed a backpack for V to sit in. But we decided on this trip a little last minute so we didn't have time to find one. Trevon ended up carrying V the whole time both days. He would get down and walk around on the parts that didn't have a lot of steep areas or places that were a little easier to explore. (We also had V's child leash so that he wouldn't wander too far).

The first hike was called Navajo trail. And this one was really fun because there were lots of great places to take the kid's pictures. The girls loved being with their cousins and just exploring everything.  I loved watching them explore and not hearing any complaints. 

I'm pretty sure that M found the most photo op spots. Every time I turned around to find her she was posing somewhere else. 

The way back out was probably the most stressful part of the hike. The switchbacks are pretty steep off the edge and the kids didn't seem to notice as much as I did. I spent a lot of time yelling "stay on the inside! Stay away from the edge!" But they were all really good listeners and we all made it out in one piece. Then I found M sitting on a bench waiting for another picture haha. 

We went back to the hotel and ran into mine and Trevon's high school photography teacher (who I took twice a year for all four years) and it was fun to visit with him for a little while. Then we went to dinner and settled in our hotel room for the night. The hotel was supposed to have a crib for V but they ran out so we had to improvise.  He was not going to go to sleep. That boy was so wound up! I couldn't even get a clear picture of these three because of all the excitment. 

Day two was COLD! It wasn't quite as windy, but we started out hike out in 30-something degree weather. So we bundled up nicely and kept moving. The sun on the hoodoos made for some really amazing pictures though.

We decided to do Peek-a-boo trail on this day. It's a long hike and the kids did amazing! 

 This trail had some fun tunnels that and holes in the rock that you could peek through. My sister, mom and I had a conversation about how we were never nervous about heights growing up and then we had kids and now we are a little paranoid.

Also, V learned how to fake asleep.

The trail to this hike is a loop off from the trail that we took the first day. It was pretty steep hills and switchbacks the whole first half and all the kids made it without much of a fight at all. They did so well. I was very impressed and surprised. We also got a lot of compliments on the kids making it the way they did. When they did start getting tired we would give them a little break and bribe them with some m&m's to help them have a little extra energy. But really, there was no complaining. 

When we got back to the car, I checked our mileage on my phone to get an idea of how far they hiked. 7 miles guys! 7 very hilly (85 flights worth) miles and they walked the whole thing.

I would say that if you ever get a chance to go to Bryce National Park DO IT! They have lots of great hikes for all different levels to choose from.  And if our group of kids can make that 7-mile hike, you can too!

Who has been to Bryce National Park or any other National Park? What one is your favorite?

Are you a hiker?

What did your family do for fun while you were growing up?

Friday, October 20, 2017

M's Birthday and Fall Time Running Favorites

Tuesday was M's birthday so we had a lot of celebrating to do!  We started out by making her cake. I let my kids pick whatever kind of cake they want and I do my best to make it for them. Sometimes it doesn't turn out great but M is pretty easy to please when it comes to cakes.  She wanted a sprinkle covered cake. Nothing but sprinkles. It was really easy to make so I suggest trying it out.

I also make cupcakes because we have a lot of kids come.  If you need a good buttercream frosting recipe that is easy to decorate with, I use THIS one. I have always had a hard time with frosting for some reason, but this one always turns out good for me.

Then M had a field trip for school. What a perfect day for a field trip than your birthday!? We went to a pumpkin patch and V got to skip a nap to go too. I was worried that he would be a fuss the whole time but he did pretty good.

Their favorite thing was probably this slide. It was really fast and kind of bumpy and I think I may have bruised my bum going down it several times with the kids.  At one point we had me, M, V and my neighbor boy who is in M's preschool class with her, all going down at the same time.

They also had these fun little peddle tractors that they could race around their track and they loved those too.  

After they all picked a small pumpkin, we went home and I got to work cleaning the house for the birthday party while M watched a movie. And it occurred to me that cleaning before a party is sometimes pointless.  I cleaned for 2 hours before the party and 2 hours after the party. 


Before the birthday activities started, I started my day off with a run on the treadmill. It was another hard mind game for me but I did get the 2 miles in. 

