(Kid Approved) Banana Oatmeal “Cookies”

I know you can’t see me, but trust me when I say I’m doing the Mom Happy Dance right now!

A few months ago as my daughter approached her 1st birthday she became less and less interested in her vitamin enriched mom approved bowl of baby cereal each morning. She wanted to feed herself! When a fellow mom suggested I give her a Pop Tart everyday for breakfast, I was less than enthused. I mean, Pop Tarts are delicious, and I’m sure she’ll eat hundreds of them in her lifetime but… I’m just not ready to start my baby’s day with sugary processed foods.

My husband says I’m crazy. I say I’m just teaching healthy habits!

So I went on a mission deep within the Pinterest universe on a quest for healthy breakfast foods. I tried making spinach muffins (not bad, but I overcooked them) and banana Greek yogurt muffins (eh, OK but I’m not rushing to make them again). My daughter *kind of* liked both but wasn’t overly thrilled.

And then… today… I hit upon gold. I had heard of these mythical 2 ingredient so-called cookies but hadn’t given them a shot yet. When I realized I had 2 ripe bananas about to take a turn for the worse, I decided to go for it.

My review:
Super easy.
Super fast.
Kid tested.
Mom approved.

2 ripe bananas
1 cup dry oatmeal (I used organic old fashioned oatmeal)
Preheat oven to 350.
Mash the bananas and oats together until thoroughly mixed. (I used a pastry cutter to help on this step and it worked great!)
Plop onto a cookie tray in 1-2 tbsp blobs. (I was concerned by how wet the mixture was. Don’t worry, it all works out! But they truly are blobs!)
Bake for 15 minutes. (Know your ovens, people! I always have to shave a little off of baking times to not overcook. 13 minutes was perfect for me!)
Allow to cool. Shove in face hole and enjoy 😉

I made mine just the right size that 2 would be good for my daughter to have for breakfast (broken into pieces, of course). They are moist, delicious and nutritious. Enjoy!

Have any great kid friendly breakfast ideas? Let me hear from you!


The Weight Loss Magic Quick Fix 

I apologize in advance if the title of this post mislead you. 

I’m sorry if you thought I’d be sharing about some magic pill, wrap, plan or drink that was going to make you thin by tomorrow (and keep you that way).

The truth is, the weight loss magic quick fix doesn’t exist!

Ok, wait a second. I’m sure you know someone that took a magic skinny pill and lost 20 pounds in a month. So yes, there are quick ways to lose weight. The problem? They’re quick, unhealthy ways of losing weight that don’t teach you any new habits for long term sustainability!

When I lost my 50 pounds of pregnancy weight, everyone wanted to know what I was “using” to lose the weight. The truth is, I was eating a healthy, mostly clean diet and doing short, intense workouts 4 to 6 days a week.

There wasn’t a magic potion helping me take the weight off- it was good old fashioned self discipline and hard work.

When I got back down to my pre baby weight and maintained it, people said I was “lucky”.

I didn’t feel “lucky” when I was doing burpees, tuck jumps and planks, but I sure did feel amazing after the fact! 

The journey isn’t going to be the same for everyone, so it’s important to find what works best for YOU! Here’s a few tips:

1- Find your “soulmate workout”.

One of my favorite fitness trainers, Chalene Johnson, talks about this concept in her book Push. Your soulmate workout is one that you absolutely LOVE and sincerely enjoy doing! It’s important to find exercise that doesn’t feel like a chore. For some people it’s running or yoga, for others it’s Zumba. For me, it’s Turbo Kick. If you’re new to fitness it may take some searching and trial and error to find what you love. And, like me, you may find that you have a soulmate workout, but also have other workout programs that you love almost as much. This is the ONLY time I condone occasionally straying from your soulmate 😉

2- Don’t go on a diet, change your diet!

The problem with “going on a diet” is that it implies a short term change in your eating. Instead, you need to make healthy, permanent changes to your diet. You may start out with small changes- ditching soda, eating grilled instead of fried foods, adding fresh fruits and veggies to your meals. At the same time, do some research! Think about your lifestyle and your preferences and find a plan that works for you. I know people that have had tremendous success with Weight Watchers. Others go for simple clean eating, adopt a Paleo diet or work on portion control with the 21 Day Fix meal plan. Just make sure it’s a healthy, sustainable change, not a short term crash diet.

