Let us all have a fresh start

Hello beautiful people!


I know this is a long post but please take a moment to read it and accept and please share the challenge to see how many of us can complete it! Anyone can participate. YOU WILL THANK YOUR SELF FOR DOING IT! We always have room for improvement to better our selfs not only with our physical appearance but more importantly our mind and soul 😊


If you do accept the challenge and post pictures or updates on some days please use #healthymomchallenge #freshstartchallenge #julyfreshstart #30daychallenge

I have always been fascinated by minimalists. Those are the people that have a lifestyle of owning just the essentials, in other words living your life with only the things you need. But its truly its more than that. It is marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality. At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life. I have been “cleansing” my belongings gradually (especially my closet) in the hopes of learning and adjusting to this type of life style. I always admired people that can pack for 7 days in a carry on and look fabulous and effortless all the time. But material things are not the only things minimalist master to live without, they free their minds more, and live a much stressful life. Minimalism is not external but internal. It helps people find freedom from external clutter, it does not take the next step of helping people find freedom and unity in their heart and soul. I could write days about this and if you are interested for me to tell you more about this leave a comment below. Like I said I am not there yet but have done some research and wish to achieve this goal. I am starting a 30 day challenge in July and would like to invite you my dear readers to try it out with me.

One and only rule is: Do one assignment every day, it does not need to be in order. Don’t skip a day. That’s it.

You can print out here July 2015 Challenge.

