“Miss W, are you Mexican?” was one of the first questions I was asked after I started working as a social worker in a Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia. I paused and responded “What makes you ask that, D?” “Well, you are not black. Your skin is light. You have blue eyes.” He really looked confused and was really checking out my skin and my hair. “My mom and dad are both white and I am white.” D looked at me a little puzzled and said “No, Miss W, what are you?” in a joking tone. “I’m white D, I promise. What made you want to ask that?” His response has haunted me since the moment the following words left his lips “Because white people don’t come here Miss W.”
I am incapable of doing complicated things in life right now. So this easy lunch or dinner option fits in perfectly right now! Don’t let this easy option pass you by! Continue Reading
Does it ever go away? Seriously, to all the fellow baby loving, smooching, cooing, snuggling baby obsessed fellow people out there – does the baby fever ever end?
My husband left the 100 degree plus heat in Virginia and headed to Boston last Sunday and has been sleeping in a soft comfy bed without little people limbs draped over him, eating dinner with other adults and not having food thrown at him or on the floor, and likely partaking in relaxation! Sounds lovely, right? Meanwhile, me and the wild things my lovely children have been hanging out for 6 days with no daddy sweating profusely like we are in a sauna every time we step outdoors.
Since I was manning the fort all alone this week I made even easier dinners than normal. This one was a big hit for the boys and our guests for dinner that night! Try these Chicken Crescent Roll Ups if you need a new lunch, snack, or dinner rotation in the mix– I think you will enjoy as much as we did. These would be a great appetizer or easy option if your kiddos had friends over after school or you needed something filling but easy for a wine night in for girlfriends.
Chicken Crescent Roll Ups
- 1 can of Grands Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls
- Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese sticks or shredded cheese (Either will work!)
- 1-2 Chicken Breasts, thawed
- Garlic Powder
- Italian Seasoning
- Minced Onion
- 1 jar of marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 425 and cook chicken breasts per usual. I used the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and minced onion on top while cooking to add flavor. Be brave – try your own seasonings if you want! This is where you can be creative and season your chicken with your fave go to spices! I had two larger chicken breasts so I cooked 25 minutes’ total.
- Top the chicken with mozzarella cheese stick / shredded cheese. Use whichever you have on hand. I predominantly used shredded cheese but we ran out and had a few more to do so I used some mozzarella cheese sticks we had and they were just as delicious!
- Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Watch them, you don’t want the rolls to burn!
- While crescent rolls are cooking, warm marinara sauce on the stove top on low heat.
5. Serve the crescent rolls with marinara sauce available to dip in.
They are just as delicious for leftovers. The kids loved dipping their rolls into the sauce! Fun and easy to make! See ya tomorrow babe, the kids cannot wait to wipe their sticky hands all over you and welcome you back to our land mine living room of Legos, Superhero’s, and race cars!
My love of health and fitness began well, in utero. I have a journal that my mom kept daily when she was pregnant with me and often wrote about how she stayed healthy during pregnancy. I can remember bouncing and hopping along to cardio VHS tapes in the living room with my mom and doing leg lifts on the floor beside her. I lounged in the waiting area doing homework many nights while she killed it, and I mean KILLED it, at American Karate Center’s kickboxing classes and then I practiced my imitations later at home. At my dad’s house we ran at night when he got home from work or would head to American Family Fitness. Being healthy and active wasn’t ever a negotiable option for me. It was always a lifestyle that I am really blessed to have witnessed in my earliest memories. It set me up for a successful life of activity, health, and mind/body wellness and I knew no other way.
I’m competitive by nature and I get bored when I feel like I have mastered a fitness routine, machine, or workout goal. As a kid, I loved ballet, tap, jazz, cheerleading, ice skating, soccer (Total doozy my mom said I sat in the field and picked flowers the entire time) and gymnastics. Over the last 2 years, I was hearing the buzz about Pure Barre but never committed to going. I can be a creature of habit and kept going to the gym I belonged to at the time. Thankfully, social media prompted me to notice that the local Pure Barre Midlothian studio had a free weekend of classes to support Massey Cancer Center in Richmond, Virginia. I won’t lie, I was nervous! “What if I suck?” was running through my mind as my competitive and perfectionist tendencies began to solidify. But, who can say no to free? I lost my grandpa to cancer in 2016 and it truly felt like something I had to do. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I don’t know what your preconceived notions are of what goes on at Barre. Gone are the days of matching buns, leotards, and pink tights. Picturing a rail thin woman barking orders at you and correcting your plié like your first dance teacher? Scratch that. Your teacher will be friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable (and have some KILLER muscles). You’ll be lifting, tucking, and pulsing to an eclectic playlist that will change each time. You only need put on your best yoga pants, top (Sports bra too, that would be awkward if you forget that) and bring your “Best self,” water, and sticky socks!