3- Focus on overall health, not “getting skinny”.

Too often we focus only on the number on the scale, which really only tells part of your story. Take measurements and pictures to document the changes that you can sometimes see physically but aren’t always reflected on the scale. Also, celebrate your “non scale victories” or NSVs. Did you fit back into an old pair of jeans? Did your cholesterol go down? Did you do some of your push-ups on your toes today instead of your knees? That’s called progress! 

And now, to answer some of the most frequent protests I hear…

But… my friend lost (fill in the blank) pounds with this 30 day shake program!

What happens after the 30 days? Did they learn anything about healthy eating or exercise? Did they learn the tools to keep that weight off?

But… you drink Shakeology, isn’t that the same thing?

It’s true that I replace my breakfast with Shakeology most days, but it’s not to shed a bunch of weight quickly. I drink it for the extreme nutritional value, which includes probiotics to aid digestion and more vitamins than I could have ever hoped to start my day with eating a bowl of oatmeal!

But… I heard these (fat burner/metabolism booster/super skinny) pills work wonders!

And what happens when you stop taking them? What are the long term affects of ingesting something so loaded with caffeine? Are heart palpitations worth it?

The bottom line is, we live in a world where we expect everything to happen quickly. But when it comes to weight loss and overall health it’s just not worth it. 

The hard to swallow truth is that if you want to lose weight you need to work for it! And, know that it will take time. You’ll often hear people refer to their fitness “journey”, because it’s a process that’s ongoing. Weight gain didn’t happen overnight and weight loss won’t either. Relax, trust the process, and enjoy the ride. It’s so worth it!

If you need help getting started or have any questions, email me at fitnfabnj@yahoo.com

Fit Mom- Is it possible?

I’ve always loved fitness and have pretty much always been in decent shape. Of course, there was some weight gain when I ate too much pizza in college, but you get the idea.

So, when I became pregnant I didn’t think much of the aftermath of child bearing. I decided to exercise through pregnancy, was sure I’d only gain the minimum weight needed to keep the baby healthy, and of course I was going to confidently sashay out of the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. New moms. They have no clue.

Reality: my workouts got less intense and happened fewer and farther between as the months went on. In my 7th month I stopped working out completely. I gained 50 pounds. Unfortunately, I didn’t give birth to a 50 pound baby, so I went home in the same jeans I had arrived in. 

In addition, during my pregnancy I’d been given some not-too-kind “words of wisdom” from some seasoned moms that I knew. 

“Say goodbye to your skinny jeans.”

“You’ll never be thin again!”

“You won’t have any time to work out.”

“Fitness won’t be a priority anymore.”

Was this true? Was the 35+ pounds I carried home with me destined to stay? Was I doomed to feel sluggish and unkempt forever?

At my 6 week visit the doctor gave me the ok to exercise. I went home, carefully perused my DVD collection and decided that I’d do the 21 Day Fix workouts. (Check out my previous post about that journey!)  That Monday, I put my daughter in her swing to nap and sweated and huffed and puffed my way through my first 30 minute workout in months. 

And it felt GOOD.

It felt good to pay a half hour’s worth of attention to myself. I don’t think my daughter suffered from being in her swing for 30 minutes when the reward was a happier, healthier, more energized mommy.

At times it was hard. Some days a half hour workout took me 2 hours to complete because my daughter needed me. But that’s ok! That’s life!

I decided to keep my workouts short and intense, so after 21 Day Fix, I moved on to T25. When my daughter turned 4 months old, I was back to my regular weight. Not exactly my regular shape, but that’s a whole other blog post!

Since January I’ve completed 21 Day Fix, Focus T25, and Chalean Extreme. I’m about to start week 5 of PiYo. 

At almost 9 months old, my daughter doesn’t always nap through my workouts anymore. She watches. She smiles. She cheers me on. And hopefully she’s learning a thing or two about healthy habits. 

