New Year 2015: The Year Of ME, and Other Big Plans

2015 the year of me
Where has the time gone? I really don’t know how I have been so busy and yet told you about absolutely none of it…I’m a bad Healthy Working Mom! But, on the bright side, I have a whole years worth of great stuff to share…and I will…I promise…I really mean it this time.

So, yeah, that’s what this New Year is about. ME! “What?” you might ask…”Aren’t you supposed to be all about the kids and family and all the things a mom has to do and making sure the house is perfect and keeping fit and dieting right and wearing nice clothes and working on creating the most amazing and super model citizens there can be and…?” Well, yes. I will be doing all of that. But I will also be REALLY taking more time for myself and focussing a little less on being supermom…and I’m not capitalizing that as it is not EVER going to happen and doesn’t deserve my recognition that it is a name…(storms off in a self-indulgent huff).

Quick recap:

Button had leukemia. Button is now a five year survivor….best thing EVER EVER EVER!


Hubby and I have had MAJOR problems in terms of staying together…apparently that is what often happens after a child had a life-threatening illness. We are still together and working hard to stay that way.

Peanut made the ALL-Star team in Baseball and is now in the Babe Ruth league.

We got a new dog, Pepper. He is a rescue from a puppy mill and a real mess. But we love him. And yes, he is eating kale!

Puppy Mill Rescue Dog

Nana H is very sick with Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Myeloma. We are finding the distance between Connecticut and England so hard to cope with. We hope to visit her in the summer, but who knows if it will be possible. Perhaps two of us will go.

Both boys are at the Magnet Middle School and doing well. Button is learning to be more social but still misses a lot of school due to illness. If something is going around, he will catch it…poor kid!

And now about ME…I have a new business! I am still teaching full time but I began creating jewelry to help me stay sane during my son’s treatment. What do you know? People actually love to buy it!! I’m as surprised as you, but I decided to turn it into something that gives back to those fighting cancer. Butterfly Warriors Jewelry donates $2 of every sale to a charity (stated on the website). Button even helped me design a couple of the pieces. My work is getting increasingly popular and I LOVE what I’m doing. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I now have a focus that is productive and helps others…what a great feeling! I am not receiving help or charity…something I hated during treatment but truly appreciated. Pop on over and take a look at Butterfly Warriors Jewelry. There is a blog too! The website is very much a work in progress so if you like my jewelry but want to see more, I do have a LOT more on my ETSY site here.

bW agate necklace

What are we looking forward to this year? Well, I’m hoping we help Button cope with his emotional issues as a survivor. We have a long road to go with this but we are moving in the right direction. I will be posting about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the coming weeks.

Coping with pre-teen boys means my wisdom as a mommy has diminished somewhat. They don’t eat food anymore, just junk (my definition of junk anyway), and they have turned into lazy slobs. I will be telling you all about my mission to reclaim dominion of my household. New dishes to try, revamped schedule to keep the boys on track with their chores…all this needs to be done NOW!

Juggling a small business, family and working full time is not an easy feet. I will share my highs and lows with you along with the tips and tricks I pick up along the way.

So, just a taster of things to come in the next few weeks/months…

    Great new healthy eating ideas
    How to schedule pre-teens in so they feel they are in charge (a little)
    Cleaning tips to brighten your day (and house)
    Juggling business, home, family and health
    and much more….

      Oh, and you will be hearing a lot about how I’m helping ME…in many, many ways. As I always say, “A healthy mom makes for a happy home.” And it’s the year of ME. I aim to be happy and healthy so my kiddies and hubby are happy too.


Summer Smoothies

I am a Smoothie fan. I like to create my own versions and discover new and interesting tastes. Not everything works out, especially as I am not good at following measuring rules, but sometimes I hit the jackpot!

My shining glory this morning was a recipe inspired by recent posts on other blogs to do with Kale. I am not a lover of this green, leafy vegetable, but I do know how wonderful it is nutritionally. Naturally, I have never managed to get my kids to eat it, as I don’t cook it much. Continue reading

Pinterest Obsessed?