I headed in to my first class in February 2017 and grabbed weights, a ball, and a tube and found a spot in the back crammed in among lots of other ladies. The music started and 5 minutes in I knew I was hooked. It immediately brought back my love of dance coupled with some serious, and I mean serious, arm, abs, legs, seat (fancy word for your booty!) work. Here I am 5 months later, celebrating my 100th class. Am I bored? No way – don’t have time to get bored. Too busy shaking at the barre for those last killer 10 seconds. Still unsure or hesitant?
Here are my Top 4 reasons why you should try Barre:
- You will be surrounded by BAD ASS women, excuse my language but there is no other way to capture it. I knew no one when I started. This isn’t prima donna ballet where everyone is tall, thin, and blond. You will be sweating next to women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Special shout out to the pregnant barre babes – you may be tucking and pulsing next to someone who is 30 plus weeks pregnant. They are the true MVP’s! I’ve gotten to know some really amazing and strong women and I am inspired by the teachers and their ability to push me harder every single time.
- The classes and routines are ever changing and there is no way to master it – you can always extend your leg a little straighter, lift a little higher, and pulse a little lower. This class will never get old because it keeps me fighting for better form, higher heels, and stronger muscles.
- Accountability. The Mind Body App is used to schedule and book classes. I love this aspect because I know once I hit book class that someone has seen my name pop up and I have reserved a spot. Are you someone who likes to cancel last minute on your gym partner or have to drag yourself off of your couch to make it to the gym right before they close? Having a booked class and knowing that there is a spot waiting just for me gets me up and moving at 430 am even when I am tired.
- 55 minutes just for YOU. There are no kids yelling and banging on your bedroom door while you are working out at home, body builder dudes making weird comments/noises at you to impress you, people waiting impatiently for the machine, or over packed classes with different people each time. Its 55 minutes where nothing else other than your body and mind are present. The worries, stressors, and to do lists can wait. I leave class feeling refreshed, strong, and completely prepared to kick butt and conquer the day. When you feel like stopping or quitting, you look in the mirror and you keep going. Not to impress anyone around you but for YOU.
Intrigued? Want to know more? Find your local studio and head there pronto. Try something new – branch out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I just talked you guys about how to set goals in my last post. So here is my next goal 250 classes I am coming for you. If you missed my last post on goal setting check it out here. My next goal target date is February 28, 2018 – a year from when I fell in love with barre.
XOXO from your barre loving friend,
P.S. Those little eyes are watching you. I walked in the front door yesterday morning at 630am to my 3 year old waiting at the top of the steps and saying ” You did it mama? You did the dance class today?” I let him open my gift with me and he said “WOW you got this shirt for doing 100 dance classes?” He was so excited because he sees my excitement and joy about being active. I can only hope one day my boys tell their kids about how their mom made time to be active and fit even when she was sleep deprived, exhausted, and busy because like my childhood, its just a part of what we do…..Not negotiable, not every once in a while, not a short lived phase, its our life. Pay it forward friends – its the best investment you will ever make.
We are a little over halfway through 2017, how are you doing with your goals? Did you know that only 8 percent of people meet their New Years Resolution goals? EIGHT!? Which group are you in? The 8% or the 92% who set goals and let them go somewhere along the way?
Are you happy with where you are in life: physically, mentally, financially, emotionally? If not, lets set some goals in a SMART manner and get you there! PS – have you listened to this song lately? It’s the BEST.
I am going to take a guess that if you have abandoned your goals by now it is likely due to very simple things that can be adjusted. Great news right?! I will teach you a simple acronym to use when you are setting goals: SMART!
But before you start spouting out goals sit down and take a few days, find some quiet time, and ponder: What do I want to accomplish? What is important to me? What do I want to change? Once you have those things figured out for you, goal setting will be much easier to begin. If you set goals based on society or what others want for you, you will fall into the 92% again and again.
So, if you really are ready to get goals and crush them, keep reading. If you aren’t ready to change and want to keep complaining about why you aren’t meeting your goals, save this post for when you are ready to really make a change.
S – Specific. Setting a goal of “I will go to the gym” “I will lose weight” “I will save money” are too vague.
M – Measurable. (How far, how much, how long, etc. How will you know when you meet this?) For example, I will run a half marathon in November 2017. Notice that the goal isn’t: I will run a half marathon. That’s too vague, it doesn’t put a measurable time sensitive date tied to the goal.
