7 Fun Ways to Exercise as a Family

7 Fun Ways to Exercise as a Family

Exercising as a family is super important. Not only do you get to spend extra time together as a family, but you get healthier as a family. If you’re new to family exercising or just wanting some new ideas, check out these fun ways to exercise as a family.

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DIY Water Bottle Carriers and the Gift of Healthy Water

Disclosure – This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #40Pounds #CollectiveBias

DIY Water Bottle Carriers and the Gift of Healthy Water

Our usual back to school activities typically include getting new shoes for the kids, buying school supplies from the list provided by their teachers and making sure the kids have a new outfit or two to start out the school year. The kids are allowed to have certain kinds of clear water bottles at their desks so this year I also made them all water bottle carriers so they could more easily carry their water and keep the bottles out of their backpacks to reduce the likelihood of wet books and homework.

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Why Vitamins are an Important Part of My Personal Health Plan & $50 Giveaway

Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

I’ve always believed in the importance of taking multi-vitamins for overall health and wellness, plus I take Omega 3 Fish Oil to support a healthy heart. When I was pregnant with my now ten year old quadruplets and discussing what supplements I took with my doctor he suggested increasing my Omega 3 intake since we knew the babies would come early and wanted to give them the best head start possible.

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5 Ways to Eliminate Stress from your Life

5 Ways to Eliminate Stress from your Life

As adults, especially parents, it is easy to find ourselves stressed out more often than not. There is a lot to take care of: bills, kids, spouses, meal times, the house…and it seems like there’s so little time to do it all. It’s no wonder stress is sky high for so many!

However, there is hope. Below are five ways you can eliminate stress from your life, making way for a happier and healthier you!

1) Change your eating habits 

Healthy meals, drinks, and snacks each day help your body cope with stress and keep it at a maintainable level. A well-balanced diet ensures your body has the nutrients it needs to feel better, more motivated, and less worried. Avoid caffeine, especially coffee, as it can cause you to be jittery, and it can actually heighten anxiety and stress.

2) Sleep more – and better

Our bodies need rest in order to keep stress at bay. Make sure you are getting the optimal amount for your body, which is typically 7-9 hours a day. Stay away from the TV, cell phone and other devices that stimulate your mind for at least an hour before bedtime. Create a relaxing environment in your bedroom with the help of fans or white noise machines, and begin a bedtime routine that allows you to wind down before hitting the pillow.

3) Reduce your plans

Going out every weekend after working late and getting the kids to their activities may seem fun. However, overdoing it is a great way to increase your stress levels, and keep them high. Start prioritizing your responsibilities, and learn to say no more often. Cutting back on commitments gives your body more time to chill and relax at home.

4) Stay active

While cutting back on your commitments is important, make sure exercise is not one that gets the boot. Studies have proven that working out regularly can increase endorphins in the brain, a chemical that gives us that happy feeling. Along with decreasing stress, exercise can also help ward off anxiety and depression.

5) Practice self-care regularly

It is easy to overlook your own health and well being when there is so much going on in life. However, self-care is essential if you want to alleviate the stress you feel on a daily basis. A nightly 30-minute bubble bath, weekly manicure, or monthly spa day gives you the time you need to clear your mind and just rest your body so you can meet the day feeling renewed.

Mind, Body and Soul Fitness with BGCA Triple Play

Disclosure – I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Club of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Kids Playing Basketball

There are so many screens vying for my kids attention these days – television, tablets, computers, XBox and Wii – and while I think technology is great and I’m glad they have access to these things, I worry sometimes that they’re not getting enough activity away from the screens.  It is so important for kids to develop good habits early in life for mind, body and soul health and wellness.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America has developed their Triple Play healthy lifestyles program to help kids learn about the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition.  Did you know that nearly 3 out of 10 kids in the United States is either overweight or obese? The BGCA has partnered with The Coca-Cola Company and Amerigroup Foundation to help motivate kids to be healthy through nutrition and health education.

Kids Playing Basketball

You can download the BGCA Triple Play Parents Game Plan to get lots of great information and fun mind, body and soul activities that you can do with your family. There are wonderful tips for teaching your kids how to make healthy food choices, including what to look for in fast food restaurants, convenience stores and even at the school cafeteria. I really liked their tips on helping children to believe in their self worth and positive relationships with others in addition to their suggestions on how to include physical activity in your daily schedule.