July 2015

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 2 3 4
Mediated for 15 min Stay offline for one day No-complaint day Clean out your closet
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
No electronics at all. NONE Don’t wear makeup Go for a walk alone. Journal for 5-15 minutes Identify your stress triggers Clear our your drawers/junk drawers Plan a local trip
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Be grateful Clean out your makeup collection Clean your makeup brushes Clean up your social media Write down your goals Change your bedtime routine Evaluate your last 3 purchases
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Let go of something. Change your morning routine Write down your priorities   Call a family member Create a reading list Do not eat/drink anything bad today Leave this day unplanned
26 27 28 29 30 31
Reorganize a room NO social media until evening Volunteer for something Call an old friend One thing at a time
  1. Meditate for 15 minutes I have mentioned that I have stated meditation after my car accident. I use the app HeadSpace on my iPhone. It is simple to use and it truly does help. I have been doing it for 5 minutes daily but will need to squeeze and extra 10 minutes and do it for 15. I find it very helpful.
  2. Stay offline for one day On our recent vacation I did not have wifi in our room, I did not want to purchase it so that we did not log online. Many of us spend more time looking down into our phones rather than the world around us. I was offline couple of day. I spent 2 days of 5 minute quick message checking from family at home and just to say we are ok and check on them. Other than that 7 days offline and nothing changed….I mean absolutely nothing. Everything was still the same. You will not miss anything but will rest your eyes and brain from social media drama.
  3. No-Complaint day This day try not to complain at all. Complaining is never productive. Complaining makes our thoughts even more negative which hurts us and the people that are listening to us. It’s a ripple effect. If you find your self complaining simply think of another way to solve the problem or let it go. Ask people that are around you if you are complaining to stop you, sometimes we don’t even know when we are doing it.
  4. Clean out your closets Clean out your wardrobe closet and any other closet you have time to clean J. For your clothes start by picking 10 pieces you absolutely could not be without. Look at it this way, if you had to evacuate your house quickly pick 10 items you absolutely must have and put those aside. Rest of the clothes sort them out and really think about when was the last time you wore them and if you really will wear it. Donate the clothes if you have not worn it in the last year because you simply will not wear it.
  5. No electronics at all Today the challenge is not to have any electronics at all. No tv, no phone or phone camera and no computer. Tell your family that you will not be reachable unless it’s an emergency not to call you. Go out with your spouse and family and do something fun, go to the pool, park, ice cream shop, anything. You do not have take pictures of this either to post online, just simply ENJOY it your self.
  6. Do not wear make up This is totally a challenge for me because of having really bad adult acne skin issues but I will be a trooper and do it J We may discover many of the products we usually plaster on in daily we actually do not need.
  7. Go for a walk alone I do this often and I enjoy it. Take a walk alone, you can do it during lunch or before work even after work if you can find time. You can listen to music but do not browse or talk on your phone. This is to clear your mind.
  8. Journal for 5-15 minutes Writing things down is very therapeutic. I always joke that people that over share personal info on social media should get a journal but in all honesty it is really true. Personal stuff should be kept personal, if you are frustrated, happy or sad you should put the pen to paper and see how much better you will feel afterwards. I highly recommend this five minute journal that has been put together by Alex Ikonn over at FiveMinuteJournal. It is brilliant and easy and you will find a lot of positivity out of it.
  9. Identify your stress Pinpoint your stress. Try taking notes of your stress levels and activities throughout your day, then read the notes and try to think about what you could do to prevent and counteract them in the future. For example, if you are stressed out because of traffic every day simply understand that it is something you can not change unless you can change your route. Instead try to listen to music, jam out to your favorite songs or listen to an audio book. It’s not worth the stress or negative thoughts about something that can not be changed.
  10. Clean out your junk drawers, dresser drawers or any other drawers J Just clean it all out, its called junk drawer for a reason. De-clutter your home and keep only the necessary things. You will find that most of the time we do not even open these drawers, we just do not need or use things out of them. CLEAN THEM OUT.
  11. Plan a local trip Plan an all day trip to a place you usually would not find your self going to. For example if you are not nature lover plan a trip to a state park. I promise you that you will find at least one thing that you enjoy…a view, a waterfall, people watching…
  12. Be grateful Be mindful and appreciate the little things (and big) that are already part of your life. Do not be consumed by social pressure of what you need to have. There are many people that do not even have clean water so I am sure whatever situation you are in is better than some. Be happy, be thankful, and be humble. Write a list of everything or anyone you are grateful for.
  13. Clean out your make up collection Now ladies, we all have those 5 things we probably use daily (foundation, bronzer/blush, eyeliner and mascara…maybe a lipstick or two). Do we really need 500 eye shadows??? Natural is the best. Buy a palate that works for your complexation and eye color, everything else is unnecessary junk.
  14. Clean your make up brushes Your brushes should be cleaned technically after every use but I know none of us really do. I soak then take my brushes into the shower with me once a week and give them a deep clean (hair wash). Its pointless to use expensive makeup and creams for our face and plaster it on with overgrowth of bacteria on our brushes.
  15. Clean up social media How many of you actually know your friends on social media? Be a little more selective on who you follow and who you allow to see your pages and your personal pictures. Do you really need to be friends with friend of a friend, or people you have not seen or spoken to in years?
  16. Write down your goals Do you have any personal goal or family goals you would like to achieve? Write them down, discuss them and actually take action in achieving them.
  17. Change your bedtime routine Change something about your bedtime routine. Prepare your lunch or meals for the next day so morning routine is smoother. Have cup of calming tea before bed, instead of browsing your tablet or your phone listen to relaxing music. Read a book, or read a book to your child. Have a pillow talk with your spouse.
  18. Evaluate your last 3 purchases We are all guilty of mindless spending. Think about your last 3 purchases and think about how useful they turned out to be. Learning to only buy necessary things is the key to living a simpler life.
  19. Let go of something
    Letting go of something is hard, but sometimes holding on to something is even harder. Think about something you are holding on to and then free your self.
  20. Change your morning routine
    Instead of immediately checking your email or social media, meditate workout or journal.
  21. Write down your priorities Write down your priorities in life and evaluate. Take a really close look and see if your priorities are in order, maybe discuss it with your spouse or loved one and you never know some priorities may change for the better.
  22. Call a family member Call a family member that you have not spoken to in a while. Family is very important and talking to a cousin or aunt/uncle you have not spoken to in a while may just be what your soul needs.
  23. Create a reading list Create a reading list even if you are not a reader. Start at least one book and read half way through it before you quits, there is high chance you will continue to read the book and enjoy it.
  24. Do not eat or drink anything bad for a day Today’s challenge is to have a completely clean day. You can not drink anything artificial, you can have water, coffee or tea. No artificial sugar, fast food, eating out or prepackaged. At the end of the day you will realize that today you probably had much more energy and focus than on days you are not eating clean.
  25. Leave this day unplanned For once leave Saturday unplanned. Do not plan anything ahead and just see what the day brings with your family.
  26. Reorganize a room Spruce up a room in your home, maybe your family room or bedroom. De-clutter and rearrange furniture if possible. Sometimes the change is very welcome and creates a more relaxing environment. If most of your surface space is covered evaluate if you really need everything in the room and clear it out, I promise you less is more. Change up the room colors, try to find a color palate that is relaxing for you.
  27. No social media until evening Another great day to be social media free. Today instead of spending time on social media to see what your friends are up to maybe call them (not text) and meet up for coffee, lunch or dinner. Be social in real life. You may not even feel the need to check it at night.
  28. Volunteer With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Volunteering with your kids is even more fun. Children watch everything you do and I have posted about this before. By giving back to the community, you show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help others.
  29. Call an old friend A lot of us like to communicate through social media and text messages that we have forgotten what our friends sound like. Sometimes you just need to hear your friend’s voice, kind words and a smile. Some time catching up will bring up old memories and leave you both in a good mood.
  30. One thing at a time Our lives are so busy, from the moments our alarm goes off to the moment we go to bed we are constantly multi tasking. I challenge you to practice doing one task at a time. Take a breather. Do not move onto the to the next task or even think about it until the first one is completed. This alone will reduce a great amount of stress.
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Things I wish I did differently my first pregnancy

