What I Do To Reduce My Daily Stress

IMG_3378I never truly knew what stress felt like until I became a mother. Some days it’s the little things that get to me, like the stress of getting everyone out the door. Other days its the bigger things like health issues with my kids.

Over the years I have learned that I needed to work a few stress-reducing routines into my day, everyday, to keep myself happy and healthy.

Here are some ways I reduce my stress each day…

I work out. Rarely a day goes by that I miss my mini workout. I find taking those twenty minutes each morning to stretch and resistance-train sets the tone for the day. I know I have done something for myself, and feel stronger throughout the day.IMG_3335

I have a beauty regime. For a long time I would throw sweats, a sports bra and t-shirt on, maybe wash my face, brush my teeth and put my hair in a ponytail and get on with my day. First it was when I was doing the SAHM thing, then it was when I was working from home. I finally realized that doing this was not only making me unhappy, but I was gaining a little weight too.

Now, I take the time each day to shower, (I only wash my hair every three days, let’s not get ahead of ourselves), wear nicer clothes (including jeans) and a proper bra, and put some makeup on. This beauty regime not only helps me keep the weight off, but also reduces my stress.


I rest and have a treat each day. Every single day, around 2 p.m., after I’ve had my lunch, I stop working, doing housework, or even playing with my kids and have what I call “mommy’s quiet time.” This is when our twins are napping, so I am able to protect this time each day. On the weekends I send our older kids to their rooms for their own quiet time, and often send my husband out to run errands, or he heads out to the gym.

I make myself a coffee, grab a sweet treat and cozy-up under a blanket on the couch and watch whatever TV show I am currently binging on for about 45 minutes. I will often doze off and take a quick nap. Doing this for myself each day is probably this biggest way I reduce my stress and reset myself. I am very protective of this time, and my entire family knows that I am always more patient and happy afterwards.

I go to bed early. I am very protective of my sleep. I always have been. I am a morning person and need to get to bed by 10 p.m. and be asleep before 11 p.m. to make the most of my early morning wake-up.

Doing this has many benefits. I stay healthy (even when my kids are sick), I fight off stress, I am less likely to eat unhealthy and am generally more happy.

Since April is Stress Awareness Month, Nesting Story has teamed up with Casper, the sleep startup that created the perfect mattress, sheets and pillow for everyone. Here is Casper’s napping guide 101, that shares different types of naps and even some reasons why you might need a nap (as if you really need a reason). Visit Casper.com to learn more about their mattresses and sheets.Casper Napping101_LRG

This post was sponsored by Casper. All opinions are my own.

The Calm After The Storm

Toddler healing from HFMThe waves have stopped crashing onto us. We are not trying to keep our heads above water anymore and we can finally breathe again.

For the past few weeks we have endured a flat tire, two back injuries, all six of us having the stomach flu and our 18-month-old twins having a horrible case of hand, foot and mouth disease. We were hit hard.

You can read more about our experience with hand, foot and mouth disease on Yummy Mummy Club: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: The Illness from Hell

But a week has passed and although we have been left with some scars, it seems like the clouds are parting. scabs healing from HFM

My husband, Mike, and I have been realizing lately, that we haven’t really seemed to be able to move out of survival mode. Not just coming home from our long vacation, or dealing with tons of illness, but long term survival mode. In fact, if we are being really honest, we never shifted out of the phase we entered during my pregnancy with our twins.

Recently, Mike and I have been having a lot of discussions about where we are struggling, both as a unit and as individual people. As far as our relationship and marriage goes, we have a handle on that, thanks to date night and LOTS of communication.

But we have really started to discuss our future, our health, our finances and our happiness, and have had some eye-opening revelations.

Knowing we are finished having children and moving out of the baby phase is really exciting, but also scary. For years we bounced from planning, to pregnancy, to new baby phase and then back to planning for our next. All which gave us the constant excuse to live in survival mode: slack with tidying up, allow clutter to build up, be relaxed with our spending, stay cooped up and let our weight and health slide.

But, we are on the other side now. We are trying to learn how to be responsible, well rounded adults again. We dug ourselves into a survival hole and now we are figuring out how to climb out.

It’s going to take time, but we are on the same page.

What do you call not being in survival mode? Living? Thriving? Routine? All of those sound great to me!Toddler

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Restaurants, Routine Disruption And Why I’m Not Settling

After an entire week of eating well and taking care of myself, it was time to go away to a work conference. Leading up to going away, I was eating a lot of fresh, balanced meals. I was feeling satisfied, my gut was happy and my last bit of baby weight was starting to melt off.IMG_9123

I was feeling really good. My jeans were fitting better and I splurged for a few new outfits. Shopping wasn’t even that traumatizing. I was able to try on clothes and not feel discouraged.New outfits

From the moment I left on my little trip, I found I had two problems. The first was I was so busy and caught up in the excitement, that I barely took the time to eat healthy snacks or drink enough water. The second, was the pastas, lobster tails, and bacon were all there, ready to be eaten. Not being in control of preparing my own meal, put my self-control to the test. By the time breakfast lunch or dinner rolled around, I was stuffing my face.

