Summer days!

We have been soaking up the summer! I love summer – no schedules, lots of free play and unscheduled time. We are up and out at swim practice in the morning, then home for morning nap – back out to the pool, library, or a fun local hike, and then back home for afternoon nap. While we are home for naps, it is a great down time for everyone. The kids have been really enjoying reading and building legos during that time!

Loved the weather over the weekend for lots of outside time! I much prefer that to the super hot,need to be in the pool weather!

We are also enjoying our first season of summer swim team!

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Cooking has been minimal, salads, sandwiches, hotdogs, and tons of summer fruits!

What are you cooking this summer?


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Mom, I’m bored!

What can I do?? Can I do screen time?  

I was sitting at a swim meet on Tuesday morning – I was not sure what to expect so I left the rest of the kids at home.  I looked around and all of the siblings who had to come along to watch were on devices and it made me sad!  I started thinking, what did we do when WE were kids?  We used our imagination, right? We made up games to play and entertained ourselves! Our kids are missing out on being bored and using their imaginations when we hand them a phone or iPad to keep them busy.

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When I hear the “I’m bored, “I used to feel like I had to sit down and think of something to do with them, but now I give them a few ideas and they figure something out. Hide and seek, pillow fights, building legos, making a story book, coloring.  Unstructured time helps children to be creative and use their imagination. It also helps them to develop their own hobbies and passions. If children are constantly busy, their brains don’t have down time to get the creative juices flowing.  Children actually NEED to be bored.

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According to Dr. Laura Markham at Aha Parenting, Boredom also helps kids to decide how to manage their unstructured time. One of our biggest challenges as adults, and even as teenagers, is learning to manage our time well.
Nancy H. Blakey, the author of the Mudpies Activity Book series says,

“Preempt the time spent on television and organized activities and have them spend it instead on claiming their imaginations. For in the end, that is all we have. If a thing cannot be imagined first — a cake, a relationship, a cure for AIDS– it cannot be. Life is bound by what we can envision. I cannot plant imagination into my children. I can, however, provide an environment where their creativity is not just another mess to clean up but welcome evidence of grappling successfully with boredom. It is possible for boredom to deliver us to our best selves, the ones that long for risk and illumination and unspeakable beauty. If we sit still long enough, we may hear the call behind boredom. With practice, we may have the imagination to rise up from the emptiness and answer.”
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Dr. Laura Markham says, when children are bored, it is usually because:
  1. They’re so used to screen entertainment that they aren’t practiced at looking inside themselves for direction.
  2. Their time is always so structured that they aren’t used to finding fun things to do with their “free time.”
  3. They need some parental connection. All kids need to check in with their parents for refueling during the course of the day.  {Try doing 10 minutes!}

Here are 115 examples of screen-free ideas from Dr. Laura Markham:

