Follow by Email

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Carefree Me With a Dance Par-ty

My new evening ritual is to have a dance party in my living room!  I made a dance party playlist on Spotify, and I am totally rocking out for a few minutes before I go upstairs and retire for the evening.  I actually just danced for about 20 minutes and was about to go upstairs and it dawned on me that I should blog about it!

There are a few simple reasons that have led me to endeavor into shimmy shaking it on a daily basis.  The first reason is because it aligns beautifully with my 2012 motto: "Because I can."  I mean, do I need another reason? 

Have you ever felt like you needed to reconnect with the you you were in a previous year or station?  With my daily grind feeling a bit, er- over brewed, I felt like I was losing some of my succulent spunk I so liberally displayed even a few years ago.  I laugh out loud when I think back to college and remember my naive self saying, "I can't wait to get out into the working world when I won't have class and studying and practicing...I will just have a 40 hour work week and the rest of the time will be mine."  HA!  That's a good one.  Any parent out there knows how off this small wonder was! 

I decided I needed to reconnect with something that get's me all riled up and overjoyed.  I personally can't think of anything that is more fun for me than dancing at a wedding, dance, 50th wedding room..I mean, give me half of a reason and I am THERE!  So, I decided that even a 10 minute dance party would help me keep in touch with my wild side while having so much seriousness and reality on my shoulders for the other, oh, 1430 minutes of the day.

What do you do to keep a lightheartedness in your life?  Is life too serious for you right now, or are you in an emotionally overwhelming season?  I am, and dancing, along with my HUGE God, is really helping me laugh, keep perspective, and finish strong. 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Upcoming Readings of Bearful Bear and His New Moves!

Hello Friends!

I wanted to let you all know of two upcoming dates where I will be reading Bearful Bear and His New Moves!  Your child will love moving and grooving with Bearful and his friends, and best of all, both of these events are FREE and open to the public!  Please spread the news and bring friends!

Tuesday, March 6th at 11am- Suwanee
Suwanee Academy of the Arts
341 Main St., Suwanee, GA 30024

Saturday, March 10th at 11am- Gainesville
Hall Book Exchange
1854 Thompson Bridge Rd. Gainesville, GA 30501

I am currently scheduling book readings and signings.  Please email me at for more information or to set up a reading at your school, library, bookstore or party!

Happy Reading,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Top o' the Mornin' Smoothie

I love starting my day off as fresh and healthy as possible- especially on a Monday morning when I want to gear up for a busy week, but also so I am encouraged to stay on the healthy course all day!  I started making a new smoothie for breakfast to help finish the cleansing process of my body, which naturally occurs till about 10 am every day.  I want to give my body something that encourages this natural detox!   Here is my recipe for a delicious raw, make-your-skin-glow, green, top o' the mornin' smoothie!

Top O' The Mornin' Smoothie

Makes 1, 8-12 oz serving

juice of one grapefruit or orange
1 small banana
3 leaves of kale (or a loose cup of spinach)
optional- probiotic
optional- 1 tsp. organic flax seed oil

blend all ingredients in a blender for 30 seconds.  Pour, and enjoy the green factor!!!

Top o' the Mornin' to you, friend!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday's Creative Cap- Urgent, Important, Wait

I must have entered a new phase of my life because I'm making my bed again.

Growing up, I felt like making my bed was an absolute waste of time, and after much prodding, I think my mom actually gave up trying to make me do it on a daily basis. It was when I got married that I started making my bed, wanting to make the bedroom seem like a restful place, and because somewhere I realized my mothers lesson that perhaps it was the right thing to do.
However, with the onslought of motherhood, working, and my favorite verb "housewifing," I started to look at my day with a triage approach: what is urgent, what is important, and what is something that can wait. Feeding the baby: urgent. Sweeping the floor: important. Making the bed, for me, was something that could wait. But recently, all of the sudden it dawned on me. I'm making my bed again! And I am enjoying it!

