Overnight Oats ~ The Easiest Breakfast Ever!

Easiest Breakfast Ever

Since embracing the Real Food Challenge, we have definitely made some changes in our house when it comes to breakfast. Breakfast is an easy meal to start with if you are looking to get away from processed foods and eat cleaner. My kids like to eat cereal a lot (our faves are the Cascadian Farms line and the Nature’s Promise Raisin Bran), but I like to keep things varied and also make sure that we are getting fruits each morning with breakfast.

I kept seeing overnight oats EVERYWHERE on Pinterest for a while, and I decided that it was finally time to give them a go. Seriously–it could not be any easier to do, and the boys are loving them! I went to the store and got a set of 4 small mason jars (not the traditional pint-sized ones, these have a wider bottom), which work perfectly for overnight oats.

The night before I put in a layer of uncooked oats (we use the Nature’s Promise organic quick oats). I top with a layer of fruit–it doesn’t have to be fresh, I use frozen organic berries, since they are usually less expensive.

You simply pour some milk over the top of the oats and fruit– just enough to almost cover the top layer. I then drizzle with honey or maple syrup, top, and store in the fridge overnight. The next morning, you just heat in the microwave and you’re good to go!

The best thing about overnight oats is that there are SO many different flavor combinations to try. I put together a list of my favorite recipes from Pinterest below:

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Motivational Monday ~ Girls With Sole (Helping Sex Abuse Survivors)

girls with sole

I realized I missed last week’s Motivational Monday– EEK! I’m back with it this week though, and similar to Girls on the Run, I’m highlighting a wonderful running non-profit: Girls with Sole (based in Ohio). I first read about this organization, founded in 2009, in an article in Runner’s World. The mission and vision of Girls with Sole is as follows:

Our Mission
Use free fitness and wellness programs to empower the minds, bodies and souls of girls who are at-risk or have experienced abuse of any kind.

Our Vision
Our vision is a world where every girl thinks of herself as an athlete- and is inspired and nurtured in mind, body and soul- to achieve her fullest potential and inner most success.

Running is such a therapeutic activity, and Girls with Sole helps at risk and abuse survivors heal and empower themselves through running and other fitness and wellness activities. Girls can participate in all programs free of charge, and supplies are also provided at no cost (covered by donations from the local running store and other sources).

Some of the statistics regarding young girls and abuse are shocking: “approximately 1 in 4 teens report being a victim of emotional abuse; 73% of girls in juvenile justice have experienced physical or sexual victimization; and A history of abuse is a stronger predictor of delinquency in girls than in boys.”

Helping girls to develop a better sense of self-esteem and self-confidence is crucial to helping them succeed and avoid the pitfalls that are so often the result of verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse. Please take a second and visit their website HERE. If you live in the Rocky River area of Ohio, and you would like to volunteer to help Girls With Sole, you can find information HERE or you can donate HERE.

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Favorite Things Friday ~ Baby and Toddler Gear

It’s time for another Favorite Things Friday– this time it’s a baby/toddler gear edition!

  • Simply Chickie Clothing– This ADORABLE organic baby and toddler clothing line was created by mompreneur Gwen from Newport, Rhode Island. The onesies and t-shirts are printed with really cute sayings like the one we have that says “I Toot Toot” with a little train! You can visit them online to check out their über cute microfashion!

Simply Chickie Onesie

  • Joovy Caboose VaryLight– We have been rocking the Joovy Caboose VaryLight for our afternoon walk to pick up the oldest Morrison, and I am pretty sure my 4 year-old loves it more than the baby. He loves anything purple, and the hue of this stroller is no exception (purple is my favorite color too!). The VaryLight is such a practical solution for those of you with a pre-schooler and baby. Since it’s not a side by side, you can actually fit through doors! :-) Another bonus– it has a great storage basket!

Joovy-Caboose-Varylight-side

  • Little Twig Lavender Baby Wash– I LOVE the smell of lavender, so I was super excited to test out the Little Twigs lavender baby wash. Confession: I use it myself too :-) Lavender not only smells good, its scent is calming– perfect for baby or toddler bath time!