While I was running I was thinking of what I do like about running in the fall. I honestly don't hate running in the fall. I actually like it if it's during the day. I don't like running in the dark/cold and even if I'm running inside I still don't look forward to my run nearly as much if it's dark/cold when I wake up.  Sometimes I'm hard to please. 

Anyway, daytime running has always been a favorite thing for me. If schedule would permit I would probably run at 3:00 in the afternoon every day. It doesn't work like that though. The fall weather at that time of day is perfect. So on the weekends, I do what I can to run in the afternoon. 

Fall time running definitely takes me back to my cross country times in high school.  There's just a different feeling about it that gives me a little more drive to get out (especially in the afternoons). Also, it makes me remember how I did everything wrong with running back then and helps me remember to make the changes I need to run healthier now. And it also brings back a lot of memories (good and bad) that are sometimes fun to reminisce about.

Running through the leaves is kind of fun to do.

There are a lot of fun races this time of year. I honestly don't think I've ever raced (outside of high school competition) past the beginning of October. It just gets too cold for me and I start to burn out and need a break from race training.  But there are all sorts of fun 5k and 10k races that you can dress up for or that you're being chased by zombies or you get candy while you run...that one does make it sound tempting to race on Halloween. 

For me fall running is fun because it's the beginning of my off-season and I just do what I want to make sure that I stay in shape and ready to start again in the spring.  I like that when I feel like running, I go for a run and when I feel like strength training I do that or when I feel like an extra rest day I take a rest day. 

The colors on the trees make it fun to run outside. It's fun to see the colors on the mountains and the colors in the neighborhoods or on trails while running. It helps take your mind off of the cold for a little while. 

What is your favorite time of day to run?

What do you like most about fall time?

Who has an October birthday?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hiking in St George For Our Anniversary

Over the weekend Trevon and I celebrated our 8th anniversary. My mom was so great and watched the kids overnight and my cousin and her husband were so nice to let us hang with them so that we could go see Newsies at the Tuacahn. Tuacahn is an outdoor theater and if you live in Utah or around Utah, I really think that it's a must to go at least once! Trevon and my favorite show we've seen so far there is Tarzan, but Newsies was really great.

While we were there, we also decided to take a little hike before the show. It felt really nice to get out in 70-degree weather to get a little exercise! Hiking is a great alternative to running.  It's a different way to strengthen or use the same muscles that we do while running. It also gives us a chance to slow down and enjoy nature and the fresh air.  Also, Trevon and I don't run together because he doesn't enjoy it like I do...and because I can't keep up with him. So it was really fun to get to spend time with him in nature and be able to talk and get some exercise.  

We hiked Chuckawalla trail for a little while. This is a fun, easy trail that breaks off onto other small trails so it's easy to decide how far to go or when to turn around.  They have outhouses, maps, and good parking at the trailhead. There were also a lot of people rock climbing randomly throughout the trail. (As a side note: My dad used to take us rock climbing all the time when I was little. I thought I was really really good at it but I'm pretty sure I wasn't. I haven't really rock climbed since then HA). 

It wasn't crowded at all. We saw a few people here and there but not many. We did go on a Friday in the afternoon though so I'm not sure how many would be around on a weekend. The trail is mostly flat and sandy so it's a good idea to take shoes that you don't mind getting sandy.  There is a lot of cool red rock for scenery. 

There were also a lot of fun trees and plants to look at along the way. This would be a really great and easy hike for families.

One thing we talked about while we were hiking was that we want to try hiking more with our kids. We want them to gain a real appreciation for the outdoors and love being in nature. We decided that next time we go to St George, we will be taking the kids and doing some hiking. 

The weather was so perfect there, so coming home to 50-degree weather was kind of a huge bummer. But this week is supposed to warm back up for a few days so I guess we will just enjoy that while we can. 

What is your favorite non-running way to spend time outside?

Who's been to Tuachan and what did you see?

What's your favorite musical?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Why Runners Should Take a Break From Race Training

Around this time of year, I start to taper off on training for races.  A lot of runners love to race this time of year! There are so many races to choose from this time of year, and the temps are cooler. But by this time of year, my body needs a little break. I start to burn out mentally, and I'm more prone to injury. So I take a little step back.  I still run but I'm much more lenient about how many times a week I run and following a schedule.