Life sometimes forces you to leave something behind to keep up with the urgent requirements on your day. As time passes, your direction shifts, and a small piece of mental energy can be redirected back to something else. This small, seemingly insignificant task of bed-making made me realize that I have reached a point where life isn't quite so overwhelming. That I had a piece of
mental energy to spare for something, which hasn't happened in quite some time. Even though I intellectually understood my mother when she said, "Anna, this too shall pass", the feeling of it happening was like a fresh spring breeze and sunshine. I almost felt lighter. More in control. More clear-minded.

This urged me to realize the small wins in my own abilities, but also savor those moments of chaos with my kids, my job, my life- knowing that one day, I will jolt to the realization that any particular phase in my life was a mist that vaporized right before me, without saying goodbye.
Letting something go for a time is a perfectly healthy thing to do. What tasks have you come back to in your life after you approached a new right of passage or after a demanding time in your life passes? It's important to cut yourself slack with the small things that can wait for you. I hope today you choose the tasks that read "urgent" and "important." Cause you know what? Your messy bed will be right where you left it! The urgent and important things have wings and will fly away. Don't miss them!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday's Real Food Recipe- coconut blueberry cashew bars

Hey Friends!
Sorry I've been MIA since last Monday!  My fabulously amazing Mommer was in town and we had a sensational time, however not much entailed a computer (besides introducing her to the world of Pinterest); which I must say was a nice break.  She left today, and I've been eagerly anticipating sharing a new coconut oil recipe with you!  I promised a few of you a Gumbo recipe, but let's just say this coconut Blueberry Cashew with probiotics and protein is just too good to have to wait for another week!  The probiotics are optional, of course, but sometimes I just throw as much in one thing as I can so I know my bases are covered, you know?!  Oh, and my kids love them just as much as everyone else, so it's a good alternative to yogurt to get their protein and probiotics.

Probiotics can be found at any health food store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, or online.  I like bio kult ( and Udo's Choice.  You can just take apart the tablet and sprinkle the probiotics right into the recipe.  *You can't heat them up past 110 degrees, however, so this only works in no-bake recipes!

I used protein powder as a sweetener in this recipe.  You could replace protein powder for more honey instead if you prefer.  I made my last batch with stevia and I have officially decided that the taste of artificial sweeteners just come a little too close to instigating my gag reflex.  I thought about what I had on hand that was sweet but that also had a low glycemic index, and I thought of my sons "LIL PEEPS PROTEIN" protein powder Lil' Peeps Nutrition.  It actually has a really tasty blueberry flavor, is made from grass fed cow's milk, is non-denatured (important!) and is sweetened with Lohan, an all-natural, low glycemic sweetener.  The best part is that it has no funky chemical taste!  If you have different flavors of protein powder on hand, you could definitely experiment.

Coconut Blueberry Cashew "Candies"
with protein and probiotics

14 oz. organic coconut oil
3 scoops (or to taste) "lil' peeps protein powder (Or your favorite protein powder)  1 cup Unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tbsp raw honey (optional), improves texture
3 probiotics (Or up to 10 for serious probiotic-ers!)
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup dried blueberries (The above photo is sans dried blueberries, in case you are wondering- I didn't have them on hand when I first tried this recipe and took this photo, however they would clearly be a stellar addition.)

Bring 14 oz. coconut oil to room temperature (in colder weather, place in a warm pan of water till it's mixable).  put softened coconut oil into your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Begin mixing on medium speed, scraping down the sides for about 15 seconds to make sure it is softened and mixable.  Turn off mixer and add 3 level scoops of protein powder (as you can see, this protein powder, however blueberry in flavor, does not have blue dye, thank heavens!).  Mix on medium high speed for at least 2-3 minutes.  This is crucial because the protein powder takes awhile to dissolve in something that isn't liquid.  Stop the mixer to scrape down sides and add 1 Cup shredded coconut, 2 tbsp honey and the contents of 3 probiotics.  Continue to mix on medium high for another 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.  The mixture will resemble homemade butter cream frosting.  Add 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup dried blueberries.  If using unsalted cashews, a sprinkle of course sea salt would be a nice touch. :)  Mix on low speed until the cashews are just encorporated.  Scoop into 30 small molds as in my previous coconut oil candy recipe (coconut oil candy bars).  If you want to make it in an 8x8 pan you may need to double the recipe.  I haven't tried it that way, so I am not sure if you will have enough to fill the entire pan.  It is thick though, so you could just spread it to your desired thickness in an 8x8 pan and it won't run to the sides.  Let cool and harden in the fridge.  Will be set and ready in about 20 minutes.  Store covered in the refrigerator.  I suggest eating a small piece (around 1/2-1 tbsp) 2-3 times a day before meals.  Or, eat as a dessert!