Is being a Fit Mom possible? Absolutely. 

Please leave comments below or email me at fitnfabnj@yahoo.com I’d love to hear about your Fit Mom journey- or help you get started! 

Hello (again)!

Well, here I am. A year and a half into blogging and I’m finally going to introduce myself.

The truth is, I wanted to start a blog for a long time. I finally made it a 2014 New Year’s resolution, and as a matter of fact I first blogged about resolutions! But here I am many many months later with very few posts to my name. And so, I’ve decided to breathe new life into my blog by participating in the WordPress Blogging 101 course. And the first assignment? To say hello to my readers!

Hmmm… I probably should have done this awhile back. 

So, who am I?

I’m a mom.

I’m a wife.

I’m a teacher.

I’m a fitness enthusiast.

I’m a book lover.

I’m a shopper.

I’m a baker.

I’m a scrapbooker.

I’m a lifelong learner.

I’m a loyal friend.

I’m Nicole. 

All of these parts of me will shape my blog and influence my posts at one point or another. This is who I am! 

Nice to meet you. 

21 Day Fix Review- My Journey After Pregnancy

Boy was i naive about pregnancy! I was the woman who swore she was going to work out until she delivered. Around month 7, that mindset changed dramatically- I was suddenly a woman just trying not to fall asleep at work!

As soon as I gave birth (to the most amazing little girl!) I was eager to start exercising again. Surprisingly the 6 weeks of recovery went by quickly (time flies with an infant!) and when my doctor gave me the green light, I jumped back into fitness.

I decided to do 21 Day Fix from trainer Autumn Calabrese to get myself back into fitness. Most programs are 60-90 days long, and I liked the idea of the shorter length program. I knew I could hang for 21 days, so finishing a whole round wouldn’t be a problem. Another huge plus is that the workouts are only 30 minutes long. Surely I could find 30 minutes per day in between feeding, soothing, cuddling, changing, etc. etc. Right? (That part proved to be harder than I thought, but I did it!)

So here’s the lowdown on 21 Day Fix.

21 days.

7 workouts per week.

Amazing trainer, Autumn Calabrese.

Simple nutrition plan focused on portion size, not counting calories.

Here’s a summary of my thoughts:

The Good:

  • Variety!  I love that each day of the week brings something new!  7 workouts over the course of 7 days means that by the time a workout comes back around you’re not bored of it.
  • Weights!  I’ve finally discovered that weights are key to getting lean.  I definitely got into shape faster after baby by incorporating resistance training.  With 21 Day Fix, you’ll use weights 4 out of 7 days, so you’ll see results a lot quicker than just doing cardio!  (Note that you may use resistance bands instead of weights, if you prefer!)
  • Modifications!  Guess what?  Despite my love of fitness and my pre-pregnancy workout intensity, getting back into shape was NOT easy!  In fact, I was shocked my first day back to working out to find that there was plenty my body couldn’t do!!!  21 Day Fix includes a wonderful modifier named Kat.  And, unlike some other workout videos, Autumn really focuses on what Kat is doing for the modification, so you won’t feel lost.  Follow the modifier until you’re strong enough to do the full exercise!
  • Food!  The food plan for 21 Day Fix is super simple.  Eat clean in moderate portions.  There aren’t any fancy recipes you need to make in order to stick to the diet.  Just eat clean foods from Autumn’s approved list, use the containers to measure your portions and eat the correct number of containers per day.  No calorie counting required!

Now… The “Eh”…

I say “eh” because there was nothing “bad” about 21 Day Fix.  Just some personal preferences:

  • Yoga Fix and Pilates Fix… not my favorites of the workouts.  I get too bored too easily (which is why I’m now doing PiYo to cure that boredom!)  But, it’s only 21 days, which means each of these workouts only come up 3 times!
  • The name… a lot of people are misinterpreting the name of this program!  Women I work with think it’s a cure-all that strips your fat away in 21 days and afterwards your left to live a carefree life doing whatever you want!  In reality, it’s a nod towards the fact that it takes 21 days to form new habits.  The intensity of focusing on your workouts and nutrition for 21 days will help you make fitness and nutrition a habit.  After my 21 days, I continued with the nutrition aspect of the program and began T25.  As the months went on I didn’t feel I needed the containers anymore, as I was used to eating clean, well portioned food.  It’s not a diet or a quick fix… it’s a lifestyle and mindset change.