I’m really loving Pinterest lately. I have noticed a wee dribble of traffic coming from there, but I actually get addicted to pinning and looking at what everyone else has pinned. Want to plan a meal? Go to Pinterest and see what looks yummy, click and ‘voila!” you have a new recipe! Need inspiration for a decorating makeover? There are SOOOO many great ideas to use. Don’t forget to check out the post on my last Pinterest find here. Continue reading

Summer Fun

The first week of summer vacation has gone by quickly. We had no schedule but managed to get to the pool several times, eat at new and fun places along the coast, meet up with friends for some ‘girlie time’, and have a date with my hubby! I say we have done pretty well so far.

I was evaluating activities for the boys. I don’t want then to rely on me to schedule their every move and we have had a couple of moments where I have had to enforce the “Go out to play on your own without having to have Mommy or Daddy create interesting learning moments that will enrich your lives forever and create amazing citizens and future Steve Jobs for the world“….you know what I mean.

I noticed just how much we engage in growing, creating or experimenting. Almost all the most recent ‘projects’ are based on watching and growing. Take for instance this:

Volcano from soda

While the lumps of plastic may look like a grand old waste of time, they are actually tubes ready for eruptions of soda as we create geysers with Mentos mints. The boys are very excited to do the project and I feel bad (for the first time ever) that I don’t have soda in the house. Once I finally remember to pick some up (soda is never on our shopping list), we will have orange red, brown and green sticky liquids erupting all over! Best use of soda in my opinion. Check here for my alternatives on the stuff my kids drink. I’ll post on the actual event when it happens 🙂

Button has added to his collection of pets again. In addition to his nine fish, who are doing very well indeed despite our completely novice skills with a moderately high maintenance tank, he now has five caterpillars. He sent off for them as we have a butterfly garden net thingy (no idea what it is really called) where one can watch the life-cycle of a butterfly. So far we have 5 rather fat caterpillars and we watch, wait and journal about their metamorphosis into the beautiful creatures we will release as soon as they become said beauties.

Growing Butterflies

Finally, Nana is over from England for the next few weeks and she has treated the boys to a very cool gift…

Venus Fly Trap grow

The boys are going to grow their own Venus Fly traps from scratch! I’m delighted because they seen pretty hardy plants (I do NOT have a green thumb) and the directions are so child friendly, the terrarium was set up without any help from me…I love fostering independence.

Fly trap terrarium

So we are all set for summer observations! Those journals are going to be filled with so much information. So far, no one has complained about not having anything to write each day. I’m a happy mommy and the boys are happily engaged. But right now, we’re off to the pool for some outdoor fun!

The Week in Review

Healthy Working Mom

  • Whole Grain Belly Blasters
    In my continuing quest to get the belly fat down, it is working by the way, I continually strive to ensure I also maintain a well-balanced diet. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that people … Continue reading
  • Summer Food List
    One of the first things I like to do before spending a fortune on food shopping is take inventory of what I already have. Being that it is the first week of summer vacation, I actually have a lot of … Continue reading
  • Summer is Finally Here!
    I have to be honest, summer came very quickly for this teacher. I am not saying that I am not ready for it, far from that, I’m exhausted from a very challenging school year. The year, however, really did fly … Continue reading

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Whole Grain Belly Blasters


In my continuing quest to get the belly fat down, it is working by the way, I continually strive to ensure I also maintain a well-balanced diet. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that people who followed a weight loss program incorporating whole-grain breads, cereals, and other foods lost more body fat from the troubling mid-drift than those who ate only refined grains like white bread and rice. The study also showed that those who ate whole-grains had more protection against heart disease.

While a diet of either whole grains or more processed foods can lead to weight loss, sticking with whole grains does significantly increase the amount of body fat lost. This is important when one considers weight loss is more about health than looks. Yes, I really do want to drop a dress size, but I want to be able to play with my kids and watch them go through life much more!