  • Make a book of jokes
  • Make a laser obstacle course in your hall with yarn or tape
  • Build a fort with blankets and pillows
  • Write your Grandma a letter
  • Cut out paper dolls and costumes for them
  • Get a magnet and make a list of everything in your house that is magnetized
  • Get a ruler and measure things in your house, recording their length
  • Put on some music and dance
  • Wash the mirror with a sponge
  • Write down ten things you love about each person in your family to surprise them
  • Brush the dog
  • Draw a tree
  • Make a dollhouse out of cardboard
  • Learn a tongue twister
  • Make homemade ice cream in a baggie
  • Dig a hole in the back yard
  • Give the dog a bath
  • Find shapes in the clouds
  • Make paper airplanes and fly them
  • See how many times you can dribble the basketball
  • Cut a guitar out of cardboard and add rubber band strings
  • Paint a picture
  • Play capture the flag
  • Wash the car
  • Make a birthday card for the next person you know who is having a birthday
  • Plan a treasure hunt, with clues
  • Ride your bike
  • Make a scene in a cardboard box
  • Use boxes to build a castle
  • Use an eye dropper to drop vinegar tinted with food coloring onto a pie pan filled with baking soda
  • Start a journal
  • Make homemade wrapping paper
  • Mix ivory soap, kleenex and water to make clean clouds on a cookie sheet
  • Organize your room
  • Write a story
  • Create a play with costumes
  • Make paper bag puppets or sock puppets
  • Cut out pictures from magazines and make a collage
  • Use plain white paper and envelopes and decorate your own personalized stationery
  • Cut up old holiday cards and make holiday stickers for next year by coating the back with gelatin glue, let dry (dissolve 2 tsp gelatin in 5 tsp boiling water.)
  • Surprise your mom by making lunch
  • Make a zoo for your stuffed animals
  • Have a lemonade sale
  • Make & decorate a calendar of the summer, with important dates marked.
  • Put juice & cut-up fruit into ice cube trays to make ice cubes.
  • Create a family newspaper/newsletter
  • Make dessert
  • Use masking tape to make a race track for your cars all over your living room
  • Play Tag or Freeze Tag
  • Start a collection (leaves, rocks, buttons) and make a museum display
  • Hang a clothesline in your room and clip photos to it to make an album
  • Create a circus performance
  • Learn a new card game
  • Make a potion lab or pouring station outside with food coloring and containers (wear an apron!)
  • Set up a shop and be the shop keeper
  • Make your room into a rainforest
  • Make a sculpture from pretzels and peanut butter
  • Write the story of your life
  • Do a something kind for someone, in secret
  • Make an obstacle course
  • Play Simon Says
  • Bowl in your hallway with soda bottles or toilet paper tubes
  • Make a placemat (just laminate it at the local copy shop)
  • Write some limericks or haiku
  • Decorate an old teeshirt with cool buttons & fabric pens
  • Start a club
  • Make rock candy
  • Plant a terrarium
  • Make a daisy chain
  • Decorate a rock and make a house to keep it as a pet
  • Use old cardboard tubes and boxes to build a marble maze.
  • Make “funky junk” art out of old jewelry
  • Read a book
  • Make snow globes or calming jars with glycerin and glitter
  • Have a water balloon fight (outside!)
  • Memorize a poem and recite it for your parents
  • Make a boat using a plastic soda bottle base & popsicle sticks (use duct tape) for the top, then float it at the pond.
  • Draw a picture of a desert island with all the things you would want on it
  • Blindfold your sibling & take them on a tour of your house & yard, then trade places.
  • Play a board game
  • Play Mother May I
  • Make a fairy house for your garden
  • Cut out a crown, tape into a circle to fit your head and decorate
  • Create your own board game
  • See if you can draw a picture with your foot.
  • Draw on the sidewalk with chalk
  • Play hopscotch
  • Set up a restaurant and serve pretend meals
  • Play jumprope
  • Play with bubbles in the sink
  • Plant some seeds
  • Make a windsock
  • Use the hose and a tarp to make a slip and slide on your lawn
  • Paint your toenails
  • Play dodgeball with a soft ball
  • Make a curving line of dominoes and knock the first one so they fall down in a row
  • Weed the garden
  • Make puppets with old socks, buttons & markers.
  • Make a list of fun things you can do without a grownup
  • Mix liquid hand soap, cornstarch and food coloring into paint and paint the bathtub.
  • String beads to make friendship bracelets.
  • Use the hose, pvc pipe and soda bottles to construct waterways in your yard
  • Use pipe cleaners to make animals
  • Use pipe cleaners to make an indoor ring toss game
  • Use a basket and string to rig an elevator to hoist stuffed animals up your stairwell
  • String a necklace out of pasta
  • Practice kicking a soccer ball
  • On a hot day, give kids sponges and a bucket of water outside, and let them toss them to each other
  • Glue popsicle sticks together to make picture frames, decorate.
  • Make and fill a bird feeder
  • Make playdoh
  • Paint sea shells or rocks
  • Make bean bags
  • Blow bubbles
  • Give your dolls or stuffed animals a bubble bath

What do your kids do when they are bored?

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Beauty Counter

Good morning! I can’t believe July is around the corner! Our summer has been great, but busy!

A few weeks ago, one of my sister’s friends sent me a sample of Beauty Counter – mostly face goodness! It came at a perfect time because I had just had a facial that my mother in law had given me for Mother’s Day! I felt like my skin was in order and then did a beauty routine day and night and it made my skin feel great. The products are soft and pure, I really like them!

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Beauty Counter is an amazing company – they develop safe beauty products (skincare, body, hair for women, men, baby and kids). What I love is that they exclude more than 1500 ingredients linked to many health issues including cancer!   These are chemicals that shouldn’t be anywhere near us!  There is very little oversight in the US in this industry, with 11 banned ingredients.  In the European Union they have banned approximately 1,400 ingredients!  Part of Beauty Counter’s mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone, and they also advocate for better laws to protect us.  The company is in its 3rd year.

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The founder, Gregg Renfrew says:

Like many of you, I’m a wife and mom—and like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I applied sunscreen, lotion, and any number of beauty products on myself and my kids, I never thought for a second they might not be safe: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything. So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed to use known toxins—ingredients that have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, hormone disruption—without telling us.

