As I sit here in my bed on a cloudy Saturday morning, my 3-year-old son is laying next to me and watching Cars 2 for the millionth time. He specifically wanted to be in here and he insisted I stayed in here with him.  He has a sippy cup of fresh milk and I'm sipping on my lemon-y pre-workout because I thought I was heading to the basement right away to do my scheduled core workout.  Every 30 seconds or so, he is talking in a baby voice and snuggling deeper into the blankets saying sweet variations of "Mommy, I love you. I'm your little nugget." or "Mommy, I love eyeballs." (I mean #heis3) Just when I think we are settled and I can actually write this, the 7-year-old daughter comes in with her pillow and a show change request. Now in the span of this paragraph, we are enjoying the math missions on Umizoomi. #momlife. They missed me. I am happy.

After a summer of spending just about every day together, this was the first week they were back in daycare while Marshall and I headed back to work for the fall. It's been another familiar transition we have done for the last 11 years, it is different every single year. I would say that this was my favorite summer so far. The first summer with no diapers felt so freeing! We really could just leave the house to go somewhere and skip a nap if necessary. Thankfully, though naps each day were also a priority. But now as we head back into the school routine, I'm really glad the rhythm of the morning also came back easily.

Everything at work is new for me.  New people, new building, new kids, new processes, new guidelines (though not nearly as many rules as my previous district for some reason). All of those NEW learning takes so much extra time and though.  Even the simplest tasks like sending an email or printing a document for the first time takes hours.  This is the case for every new job. We don't have any habits built yet.  No previous learning to draw from that makes the day run smoothly.  We crave routine even when we don't think we do.

There were SEVERAL times this last week that as I was completing my workout or another part of my morning routine, I actually had the conscious thought of how happy I am that I have this stable routine at home that can ground me for the day.  I'm not waking up frantic and I can complete 6 important self-care steps without really thinking about them. That felt comforting in ways I haven't felt before.  When everything else was chaos in my mind - this hour of the day was calm.  I never in a million years would have thought I would want to get up before my family and to be honest - I'm STILL NOT a morning person. However, my life right now just doesn't allow for burning the midnight oil and stumbling through my morning like I want to. It took some practice and discipline, but the way I feel as I enter my day is transformed. And I was more grateful for this as the rest of my life was new than I realized.

I'm also realizing that I CAN NOT wait for students to enter my NEW library next week. Even though the space is different and the kids are new - my routine for them is going to be mostly the same as what I have done for years. The clarity in which I see this is inspiring. I can't wait to share soon how it's going!

So as you enter your own classrooms on for the first time on Tuesday - or you have been there for weeks, I hope you have some comfort in parts of your routine.  If you need some tips for a morning routine, you can check out my Freebies! I'll be cheering for you!!

A Win the Week Guide that will give you a simple way to use a weekend to plan your week.

A Rise and Recharge ritual mini-course to really dig into why and how to create your own simple morning routine.

The Old Routine Elevates the New Routine

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Hooray for the 🎡 MN State Fair! (Or any fair, carnival, zoo that has amazing treats you love!) We LOVE our food on a stick, and here are some tips to keep your body working at its best so you can have the most fun possible without feeling icky!

🏋️‍♀️Start your day with a workout. 🔥 if you do your full workout, but mad props if you do a short 10 minute abs or strength before you go. It will keep your mind in the health game for the day and boost your energy to get going! Remember your Fitbit to count those steps! Can you double your usual step goal?

🥚Eat a protein and veggie packed breakfast! A veggie omelet made with a dash of olive oil or your daily superfoods shake will get that body moving and fill you with some nourishment to start the day. Obviously with a side of coffee. ☕️

💧Bring your water bottle! Bottled water at the fair is expensive, but there are drinking fountains to fill 'er up. Keeping yourself well hydrated will keep the rich food you will eat movin' on through. Water also helps with energy! Try to fill it up at least 2 times if you are there all day. (Also note where the restrooms are 😉)

❤️Plan to eat what you LOVE. No one thinks you should go to the fair and skip your favorite once a year foods! But if you stick to what you love for the most part, you will enjoy each bite without guilt. My downright favorite is the deep fried Snickers Bar. There have been years I have gone to the fair just for the evening and have only eaten that. If you eat some of those fav things first, you will be less tempted to binge on other things just because they are there.

👯 Share! Do you need the whole thing of cheese curds? NO! When you share, you enjoy together AND eat 1/2 the portion plus save money so you can share something else, too. Win-win!

💰 Get over the "value" of getting the bigger size. If you are with 8 people, totally get the giant bucket of fries and share it. But if you look at the prices and think "but it's only $ more for the big size" - get the smaller size. Save the $ from that upgrade for a different treat and keep it out of your belly. 😉

🍿Skip the stuff you can get at home. Popcorn? Soda? Those things are better at the movies, anyway.