Sources of Whole Grain

Whole wheat
Whole oats/oatmeal
Whole-grain corn
Brown rice
Whole rye
Whole-grain barley
Wild rice
Bulgur (cracked wheat)

Look for these ingredients at the top of an ingredient list when buying foods:

Brown rice
Whole-grain corn
Whole oats
Whole rye
Whole wheat
Wild rice

Foods labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products.

A really great, and often overlooked whole grain is barley. Packed with beta-gluten, barley is great at cutting down our bad LDL cholesterol and helps to maintain a good blood pressure. Barley makes you feel full…read need to eat less! And this wonderful food also controls blood sugar and helps fight diabetes. I tend to get a lot of my barley intake from tabbouleh or couscous.


1 cup pearl barley
5 cups fat-free vegetables or 5 cups chicken broth or 5 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vine-ripened tomato, diced
1 cup cucumber, skin on, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
salt and pepper


1. Combine barley and broth in a large saucepan. Set pain over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 45 minutes, until barley is tender.

2. Drain any excess water and transfer barley to a large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano. Toss to combine. Add vegetables and parsley; toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.

Recipe from

Summer is Finally Here!

summer time is here

I have to be honest, summer came very quickly for this teacher. I am not saying that I am not ready for it, far from that, I’m exhausted from a very challenging school year. The year, however, really did fly by. I would say this was the most demanding year ever but also the quickest. Strange huh?

Anyway, school is over, and I am about to settle into the summer routine. Usually I am ready for this well in advance; planning summer menus, daily routines and activities for each family member. This year, as past posts (or lack thereof) have indicated, I have been a little busy. I am NOT in any way ready for summer, routines, menus, activities, or general time off with the family. I really feel like a fish out of water!

laundry pileAs I am becoming increasingly accepting of my recent fall from “organized” to “winging it”, I spent the first weekend of the summer vacation cleaning out my bedroom, reorganizing closets, organizing my jewelry (what a mess that was), drawers, and getting my laundry schedule going. I am very happy to have enough time each day to be able to wash, dry and put away clothes. The school year often consists of three-hour folding and putting away sessions on a Sunday afternoon…not fun!

I did get Button to the pool (Peanut was with a friend), and we swam together to get some exercise. Naturally, Button only wanted to play, so I had to mastermind some games involving multiple laps in order for him to feel Mommy was playing, not exercising with him. I think we spent most of the three hours there actually swimming. Chase, flipper races, Who Can go Furthest Underwater? and dive races all helped.

I devoted the next day to gardening – more exercise with the amount of weeding I was doing, and getting the plants into the larger pots for my porch. Peanut, Button and I are also about to plant some apple seeds…I am hopeful that my lack of green thumb doesn’t rub of on my boys, and we are going to grow apple trees. I have no idea how that is going to work out but at least it’s something for us to write about together.

Journaling is a big thing in my house over the summer. I like the boys to write but they are not the most motivated authors. Keeping a science journal is fun and a great motivator. My boys also think about hypotheses, evaluate data, and draw conclusions. I like to keep these journals in notebooks rather than online. I know some children blog and that is great, but I want to keep up the penmanship over the summer too.

Today was very wet! We awoke to a massive thunderstorm…loads of fun as we snuggled in bed watching the lightning and counting the seconds until the thunder-clap to see how far away the storm was. Then, after one disastrous trip to the fish sore (it was closed) later, I played “Hotel” with Button. This is a game of his invention in which he becomes a hotel owner who charges for each item I ask for. He then imagines getting it all and providing me with a high level of service and comfort. I, in turn, get to ask him about prices, and making change. We use play money and it really keeps him entertained.

