Having fun being active with prAna

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Disclaimer: I was provided clothing from prAna thanks to my association with Fit Approach. All opinions are my own :)

I love exercise clothes and frankly, I own a lot of them; BUT, you can never have enough ;). When I was offered the opportunity to try some clothing from prAna, I was over the moon.

I have always been curious to try their clothes. As the daughter of a naturalist, I do my best to buy environmentally friendly products. Not only does prAna use recycled and responsibly sourced materials, they treat their employees well. They are constantly evolving and working to protect the environment while providing an amazing product.

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The hardest part was selecting clothes to try. I could have used everything!!

I decided to go all in when trying their clothes. Of course, I wanted something I could wear for yoga, running and power classes. It also seemed like a good opportunity to try something new.

Speaking of new….I’m working on my headstand ;)

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Leggings were pretty far out of my comfort zone, but as the last person to the leggings party – I gave them a try. I love them!! I was nervous about unflattering lines and maybe a little cellulite showing its face. Not with the prism leggings! They were snug enough to keep everything in place while being easy to move in. The seams are perfect, creating a flattering silhouette! I am very picky about my bottoms and plan on buying more of these leggings :)

I’ve worn the leggings for all styles of fitness as well as running errands and getting the kids where they need to be. I didn’t run outside in them as capri season has passed here, but I’m looking forward to trying them in the spring.

For a top, I selected the Phoebe top. This fell right in my comfort zone – only so many risks at once ;). I wish you could feel the material through the screen, it is so soft and amazing! The design couldn’t be more flattering and all of the colors are beautiful.

I’ve been asked a lot about sizing from my students. In my opinion they run true to size. I’m always nervous about buying fitness clothes. It seems more often than not, I have to go up a size. This was not true with prAna. I looked closely at the sizing guide and double checked my hip width. The guide was spot on.

I love finding good, responsible companies that provide durable, stylish clothes that I can wear to work (exercise in) and run errands, grab lunch or whatever in the same clothes. I am definitely planning on adding more of their clothes from the early winter collection (hint, hint for those looking for gift ideas ;))

Know someone who loves exercise clothes as much as I do (maybe even you?)? You can use this discount code, pspf14smd, to receive 15% off your entire purchase! How fun is that?!?! Happy shopping and have fun being active!!!

Have you tried PrAna? What’s your favorite piece? Do you like leggings?

Simply Kid Chefs: Baked penne with fennel

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Our oldest was up and yet again he chose a yummy, comfort meal. Originally, he wanted to try another mix and match recipe but he came across this baked penne with fennel recipe from our cookbook and decided to give it a go.

He is becoming quite the pro in the kitchen! I still help with some of the cutting and keep a very close eye, but he is doing most of the work. His confidence continues to increase and he’s definitely enjoying the independence!

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I love his expression squeezing the tomato ;)

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Here’s the recipe from the Food Network:

Ingredients
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
1/2 pound pancetta, trimmed of excess fat and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 28 -ounce can whole plum tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces penne
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
1 3/4 cups grated fontina cheese (about 6 ounces)

Directions
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until the fat renders, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour off the fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan. Add the onion and fennel and cook until the fennel is soft, about 5 minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the pan with your hands, then pour in the juices from the can and bring to a simmer. Fill the empty can with 1/2 cup of the boiling water and add to the sauce. Stir in the cream and simmer while you cook the pasta.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce. Stir in the basil and 1/2 cup parmesan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and toss.

Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer the pasta, mozzarella, fontina and the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan in the dish, alternating pasta and cheese. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake, uncovered, until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 757; Fat 45 g (Saturated 22 g); Cholesterol 117 mg; Sodium 939 mg; Carbohydrate 56 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 33 g

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/baked-penne-with-fennel-recipe.html?oc=linkback

The meal was a big hit. Even our youngest ate it – he’s anti-pasta but pro-cheese ;). Our youngest picked out a piece of fennel and asked what it was. I told him and he tried it. Turns out, he loved it and kept picking it out of the dish to eat. It is pretty tasty!

Clearly, not the healthiest meal, but there are plenty of ways to cutback. You could use less heavy cream or just use mozzarella cheese. We made the recipe as is and chose to eat light, healthy meals for the remainder of the week. It’s really about what works for you :)

Have you tried fennel? What’s your favorite way to use it? How do you feel about squeezing tomatoes into a dish?

Letting fear create procrastination

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I am the queen of procrastination! Often, it seems that I work better under pressure – or so I tell myself. Homework and studying was always last minute. Now, it’s more about cleaning before company – I think most moms agree this one makes sense when the kids are around ;)

A few weeks ago, I was presented the opportunity to apply for a new teaching position. I jumped into action sending off my info and following up as necessary. Then, I needed to do a few things before an online interview. Enter procrastination.

I found many reasons to be busy and not get the last step done. All of a sudden the deadline was looming. I needed to decide if fear of failure was going to keep me from trying. After talking it over with a few people – I went all in.

Thankfully, I went running before my interview and didn’t have time to overthink it. I set up my space and decided to go for it. The reward? I was accepted as an instructor for Wello.com!! You can find my profile here :)

I am pretty excited to move forward with Wello and see what I can offer the online community. Teaching is one of my favorite activities and now I can hopefully do more of it!

If that wasn’t enough, I decided if I was going to stop fear from holding me back; I needed to take the next step with my blog and took it to being self hosted. Hopefully, you haven’t noticed ;) I am excited to learn more about the backend of blogging and seek out more opportunities.

