Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Simple Baby Easter Basket Fillers

I love the holidays, and I often have to hold myself back from making every holiday a spending spree.  Luckily, I have a husband who plays a good sounding board and can often let me know a reasonable price cap for a 7 month old baby who will be more interested in trying to chew the plastic green grass over what's actually in the basket.

This Easter I was challenged with keeping Emerson's Easter basket to $20.  I love a good challenge.



1. Pat the Bunny.  A classic book with touch and feel fun for baby. $6.41 on Amazon.
2. Infantino Peter Rabbit.  Good teething toy for the little one.  And it keeps with the classic bunny theme. And he rattles and jitters. $7.99 on Amazon.
3. Peter Rabbit Organics. Averaging about $1.40 each you can fill up baby's basket with healthy, and themed, foods.  I find mine at Target, of course.

Very simple.  But very cute.  What more could a 7 month ask for?

Well, maybe this 100% organic, smiling carrot teether.  But I wanted to stick to the budget. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How to workout with kids. Some tips!


You guys, I love my kids.  I love them a whole lot.  As a matter of fact the sun might as well rise and set on their gorgeous, glowing little faces.  They are my life's best work and the apples of my eye.

But, holy moly, some things can just be EASIER to do without a 4 year old, 2 year old and 7 month old, am I right?

Some of those things might include: cooking a fancy dinner (or any dinner), cleaning the house, a long car ride, a "quick" trip to Target, taking a nap, blow drying your hair, reading a book, pushing a grocery store cart, paying bills online, using the restroom, taking a picture, making an important phone call....and, yeah I will admit it, working out.

You guys, I hear it ALL the time!  "It's too hard to work out with the kids. I just don't see how I can get it done with them around all the time and ALL over me."  

You know what?  I'm not afraid to say it.  Oh, HECK yes it is easier to get the workout done without kids around.  As a matter of fact, I spend a good few minutes of everyday planning out where in the day the most opportune time is to fit in my workout where maybe even just ONE of them will be preoccupied.  

So, ok, you're right, it probably IS hard to get it done with the kids around.

But, so is...everything?  

I mean, if you were kind of chuckling along with me a few paragraphs up about the silly little things that become much bigger tasks with lots of kiddos around and you were nodding your head in agreement.... I am sure you are already a pro at finding new ways to get a lot of things done. Us moms are expert multi-taskers. 

I mean, certainly, you're still finding a way to make an occasional serious phone call, style your hair for a night out, getting the groceries you need with ALL kids in tow, figuring out how to sneak in a shower or a small project around the house. 

Right?  Life doesn't stop.

And, kids don't need to be the reason to prevent you from doing the things you need to do.  It's about being creative.  Making priorities.  Figuring out how to involve, or preoccupy, the kids so you can accomplish your daily to-do list.


So, with that being said, I will leave you with my top 7 tips for working out with kids [and not get annoyed].  (Because, that's important too!)  [And I chose 7 because that's how many legit tips I have, I didn't want to bore you with 3 pointers full of crap :P]

7. Always have sippy cups filled and a snack within their reach.  You bet those kids will ask for a snack the moment you press play.  And promptly 18 seconds later they will ask for a drink. 

6. Kids LOVE to be around you.  Especially when you're doing something as interesting as plank jacks.  Make sure the area is CLEAR of disasters.  Don't leave your purse slung over the back of a chair.  Make sure important paperwork is out of reach.  There is nothing more annoying than yelling "no! no! don't touch that!" every minute.  Skip the clutter, keep it kid friendly.

5. Contain the ones that can't be trusted.  Little Emerson loves to scoot and crawl.  She will find any little leaf on the floor or tiny piece of wrapper or plastic.  I don't let her free range it when I know I want to focus.  First of all, I don't want her to scoot under me and get crushed and I feel much better knowing exactly what she can get her hands on.

4. Let the bigger ones join in on the fun.  Jamin, my four year old, loves to try and follow along to all the different moves.  He also likes to flex and take selfies.  Go right ahead little man,-- deleting 147 (out of 150- because some are tooooo cute) selfies later is worth it to keep you busy and happy.

3. Keep it interesting with "rare" toys.  We have an art table set up in our garage with lots of cool stuff the kids don't get to play with inside.  Play-doh with all the special play-doh tools.  Paints & watercolors.  Messy arts & crafts.  The kids NEVER have anything but crayons inside.  But hey, go buckwild in the garage kids!  I really don't care if some craft paint gets on the floor and the kids are always excited to play with their special arts & crafts and other special "garage toys."

