Welcome, 2016!

I’m only 12 days late, but hey, better late than…oh whatever. You get the idea.

This is me.  Ready to kick booty in 2016!

So we are back at the top of the calendar! I’m a big fan of the new year…there is always lots of anticipation and hope for the coming year ahead.  We all have intentions and goals we’d like to accomplish by year’s end.  For my part, this year I have a few intentions, a few goals, but generally speaking all those things come down to maintaining a certain kind of self-discipline and achieving a “mind-over-matter” mentality.  I wanted my intentions to be honest and forward-thinking; my hope is that these goals and intentions resonate with me all year long.  That I am constantly mindful of them, mindful of the reasons why I chose them.  Here are the specifics:

  • Meditate more often.
  • As I made an investment in myself with the Tone it Up Nutrition Plan & the TIU workouts, I’d like to maintain that throughout the year.  Now more than ever I want to take care of my body.  I can already tell how much better I feel, inside and out.
  • Reach and maintain financial stability and accountability.  Where is my money going? Am I giving 10% to charities, churches, nonprofits? Am I spending frivolously? Am I saving?

So what about you? What are your goals this year? Did you make any intentions or resolutions?





Simple & Healthy Breakfast Recipes


Do you ever get stuck in a breakfast rut? Let me give you an example: say you eat a banana and a bowl of cheerios every morning for a week for breakfast. That second week comes around, and much as you love bananas and cheerios, they start to taste, well, not as good as they used to.  Yup. Breakfast rut.  This has happened to me on numerous occasions, and for multiple reasons: maybe I wasn’t giving myself enough time to prepare something else besides cereal, or maybe I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand for, say, a smoothie.  In any case, it was an annoying problem that didn’t start to turn around until I decided I had to cut down on my refined sugar intake.  That really forced me to make breakfast a priority and also to create a variety in what I was eating every morning.  I had to ditch my morning bagel and cream cheese routine.   Here are three of my go-to recipes for the most important meal of the day. Bon appetit! 

  1. Mini Egg “Souffles”

These are great to prepare on a Sunday for the rest of the week:

What you’ll need:

  • a muffin pan
  • cooking spray (I like coconut oil spray)
  • 5-6 eggs
  • a splash of milk
  • chopped spinach or kale
  • one tomato, chopped
  • ¼ cup mild cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 375°.  Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl.  Add a splash of milk to the eggs. Next, add all your veggies and cheese.  Feel free to modify what you put into your mini souffles.  Whatever vegetables you like to add to an omelet are all good choices for this recipe.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.  Next, spray your muffin pan with cooking spray.  Fill each cup 1/3 of the way up with your egg mixture.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.  Let them cool, then place in a storage containers and refridgerate for the week ahead.

2. Simple Fruity Green Smoothie

I like to add Perfect Fit protein to these after my morning workout. Smoothies are also a wonderful and simple way to add greens to your life, especially if you’re not a fan.

What you’ll need:

  • A blender
  • 1 cup raw spinach leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup mango (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ ripe banana (add the whole banana if you’re so inclined.)

How to make it:

Add water and spinach and blend together until well combined.  Then, add banana and mangoes to the green mixture and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

3.  Open Face Green Egg on Toast

A super fast, protein-packed breakfast that will definitely fill you up. Goes great with a cup of coffee. (Ok, what breakfast doesn’t???)

What you’ll need:

  • toaster & microwave
  • two slices of Ezekiel Sprouted Grains bread (or your favorite whole grain bread)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ ripe avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Whisk your egg with some milk and salt and pepper in a small microwaveable bowl.  Cook it in the microwave for about a minute.  While cooking, toast your bread.  Spread the avocado on one side of each toast slice.  Then, cut your “scrambled” egg in half and lay the halves on  each slice of toast.  Boom.

What healthy breakfast recipes are you trying out right now? Please share and have a great rest of the week!

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Easy weeknight dinner: Salmon “burgers”


My husband wanted something “light” yesterday so I modified a recipe I found online and came up with these tasty salmon patties.  This is a simple, satisfying, and very healthy recipe for those of you who enjoy salmon with a twist.