Little Twigs Lavender Baby Wash

  • North Face Buttery Fleece Bunting– I would love to wrap myself in butter fleece when I go out, but instead the baby gets it! :-) Since Baby Morrison is so big, we had a hard time finding a bunting with fold over hems in his size. This bunting has fold over cuffs and hems, and it’s warm, but thin enough for use in the car seat. One of the best things about this bunting is that there are two zippers (on each side) that zip down to about knee-length. It’s really easy to get baby/toddler in and out of the suit—huge for those of you that have wrigglers! :-)

North Face Buttery Fleece Bunting

 

30 Something Mother Runner received a Simply Chickie onesie and Little Twig Lavender Baby Wash. All opinions and writing are 100% my own. These are products I support and have used and loved! 

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Geeking Out Over My Erin Condren Planner

A random fact about me: I sort of geek out when it comes to planners (paper AND online). My theory is that in the craziness of my life with three kids, I long for some semblance of the structure and planning I had in my former life…It’s cathartic to put things down in little slots and check them off as you go along.

Erin Condren Quick Ship Cover

So you can imagine my sheer glee when I ordered my 2015 Erin Condren life planner. Although I have tried various online planners, including my Google calendar, I just keep coming back to the paper. I have heard about the Erin Condren planners a lot lately, and I just couldn’t keep my hot little hands from getting online and ordering one for myself. If you would like to order one too, you can sign up for an account with my referral link and you will get a $10 promotional code emailed to you. Just set up the account, wait for the promotional code, and then place your order! :-)

I decided to go for the planner that I could get now and customize my cover later– the quick ship planner. My planner arrived in a beautiful box, wrapped in tissue paper, and complete with a $10 gift card for a future purchase. I unwrapped the planner and found that, as described by others, it’s a substantial planner. It’s pretty much exactly what I wanted!

Erin Condren Pocket and Zip Folder

Erin Condren Life Planner Month View

Erin Condren Life Planner Week View

I already had a multi color set of Sharpie no-bleed fine point permanent markers (some of my faves because true to fact, they don’t BLEED!). I have a color code for different members of the family, so the markers help me keep everything straight on my planner.

The planner is constructed well. I really like how the pages are reinforced with plastic near the binding, so they won’t rip out. This is a pet peeve of mine with past calendars. The coils are substantial, and I have heard from others that they don’t start to separate from the binding like other planners.

Sharpie Pens

Out of the box, the planner comes with a ruler that snaps into the planner, a vinyl zip compartment, free to/from labels, pre-printed stickers for birthdays, etc. and some blank stickers. It also comes with a forget-me-not perpetual calendar and contacts book to keep birthdays and other important dates. You can then transfer the forget-me-not calendar from this year’s planner to the next.

Forget Me Not Calendar

I paid for this planner myself, but the post does contain a referral link. If you sign up for an Erin Condren account and place an order, I get $10 in credit. :-) My suggestion is to set up the account first and wait for the coupon code email before ordering. It may take a little while for the code to arrive after account set up (I think mine took 10 minutes or so). 

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30 Something Father Figure ~ On to Next Week

I’m not gonna beat around the bush: the flu swept through my household last week, leaving no one untouched–well except for the dog. I managed to keep it at bay for the most part, but spent a few days at home taking care of the kids and not infecting my client’s offices. It was a bad week for exercise.  It happens to the best of us, but it’s still frustrating.

Bell Tower Marsh

I cancelled Friday racquetball as I had to stay in Boston to make up for lost time earlier in the week. My wife was able to get out for a few runs over the weekend, but I wasn’t up for biking in the sub-twenty degree temps. Sunday was much warmer, so I took my kids to the park/playground, and chased them all over the play structures like I was ten years old again (this is pretty standard for me). We explored some trails in the salt marsh, and generally enjoyed the unseasonal warmth and sun.