As I learned more—1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the US will be diagnosed with cancer—I had to do something. So I started Beautycounter, a company devoted to progress. You’ll find a wealth of empowering information about ways we can all make the world healthier, along with safer products you can trust. Because we all deserve better. Our vision is bold—real answers are never timid. Help us put truth back in beauty.

Check out this video – very powerful!

With all of my learning about food and cancer, beauty products is up next.  Steering clear of cancer and cancer prevention is very important to me as it is definitely in my family, so I’m very supportive in the mission of this company.

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Right now, Beauty Counter is available through consultants, but in September, some of the products will come to Target!

Aqua/Water/Eau, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin,Glyceryl Stearate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetearyl Glucoside,Cetearyl Alcohol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, BisabololSorbitan Olivate, Panthenol, Beta-GlucanHydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Xylitol,Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol,Ethylhexylglycerin.


Have you heard of Beauty Counter or tried any of the products?

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Gut health

Scientists are finding more and more that our microbiome (the tiny creatures living in our gut) are hugely important to our health.  Bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms make up our microflora (Source).  Microflora influence our genetic expression, immune system, brain health, weight, and risk for many illnesses, including cancer.

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Over the last decade, probiotics & prebiotics have become more popular. Until a few years ago, when I was reading the book, “The Plan” by Lyn Genet, I did not know of them, but now they are a part of my daily regimen. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help aid digestion and control growth of harmful bacteria (Source). Prebiotics are digestible carbs that feed probiotics.

Probiotics live in our intestinal tract and they are key to keeping our GI system healthy.  The health of our gut is hugely important for our overall health – so probiotics have been called “the key to our immune system.”   Also in our gut, 80% of our brain hormones are made, which impacts how we feel mentally and emotionally.  They get there from foods that we eat or taking a probiotic supplement.  Any food that is cultured or fermented contains probiotics, such as unpasteurized no sugar added plain yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, aged cheese such as Parmesan or Gouda, pickled veggies such as sauerkraut & kimchi, miso, tempeh, kombucha and beer and wine. (Source).  Adding fermented foods – which can contain 100 times more probiotics than a supplement – to each meal is a great way to get that good bacteria into your body (Source). Besides keeping us regular, some of the main health benefits of probiotics are: an improved immune system, decreased inflammation, lower chances of colon cancer and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol.

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Eating a healthy and varied diet is very important because it keeps your microbiome running effectively and efficiently. Processed foods and sugars feed the bad bacteria, and antibiotics kill the good bacteria (along with the bad).  80 percent of our immune system is located in our gut, which is why our gut is the key to our health.  A strong immune system is your first defense against all sicknesses and diseases.  (Source)

A study at Duke University found that breastmilk, which is always touted for protecting newborns from illnesses, helps to normalize an infant’s microflora, which then protects against disease and developmental problems.  From this study,  “We know that babies who receive breast milk have better outcomes in many ways, and mother who breast feed also have improved health outcomes, including decreased risks of cancer. Whenever possible, promoting breast feeding is the absolute best option for mom and baby.”  It is interesting to make the connection now between breastfeeding and gut health.

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Now, on to prebiotics.  Prebiotics are food for probiotics. Most prebiotics are a form of fiber which our body does not digest, but the probiotics do. Feeding the probiotics helps them to stay at work to keep us healthy. Foods with prebiotics are: raw garlic, leek, and onions, raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw chicory root, whole wheat, fruits and vegetables and legumes.

The best way to consume probiotics and prebiotics is through food sources, but usually we fall short.  If you are looking for a probiotic supplement, it should be a refrigerated supplement with at least 20 billion cultures per capsule. Additionally, these three strains have been found to be most important: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and saccharomyces boulardii (source) but based on your health needs, you can research what strains would be most beneficial to you.

Do you take a probiotic or eat various probiotic and prebiotic foods?



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The dangers of sugar

As most of us now know, refined sugar is toxic. It helps grow cancer cells and break down our immune system. This does not mean to switch to sugar free options such as sweet n’ low, sugar free sweeteners and sugar-free foods, which are loaded with chemicals.  We will explore how to avoid the dangers of sugar without cutting out sweet foods.

What does refined sugar mean? Refined sugar is also known as white sugar. Raw sugar is processed to soften and dissolve it and take out all impurities, yielding white sugar.  Refined sugars cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. As the sugar is digested by our bodies, the sugar turns into fat, and we still feel hungry.  Other terms for refined sugar are: sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose dextrose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, cane crystals and corn sweetener.  

