April Giveaway

4a774029380dc738843e067b8861e605{Image via No Minimalist Here}

This is the way that I start most of my weeks… with a big, fat, blank menu that I scramble to fill before someone asks inevitable question, “What’s for dinner?” Then all of my anxieties start to spill over because A. I don’t have a plan. B. If I have a plan, it too closely resembles the last plan that I planned and C. Why can’t I have a planner do my planning for me?! The dinner hour looms, the kids grow hungry fangs, and next thing I know, I am pulling into the nearest drive-thru confession booth behind all of the other plan-less parents trading my procrastination for some sanity with a side of fries. Is it just me, or does the planning, coupon-matching, shopping, and cooking make you want to curl up in the fetal position under a booth at the nearest Wendy’s?

And then God said, “Let there be eMeals“!

emeals how it works

For our healthy living focus this month, eMeals is offering one lucky reader a free three-month subscription to the meal plan of their choice. To enter, follow eMeals on Facebook and leave a *comment below that includes your eating style from one of the following plan options:

  • Classic Meals
  • Clean Eating
  • Simple Gourmet
  • Paleo
  • Low Carb
  • Low Fat
  • Portion Control
  • Natural & Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian

*For extra entries, update your Facebook and Twitter status with a link to this giveaway and comment back here. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday!

Good luck and breathe easy!

Practicing Renewal

Dreams flickr photo{Dream Until Your Dreams Come True Image via Julia Davila Lampe}

Do you take daytime naps? I haven’t napped regularly since I was four, but during the Lent season, I began paying closer attention to my body’s stress signals. Around 2pm every day, I approach the “afternoon slump”. So, instead of brewing another pot of coffee, I forced myself to lie down for 30 minutes. At first, I couldn’t seem to slow my brain down enough to actually sleep. I kept thinking about the wasted time where I could be checking emails or organizing… well, surely there must be something that needs organizing. At first it took some discipline, but now, I look forward to my afternoon nap.

I recently stumbled on an article that explored the relationship between relaxation and productivity. It seems now, I don’t have to apologize for my mid-day snooze. Studies show that frequent breaks {such as 30-90 minute naps} are the most effective way to renew energy, boost productivity, and improve overall health. In other words, “The best way to get more done is to spend more time doing less”. Author, Tony Schwartz calls it “practicing renewal” which sounds so much more sophisticated than “napping” don’t you think? So if you can’t reach me between the hours of 2pm and 3pm, chances are that I am “practicing renewal”.

How do you beat the afternoon slump?

Tiptoe Topic

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How was your Easter? Ours was lively. The kids woke up at 6:30am and came barreling down the stairs asking for presents. I think kids have built-in gift radar. They tore into their Easter baskets before the sun came up. Before we got to church, they were already dozing off in the backseat from all of the early morning excitement. Needless to say it was a see-saw of delirium and melt-down for the rest of the day until they finally crashed in their beds last night.

As for my Paleo plans… at the last minute request of my Southern Sweetheart, I prepared the meal just the way he likes it– fried, creamed, and buttered. On special occasions like this, I make it a point not to deprive myself, but instead to limit myself. Fortunately, I recently stumbled on this portion control chart.

portion control chart

And i enjoyed every greasy bite.

It has taken a while to find that delicate balance of moderation when it comes to food, but I have come to believe good health is something to be enjoyed rather than to be enslaved to. Like most women, I have had a love/hate relationship with my body. I have overhauled my diet time and time again– adding this… eliminating that. It is exhausting, isn’t it?

I thought that perhaps our conversation this month might center around the idea of healthy living. Warning: I’m about to get up close and personal here. For starters, I will be sharing my weight loss story– something I don’t enjoy talking about with close friends much less making public domain. But I get asked about it a lot, so I thought I’d put all those extra pounds to good use to hopefully inspire some who might be on a weight loss journey themselves. You could make this easier on me by answering one question:

How much weight did you gain during pregnancy?

Before you unsubscribe to this blog out of sheer disgust that I would ask such a vulnerable question, know that whatever you say, I would be willing to bet the last piece of fried chicken that I had your weight gain trumped. As you will see, my two pregnancies re-defined the phrase of “invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

Let’s learn from one another on this rather sensitive topic, shall we?