Hello beautiful people!!!

I though I could share with you things I wish I had done and knew differently during my first pregnancy. Some of you may be able to relate and those that have not had kids yet will hopefully take something from this post.

My oldest son is 8, he will be 9 in November. I was 19 when I got pregnant with him. Throughout my teen years I was always on some type of diet, unfortunately even those teen magazines put “skinny pressure” on us early on. I have a very athletic body type. No matter how little I weighed I never looked  skinny and I love that about my self now but I did not back then, so through out high school I always felt the need to diet so I can fit in with the rest of the girls. When I became pregnant shortly after getting married I used that as an excuse to eat whatever I never allowed my self to eat before.

I am 5’8 and my starting weight was 155, the day I went to deliver I was 222 even 😳 That’s 66 pounds, my 8 year old weighs that much now!!!!


I was only 5 month pregnant in that middle picture, and in that December picture above I was one month post partum. I could not recognize myself.At one point these were the pictures I would burry in a deep dark hole and never show it to anyone, but I am proud of the way I look today, I have never felt more comfortable in my body before but it took a lot of hard work and discipline to get there.

1 year after first pregnancy.


2 years after 


During my pregnancy I ate anything and everything all the time and I used my pregnancy as an excuse. I remember eating 4 honeybuns in one sitting. I had acid reflux so bad that I would vomit blood because my esophagus could not handle any more acid. Did I meantion how swollen and how much edema I had?! I went from shoe size 8 to 11 wide. I wish I knew better, I wish I would have nourished my body and my child differently. I was at such high risk for gestational diabetes and thank God I did not get to that. Luckily my son was healthy, but he was 9lb 14 oz and yes I had to have a c-section. I was so upset with my self that five months after having my son I was still 195 pounds. That’s not the worst part, the worst is that I risked gestational diabetes, the extra weight put pressure on my joints and the heartburn was out of this world. I had severe leg cramps even when sleeping. Of course there are risks of complications during delivery, and like I said I ended up with a C-section. I got stretch marks not only in my belly like most people do during pregnancy, I got them all over, back of my legs, arms, thighs…everywhere. I blame my self completely, but I also blame my doctor for not putting more pressure on me and telling me the risks, he would always jokingly tell me “wooooa Maya lay off salt” and that’s it. He never mentioned that an overweight mother is more likely to give birth to a large baby with a greater risk of diabetes and obesity throughout childhood. That would have scared me enough to be more careful. So I am using my self as your PSA…be healthy all the time but be even more careful what you put in your body during the time you are nurturing and growing another human being. “Eating for two” is a LIE, you are eating for your self and a pea size that will slowly grow and get enough from what you eat for ONE. Feed your self with quality not quantity.

It took me a year and a lot of visits to the gym…no really A LOT, to loose the weight I gained. It was torture. I had to retrain my MIND (yes this is the hardest part to train) to learn to eat healthy. Not diet by eating nothing but salads and sandpaper lol but eat clean and nutritional meals. My second pregnancy I was much more educated, and was much more careful. I only gained 29 pounds, and I had no side effects of pregnancy other than the belly to show for it 🙂 I ran in my first trimester, and most of second, then I had to stop because my bladder could not handle it 🙂 There are pleanty of websites, apps and resources that can help you with this. My favorite one that I used a lot was Fit Pregnancy.