2.  I heard this advice from a friend and co-worker one time that was so valuable. She told me her mother's philosophy was always right before you need some YOU time give the kids ALL your time.  Meaning, If you know you want to work out for 30 minutes...spend the half hour before actively with your kids.  Read them some books, have them help prep dinner, get on the floor and play toys.  Being actively WITH them will actually allow you a little bit of freedom to kind of distract them shortly after to do your thing.  And it helps with that pesky mom guilt too :P

1. Have low expectations.  I once shared this personal philosophy with my sister in law once who might of thought I was crazy.  But it goes a little something like this:

Before I was married and had children I pictured a pottery barn house, priceless photos with everyone smiling, made from scratch dinners & a greenhouse (what? I don't know- but its true).

Now, I am living what is STILL my dream life as a mom....but, I can't decorate the house with anything because it is promptly broken, I love a good crockpot meal, I hope for only ONE quality family picture each holiday (and by that I mean I can see your face looking in the general direction of the camera), and I buy my herbs at the market.

It's still the good life, folks.  The best, really.

But ,I am not setting my personal standard to a pintrest-worthy-level-of-success.  I am a real momma, living in a real world.  And it's OK to not have everything sparkly clean perfect.

So, I have to remind myself to allow some grace in.  And that's all I really mean by my tongue in cheek advice about lowering expectations. Give yourself and your kids some grace.

I'm not perfect.  My house is not perfect.  My kids are not perfect.

And hey, guess what, the workout may not go as planned.  You may have to press pause to address a diaper blowout.  You may have to skip a rep to catch your kid who is tumbling over.  You may need to call a time out to offer a hug (or to tell them, again,to step AWAY from the purse!)

And that's ok.  Life happens.  Not giving something a try because it can't be done *perfectly* will hold you back on too many things.

Live and let live.

And #pressplay, it's good for you AND good for your family. < 3



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Memory Making: Annual Valentine's Day Breakfast-for-Dinner Party

This past Tuesday we invited over the grandparents to celebrate Valentine's Day with our annual Breakfast-for-Dinner-Valentine's-Day-Dinner-Party.  Phew, wordy.  But a lot of words when strung together add up to a really fun night.


My mother in law does quite a wonderful job of hosting the big holidays, so around here, we go ALL OUT for the smaller ones.

Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo....watch out, I'm coming for you.  I'm armed with my dollar store decorations and themed food.  Like, Red velvet waffles....

{recipe for red velvet Belgium waffles found here}


So, this was the THIRD year we have had this tradition and get together for Valentine's.  A little simple, and fun, menu of breakfast for dinner.  That's it.  Nothing else on the agenda except hanging out with family and eating some breakfast in the evening hours.

But...that's the fun thing about childhood... the kids are SO excited about this simple get together for days- working on their valentines, Jamin asking to wear cologne so he will be "extra handsome" (true story)and sneaking peaks into the dollar store bags to see what trinkets are hidden.... and I must admit, I love having been given the honor of helping craft their childhood memories.

What a task to be blessed with...and, well, if it means just a little food coloring to see their faces light up --  I'm happy to provide it by the gallons ;)





{I think this bacon heart won my man's heart all over again, by the way.}



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

5 days of Sugar Free!

I am happy to say I am five days into our "Breaking up with your Sweet Tooth" and I am going STRONG right along with all my challengers!

AND in 5 full days I am down about 3 pounds (with exercise 4 of the 5 days as well).  I'm holding strong to those new years resolutions!



They say it takes 21 days to form a habit and I am cruising right along to the goals I have this year.  If my challengers come out of this challenge a few pounds lighter, but more importantly, with a newly formed habit of more often than not leaving that refined sugar behind--- then this thing is a SUCCESS!

Day 1 was a breeze (isn't that always the case when you get a new program going??)  Here's some yummy steak and eggs we had over the weekend.

Day 2 I woke up with a very slight headache but as soon as I ate breakfast it was gone.  This was the day that my husband got a little bit grouchy.  I'm so happy he is on board with me, especially because it is becoming more apparent as the days go on that he is the one more addicted to sugar--so, I think he needed this challenge to break his one-candy-bar-a-day-at-work habit.  It's an amazing what things you can accomplish when you are part of a bigger team and you have others on board with you to keep you going when things get tough.  Accountability is everything, folks.

Day3 I felt like I was finding my groove.  Check out these Spinach Turkey burgers and roasted broccoli with sweet potatoes all packed up for lunch.  YUM.


Day 4 was so busy at work.  Too busy for craving sugar to be a distraction that's for sure. The trick on these kinds of days is to be prepared!  This is one of those times when mindless eating could kick in or a stress induced run to the candy jar (and when you work in schools, there are a LOT of candy jars).  But my lunches have been pre-packed with healthy lunch and snacks so I'm never left hungry and looking for a quick, impulsive fix.

And today, Day 5, I decided to try some new recipes.  I had never roasted a chicken.  And when you are off sugar you are looking for new ways to be entertained by your food!   Here I present to you a very simple- and basic- roasted chicken with lemon, garlic,thyme and basil.


5 days down, 16 more to go!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Freebie 3 Day Refresh for my next challenger!