I’m playing racquetball tonight after work–definitely looking forward to a nice hour-long session on the court, I need it! Last week my friend and I worked on some more technique and talked about how to improve our skills. Racquetball is an interesting sport, because it’s so easy to learn how to play– if you have any hand-eye coordination, and ability to move, you can learn it the first time you play.

Mastering it however, is a different story. Neither of us has had any coaching or really researched how to play. We try to hit the ball so the other person can’t get to it, but inevitably it bounces right to the opponent.

We’re finally working on our technique to place the ball better. It’s fun getting to the next plateau in a sport, and it’s great that my friend and I are at the same level. I hope we don’t get too good though, because right now we get such great exercise running around the court like maniacs! Friday I should be able to play with my other friend, so I’ll be on target with two days for the week.

Bell Tower Marsh 2

I’d like this to be the week that I start the plank with my wife, and while I’m at it I want to get back into push-ups. The year before last I had a personal goal of being able to do 100 consecutive push-ups. I downloaded a simple app for my Droid that gives you a push-up schedule for the week.

Not surprisingly my interest/motivation waned after a while, but not before getting close to my goal, with 90 consecutive push-ups. That means without stopping for a break ;-) I felt pretty good about it, and I’d really like to get back at it. 

Aside from the full body workout that comes with mountain biking, I’m not doing any strength training. A friend of mine started a fitness/strength program at a local place, and said that he likes it so far – it’s early in the mornings, and of course there’s a cost involved, but I would love to get into something like that.

Otherwise it’s just so hard to find the time to self-motivate. With the push-up program, I think I can realistically get some strength workouts in during my week. It really only takes 10 minutes or so, 3 days a week. I usually alternate between a wide and narrow stance with my hands, to work the triceps and the pectorals.

Do any of you do bodyweight exercises at home? If anyone wants to start a push-up challenge, don’t be shy! I hope everyone has a good week…

 

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Sunsweet Plum Perfect Sundaes ~ A Healthy Snack for the Whole Family!


New Year’s resolutions to make healthy changes are in full swing, and everyone’s motivation is probably starting to waver a bit! It’s not always easy to make changes in your diet (or physical activity), but it’s so worth it. As a household we have been embracing a “real food challenge,” and have definitely had our own struggles making changes, especially creating healthy snacks the boys get excited about!

Sunsweet Plum Pefect Sundae

One thing I have been doing to keep everyone excited and motivated (especially the kids) is working on our food presentation and making healthier versions of their favorite treats. They love ice cream, so I have been making “sundaes” (really a healthy snack!) with plain greek yogurt and fun toppings that they have been loving. They get so excited about their “healthy dessert!”

sunsweet products

Today I am sharing a recipe for Plum Perfect Sundaes. Sunsweet Plum Amazins make the perfect “sundae” topping and they provide a great dose of fiber for everyone! The Plum Amazins have a low glycemic index and less sugar than their craisin and raisin counterparts. They provide a good dose of potassium and may play a role in building healthier bones.

Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi of Florida State University says, “Dried plums (prunes) are the most bone-friendly fruit that I have seen in decades. They are nature’s solution to maintaining good bone health.” Dr. Arjmandi hypothesizes that the many compounds and nutrients contained in prunes, such as vitamin K, potassium, copper and boron, likely work synergistically to have this positive effect. Additional research is currently being conducted to learn more about prunes and bone health.

Plum Perfect Sundae Yogurt

Sunsweet Plum Perfect Sundae Close Up

 

We have enjoyed the Plum Amazins and prunes as toppings on yogurt and cereal and as a great addition to our homemade trail mix. The Light Plum Smart juice is also a nice addition to a healthy morning breakfast.

