From the Heart Friday

On my heart today…

Sometimes we get so caught up with giving to and focusing on others that we neglect our own families. Not just the family we live with, but our siblings and our parents as well. I’m not saying that it’s not good to give or to help others, but I think it’s more important to take care of those in our family first before extending ourselves to others. Sometimes we focus so much on being ‘needed’ by others and neglect the real need for love and attention at home or within our extended families.

Our children are little for a moment…  They grow, change and move on so quickly. We get so busy with being busy… How can we love and nurture our children when we’re so focused on giving our time away to everyone else but them? I hear parents complaining about not having time – time to nap, time for ‘girls night out’, time for themselves… Here’s the thing – you chose to become a parent. When you become a parent, life changes and your precious gems rely on you. Nobody said it would be easy, yes it requires endless hours of giving of yourself to your little ones, but guess what? You chose this lifestyle, and it’s amazingly rewarding if you take time to invest and enjoy your little ones. It’s an absolute blessing to be a parent, you are raising a little life, a life that is our future generation. Love them with everything inside of you, despite how exhausted you may be!

When you nurture your relationship with your children, your children will be close to you forever.  If you didn’t have that growing up, make the conscious decision to be the parent you may not have had. My precious mother and I have a priceless relationship, and I treasure her more than anything. She sacrificed her time and her career so that my siblings and I would turn out to be decent human beings. It is the reason why I am the Mom and wife I am today, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

It saddens me to see so many families falling apart. If every family took time to nurture and build relationships with siblings, parents, in-laws, etc. despite whatever differences there might be, I believe wholeheartedly, that the world would be a better place. Relationship building begins at home… If you’re a happy family, you will share that happiness and kindness with others, for whatever is within us, usually spills out and is shared with others, wherever we go in whatever we do. When people are unhappy or insecure, it carries over into their daily lives, their jobs and their relationships with others. They are never happy or satisfied, and end up looking for attention, negative or positive, outside of the home instead of working on improving themselves and the relationships they have, with those closest to them.

I think it’s important for us to take time to stop and evaluate. Evaluate your life, your relationships, your reasons for doing what you’re doing.  How often do you call your parents or siblings to tell them you love them or miss them? They may be near or far – it doesn’t matter, they’re your family, they need to be reminded that you still think of them.

How often do you tell your spouse or your children that you love them or you’re proud of them? Not for achievements, but for being the beautiful soul they are. Are you raising your children to be kind and compassionate or are you too busy being busy to spend time with them?

How often do you turn off the phone to be present in the moment with your spouse or little ones? I see so many families going out to dinner, with each person sitting around a table staring at their phones. It’s heartbreaking! How are we raising families that care when clearly the focus is the phone, not relationship building?

We are living in a world where people are so caught up with social media and a false sense of friendship based on the number of ‘friends’ they have on Facebook. GET OFF FACEBOOK and visit your family and friends. It seems like, gone are the days when friends and family would drop in for a cup of coffee or tea, Sunday afternoons would be spent baking and playing board games, weekends would be for visiting.

This world is chaotic… Everybody wants something, but very few are willing to give of themselves selflessly. Don’t forget your family, they need you as much as everyone else if not more – you are flesh and blood. The reward of spending time with your family is far greater than that of social media likes, trophies, medals, recognition from strangers, or your name on a certificate. Those things are all frivolous… In the end, when we leave this world, we leave it all to rot and ruin… What you sow, you reap, it’s a biblical principal.

Life is short, so love unconditionally, forgive quickly, show kindness not just to outsiders or those who love you for what you give them, but to your family too. Call your parents, love your siblings, spend time with those nearest to your heart. Hold your family close, for tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

Granola Breakfast Cups

I am always looking for ideas for healthy meals and snacks for my family. Today I decided to experiment with these breakfast cups after a conversation with a fellow fitness professional. Theirs had a lot less ingredients, and I like to ‘spice’ mine up a little, so here’s my version of granola breakfast cups.

Prep Time: 10-15 Minutes

Ingredients (Makes 12 Servings)
2 1/2 Cups regular old fashioned oats
1/2 Tsp salt
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbs raw cacao nibs (I like to use the Spectrum brand mix which combines cacao, coconut and chia seeds)
1/4 Cup organic honey
2 Tbs peanut or almond butter
2 Tbs organic coconut oil
1 Organic ripe banana mashed
1 Tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine the oats, cinnamon, salt, unsweetened shredded coconut, and raw cacao nibs in a bowl.

3. Place the peanut/almond butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the mixture is bubbling. Remove the mixture from the microwave.

4. Add the mashed banana, vanilla extract and coconut oil to the peanut butter/honey mixture. Mix well.

5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon until the oats are evenly coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

6. Spray or grease a 12 cup muffin pan OR place 12 paper cupcake holders in a muffin pan. Remove the mix from the refrigerator and evenly divide the mixture into the muffin cups.

7. Press the oats into each cup so that it forms a shell. Make sure it’s even all the way around the sides, as these cups will crumble if not evenly spread.

8. Once you’ve spread the mixture evenly, place it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it as they will start to burn after 15 minutes. Cook until golden brown.

9. Remove from the oven and place each cup on a cooling rack. If you used paper cups, gently peel the paper wrapper off each cup.

10. Store the breakfast cups in an airtight container or serve once cool, with plain or flavored Greek yogurt, topped with berries or toppings of your choice. You can fill these with some of your favorite smoothie leftovers or simply serve with fresh fruit.

My kiddos absolutely LOVE these and they make a great healthy breakfast or snack!


Zesty Green Smoothie

Today was a really fun but busy day. I woke up early to get my kiddos ready for a field trip which wasn’t local, made them breakfast and got out the door as fast as I could, in order to avoid the CRAZY traffic that heads down the I80 to San Francisco… I dislike traffic and I cannot stand being late!

This morning I didn’t have time for coffee or my regular protein packed breakfast, so by lunch time, I had a pounding headache… I had stopped to grab a coffee across the street from where we were meant to be, but once I parked and got out of my car, the coffee somehow ended up all over me before I could get a sip, and unfortunately, the caffeine wasn’t absorbed by my skin… Ha ha…

We got home around 3:30pm and I needed something that would energize me. That’s when I decided to experiment and make myself a green smoothie with ginger. I needed something with a little zest!

Here’s what I put in my Ninja (YES! It was absolutely DELISH!!!)

Prep Time: 10-15 Minutes

Ingredients (Makes 3 8oz Servings)
1 Cup organic rainbow chard
1 Small piece of fresh organic ginger
1 Cup organic pineapple juice
1/2 Fresh organic lemon
1 Organic pear
1 Cup ice

*I did not peel my lemon as I’ve read online about lemon peel being a cancer fighter but you can peel it if you prefer.

Wash your chard and pat dry. Place all of your ingredients in a blender and blend well. My Ninja is pre-set for smoothies, so use your judgement. You can add more ice if you prefer – I felt like 1 cup of ice was sufficient.

Organic chard, lemon, ginger and pears
Organic pineapple juice
Place ingredients in your blender and blend well
Delicious smoothie!

My kiddos LOVED this smoothie and it’s great for the digestive tract!