A challenger in our "Breaking up with your Sweet Tooth" group lost SIX pounds by jumpstarting her nutrition with this little gem--- the 3 Day Refresh!

Good news because it's a healthy & natural way to detox that includes actual FOOD, jumpstarts weight loss, and helps you get control of eating habits.

Yes, please.

In honor of waking up to such good news this morning.... I want to spread the love!

The next challenger thats ready reign in their nutrition and take their fitness by the HORNS by ordering a challenge pack (workout/ shakeology of your choice) gets a FREE 3 day refresh from me to you. 

This might just be the thing that makes the difference in your life. A small decision to test out a challenge group in April 2013 TOTALLY changed mine. Make the investment in you heart emoticon

Email me (krystanymark@gmail.com) to find out more and get this Refresh!



Monday, January 26, 2015

Post Partum Weight Loss Journey

 have never been able to "snap back" from pregnancy. Im not one of those girls who has babies without a stretch mark. I don't shed the weight in two weeks or even two months. Pretty opposite actually. 
After Jamin I felt discouraged and embarrassed. I was running half marathons and losing no weight. Silly as it sounds I felt my body failed me (ridiculous thoughts looking back...come on, I grew a human!) I totally gave up and felt sorry for myself. 
After Owen, I moped for a solid YEAR before even taking action. It took time and hard work but I was finally able to shed the lingering weight from both pregnancies. I had made a decision to not give up no matter what. I revamped my diet and amped up my workouts through Beachbody programs. Finally, I was was able to go into pregnancy #3 healthy and fit. 
And I thought it would be easy this time! 
This last pregnancy with Emerson I was put on pelvic rest at 5 months. (Since when does life go exactly as planned??)
But this time I am stronger mentally. I know if I put in the work I will see results. I don't feel defeated- I feel determined. 
And guess what? I'm still 13 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight almost 6 months post partum. And that's ok. Im not racing anyone. I'm making the small choices everyday that will add up to big results. I know my body has had three babies. I know my body doesn't "snap back" without hard work. I know that I am making progress and I'm not expecting perfection. 
Not afraid or embarrassed this time. Just ready to work. If you can relate shoot me over an email (krystanymark@gmail.com). I love having company on the journey!
Ps. This is me 1 month post partum with baby #3 and TODAY. Working that pooch away!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

SAM's club epiphany!

Ok, let me be straightforward here in letting you know this post is going to be about Beachbody Coaching.

So, stop now if that's not your jam! :P

I am sure many have noticed for the last (almost) 2 years I have been blessed by this coaching opportunity more than I could have EVER imagined.  I share about it a lot of Facebook.... because how can I NOT!?  It's life changing.

What started out as a desperate desire for accountability to lose a few pounds has turned into a thriving business for me and my family.

Thursday's in Beachbody Land are a pretty wild days.  It's the day you can see how much your business is compounding and developing over time, its when you can see how the coaches on your team are growing and creating a thriving business for themselves... and it is also payday (!!!)

But, today, it was kind of a "ehhh" day.  Coming out of the holidays and finding the groove post-vacation kind of showed itself in my payday total.  I glanced at it, accepted it, and kind of chalked it up as an "off" week and went about my day.

Well, later on in the day I headed to Sam's Club (for ANOTHER box of pull-ups...come on potty training!!) and I was struck by the total of my receipt.  I recognized that number.

Totally odd, and very unlikely, my Sam's Club total was the EXACT total I earned this morning through Beachbody.

I swear to you, I spent the entire walk out to the car just in amazement staring at my cart.  I felt like I was having a "Come to Jesus" talk with myself about gratitude. I could not believe what I was so easily calling an "off" day has provided my family.

It's one thing to see a number on a screen but another thing to see it right before your eyes as something tangible (and necessary) for your family.

I am so fortunate.  So thankful.  So humbled and blessed to show that this "kind-of-weird-week" was able to provide us with--


1 box of bulk diapers
1 box of bulk pull ups
2 boxes of bulk wipes
2 Jumbo packs of laundry detergent
1 carton Blackberries
1 carton Strawberries
Bulk pack of organic chicken
1 gallon milk
1 large bag of shelled walnuts
1 case of Chobani yogurt
1 box of Gogurts for the boys
1 large bag of sweet peppers
 1 veggie tray to bring to a party this weekend
{baby not included}






And that is money we don't need to pull away from planning family trips, paying for swim lessons or savings.

This is a business that is tangible for you.  This is something that can maybe pay for your gas, maybe buy some bulk groceries,  maybe put a down payment on a home (or a brand new ear).  All you ever have to do is ask and see if it seems like a good fit- maybe it is, maybe it isn't.  But you'll never know unless you ask.

It is just AMAZING to me.  So thankful God placed me on this path and I cannot wait to see how this all plays out!