So, when all is said and done, I have been quite productive already, despite having no plans. My house is becoming more organized, I am on a laundry schedule, I have exercised each day, my kids have been active, learning has happened, and everyone feels happy. Success!

farmer's marketNow I have to think about the weekly shop! I enjoy being able to shop more regularly over the summer so food and meals are often fresher and much less rushed. But….I lack personal inspiration at the moment, so I have to thank my wonderful blogging friends over at The Full Plate Blog or Jeanette’s Healthy Living have a plethora of yummy and healthy ideas for me to draw from. If I’m entertaining, I could even pull from my wonderful cousin over at Smitten Kitchen for advice.

So I’m off to think about getting my butt into gear with some planning. I like to plan, it makes me feel better. But I am glad that we all survived my completely random, unplanned weekend without any casualties 🙂

The Latest Links

Healthy Working Mom

  • Earth Day: Find Yourself, See the World More Clearly
    Just For Now… Just for Now, without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness. Just for now, lay down the weight you so patiently bear upon your shoulders. Feel the earth receive you, and the infinite expanse of the sky grow even wider as your awareness reaches up to meet it. Just for now, allow
  • What is Earth Day to You?
    Earth Day helps us remember the precious planet we live on, but we can do something every day to protect our beautiful Earth. To me Earth Day is when I take stock of how I am doing in terms of being eco-friendly. We can begin by saving energy just by tweaking a few things in
  • Review and Giveaway – Coconut Oil for the Skin eBook
    Many of you know I am a huge fan of coconut oil. I have sung its praises several times and use it daily both on my cooking and on my skin. Most recently, I discovered it could help Button’s outbreak of eczema; I literally brought down the swelling and soreness with a good lick of
  • Low Calorie, High Fiber and Protein – Oatmeal
    Here is the quick low calorie, high fiber, and protein-packed family breakfast we had this morning. It took 15 minutes total to prepare! Apple Oatmeal I am continuing my efforts to eat foods that will provide me with protein and energy. Oatmeal is a great food to eat because it is low calorie (about 130
  • Coming Saturday – Review and Giveaway – Coconut Oil for the Skin eBook
    Look out for a review of a great eBook on the many uses of coconut oil: Coconut Oil for the Skin by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama. The giveaway begins April 20th and runs until April 30th. Check out the many reasons why you will love this book before jumping in to win this coming
  • Conserving Now ENVIROSAX Bag Review and Easy Entry Giveaway!
    Keep It Simple is hosting a great giveaway. Check out her site to see more info about the wonderful ENVIROSAX bag: Keep It Simple Conserving Now is working to educate people about reducing consumption and preserving our planet. Who isn’t all about taking care of our planet? Look at the great bags: If you’d like
  • Autism Awareness Month
    April is Autism Awareness month. As a teacher, I come across many children on the spectrum. I have a close family member who is diagnosed with Aspergers. We hear of this condition more and more in our lives. Becoming aware is essential in finding a way to help those who are diagnosed, and to prevent
  • Belly Fat Eating
    So my cunning plan to make my belly fat disappear needs some kind of menu. Here is my sample plan: Breakfast: 3-egg-white omelet with chopped vegetables, 1 whole-wheat English muffin (I don’t use margarine or butter so a drizzle of olive oil might be added) Snack #1: Raw mixed vegetables, 1⁄4 cup hummus Lunch: 3
  • A New Entryway
    I am not sticking to my usual script here and it did, in fact, take me some time to decide to write about this, but I am, so here goes. I have been thinking about making my entryway a lot more attractive lately. What has this got to do with being healthy? You may ask.

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Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness month. As a teacher, I come across many children on the spectrum. I have a close family member who is diagnosed with Aspergers. We hear of this condition more and more in our lives. Becoming aware is essential in finding a way to help those who are diagnosed, and to prevent Autism in the future. One of my favorite companies, The HopeFULL Company has worked on raising awareness while delivering healthy nutrition.

My past students have also worked hard to raise awareness. The following video made me so proud: the song is written by a former student and sung by children from my school, including children with Autism. Light it Up Blue is a tribute to those who created it and to those who is is meant to help!