TriplePlay_Amerigroup_Lockup

One of my favorite ideas in the Parents Game Plan is their Basketball Challenge – they include lots of techniques and instructions to help kids improve their skills and the challenge also details several different games for kids of different ages. We have a basketball hoop in our driveway and the kids and I like to play HORSE in the afternoons after homework. It’s such a fun way to do something physical together and it keeps everybody away from their screens for awhile!

Help Increase Scleroderma Awareness

Disclosure – “I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Scleroderma Awareness. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Download (PDF, 44KB)

While technically a skin disease, Scleroderma can also impact the lungs, kidneys and heart. The autoimmune disease presents itself in various ways and the effects range from mild to life threatening. Scleroderma can be localized, where it affects mainly the skin on the face, hands and feet, or it can be systemic where it affects the blood vessels and internal organs. People with systemic scleroderma run the highest risk of fatality of any connective tissue disease.

Most scleroderma patients aren’t diagnosed until they’re between 30 and 50, but the earlier they are diagnosed the better their prognosis and chance of survival so it’s important to know the symptoms in case you or loved ones experience any of them.  Symptoms of scleroderma include hardening and tightening of patches of skin, exaggerated response to cold temperatures or emotional distress, which can cause numbness, pain or color changes in the fingers or toes, acid reflux and digestive problems, and scleroderma can also affect the function of the heart, lungs or kidneys.

I have a friend who suffers from scleroderma but I had never heard about the disease until I met her. She’s younger than me but the skin on her face is taut and sometimes people ask her if she’s had a face lift. She’s a beautiful woman but she’s self conscious about her skin and she worries how it will look as she ages. My friend is reminded of her scleroderma every time she looks in the mirror, but feels lucky that her case is localized and she doesn’t suffer from some of the worst symptoms.

If you’re like me you spend your days driving the kids around, worrying about dinner and the million other things you have to do. We rarely slow down and reflect on our own health and well-being. Now imagine having to do all you have to do while struggling with an illness like scleroderma.

There is no known cause and no known cure for scleroderma and because the disease is relatively rare researchers don’t always get the resources that they need to study scleroderma. Scleroderma affects only about 1 in 906 people, with 80% of those affected being women. Most people have never even heard of scleroderma – June is Scleroderma Awareness Month so please take the pledge to tell at least one other person about this disease with no cause and no cure to help spread awareness. You can make a difference with one simple click!

Make an Impact for the March of Dimes with Kmart

Disclosure – I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Kmart & March of Dimes. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

quads_baby_pic.jpg

When my quadruplets were born nine years ago they were eight weeks premature. The two girls spent two weeks in NICU and the boys spent four weeks in NICU before we could bring them home. They always take pictures of new babies at the hospital but they waited to take this one until the babies were just about ready to go home so they didn’t have all sorts of tubes sticking out of them anymore. It was a tough pregnancy and a pretty scary time for the whole family.

For that reason I’m really excited to tell you about the March of Dimes and how much they do to help moms have full-terms pregnancies and healthy babies. They research the problems that threaten our babies and work on preventing them, and they rely on donations to do that.

Kmart is the top corporate fundraiser for the March of Dimes and in this, their 32nd consecutive year of supporting the cause, they’ve teamed up with fitness expert Jillian Michaels to kick off their 2015 fundraising campaign. Kmart is a national sponsor of the annual March for Babies walks and the funds raised by Kmart and communities across the country helps support teams of scientists are working at five March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers to discover the causes of premature birth and develop treatments.

Jillian Michaels

You can contribute to the cause at any Kmart store, online at kmart.com/marchofdimes, or you can buy a collectible puppy figurine from Kmart for $5 and $1 from each purchase is donated to March of Dimes. Kmart is also rewarding Shop Your Way customers who give back through June 20th with a coupon for five percent back in points on their next qualifying purchase.

Over the last 31 years Kmart has raised more than $125 million to help advance the work being done by March of Dimes and these efforts have helped reduce the U.S. preterm birth rate in each of the last seven years, which has saved an estimated $12 billion in health care costs.

Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels helped design the exclusive March of Dimes t-shirt this year and two lucky readers will have a chance to win one for themselves! To enter to win just do any or all of the things listed in the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway will end at midnight on Saturday, May 9th.