Serve with a light dijon dressing if so desired.  You can make your own using this easy recipe: In a bowl whisk together: 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, 2-3 pressed cloves garlic, 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp of pepper, 1/8 cup of olive oil and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice.

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Front Porch Decor DIY

Good sunny Sunday morning, beauties.  What fun weekend things have you been up to? Here in CLE, the weather has been mild–it doesn’t feel like Christmas! But we’ve been able to play outside and work on a few things here and there that we wouldn’t normally be able to do at this time of year.  Our little guy loves it! He’s such an outdoor person…ALWAYS wants to run around and play outside.

Anyway, yesterday I took a trip to World Market–one of my top five favorite stores–and got some things to put together a little outdoor porch decor for Christmas.  What do you think?  I love me some sparkly pine cones and woodsy signage.


The pine cones came from Marshalls, and I had the ornaments on hand.  The wire baskets ($7.99) and signage (regularly $14.99) came from World Market.  Signs were 30% off yesterday, so I didn’t feel so bad buying them.  Overall, I like the look of it…it’s different, you know? Not your average DIY, Pinterest porch decor.

Today, I’m working on cleaning my house (yay.) and starting to bake some Christmas cookies for the neighbors.  Rachel cleaned her closet out yesterday and sent me pics of all the clothes she is donating.  I’m feeling inspired and since the kids did a closet clean-out earlier last week, I might just do the same! Hope your Sunday is sunny, your coffee warm, and that you’re feeling inspired today!

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Friday Beauties: Finding Head Space


Happy Friday, lovelies! We made it through another week! I’m taking a deep belly breath and sighing a happy sigh. Friday is just one of my favorite days.  It is always a bit more casual & a little more fun.

So the holiday season is in full swing. And although I am pretty much done with my shopping and decorating, I’m finding that there’s always “one more thing” to accomplish, on top of my everyday things to do: go to work, take care of my home and family (which is a full time job itself,) exercise daily and eat nutritiously, pay bills, make appointments, plan ahead, aaaaahhh! So. Much. Thinking!  But I’m grateful that an acquaintance of mine introduced me to this really great guided meditation app called HeadSpace .  (Ok, so she posted something on her Instagram and I got curious…)

Anyway, the site describes it thus: “Headspace is meditation made simple. —YES! I like S I M P L E!–Learn online, when you want, wherever you are, in just 10 minutes a day.”   After doing a week’s worth of 10 minute sessions with the mellifluous Australian guide (great narrator choice!) I highly recommend checking it out.  All you need to do is download the app–I did it from the iTunes App Store…it’s free–and give yourself 10 minutes a day.  The Australian guy tells you exactly what to do; this is a form of meditation called guided meditation. And if you’ve never meditated before, this is the perfect way to begin.

So why should we try to meditate//find head space? Here’s a quick rundown of a few of the many benefits of meditation in no particular order:

If you are feeling overwhelmed 1. you’re not alone! and 2. give this easy, guided meditation a try.  Create some head space for yourself and maybe, just maybe, you’ll feel a little bit lighter, a little more joyful, and a little less stressed than you were before.  Enjoy the weekend, beauties!


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Meal Planning: Healthy Dinners 101


Let me preface this by telling you how much I loathe meal planning. To be more specific, how much I loathe meal planning for my family.  I love making meals and I love planning, but I do not love meal planning for my family.    

I used to meal plan faithfully every two weeks, (because that’s how often I get paid) but I fell away from it awhile ago.  There have been lots of “What do you want for dinner?” conversations for the last six months. It has gotten old.  Almost as old as meal planning.  See paragraph 1.  Anyway, my husband and I decided that for budgeting purposes, we NEED to meal plan because it makes grocery shopping a LOT easier & more affordable if there is a specific list to follow.  When I meal plan, I’m not running to the grocery store every night grabbing this or that…instead, if I plan meals for two weeks, we can shop for two weeks’ worth of groceries.

And to that I say Ugh. And yay! I’m not a big fan of shopping in bulk, but frankly, it works for our family’s budget.  So ugh for the bulk buying, but yay for a healthy budget.  (And healthy dinners, too!)  So honestly, for the hour or so time it takes to sit down and select the 14 or so dinners, it really is worth the headache.  One hour, 14 meals, every two weeks. I CAN DO THIS!

