Monday, March 23, 2015

Give Away: Tales from Another Mother Runner

A few weeks ago the mother runner dynamic duo, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, published the third book in their series, called: Tales from Another Mother Runner, a collection "from Badass Mother Runners."

Me? A badass mother runner? That's right, I'm considered one of them.

My essay, "Mother Runner Redefined" (on p. 38!), is the cathartic look back at my need to let go of being a runner for the sake of healing my body, something you have read bits and pieces of if you've been following along the last few years.

Tales from Another Mother Runner includes 22 essays from some notable names, among them writers I admire and a few editors I've had the pleasure to write for. (And see p. 89 for the essay by the hilarious Jennifer Graham, author of "Honey Do You Need a Ride," interviewed here on this blog two years ago.) All moms, all runners, sharing their vulnerability and, as often happens when you do, the ensuing victory.

In between the essays you'll find fun runner reading candy such as: conversation during a celebrity dream run; In Her Shoes, a section where you can run vicariously through women who have among other things, run naked or won a marathon, situations you might never experience; case studies of what a mother runner looks like through the decades; plus loads of quotes from other mother runners. I'm only a few essays in but enjoying the community.

Recently, the Another Mother website shared a portion of Kristen Armstrong's essay that was edited out. I loved this so much I had to share and say: if this is what was cut, you know the rest of the book is a good read. I want to use this as the Fit Mom's Manifesto:

I'm giving away a copy of Tales from Another Mother Runner. I'm choosing from among subscribers at my shiny new website, Life as a Fit Mom. Here is the link directly to the subscription page. This is where I'll share publication news for my forthcoming eBook series: Life as a Fit Mom. Like Dimity and Sarah I'm out to expand the bookshelf on the experience of balancing fitness and motherhood. We don't need more books on losing the baby weight, we need more said about how when we find the time and energy to be active we find ourselves, how this helps us better embrace motherhood (more sanely), and how we can reach the goals that really matter.

Sign up by this Friday, March 27, and I'll announce the winner Monday, March 30.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Good Luck With Those Pancakes

Last year was a four-leaf fail when I attempted to be fun mom and serve "Lucky Green Smoothies" to my kids on St. Patrick's Day. This year I'm going to WOW them with green shamrock pancakes.

Pancakes are a breakfast staple in our home. Until I discovered Mark Bittman’s pancake recipe in his Food Matters cookbook, I usually resorted to pre-packaged pancake mix, which is either full of additives or if not, super expensive. I’ve adapted his recipe into my own big batch mix that I can store in the pantry. This takes the time-consuming aspect of pancake making out of the morning rush.

For the mix:

10 cups flour (All-purpose or whole-wheat flour works well. For gluten-free, I mix a combination of oat flour, brown rice flour and buckwheat flour, sometimes quinoa flour too.*)

1/2 cup sugar (cut this down if you prefer)

1/3 cup baking powder

2 1/2 t. cinnamon

2 1/2 t. salt

Put this in an airtight container or bag and shake it up. When you’re ready to make pancakes, combine:
2 cups of pancake mix 
2 cups milk 
2 eggs
Sometimes, if I have it, I also mix in about 1/2 cup of applesauce.

*If using gluten free flour, add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthum gum when you mix up a batch to eat.

My plan for Shamrock Pancakes is as follows:

I will place the milk, eggs, and applesauce into my blender with a few handfuls of spinach. Just enough to turn the liquid bright green. Next I will stir in the pancake mix, then carefully pour what I hope to look like shamrocks on my griddle. If I had a Pancake Bot, I would use it.

Even if my four-leaf pancakes turn out perfectly, my kids will be suspicious of the color, for sure. When they ask me how I made the pancakes green I will tell them I used just enough coloring to turn them green. I will not go into specifics of what I define as "coloring." 

I have no idea if I can get away with this but I've had a spate of good luck recently. My Life as a Fit Mom website is up, covers for my eBooks are in the works, and the first book is being converted into eBook files this week. Notice I said "books" plural. That's because I had so much material I decided to turn my book into a six-book series. 

The Life as a Fit Mom eBook Series includes these titles:
  • Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood
  • Altered States of the Fit Mom, Vol 1: Pregnancy and Postpartum Speed Bumps
  • Altered States of the Fit Mom, Vol 2: Toddlers to Tweens and Injury in Between
  • Raising a Fit Family
  • Feeding the Fit Family
  • Winning as a Fit Mom
The books will be ready soon (shooting for May) and I plan to offer specials and freebies to those who sign up at my website. That's an easy way to get lucky. 

As for my green shamrock pancakes, I will let you know how lucky I am on social media tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Keeping Kids Safe Indoors Isn't All That Safe

Spring has sprung! More daylight! Now my kids--without much prompting from me--are outside running around, skating, biking, and asking me (I swear, this is true), "Can we walk to school?"
When temps hit 60 degrees in Minnesota you are required
to take of your shirt and celebrate with a happy dance.
Just a month ago I wrote about the difficulty of kicking kids outdoors. While I realize I need to cut my kids some slack in our frigid winters, I shouldn't cut myself any slack for being a worry wart when they are outside on their own.

Shortly after writing that post I read a great article by Rae Pica, an education consultant who specializes in children's physical activity (I've been following her for years and there's a lot of great material from Rae) about walking to school and parents' irrational fear.

In the article Rae says:
I realize it’s difficult to believe that there really isn't danger everywhere, especially considering the paranoia spread by the media’s incessant tales of tragedy, presented in all their gory minutiae. But the experts – and there are many of them – insist that today’s children are no less safe than children of my generation. Stranger danger, which tends to top the list of parents’ fears, truly is a myth. According to the U.S. Department of Justice statistics on violent crimes, between 1973 and 2002, out of every thousand children kidnapped, just one or two of them were abducted by strangers. In fact, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, children are four times more likely to die of heart disease than to be kidnapped by a stranger.
Keeping kids "safe" indoors, is not at all safe in the long run.