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15 Tips to Relieve Stress #StressLess2BMyBest

My Favorite Relaxation Spot

Everybody has to deal with stress and with five kids and three jobs I deal with stress every day so when the people at RESCUE asked me to write a post about how I deal with stress I jumped at the chance. For me, the best way to handle my daily stress is to take a little time for myself in a peaceful spot after the kids have gone to bed. I’ve created my own little haven on the patio off the master bedroom complete with swivel rocker chairs, table and flameless battery operated candles on the table and in the lanterns I’ve hung overhead. I love to spend a few minutes each day out there reading to settle my jumbled thoughts and emotions.

Rescue Stress Remedy

RESCUE has some great natural stress relief pearls and pellets in delicious flavors like black currant, orange & elderflower, cranberry and lemon that you can use to help regain control during your everyday stressful situations. Click here for a RESCUE coupon and to enter the #StressLess2BMyBest sweepstakes for a chance to win great prizes from Bose and GoPro.

Here are some of my other favorite tips for handling and relieving stress:

  1. Keep a positive attitude. Try to look at the bright side even if things aren’t going so well.
  2. Accept that some things are out of your control.
  3. Do something that is enjoyable for you like gardening or reading.
  4. Go for a walk or a drive if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Sit quietly and reflect for at least 15 to 20 minutes every day.
  6. Practice relaxation techniques like mediation, yoga or deep breathing.
  7. Get regular exercise like jogging, bicycling, walking or working out at the gym or in your own home.
  8. Reach out to friends, family or others in your social network to talk about your stressful issues.
  9. Avoid people or activities that stress you out whenever possible.
  10. Write down your thoughts in stressful moments to help gain perspective.
  11. Learn to say no and quit trying to please everyone all the time.
  12. Stand up and stretch or rotate your neck to loosen your muscles.
  13. Soak in a hot tub with bath salts in a relaxing scent like lavender.
  14. If you have a pet cat or dog sit and pet or play with them for a few minutes.
  15. Be sure to get enough rest and sleep so your body can recover from stressful events.

For more information on RESCUE Remedy check out their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

​Disclosure – This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and RESCUE blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Train Smarter with Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds

Disclosure – This is a sponsored post and I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Jabra Pulse Wireless Earbuds

When they first came out I got one of those smart pedometers that I wear every day and I love being able to track my activity and log my weight and food intake so much that I bought another one for my mom. I think it’s incredible how much technology has impacted fitness and training – I use my smartphone daily to map my walks and keep track of my steps. I keep track of calories burned and consumed by logging what I eat and I also track fluctuations in my weight to monitor progress on my goals.

Jabra Pulse Wireless Earbuds

Now there are brand new Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds that take training to the next level and help you get the ultimate wireless workout.  Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless is an all-in-one training solution that combines an in-ear biometric heart rate monitor, immersive Dolby® Digital sound and real-time voice coaching and it’s made to US Military grade durability certifications.

It has a built-in intelligent app – Jabra Sport Life – so exercisers can get the most out of their Sport Pulse Wireless earbuds, helping them plan, track and evaluate each workout.  It has never been so easy to test fitness levels and aerobic capacity, adjust heart rate zone levels to optimize training, and set goals based on distance, time or calories burned. The Jabra Sport is compatible with smartphones that have Bluetooth capabilities. I’m super excited to check out the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless at Best Buy for myself so I can also keep track of my heart rate while I exercise.

World Prematurity Day is November 17th

Disclosure – I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

quads_baby_pic.jpg

When my quadruplets were born nine years ago they were eight weeks premature. The two girls spent two weeks in NICU and the boys spent four weeks in NICU before we could bring them home. They always take pictures of new babies at the hospital but they waited to take this one until the babies were just about ready to go home so they didn’t have all sorts of tubes sticking out of them anymore. It was a pretty scary time for us and we spent that first month visiting the hospital several times each day and scrubbing up thoroughly before we were allowed in to see the kids.

There were several children on the same floor who were hospitalized for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, that typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.

I didn’t realize that 13 million babies are born prematurely each year around the world, and more than one million preemies have died just this year from the serious health challenges they face. I had never even heard of RSV before having the quads and it scared us a great deal. We made sure to make all visitors aware of the potential for them to get RSV and instructed them on the proper precautions for handling the babies. We were thrilled that people wanted to see them and believe me, more than happy to hand them over for a few minutes to friends and family who wanted to help out with feeding and changing them, but we also had to insist that people take care with our precious bundles.

In honor of World Prematurity Day November 17th I wanted to bring you this information and share the infographic below:

Download the PDF file .