Plum Perfect Sundaes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Plain Greek yogurt (divided)
  • 2 cups granola-- store bought or homemade (divided)
  • 4 tbsp honey (divided)
  • 1 cup Sunsweet Plum Amazins (divided)
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup of plain greek yogurt in each sundae cup. If you would like to flavor your yogurt with vanilla, mix the vanilla into the yogurt before portioning into cups.
  2. Top each sundae cup of yogurt with 1/2 cup of granola, 1/4 cup of Sunsweet Plum Amazins, and 1 tbsp of honey.
  3. After serving, mix and enjoy!
http://www.30somethingmotherrunner.com/sunsweet-plum-perfect-sundaes-healthy-snack-whole-family/

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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How to Stop Using Treats as Rewards for Kids

When we decided to take on the Real Food challenge, I had a frank discussion with both kids about how we were no longer having a “treat” after dinner every night. I was convinced that it wasn’t going to go well, especially in the case of my six and a half year old (who is obsessed with treats!).

How to Stop Using Treats as Rewards

In fact, he was a large impetus for us taking on the Real Food challenge; somewhere along the way he started fixating on a “treat” for eating a good dinner or lunch. I never restricted sweets, because I have seen what happens when you never allow them. I had this vision of my child going to a friend’s house and gorging himself on candy!

He would always ask: “Did I eat enough for a treat?” This would start about five minutes into dinner by the way. So I was pleasantly surprised when I sat him down and explained that we would be having treats only on Fridays from now on. After dinner on other days, he could have a “healthy treat.” I took a lot of care in selling the healthy treats and presenting them in an appealing fashion.

Guess what? It totally worked! The six-year-old wailed for a few minutes about the decision, but then he accepted it and moved on in the true fashion of a boy– no grudge held. Now one of the favorite healthy “treats” is plain yogurt with their choice of fruit, homemade granola, and a drizzle of honey. Check out tomorrow’s post to see what they look like! :-)

If you would also like to stop using treats as rewards, here are some suggestions for non-treat rewards:

  • Make a coupon book to give to your child with non-treat rewards like a movie date, sporting event, etc. Kids LOVE coupon books (my son got one from his kindergarten teacher last year, and it was all he talked about!). You can click HERE for a free printable booklet template.
  • 1/2 Hour Extra Time Before Bed– This one can work wonders– for the small sacrifice of an extra half hour, your child will probably do whatever you ask! ;-)
  • Favorite Dinner– This one is fun if your child has a go-to dinner meal that they always love. Allowing them to make the meal choice is empowering for them and something fun for most ages!
  • Extra computer/tablet time– This one isn’t my personal favorite, but I know it motivates A LOT of kids!
  • Box of Magic or Mystery– My first grader’s teacher does this, and the kids are beside themselves for a chance at the box of mystery. He stocks the box with small non-sweet treats like pencils, stickers, key chains, etc. as prizes for the kids. They earn tickets they can redeem towards a pull from the box of mystery.

 Do you use sweet treats as rewards? If not, what do you like to use as a reward item for your kids?

 

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Feetures Socks Giveaway!

Win Feetures Socks

I first encountered Feetures running socks through my work as an ambassador for ZOOMA Cape Cod, and I’m so glad I found them! They are super comfy and come in a variety of fun colors to match all of your running gear. I don’t like socks that come up too high, but I also HATE when they slip down into your sneakers while you are running. Thankfully I don’t have either issue when I wear Feetures socks (and the colors make me happy!)

I am super excited to share a Feetures giveaway and award two pairs of socks to one lucky 30 Something Mother Runner reader, so you can enjoy them too! If you want to get a little sneak peek into Feetures and what an AWESOME company they are, you can watch the video they put together at last year’s ZOOMA Cape Cod race.

The short movie stars my friend and fellow ambassador Nancy (you will also see Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders). We ran the race together and thankfully they didn’t catch us suffering on the hills in the second half! ;-) So grab your Feetures socks and come join us at ZOOMA Cape Cod in the fall!

To enter for your chance to win 2 pairs of Feetures socks, please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Flu Has Arrived in the Morrison Household

I knew it wouldn’t last forever…After six years, the flu has finally arrived in the Morrison household, and it’s a nasty one. My poor mother had the flu last week, not realizing that’s what it was until she was already feeling really bad. Unfortunately, my oldest likes to spend A LOT of time back in his grandmother’s apartment.