The day I read Rae's article I sent two of my kids out to walk the dog. This was exercise for them, sure, but more so an exercise in letting go for me. True story: within five minutes of sending them on their way, my children burst through the back door (just as I had convinced myself to stop staring out the window) screaming: "We saw a coyote and Darby is chasing it!" I didn't even have my coat on to go after her before our dog was back, wagging her tail and thoroughly exhausted.

Crossing paths with a coyote brought a whole new meaning to stranger danger, but we have not let the Coyote Caper deter us. We have discussed how coyotes are more scared of us than we are of them (especially when a dog twice its size takes off after it) and if we see one to make lots of noise (blow that whistle!). The beauty of going for a walk is, actually, the beauty of going for a walk, sighting of wildlife, included.

Along with walking the dog regularly we are going to start walking to school, possibly biking to school, before the school year is over. (Did you notice I said "we" not "they"?) Not only will my kids need to gradually work up to the two-mile distance, I will need to gradually work up the nerve to let them set out for school on their own.

There is a Walk to School Day and a Bike to School Day, including a web site full of supportive resources. Let's do this!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Just For You

Blogging for nearly seven years I've prided myself on showing up here every Monday on a mostly regularly basis. So I'm feeling badly for not getting to my blog until Wednesday, but I felt I had your permission.

See, Monday I took a long walk with a friend when I should have been blogging. I thought my readers would approve of my choice. I still had intentions of writing later that night, but then I got the opportunity to attend that hard-to-get-to yoga class. I asked myself, "What would my Mama Sweat readers want?" You would want me to go to yoga!

Then Tuesday came around, with a few inches of fresh snow. Blog or snowshoe? You said, go snowshoe!

Now, it's Wednesday, and while I could do something active (in sub-zero temperatures) I've said, enough is enough! Today I will skip that hike for you, my readers. It has nothing to do with me being sick and tired of bundling up beyond reason or that I am protesting ridiculously low temperatures in March. No, I'm skipping my outdoor workout today for YOU. To stop by, say hello and encourage YOU to get your workout in today.

Today is a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, day. Go find yourself some Mama Sweat.

(What's great about this blog is that as sure as I say I don't want to work out, by encouraging you, I motivate myself. I'll just take my workout indoors today.)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter is Winning

I know everyone in the Boston area wishes they had a foot or five less snow this winter, but here in Minnesota, where we've had a record-low snowfall, we wish we could have helped the East coast out by taking some of their snow. Winters are so much more manageable with some snow to play in. Without the snow we are left with only the cold. I just can't get excited to go walk when it's -10 degrees. So last week, I gave in. I got on the treadmill. My dog was extremely distressed. She barked and howled as I ran. She understood that me on a treadmill was not in her best interest.

I tried to explain that a run on the treadmill (still wearing tights and long sleeves because our basement is really cold) was not what I wanted either.

I dream of a run outside in shorts.

Just when I thought winter was going to get the best of me, I saw the Go! Go! Sports Girls featured on the Today Show Sunday morning in a segment about the rising demand for smarter toys for girls. I perked up right away. Take that winter!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

10 More Minutes Please (Plank You Very Much)

I put on my favorite yoga pants yesterday with every intention of going to my favorite yoga class that night. This was not a low-motivation ploy. I wanted to go. However, a 6 pm yoga class is not an ideal time for a mom, and so I had that shameful experience last night of taking off my un-yoga'd yoga pants before going to bed.

This is happening more as my kids' schedules get busier and well, mine, too. Experiencing these fitness-class fails have prompted me to take on more in-home exercise. If this is so accessible and convenient, why is it so stinking hard?

I don't know. Really, I don't know.

While I can tell you to make time, take time, share time and snare time, which are the genius strategies outlined in the book I co-wrote, Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom, I'll admit, even I get sucked up into the whirlwind that is life.

That's right, even after nearly seven years of writing this blog, I want you all to know that finding 30 more minutes in my day--heck, even 20 minutes or 10 minutes--can be challenging. Something else pops up; the phone rings, the dryer buzzes, the school calls (that is the worst). Or, sometimes, it’s none of those things. It’s just me, thinking: I’ll do it later. And then later comes and I don’t want to be holding a plank, I want to be holding a glass of wine.

But I had to stop thinking about starting to do something I just had to do something. When a 10-minute plank workout showed up in my email inbox, I began earnestly to squeeze it into my day (which is to say, I did it twice last week). 

Check it out: The workout is called "Plank You Very Much 10 Minute Workout," at Chris Freytag's website, Get Healthy U.

The 10 minute workout seems easy enough to take the time to do, but you still have to stop somewhere to start the workout. You have to be deliberate. You have to set your intentions for the day and be bullish about dedicating 10 minutes to your strength. 

That pep talk was for me, folks. But if you needed the kick-in-the-yoga-pants too, I'm happy to be there for you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Boy Turns 6 Today

This is The Boy's West Texas Rancher look. Or, maybe he could pass for the Pecos County Sheriff?
He received a Jedi costume for his birthday. He is already requesting a name change to "Luke." 
My dress-up loving son approaches me in the kitchen as I sit at the island. Today he is wearing his Ironman costume, a red cape borrowed from a sisters’ Wonder Woman costume, and his Spider Man glove that makes web shooting sounds. He is going for ominous, fearless, courageous and heroic. All that climbs into my lap to wrap his just-turned 6-year-old arms around my neck. I think about this birthday and the many more to follow. I wonder how many years left of believing he will grow up to become a super hero; how many years left of unabashed love for his mother.