A Munchkin’s Birthday & A Workout

We officially have a 2- year old in our house! Happy 2nd Birthday to my sweet, independent and often times bossy, Claire!  

Being a mom to a little girl has really change me and my views.  As a female, it is extremely important for me to take care of myself, to love myself, and to respect my body so that she does the same to hers- this is what has driven my increased passion for health & fitness over the past couple of years.  For me, it is more about the muscles I gain, the weight I am able to lose, and the pants I can fit into:  it is about the confidence and emotional peace I get from a sweaty workout and fueling my body with healthy fuel.  As a teenager and into my college years, I had extremely low self confidence- I don’t want her to ever feel like this.  It is part of my job as her mother to do whatever I can to make sure my daughter feels good about herself on the inside and out– not just today as she turns 2, but forever.


In our house, I like to make birthdays extra special- so that is what we will do today!  Claire already had a “Splash Bash” at the neighborhood pool with her friends.  We did this early “just in case” her new brother or sister decided to make an early arrival. (Who was I fooling?)  So today, we will make the day “all about Claire”: pancakes, the apple orchard, the park and pizza for dinner.

My husband and I bought an old, handmade wooden play kitchen off of a virtual garage sale site for her birthday gift.  We spent a weekend refinishing it for her.  She will also get two special books.  The books come from a list of picture books that show strong, confident girls as characters and in the message.  I started this for her first birthday and is something I plan to continue each year.  We also bought her a new pair of “fast shoes” for her birthday.


Happy Birthday to my favorite little 2 year old munchkin… you know how to bring a smile to your Mommy’s face! 

It may be all about birthdays this morning, but we can’t get away without a “Workout of the Week”.  This workout I dug out of my fitness journal from right after I had Claire.  I remember struggling through this workout just 15 days after I had her.  I had written in my journal that I couldn’t do a lot of the exercises for the given amount of time.  This just shows that with persistence and hard work, you can reach your fitness goals.  No matter where you are in your fitness journey- try to do as much as you can.

WOW #6

 What special things do you do for your munchkins on their birthdays?
What did you think of the WOW?  How will you incorporate it into your week?

(Don’t forget: commenting on a blog post will enter you into the drawing for our very first giveaway at the end of the month!)

8 Great Tips for a Healthy School Lunch

Back to school we go (or have already gone)!!!  What an exciting time it can be for both kids and parents, but the busy schedules can also put a damper on our healthy eating.  After spending 7 years in the schools, I have developed a huge passion for advocating for healthy school lunches for our children.  The lunches the schools are feeding are not healthy, and what I am seeing most of the parents pack for their children are not much better.

We eat to fuel our body…. right?  Well, we should.  Cheetos, fruit snacks, fruit juice, lunchables, cups of fruit in fruit syrup, and veggie chips are not fuel for our bodies.  The lunch we are feeding our children is what is going to get them through the rest of the day: help them concentrate, perform their best, maybe run around at recess, stay awake and sometimes even get them through their after-school activities.

Here are some tips to help you better fuel your munchkin:

1.  Balance & Plan: When packing a school lunch, make it balanced and be sure to include a a fruit, a vegetable and a protein (protein doesn’t have to be meat).  Also, take time Sunday night (or when you do your grocery shopping) to decide what you will pack your munchkin each day, this will allow you to balance the intake of his/her food.  After all, we need to let our munchkins live a little and learn what it means to eat balanced too.

Whats For Lunch

(Check out a free version of this menu planner here)

2. Pack Fresh: Fresh fruits & vegetables are always best!  If your munchkin prefers for their fruits to be cut up, rub a little lemon juice on items that might brown.  Fresh veggies with hummus or balsamic dressing for dipping is a great option.

3. Water or White Milk:  Water or milk is always best.  In our house, the rule is: milk for breakfast, lunch & dinner and water all other times of day (I have a two year old).  The older the children are, the less milk they need each day.  When deciding whether to pack water or milk for lunch, also remember Tip #1 and look at what other dairy products you may have packed.

4.  Allow a small treat:  We are all about teaching our munchkins to eat balanced, so allow them a very small treat.  Treats do not have to be candy or complete junk.  How about making a healthy version of a mini muffin?  Pumpkin, bananas, oatmeal, flax, cinnamon, etc.- all flavorful, healthy options for treats.  You could even freeze half of a banana and dip part of it in dark chocolate.  Or how about just 2 strawberries dipped in dark chocolate or blueberries dipped in yogurt and frozen?  When using dark chocolate remember the rule: 70% of cocoa or greater.

Frozen Bananas via yumsugar.com

(photo via YumSugar)

5. Think outside of the sandwich- Often times we think of just sandwiches for school lunches because they can’t be heated up, right?  NO!  Most kiddos don’t mind eating cold food.  Be creative with shredded chicken or turkey- put them in a pinwheel or a wrap.  What about using cucumbers as the top and the bottom and filling the inside with cheese or hummus?  How about a lunch meat roll-up (just make sure you are buying organic, hormone free lunch meat)?  Every kid loves pizza, how about sending some of our grilled pizzas cold?

6. Be creative: Use cookie cutters, fun toothpicks and lots of color when packing your munchkins lunch.  Make it so they have something to look forward to when they open their lunchbox.  How about sticking some fruit or veggies in their water to make it more flavorful?  Or putting food on a kabob?

Fruit Kabob via recipe.com

(Photo via Recipe.com)

7. Experiment at home: School lunch time is not the place to try and give your munchkin a whole new meal.  We want our children to use this lunch as fuel to get through their day and to perform well at school.  Pack items you know they will eat.  Mixing in a new fruit with a fruit salad or combining a new veggie with already liked veggies are fine, but this isn’t the time to try  a bunch of new items at once.

8. Involve your munchkins: Talk to your child about what they’d like to have for lunch and the importance of eating healthy. Ask them what they see in other lunches.  If they talk about unhealthy items, brainstorm ways you could make a healthy version together.  This is a great time to educate your munchkin on healthy eating.

Need some ideas for lunches?  Here are a couple of my favorites:

100 Days of Real Food: The ideas are endless! Head over to her “search box” and you will find multiple school lunch roundups.  

One Fit Widow: The best place to find ideas is her Instagram account.  She often posts pictures of what she packed for lunch for her kids AND she has super-convenient lunch boxes for them.  

How do you ensure your munchkin has a healthy lunch at school?  I’d love to know- leave me a comment!