So.  I’ve explained WHY we need meal plans.  Now I’m going to show you what works for the actual planning.

  1. You need a calendar, a pen, a piece of paper, and the wonderful internet//Pinterest//fave book of recipes to select your dinners.
  2. Think about your family’s favorites.  What dinners work for them? What events are coming up that you should plan around? Are you trying to cut out dairy or gluten? Do you want to try some vegetarian dishes? For me, I want to see my family eat less dairy and refined sugars (ie: heavy pastas and breads.) and more whole foods. So I’m incorporating menus that reflect those choices.  I also have to consider what my daughter will and won’t eat. She has certainly come a long way, but she is still picky about what she likes.
  3. Fill in the calendar dates with the meals you’ve selected.
  4. Create your shopping list from the recipes you’ve chosen.
  5. Add other miscellaneous items you might need for breakfasts, lunches, & snacks.
  6. Go shopping!  And afterward, if you’re super ambitious, do some meal prep for the week ahead. I’m not that ambitious.

FYI: We shop at Costco and Aldi.  Costco is great for organic meats, juices, and breads.  Aldi is just awesome for almost everything else and is also very affordable.  In addition, I like to shop at Trader Joe’s for specialty items.  Shopping day is tomorrow, so I’ll keep you posted on how that goes! The husband and I are really trying hard right now and in the coming year to watch our budget.  This year our spending has just gotten way out of hand.  I am hoping that this meal planning will help with our monthly grocery bill!

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Elf on the Shelf Week 1: Daily Activities

EOTS.pngThis week we are focusing on the GIVING aspects of Christmas with our Elf on the Shelf (aka Elfie.)

I’ve included scripture passages along with Elfie’s requests is you’re interested in the exact wording of Elfie’s notes.  These are definitely geared toward older children, so if you have young ones, it might be better to just do the activity with them rather then leave a note.  However, if you’re like me, you like to write everything down and have it all prepared ahead of time so there’s a PLAN.  If you are a little lost with this post, please read this and this so you know what’s up!

Monday November 30th:

Acts 20:35

“…Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Jesus wants us to know that by giving to others, we will get so much more in return…those good feelings you get when you help another person? Yes! That’s what he means! God is waiting and watching for us to always do good and to think of others before ourselves.  

Today, your mission is to prepare a bag of canned and boxed food for the needy. Leave it with me and I will take the bag to the [insert name of Food pantry or charity] for you.  You are giving someone’s family a blessing by offering some of your food to them.

Tuesday December 1st:

Philippians 2:4 “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Being a giving person means thinking of others first.  Sometimes during the holidays, people may feel alone because they are far away from their own loved ones or because their family is no longer around.  Sending them a card or calling them on the phone to ask how their day was is a wonderful way to show them that you are thinking about them.  Today I want you to send a card or call someone who you think could use a “pick-me-up.”


Wednesday December 2nd:

Proverbs 11:25 “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

Christmas is a wonderful time to visit with others and share a meal.  For today’s mission, invite someone over for dinner this weekend.  Create a special menu for the meal and let them know how much you are looking forward to seeing them.

Thursday December 3rd:

1 John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has not pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

The Christmas season can be difficult for those in need.  Many children wake up and don’t have anything under the tree.  Today is a good day to pick out 2 toys, one for a boy and one for a girl, and donate them to Toys for Tots, a toy drive by the US Marine Corps, that gives toys to needy children at Christmas time.  

Friday December 4th:

John 6:12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

Jesus teaches us not to waste our resources.  If we don’t need them anymore, that which can be reused should be.  Repurposing and recycling is also a form of giving! Let’s clean out our closets and take our gently used wares to [donation center of your choice.]

Saturday December 5th:

Your friends are coming over today! Be sure to prepare the house and meal with lots of love! In Jesus’ time, sharing a meal was a special occasion, and in fact many bible stories take place while people are eating and drinking together.  Enjoy your time together as a family and with your friends.  And great job on your missions during this week of Giving!

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