🌶Find healthy foods! The fair has so many amazing options that will actually fill your body with goodness. I remember eating an amaze balls with Cuban wrap in the food building a few years ago. Ask for an ear of corn without the butter, maybe. Try to find some protein and veggie options that aren't fried in order to balance out all of those carbs. Your body will thank you both in the energy it provides and for how you "process" that food later. 💩

🍪Leave it at the fair! Life is all about balance and enjoying your favorite treats and food celebrations without guilt! It's how we handle vacations, holidays, and special events, but it means GETTING RIGHT BACK on the clean eating, balanced, plan the VERY NEXT MEAL (or day in this case 😉) Those Sweet Martha's cookies are never even close to as good the next day. Stick to the cone of them and enjoy each one while they are HOT!

🤸‍♀️When you get home, do a 10 minute yoga stretch and drink a big glass of water. Your body worked hard for you as you walked around and enjoyed all of those experiences including the food.

📱Do you have any healthy foods you found at the fair that you can share? I'd love to see them! Pop them in the Stronger with Joy Facebook Community or comments of the IG post!!
(photo cred:

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Tips for the Fair

Friday, August 23, 2019

There is literally no reason to be afraid of meal prep. But we so are! We cringe at the idea of spending a beautiful Sunday afternoon prepping for the week - even when we know it makes the week go so much more smoothly! Truth - I hate it too. But you know what I hate more? That "Ugh what am I going to make for dinner tonight?" question in the car on the way home that prompts a trip to the store or restaurant when I really just want to go home. So here are my hacks for a planned week without the Sunday blues.

I like to make a plan over coffee on Saturday morning. I sit down with my schedule and a piece of paper. Sometimes I use a fancy template, a full-blown meal plan and shopping list like I provide to my challengers in our private group OR I'll chicken scratch a quick plan and shopping list to take to the store/use for my online order.

The key is to just take a bit to plan what you are going to eat. This will allow you to only buy the groceries you need and to plan meals that use the same ingredients. Like shredded chicken tacos and pulled chicken sandwiches in the same week.

Leftovers are Life

When you are doing your meal planning - plan to make a double batch of dinner. Buy enough ingredients to make it - then pack up a couple of servings for you (and a partner if they loved it, too!) to enjoy at lunch later that week. Toss one in a freezer if you have a lot extra for an extra busy week.

Bonus Hack #1- keep a running list on your fridge to write down what you put in the freezer and cross it off when you eat it. Also label the containers with what it is and the date to avoid the mystery lunch. (cute notepad optional)

Bonus Hack #2 - Buy a bag of mixed greens and keep a bottle of salad dressing at work.  You can pack the small salad to go with lunch! #veggiesmost

Work Once - Eat Twice! 

Whenever you get around to making a sandwich, grabbing an apple, and some cheese & baby carrots for a simple brown bag lunch - just pack 2 lunches! It takes just a minute or 2 more to pack 2 lunches, and it saves you so much time the next day! One of the biggest indicators of successful people is to plan ahead like this to maximize time.  Boom - you are successful AF!

Bonus Hack #3 - Pack Smoothie Bags. I learned this little stand up the baggie trick when I go to a popular meal-prep kitchen here in the Twin Cities.  It's magic!  Just like making 2 lunches, I set up a little assembly line of these cool green holders and baggies. Then, as I'm making my first shake for the week, I fill the bags with the same ingredients and pop them in the freezer. I do 4 ice cubes, a banana broken up into pieces, a handful of spinach, a tsp of almond butter, and a scoop of cafe latte Shakeology. Boom boom down the line. Then pop those baggies in the freezer! Each morning, I simply pull out a baggie - break it up by throwing it to the floor (actually gentler than banging it since I don't want to break the baggie) and pour it into my ninja cup.  I add my liquid. Almond milk, coffee & water - and blend.  Makes the hectic mornings just a little less hectic! And I don't have to wash 5 almond butter spoons that week!

Keep it simple! 

Don't forget that adults can eat "Lunchables" too! Pretty sure we just call them Bento Boxes now. It's cooler! Lunch doesn't have to be elaborate - just nourishing so we have the energy for the "after recess" crazy! A serving of seed crackers, a laughing cow cheese or thinly sliced of your fav, slices of cucumber, and 6 pieces of deli meat. Makes a super simple lunch at your desk! Add a giant glass of water and ants on a log or carrots and nut butter - yes carrots, trust me on this!