December 2014

Please do not get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with gaining weight during pregnancy. It is ABSOLUTELY normal, but the normal weight to gain is 25-30 pounds. There is nothing wrong with stretchmark’s either. I call them my souvenirs from pregnancy 🙂 Most of us can not avoid them and some of you lovely ladies are blessed to not have them. However, its it important to take care of YOURSELF and the BABY in the best possible way. We may enjoy the junk food at the moment but the reality that hits us later is just not worth the temporary indulgence. There are many delicious meals and desserts that you can eat that are still clean and healthy you just have to put the work in to fix them for your self. YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILD.

              The day of my wedding 09/2005                                         My anniversary 09/2013  
                        2006                                       2012                                             2015

Leftover Quinoa Pasta

Hello Beautiful people!

As some of you know I made stewed meat and quinoa pasta for dinner last night, as usual I cooked more than enough pasta so this is what I do with leftover pasta because we do not throw away food much less quinoa pasta lol 😁😁😃

I had about a cup of elbow pasta left over.   

I decided to add

1/2 avocado

1/2 diced tomatoe

2 small balls of mozzarella diced

1 can of tuna drained 

1 teaspoon of my homemade mayo (you can skip this step) 

Salt and pepper to taste. 

  

Cooking ahead

Hello beautiful people!

I’d like to share how I cook ahead for a couple of days. I plan a few meals that would have the same main ingredient than add to that main ingredient to make different meals. It cuts a lot of cooking and prepping time and dinner is ready in 30 minutes or less. In this case I used stew meat. This particular meat I buy at Aldi it barely has any fat on it and when cooked its so tender. I buy two packages.

Sunday night prep

1 large or 2 small vidalia onions
2-3 cloves of freshly minced garlic
1 large carrot sliced
handful of fresh parsley diced

Sauté on olive oil, add washed and dried meat (I dice it even smaller if the cubes are big).
Season with you favorite seasoning I just used salt and pepper.
Once you brown the meat lower the temperature to the lowest, cover and let it simmer in its own juices for 30-45 minutes 🙂



Cool it to room temp and put in fridge to use for next day.

Day 1
Brussels Potatoes Soup
Use 1/4 of your meat for this, because its a soup you do not need that much.
2 cups of washed Brussels
2 large potatoes peeled and cut into big cubes
Warm up your meat then add Brussels and potatoes. Add 2 cups of organic vegetable stock and 1 cup of water. Salt, pepper, paprika, more parsley if you would like, you can add any other vegetable you like (sometimes I add peas and freshly diced tomatoes). Bring to boil then lower temp to lowest and let look for 30 minutes.

Day 2

Beef Stew
Warm up the beef on medium temp.
Finely dice one tomatoes and add to meat and simmer on low.
Add one tablespoon of flour and stir then add 1 cups of vegetable broth. Season with paprika, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.I serve this with rice or Quinoa pasta.

  
  
Enjoy! 

Maya

Bouncing back to normal after vacation

Hello beautiful people! Mi gente!

We just came back from a wonderful family vacation. We spent a week in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. We stayed in the beautiful Grand Riviera Princess. The weather was mostly perfect except a few days of short showers and the last day it was raining all day.

For many people, a vacation is like a trip into space, at least for me it is. 🙂 The blastoff takes place once you book your vacation and days of careful planning. Then a few days of serenity and peace are followed by a harrowing re-entry to the real world. But with a bit of planning, you may find that you actually did get some rest on vacation and you are ready to resume your regular life again. (As I mentioned before I plan everything lol)


(Some pictures from our vacation, our oldest child is spending the summer in Europe with our family)

I am a morning person and while on vacation especially when I am well rested my body just wakes up early. Every morning I would wake at 6:30 to 7:00 am. It was perfect for morning runs on the beach. This gives me time to my self while my boys sleep in 🙂 Its just a nice and early morning breather.


My one and only rule is to leave your self at least one rest day post vacation. This day allows you to rest from travel and restock your house with groceries, even do some laundry maybe. If you are a drinker and plan on drinking on vacation I would cut it very short or completely the last day of vacation and hydrate with a lot of water that will detox your body at least a little and give you more energy. As soon as we got home the next day I got laundry out of the way. I find it if it’s hanging around it is only adding more on my to do list and God knows those of us that have to go back to work have already a lot to catch up on and adjust back to, having heaps of laundry when you come back from work simply sucks. On that off day I also meal prepped and even cooked some food for the few days ahead. I try to have nothing to do when I get home from work that first week, other than relax, get back into my workout routine and play with the kiddos.

 If you have been eating more than you usually do or consuming alcohol I would recommend a detox. There are plenty of recipes out there you can look up on Pinterest but my favorite one is lemon water (with a lot of lemon slices) through out the day, I even add matcha, and detox tea at night.