A – Achievable (Is this reasonable – from a physical, financial, time, etc. standpoint?) For example, I will save 20,000 dollars in my savings account in a month. Is this reasonable? Instead try: I will save 200.00 per month and put into my savings account.
R – Relevant (Is this worthwhile to your life, your happiness, your family, your overall wellness? Is this something that you are invested in to positively change your functioning?)
T – Time sensitive (Target date for completion) This is where most people really miss the mark. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they wanted to lose 40 lbs in a month, I’d be a millionaire. Then when said person doesn’t accomplish their unrealistic goal, it’s everyone’s fault but his/her own. Instead try this: I will lose 40 lbs in a year. You will set quarterly or monthly goals within the larger goal to keep motivation and focus.
Let me give you a more detailed example of a common goal set regarding weight loss.
Goal: Sarah wants to lose 20 lbs by October 2017.
-Objective 1: Sarah will exercise 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day.
-Objective 2: Sarah will only eat out once a week.
-Objective 3: Sarah will drink at least 60 ounces of water a day.
Sarah will track all of her objectives to hold herself accountable
Now, don’t just do this in your mind and think “Okay Erin I set my goal.” WRITE IT DOWN. Write it on a piece of paper on your refrigerator, write it on a piece of paper and post it at work, write it on your calendar so that it is front and center!
If you write down your goal you are 42% more likely to follow through. Want to increase that chance? Talk to a friend, family member, mentor, health coach – if you verbally tell your goal to someone else who will hold you accountable? You are 78% more likely to follow through!
Let me hear your goals!
“We need a bigger house, the boys have no room to run inside.” “We need a SUV, its packed in here.” These are frequent statements Ive made to my husband in the last year. Then I think on it a bit and I realize … No, we actually don’t NEED it. Our car has enough seating for us all to ride together. Our house has 4 bedrooms and we don’t even need 4 bedrooms right now. But its easy to get carried away with the mindset of wanting more, more, more and finding more value in material items than quality time and memories.
Ive made a lot of progress in this arena, mostly since becoming a mom, but its still really easy to slip back into that mainframe if I am not careful. If you haven’t watched the documentary about Minimalism on Netflix, I HIGHLY recommend it.
I found myself a month ago standing in our living room amongst 7 different plastic toys all singing annoying songs and sounds and my kids were nowhere to be found. It was completely a breaking point for me. Why do we accumulate so much stuff? They always go back to the same few toys regardless of what we add. So, I waited until the boys were asleep that night and I boxed up every singing toy and item that I hadn’t seen them touch and put them in the attic. Two weeks went by and they hadn’t inquired as to where the items went.
So I took it a step further and packed up all of the toys that didn’t fit into the following categories: (No-one has said a peep!)
- Nurturing Toys: Doll family, doll house, animal hospital, baby bottle, puppets, animal families, cars, money, cash, register, kitchen, grocery store, play food, medical kit, phone, etc.
- Creative Toys: Sand, water, paints, craft materials, clay/play dough, musical instruments, magic wand, dress-up clothes, etc.
- Building Toys – Legos, Lego Duplos, Lincoln Logs, Wooden Blocks, Marble Run, Potato head, etc.
- Sports items – golf clubs, football, soccer ball, frisbee, basketball, etc.
- People – dolls, superheroes, villains, etc.
- Modes of transportation – Cars, Trucks, Buses, Ambulances, Fire trucks, airplanes, military vehicles, trains, etc.
My new rule of thumb is: if it isn’t a toy that I would save for my future grandchildren, why am I buying it? This has been really helpful at our house for more focused toys and less clutter. Lets be real, they’d both be happiest outside naked, using sticks as swords and digging in the mud. So why do we spend our hard earned money on toys that will end up at Goodwill in a month or two? The problematic part of having a minimalist lifestyle with kids is parties and gifts. Family members love your kids and want to spoil them, so how do you strike a good balance between gifts and not compromising your lifestyle? (Don’t worry more to come on how we deal with this soon!)
How do you manage the stuff? Do you enjoy material items or experiences more or a balance of the two? How do you strike a balance? Would love to hear you all weigh in.
Gotta go build a castle with my demanding 3 year old. Baby bro aka Monster is knocking down the prince’s tower and its about to go WWE in here if I don’t intervene.
Erin and the rest of the Smith Potato head crew
This morning we spent time crafting our homemade Fathers Day Gifts for the 3 most special men in our life; daddy, Pawpaw, and Poppa! It was fun, easy, and we think much more special than any store bought gift!
Tis the season of children home from school and a never ending trail of hungry children to feed all day long. Instead of endless fruit snacks, candy, and chips try to exchange the processed foods for fresh and natural items that will leave those hungry hungry hippos full and energized for longer.