Bonus Hack #4 - Use a mini crockpot. I love to bring a can of the YES! Campbell's soup and extra cut up veggies from my fridge (carrots, celery, green beans, peas - I like a mix!) I put the veggies in the mini crock pot and add the soup.  Plug it in - and hot lunch is served! Extra win is no waiting in line at the staff lounge microwave!

What are you doing while you are cooking dinner? 

What do you do when you are cooking dinner? Do you usually scroll social media, watch the news, or something else that doesn't feel productive? I know we often look forward to that "down time" but cooking dinner isn't really relaxation anyway.  We can't really unplug and unwind when we have the sauteeing on our mind. Put that precious time to work! I used to workout during this time - I'd get my food in the oven and then run to my basement to do my 30-minute sweat sesh (and stir during the breaks! - The stair climbs back to the kitchen were always harder on leg day!) But now that I do that in the morning, here is what I like to do during dinner that makes me feel productive when I sit down to actually relax when the dishes are all done.

First- I like to cook future dinners, put some chicken in the big crockpot to put on salads or sandwiches, or cut up those fruits and veggies, pack lunches, or actually cook 2 different dinners! If I'm making porkchops and potatoes on the stove, I can easily do that sausage and peppers sheet meal at the same time to heat up for dinner the next day.

Other things I do if the cooking is handled, I'll read a book, check-in with my private accountability group, create new t-shirt designs on my Cricut app or write a blog post like this! My point is that we have pockets of time to fit in some really cool things while our dinner is cooking!

Bonus Hack #5 - This feels overwhelming during dinner prep? Listen to an audiobook or podcast and sip on a cool glass of sparkling water.  We are often dehydrated and it will give us some extra energy! The audiobook will also give your mind and body a chance to relax and another tip of successful people is that they are ALWAYS learning!

I hope this has been helpful - especially as we are heading back to school!  Make sure to hop over to the Stronger with Joy Facebook Community and post your favorite meal prep ideas and share what you are doing!

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Meal Prep is Not a Monster!

Friday, August 16, 2019

I got these directions from!

It's from the Happier and Happier in Hollywood podcast group - the Onward project if you want a printed version - click here to download it!

But to just look:

If you have an iPhone or iPad: 

1. On your home screen, find the purple Apple Podcasts icon
2. Tap it to open the Apple Podcasts app
3. To find the podcast you want, tap the “Search” magnifying glass in the lower right corner
4. In the Search Bar, type in the show’s name
5. When the logo for the show appears, tap on it
6. You’ll go to the page for the show. Hit the “Subscribe” button
7. To start listening right away, tap on any episode

If you have an Android phone: 

1. On your home screen, find the Google Podcasts icon
2. Tap it to open the Google Podcasts app
3. To find the podcast you want, tap the “Search” magnifying glass in the upper left corner
4. In the Search Bar, type in the show’s name
5. When the logo for the show appears, tap on it
6. You’ll go to the page for the show. Hit the “Subscribe” button
7. To start listening right away, tap on any episode

If you have a smart speaker: 

On Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Tap: Say, “Alexa, play _____ podcast.”
On Google Home: Say, “O.K., Google, play ____ podcast.’”

How to Download a Podcast

Monday, August 12, 2019

Woooooow! YES! This is sooooo good for all teachers to listen to! This definitely is a go-to when I am feeling like I'm tired or I need a recommendation for someone who is just burning out.

The Burned in Teacher

This woman is a FORCE! I went to her conference in Minneapolis, too! She uses her platform to lift women up (MEN too if you listen to the RISE together podcast with her husband Dave!)

They also have a robust facebook show called Start Today that airs every morning for a little pick me up while you are getting ready for work! Ditch the negative news and jump on to this instead to be HAPPY and inspired before you begin your day!


Moms of littles - working or stay at home, this was my first podcast crush! The women offer a sane perspective and expectation on parenting in our current world of expectation and comparison.  I also love reading their blog when I'm struggling with anything in my house.  Instead of turning to a glass of wine, sparkling water and this podcast always make me feel better. I'm not a bath girl, but I know that would help, too!

Coffee + Crumbs

Meredith is just so real! I actually know her from Instagram and she interviewed ME for this podcast! Anytime I need to just keep it fun and real and feel KNOWN in the classroom - this is the listen on my way to or from work.

The Transformed Teacher

My go to for all over inspiration and MAX OUT!  Ed is so passionate about making sure we are healthy in mind, soul, and body.  He interviews the most inspiring people!! This is a #1 recommnedation!

The Ed Mylett Show

I'm loving this podcast right now!  It's centered around life-coaching, but there is so much girl-power inspiration to apply to any area of your work or home life.  Best part about podcasts is that they are free! Try this one and you might love it!

Your Kick Ass Life