It’s time to take the next step and keep moving forward!

Do you procrastinate? Have you taken any risks lately that worked out? What challenge are you working towards?

Simply Kid Chefs: Cheese and Onion Enchiladas

IMG_1191.JPGOver the summer, our youngest enjoyed borrowing the Hank Zipzer books from the library. Imagine his surprise that Holy Enchilada included a recipe at the end of the book. He knew he would want to try it but the book needed to be returned. We decided to take pictures of the recipe for future use.

He has been deciding when he wanted to try it and this week was it! The ingredient list was nice and small, making the young shopper quite happy. The recipe was pretty simple and he could do most of it himself. We decided to make up a Southwestern salad to go with the enchiladas.

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The chef did everything (with very heavy supervision)! I held the items being cut and kept a very close eye/hand with the knife. He was incredibly proud of himself!!

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Here are the photos of the recipe we worked with…

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It was my first time making enchilada sauce and we will definitely do it again. It was easy and everyone liked it. The recipe is easy to play with. You could easily add black beans, chicken, ground meat, etc to the meal.

Our salad had lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, defrosted fire roasted corn, avocado and green onions. We used Newman’s ranch dressing.

The entire meal was a huge success!! Both boys loved it and can’t wait to have it again :)

Have you made your own enchilada sauce? Have you taken photos of a recipe for later use?

Our time in Capri

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I traveled to Italy with my husband at the end of September. This was our first long distance, kids free trip. We’ve done a few weekends in New York City and many overnights, but it’s never involved planes or been for more than two nights.

We have traveled a bit and always walk A LOT. I packed a trusty pair of sneakers and cute shoes for the evening. Off to Naples we went!

I had heard that Naples could be a little edgy and I don’t speak the language. I decided to leave my running gear at home. Not to mention, I didn’t think I would want to run.

We arrived Sunday night at our amazing hotel. It was the rare occasion where the hotel undersold its location. We were right on the water with a pedestrian street directly in front of the hotel.
Our view…

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Being a Sunday, the Italians were all out for a stroll. All shapes, sizes, ages and family dynamics were out walking, running and riding bikes. It was fun to see a culture embrace getting out and moving together.

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As we enjoyed breakfast the next morning, we saw tons of people out running and I was actually a little jealous. I wanted to go for a run (this is definitely a new experience). Alas, I didn’t have my gear.

We ventured out for the day and walked a good portion of Naples before catching a ferry to Capri. The line for the funicular was extremely long and we decided to walk around. We saw a sign to walk up to Capri Town and decided why not. Off we went, uphill ;)

We found walking up gave us a great opportunity to stop and enjoy the view of the sea and lemon trees. We also saw cute entrances to homes. Even a cat scaling an iron gate. We were able to get a feel for the people who live between the sea and Capri Town.

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Once we reached town, we walked around and took in the beautiful scenery. After an amazing lunch, we walked around some more.

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Allowing ourselves to wander and climb some more hills. We found ourselves on the other side of the island and these amazing views.

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Eventually, we walked back downhill and went to the beach for a little while before catching our ferry back to Naples.

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Turns out I didn’t need to go running, there was plenty of exercise to be had. The ability to walk up and explore was one I don’t take for granted, but am so happy we did it.

Do you walk when you travel? What’s your favorite place to visit?

Oh October

I keep thinking, next month will be easier, it won’t be as busy. The reality – life is busy. September was the beginning of school and sports with a trip at the end of the month. October began with one trip ending and travel in the middle of the month.

November doesn’t have any travel, but the holidays are upon us. Any parent knows we are entering crunch time. All of this shows me how hard consistency in miles really is.

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Luckily, I was able to hit my goal of being consistent in October. I am pretty optimistic about November. If I can maintain my schedule while the boys are in school and know I might be shorter on miles over Thanksgiving, I should have success.

There’s even a chance I’ll log more miles in November. The key for me is to keep showing up to run with my friend. She is preparing for her first half marathon this weekend (how awesome is that?!?!) and keeps me on track.

Our runs are an appointment on my calendar. Maybe there will be more for longer distances in the future. So far, I couldn’t have predicted where my running adventure has gone and am along for the ride :)

How do the holidays affect your fitness routine? Are you consistent in your activities?

Simply Kid Chefs: Mix and Match Mac and Cheese

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Our oldest took over the kitchen this cold and stormy weekend. Seriously, it snowed! Back to cooking, he has been wanting to come up with his own creations, but still needs a little guidance in what goes together.

As we were flipping through our Food Network Magazine cookbook, we came upon the mix and match mac and cheese. Basically, they give you different types of pasta, cheeses, proteins, veggies and toppings. This is great because he had some creative control, but the ingredients all went together.

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He picked medium shells, Monterey Jack, crumbled bacon, artichokes and a toasted Parmesan topping. There were a lot of moving parts to this dinner and the chef handled them like a pro. He was able to do most of it. He needed some help cutting the artichokes and I strained the pasta; but he did everything else.

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We were a little slack on the white sauce, making it a little more liquid than creamy. Regardless, it was delicious :) The ingredients all went together well. They seemed an interesting choice by a nine year old, but he devoured it and had leftovers for lunch.

I don’t make mac and cheese very often and always stick to our family recipe when I do. It’s one of our oldest’s favorite meals so it isn’t surprising that he found a way to make it again. It was such a fun process, we’ll have to play the options a little more :)

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Do you have a favorite comfort food recipe? Have you ever tried a mix and match recipe?