So, who out there has tried any of my recipes thus far?  I'm hearing chatter and excitement from lots of readers, but wondering who is actually trying the recipes!  If so, I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Valentine's Day, from my little coconut factory here in humble Cumming, GA!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Resolution Wake-Up Call

Hey Friends!'s your New Year's Resolution going?  It's been just over one month since we made our emotional claims to change the world one crunchy at a time, and now it's time to evaluate.  Maybe you took on too many resolutions and you need to focus on just one.  Maybe you didn't make any resolutions but something has popped up in your life recently that you would like to change for the remainder of the year.  Whatever your situation, I now encourage you to take a hard look at your goals, and see what you need to tweak to make 2012 the year your resolution sticks! 

My church (Mountain Lake Community Church, has had some great tips for making resolutions over the past few weeks, and they are noteworthy enough to share here.  They were all based off of the case study of Paul and his transformation on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9).  I hope you find them helpful, as I know they are challenging me to stay focused and give my absolute best!

One: start small.  Don't take on 10 challenges all at once- pick just one simple (ha, they sound simple, right?) thing to change this year.  You're thinking a marathon in June, and an iron man in about training for a 5K or mini if it's your first year of running.  Paul started telling people about what he DID know...he didn't worry about having it all together, or knowing everything about Jesus...he just started sharing!

Two: start now.  Don't put off today what you can put off tomorrow!  Get up and go.  Today.  You don't need to have it all figured out just yet...just start with what you DO know you want to do in any capacity you can.  Paul immediately started sharing his new found faith.  He didn't wait till he had it all together, or new all the answers. 

Three: Get friends involved.  Let's face it, while a select few are great at self discipline and become their own cause, most of us need accountability from a friend.  If you need me, i'm here!  And you know that every month around the first, I WILL be asking you how it's going!  Paul had Barnabas, the encourager, Silas, who was there through thick and thin, and Timothy, a friend Paul invested in who was new in faith.  We all need friendships that keep us going, encourage us when times are hard, and we don't think we can keep going.  We also can make an impact in someone else's life by helping them accomplish their goals.  And hey, we might encourage our own selves in the process!

four: Replace Your Pleasure- Instead of saying, I'm not going to eat any junk food for a year, (which is probably not going to happen because you are just trying to avoid it by sheer will), say something like, "instead of the temporary pleasure I get out a chocolate bar, I am going to take pleasure in my sleek physique."  By taking pleasure in something new, you reduce the risk of "over-focusing" on what you are trying to avoid, making it even harder to avoid it! 
Five: Make a plan.  Picture this, you make an emotional decision to change, have grand ideas of where you'll be in three months, but your emotion fizzles out and you quit before you reach your goals because you didn't have a solid plan in place.  Our emotions turn into devotion- a non-negotiable reality in our lives-when we have created a plan. 

So, what is your resolution and who are you encouraging to stay motivated with their resolution?  What small change can you implement today that will better your tomorrow?  If it's eating healthier, check out my series on whole foods!  If it's exercise, and you just need to get up and move but don't know where to start, or how you will fit it in...see my plan that I am starting TOMORROW morning:

Wake up 20 minutes earlier (6:45 am)
Repeat twice:
50 jumping jacks
5 push ups
30 crunches
30 second planks
50 jumping jacks
20 squats
30 mountain climbers
7 burpees

It's not an hour work out at the gym, but it's something I can add to my already active lifestyle to give my body a boost in a healthier direction.  And please feel free to hold me accountable!  I need it!