Sunday night he came down with a fever, and as of yesterday, he still had it. The poor thing was absolutely miserable–you could see it in his eyes. He had a non stop fever that would reach 102 at the end of his dosage with ibuprofen. My normally spunky and VERY energetic six-year old only wanted to lay on a couch, recliner, or in bed. Sometimes he was too tired to even open his eyes.

Thankfully he is on the mend, but now the littlest member of the family is fighting it. Ironically, my 8-month old and I were the only ones who had the flu vaccine. I spaced out on the special vaccination appointment I had made at the boys’ pediatrician. I’m not sure if it would have protected my six year-old, since it seems like it’s about 50% effective. I am not sure if my baby will get it as badly as the oldest did, hopefully not!

All I can say is that this round of the flu is particularly nasty and really leaves you wiped out. James has missed every day of school this week, and hopefully he will be able to go in tomorrow. I am crossing my fingers that my husband and I don’t get it. Our middle son had a really mild fever that went away after a day, so hopefully he’s in the clear!

I wanted to share one little tool that I found to be helpful over the last few days. It gets so confusing trying to keep track of when each member of the family last too Tylenol or Motrin, so I found this free printable medicine chart that makes it easy to keep track of when which medicine was administered. It’s helped us stay organized and on top of the meds, and hopefully it can help you too!

Have you or your family been affected by the flu yet?

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30 Something Father Figure ~ Big Ambitions

I can’t imagine what it’s like being an every day blogger, once a week is enough for me. For the record, I am classifying myself as a, “guest writer on my wife’s blog,” rather than a “blogger.” Sure blogging is something I never saw myself doing, but I believe in the purpose here. I still feel like it’s helping motivate me to exercise and keeping me accountable. 

This past week was decent in terms of meeting my hopes for working out. Friday I played racquetball with another friend, and although we didn’t have enough time for a full hour, it was good to get on the court for a second time in the week. Monday I got in a good hour or more on the court.  It looks like I can count on 2 days a week now; any more might be pushing my luck with my wife– she’s already doing a lot taking care of the boys for longer days.

A different kind of exercise...

A different kind of exercise…

Right now I like my balance of sports– racquetball requires quickness and you get a good aerobic workout; and it’s fun playing with someone else. Mountain biking is really a full-body workout, especially on the more technical trails where you have to jump over rocks and fallen trees.

The weather is up and down lately, which in southern New England means that one day it’s 1 degree and windy, the next brings freezing rain, and the next it feels like spring outside. I have the right combination of gear to mountain bike in any temps, so I got in a good hour-long ride on Sunday.

There’s something about mountain biking and skiing (woods-skiing at least), that just puts me in a great place. You’re out in the “wilderness,” and when you’re moving you are focused 100% on the task at hand: conquer the trail. No other thoughts enter your mind as you negotiate a technical line, other than how to get through safely. It’s almost like meditation in some ways.

exploring the wilderness on Cape Cod

exploring the wilderness on Cape Cod

I mentioned balance before, in terms of the type of exercise I do. I think it’s important for me to mix up the activities.  OK, I guarantee I’d never get bored skiing every day of my life, but most other workouts might get a little tiring if you never changed it up.

I’m sure this has physical benefits too, not just mental– different sports work different muscles. I’m still doing my lunges, although I’d like to be more consistent with them– say, 3 times a week.  Last week I had what I thought was a great idea: simple home exercises with my wife, after the kids are in bed (no, not that type, what kind of a blog do you think this is?)!

I was talking with someone at my son’s lacrosse practice last week and he’s been doing the “plank a day” challenge with his wife. Sounds good to me– it only takes a few minutes…perfect! Then I got more ambitious with my next idea: yoga. I’ve tried it a few times with my wife and a DVD at home.

Core strength is great for everything, especially skiing and mountain biking. Flexibility is huge too…so now the only problem is motivating ourselves to carve out the time at night.  If we can get the kids to bed earlier (something that will reap many other rewards, seeing as we’re lucky these days to get them in bed by 8:30), maybe it’s a realistic proposition.

Have you tried the Plank a Day challenge?

 

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