Race training keeps me focused on a specific goal, it helps me stay motivated and keeps me getting out the door when I don't feel like it. It gives me a something to work towards. But not having something gives me a reason to relax and not worry about how many miles I'm running in a week or how fast I'm going.

Taking a break from running makes running fun in a different way. Racing is exciting and fun and, let's be honest, a little bit addicting. When you run without a training plan it helps running feel more relaxed. There's absolutely no pressure when you take a break from racing.

Running without training for a race is more flexible. You don't have a plan to stick to and you can do whatever you feel like doing that day. You can add in whatever strength training or other cross training you want. In fact, this is a great time to add some cross-training into your routine. It's a great time to explore different workouts or sports you think you'll love.

Sometimes when you feel like cutting a run short or adding an extra rest day to your week instead of going on a run you don't have to worry about missing a day. You're no longer running for anything except for yourself.  While having a race gives you drive to push harder and go longer, sometimes it's smartest/best to give yourself a break from that to enjoy slow easy runs more than harder runs. For me, it helps me remember why I run and what I love getting from running the most. I love that I can do what I want, go as long or slow I want, take my time and enjoy it. It helps me gain the mental benefits from running as well as all the physical benefits. It helps my mind calm down and function more clearly because there is absolutely no stress involved.

What it really comes down to is that I think when you take a break from training for a race just helps you to use running for the emotional, fun, comforting side of it that we all love about it.  It gets you back to the basics of running. Taking a break from races gives you the breaks that your body needs to recover. Every runner should find some time to take a break from races. Not necessarily from running, but from race training.

If you're ready to take a break from racing, here are a few things to do to make sure you get the break that you need but also stay in shape:

  • Don't quit running, just step back from the intensity that you usually give. Slow your pace, take extra days off, or lower your mileage in a week.
  • Cross Training is a great way to stay in shape and strengthen your muscles that can even help you be a better runner next time you pick up the racing.
  • If you need a race to keep you motivated, sign up for one in the future. I usually take my racing break from late fall to springtime. 

When do you usually stop racing for the year?

What is your favorite way to cross-train?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fast Friday Update

It's been a while since I've given an update on us.  So I thought I'd do that today. Last weekend we took a drive up the canyon as a family to see all the fall leaves. We stopped a few times to take pictures or to walk around for a little bit. This was one of my favorite pictures we got even though my kids look a little homeless haha.

My girls are best friends and I hope they always will be.  They stay up for hours after we put them to bed giggling and playing. It's been a hard adjustment for M to have J at school all day long, but it helps that she's in preschool now too. 

We also took family pictures over the weekend at my family's cabin. Our family has been trying to get this done for a month and we had to keep switching because of weather and other things that came up! So we were so glad to finally do it but it was so cold and it even snowed, which I was not happy about. But we got some good pictures of our family and got some big group pictures.  We didn't have a whole lot of time for pictures of the kids or anything but I'll get to those soon.

We went to the park yesterday because the weather was amazing! V wouldn't leave this tunnel. But after I saw a snake slither between my feet, we had to go to a different park. It took me a while to get off of the playground and it took my sister saving me by making sure the snake wasn't around. But I was on edge the rest of the time. V was really mad about leaving the park. 

While V napped and the girls were at school, I helped my dad get ready for a youth party (he's in charge of the young men in our church group) he's having this weekend by husking corn for him.  I don't know if anyone else had this problem, but growing up I was always nervous to husk the corn because my brother told me worms got in there sometimes. He was a big teaser and made it sound much worse than it actually is if a worm gets in the corn. But now I always think of that when I husk corn.

Also while V napped, I got a quick run in on the treadmill while I listened to THIS podcast. I've never been really into podcasts, but I really like this one because it gives me great ideas on how to make myself better. He gives so many great tips on time management and stress management so I highly recommend listening to it. The run was short but just what I needed for the day. 

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! I'll see you back here on Monday.

What are your weekend plans?

Are you scared of any animals?