Refined sugar is easy to avoid once you make a habit of it.  First, read labels – you will be shocked to find where sugar is hiding. Better yet, choose foods with no labels – fruit, nuts, seeds, homemade snacks. Second, replace sugars with non-refined options.

Non refined sugars are unprocessed.  These won’t raise our blood sugar as quickly as white sugar will, and will be digested more easily by our bodies. While these are better than white sugar, you should still use sparingly. The best sugars you can consume are the sugars found naturally in fruits. Fresh fruits (not juice) contain a whole host of antioxidants and cancer fighting benefits – they are by far the best sugars you can eat!

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Dates.  Dates are a rich in vitamins and fiber. Medjool dates are the only variety that can be picked and eaten fresh.  Dates are easily digested, and the fiber helps move waste through your colon and also helps prevent LDL cholesterol absorption.  Vitamins B, A, and K are found in dates.

We love stuffing them with almond butter as a treat.

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Raw honey. Raw honey (not the golden honey you might find at the grocery store which is processed – it must be RAW) is unprocessed honey which contains enzymes, vitamins and pollen. It is anti-bacterial and rich in flavonoids and phytonutrients.

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Raw honey recipe:
I use raw honey in place of maple syrup.

Maple Syrup. Let’s be clear – I am not talking about Aunt Jemima Maple syrup which is a mixture of chemicals – this is what is also served at restaurants and definitely should be avoided:

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Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees. It has one ingredient – the sap of maple trees. It has contains zinc and manganese and contains antioxidants.

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Maple syrup recipe:

Coconut Sugar. Coconut sugar is the boiled and dehydrated sap of the coconut palm. It doesn’t raise blood sugar as quickly as white sugar and contains trace amounts of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper. Coconut sugar also provides small amounts of phytonutrients, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidin, and antioxidants.

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I replace sugar in any recipe with coconut sugar when I am baking.

Agave Nectar. Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar and has a much lower glycemic index – meaning it does not affect blood sugar as much and is much more slowly digested. It comes from the agave plant.

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Eat the rainbow! Load up on fruits & veggies!




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She is one!

That year flew by! A year ago, my baby girl was born!


She is a joy! The happiest baby! She loves grabbing her feet – happy baby pose!


The kids fight over who gets to go see her first when she wakes up in the morning and from her nap, they love her so much!

She started walking last weekend, and has taken off since then:)

Wake up time at 630/7 am, with 2 naps – 9 and 2pm. Bedtime around 730/8 typically.

A brief summary ~


Dear Katelyn, 

You make me smile and laugh everyday. I love your smile and babbles. I love giving you kisses, tickles, raspberries, and making you laugh. I love holding you and watching you learn! I wish I could freeze you at this age:)

This is a bittersweet milestone. I LOVE this age. She is adorable, learning new things and repeating things everyday. She’ll pick up a brush and brush her hair. Watching everything, listening, and learning. I love it!

I stopped nursing just this week! I was nursing only in the morning, I dropped the night time feeding a couple of weeks ago. I had a week of hormonal drama, but I think I’m back to speed at this point!  The end of nursing is bittersweet too!  A bit more freedom but less connection – and she’s my last one!  I am giving tons of kisses and enjoying the moments! I kind of want to go back and start all over again becoming a mom knowing what I know now and most especially how time flies:)

Happy Birthday to my baby!!

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I haven’t had a chance to post very much lately, but keep reading and following, I will continue to add meaningful content as I continue to learn and share!






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Happy National Running Day!

The first Wednesday in June is always National Running Day, and that falls today!
Happy June! I love that Laura posted a survey and I’m following her lead!

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Why do you run?

I haven’t been running as much as in the past, but I still love running and plan to get back into the racing scene.  Running gives me an endorphin high, makes me feel strong and fit, and allows me to clear my head!  I also love running to explore new places.

How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

I plan to get in a short run today with the kiddos! I love that they are old enough to run short distances with me now too!
How many miles do you run each week? 

I probably run about 10 miles a week, if that! I used to run at least 30 miles a week!



Do you track your runs? If so what do you use?

I use Map My Run if I want to know distance, but mostly, I just run.


Who is your favorite running partner?

My sister!

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What is your favorite race?

By far the Broad Street Run! 10 miler.


If you have to give someone who wants to start running one piece of advice about running, what would it be?


Get the right shoes!

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Also today, you can save on Rock n’ Roll races! Registration for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon is $59 today. Additionally, a fun run will be held at Fairmount Running Company at 6:30pm (2023 Fairmount Ave). Have a great running day!


Pick a question and tell me a bit about your running journey so far this year!


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