And now.. the part we’re all waiting for… the results!  What the heck happened to my body from doing the 21 Day Fix?

Well, I didn’t get the dramatic numbers you see on the infomercial.  Here’s what I got:

  • A 5 pound weight loss
  • A waist!!!  I started this program at 6 weeks postpartum and my body was straight up and down with no defined waistline.  I lost 4 inches in my waist and finally didn’t look boxy!
  • Energy and strength!  Pregnancy and childbirth take a lot out of you.  It’s a tough road back and by the end of the 21 days I wasn’t winded anymore.  I felt strong and able, when just 21 days earlier I had felt weak.
  • And… drumroll please… I PUT AWAY MY MATERNITY CLOTHES.  Yes, after the 21 Day Fix, I put on real pants with an actual zipper and button closure!  Granted, I wasn’t yet my pre-pregnancy size, but I no longer felt like a toddler with elastic waist pants 🙂

This wasn’t the end of my postpartum journey.  I continued on to Focus T25, Chalean Extreme and as of 3 weeks ago, PiYo.  (I’m a busy mom, so I’m just getting around to blogging about a journey that started in January, haha!)  What has your postpartum journey consisted of?

Feel free to comment below.  If you are interested in learning more about the 21 Day Fix, email me at fitnfabnj@yahoo.com  I’m here to help other moms get their bodies back!  Why not you?

Jamberry Nails Review- Worth it?

A few months back my friend started selling Jamberry nail wraps. My first thought was: Oh no, will this be another product I don’t need but feel obligated to buy to support a friend?

I. Was. Wrong.

A couple weeks ago I commented on one of her Jamberry related Facebook posts, and unwittingly became a contest winner. I had won a sheet of Valentine’s Day themed nail wraps.

This morning after feeding my daughter, I found that it was 6:00am and I really didn’t have much I felt like doing that early on a Saturday. So, I gave the nails a try. (When you become a mom you suddenly find yourself doing random things at odd hours.)

What did I think?

Jamberry nails kind of rock! They were easy to apply, they look pretty good for my first attempt, and my new manicure will allegedly last up to 2 weeks (I’ll let you know about that one!)


Some tips/tricks/general thoughts:

1- The wraps come in some really neat colors and patterns, though some are a bit obnoxious. I don’t imagine myself having Easter egg nails anytime soon!
2- While the brand name is cute, I kind of despise the term “Jamicure”. Ugh!
3- I previously tried the less expensive Sally Hansen nail wraps. The quality and ease of application definitely make Jamberry worth the extra money.
4- You don’t need to invest in the application kit or the mini heater that they sell. I used the space heater in my living room as my heat source and a Q-tip to press the wraps down instead of a cuticle stick. Work with what you’ve got!
5- It looks like one sheet is going to give me 2 manicures with a few wraps leftover. At $15 a sheet, that’s only $7.50 per manicure. But, the sheets are buy 3 get one free, so we’re talking at least 8 manicures for $45. I can live with that!
6- Some application tips: I placed the wraps on my nails cold and then heated them once they were on. This allowed me to easily move the wraps if they weren’t quite in the right position. I also used the Baggie trick I saw on a YouTube video. Once I had heated the wraps and pressed them down, I wrapped a plastic sandwich Baggie tightly around my nail and heated it again. This really sealed the wrap to my nail. I didn’t think it would, but the Baggie made a huge difference. Here’s the video explaining: (note- not my video, this is a Jamberry rep on YouTube) 

Bottom line? If these wraps look good for at least 10 days I’m definitely buying them. Jamberry nails are easy to use, look great, and are affordable. Oh, and don’t mind my super dry hands in the pics. I’ve been washing my hands too much with all these diaper changes 🙂

What do you think of my new look?