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer so far and have vacations or staycations planned ahead to just take a few days to kick back and relax. If you are not traveling anywhere do some research there are plenty of things around your town to do and I am sure some are free too just like here in HOT HOT Gerogia.

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Roasted Garlic Brussel Sprouts 

Hello beautiful people! 

I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe that tastes delicious. My family is big on protein loading aka chicken and steak (especially hubby) so i always want to make awesome side dishes that are not high in carbs especially for dinner. Here is a easy one….

  
1-2 pounds of brussel sprouts washed then sliced in half. 

   
 

1/4 cup of olive oil. Freshly minced garlic (I used 2 cloves). Salt, pepper and paprika to taste. 

  

Toss all ingredients well and spread it on a baking sheet that’s sprayed with non stick spray.

  
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35 minutes. Turn Brussels with wooden spoon couple of times through baking. 

If you would like you. An top it with shredded Parmesan cheese when serving. 

Enjoy.
💜 Maya 

When Traveling with kids…

Hello beautiful people!

With school out and summer vacations in full gear I thought I’d share few tips when traveling with kids. We have had quite some traveling under our belt since our 8 years old was an infant and I think by now I have it figured out lol. (I think) If anyone has additional ideas feel free to add in the comments below 🙂

First thing I pack is medicine aka Emegency Kit.

1. Advil or Motrin
2. Benadryl (I would also bring EpiPen if you or your children have severe allergies. or asthma inhalers.)
3. Pepto-Bismol  (not on picture but Dramamine is highly recommended for motion sickness/nausea)
4. Anti-Diarrheal medicine (trust me you never know when you will need this)
5.  Alcohol wipes, Band-Aids, Neosporin
6. Vaseline (I use it for minor burns, blisters if you are walking a lot on vacay :-), dry skin)
7. Silverdene cream- this is a sulfa antibiotic. This is amazing for burns. Accidents happen, and this is a life saver if you get a burn. Last year one of my boys got bad sunburn on his shoulders, I mean bad! We used this on his shoulders.
8. I also keep a finger splint there.

Of course bring medicine for you if you take any.

CAR TRAVEL

If you are traveling by car depending on the ages of your children I recommend bringing some type of entertainment. DVD players, coloring books, or do good ol’ car games. Packing a new toy the children have not seen yet is always good entertainment.  I would also pack snacks (NO SUGAR) and water in a little cooler and keep in the car so you do not have to stop every time someone is hungry.

PLANE TRAVEL

Pack your documents/ flight tickets ahead of time and double check expiration dates on documents. Do you best to pack everything ahead of time so that you are not frazzled the day of you trip. I have learned from experience that our moods rub off on our children 🙂 If we are stressed they will be stressed too. Prepare flight entertainment just like you would for your car trip. For babies I always make sure that they have their pacifier or a sippy cup / bottle at take off, it helps with their ears. Also, our pediatrician has always recommended giving our kids Benadryl (dosage appropriate for age/weight) before take off if the trip is longer. Check with your pediatrician or advice nurse. It helps tremendously with decongestion (and of course some kids sleep well with Benadryl and that’s awesome lol). If you are traveling out of country its always recommended to check your children’s immunization record and make sure they are up to date and if they need additional travel immunizations/medications. Bring copy of immunizations along. Of course you should check this for your self as well. When at the airport let them run around, watch planes take off but please be with your children at all times and keep in mind people around you. I find that this exhausts them and they are calmer on flight. If you know you have a hyper or curious child (don’t we all) when you are seated in the plane and you know that your child may have a melt down or a tantrum introduce your self to the people in front, behind and next to you. Simply say I have a little one that is flying for the first time, I am sorry if she/he has tantrums or is upset during the flight. I promise this makes a world of difference, people immediately become more understanding. One of my friends flew to Japan from USA with her daughter under 2 years of age. She actually made little goody bags with a note introducing her daughter, apologizing in advance if child screams or cries and put little mints / candy in the baggies and placed them on the seats around them.

Here is her letter.

Isn’t she creative?! I am trying to persuade her to start blogging. She currently lives in Japan, her husband is in the Navy. She is a stay at home mom and student, and she is very crafty. Her little daughter is a kids fashion model and you can check out her Instagram @AidaHilgart.

Do you guys have any tips you would like to add for easy traveling with kids? Feel free to share in comments below 🙂

Have a great day!

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