Luckily, I mostly found myself reaching for protein and skipping the sugary carbs, but all of the food was very rich.

I did have my moments of self discipline, where I said no to a treat or dessert here and there. FYI I have a huge sweet tooth, so this was big for me.TemptationThese types of treats would typically be my downfall, but I turned my chair away and didn’t indulge!

By the end of my trip I had completely given in and found myself ordering meals that I would never eat at home. BreakfastLuckily my eyes were bigger than my stomach that morning and I only ate half of what is shown here.

Coming home, I have been relieved to find out I only gained one pound while I was away. I have gotten back into making healthy meals again, and I am slowly getting back into incorporating exercise into my daily routine.Healthy pasta salad

I am still on the journey to regain strength lost from my twin pregnancy, and tone the parts of me that are a little softer than I’d like. I have learned how to dress for my new body, and quite frankly, I love who I am right now.

But I also feel that my body deserves more. It has done so much for me. It has created these four beautiful humans and now it is time to give back to it. My tummy after four kidsI am definitely learning that for me, the hardest part to losing the baby weight and living a healthy lifestyle is not letting myself get derailed. I know the right foods to eat, and I know what exercises fit my lifestyle and help me see results.

I will not settle. I just need to continue to keep my eye on the prize, be patient with myself, and make sure my wellness journey comes from a kind place.

Mom life

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Losing The Baby Weight: Fast, Healthy, Clean Meal Ideas

Healthy Fast Clean Meal Ideas

Let me start by saying, I am not a chef. I am a very busy mom of four who also works every spare second I get. Although I have tried to overhaul my whole family’s diet and create fancy meals from recipes, I have always given up out of frustration, exhaustion and lack of time. I have finally found what works for me and everything has clicked. My kids and my husband may not be eating everything that I eat, but their meals are balanced and we are all happy. Today I have created a breakdown of what I am eating (and losing weight eating). It is simple, fast and doesn’t involve recipes. Many of the meals that I eat are the same everyday for a few reasons: it cuts down on groceries, there is less planning involved and I know they agree with my sensitive gut. I hope to slowly work in some more variety, but this is a great way to start. I have also added a grocery list to the end, incase you want to give this a whirl!

Breakfast: Toasted Almond, Apple, Raisin Oatmeal with ground chia seeds. This is a breakfast I discovered years ago in a fitness magazine article. I have altered it a little and omitted the sugar. I eat this everyday. It is fast, easy, delicious, filling and super healthy.

Healthy Breakfast Oatmeal

What you need: 1 TSP sliced almonds, 1 apple skinned and chopped, 1 TSP raisins, 1 TSP cinnamon, 1/2 cup large flake oats, 1 cup skim milk, 1 TSP group chia seeds.
To prepare: toast almonds on a greased skillet (MED heat) until you can smell a nutty aroma, add the oats, toast for one more minute. Reduce the heat to LOW and add skim milk followed by remaining ingredients. Cover and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat, stir, cover and let sit for three minute. Add cold milk to cool if desired and enjoy!

Lunch: Go Wild Pasta. Pasta is my “bring to a deserted island food.” I won’t be giving it up anytime soon. I love whole wheat and vegetable pasta. I find as long as I load my pasta with veggies I can still lose weight and enjoy my gluten heaven! I will often make a large quantity for lunch and store it in the fridge so that I have two or three meals that I can quickly grab. I have purchased a couple of basil plants and am constantly adding fresh basil to many of my meals for added flavour. I am also a sun dried tomato addict. There are always sundried tomatoes in my pasta.

Healthy Pastas

Pasta 1: vegetable Fusilli pasta with sautéed red onion, cherry tomatoes, spinach, fresh basil, sweet potato (which I cube and microwave first to speed up cooking) and sun dried tomatoes.
Pasta 2: whole what bow tie pasta with UNCOOKED cherry tomatoes, sundries tomatoes, spinach, red peppers and fresh basil.
Pasta 3: whole wheat rotini pasta with sautéed red and yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, sweet potato (which I cube and microwave first to speed up cooking), sun dried tomatoes and walnut pieces.
 Note: I don’t add any additonal sauce or oil to my pasta. The oil that comes with the sundried tomatoes is enough and I top it with a little sea salt.

Lunch Option 2: The Easiest Salad In The World. When I am busy trekking kids to daycare and appointments while trying to complete blogging deadlines, this is the healthy lunch I reach for. Fast Easy Salad

Grab a few handfuls of preached spring mix salad, rip up some turkey or chicken cold cuts and add some chopped red onion and red pepper. Squirt some lemon on top in place of calorie-packed salad dressing for a surprisingly satisfying salad.

Snack: For snacks (which I typically have two or three a day) I will either grab a piece of fruit and a handful of trail mix, or I will eat a bowl of uncooked oatmeal with apples. Anytime I have that carb or sweets craving, I will eat a bowl of chopped and peeled apple, uncooked large flake oatmeal, cinnamon and skim milk. This is super healthy and gives me so much energy. It simulates a cozy bowl of cereal which is my favourite.


Dinner: Embrace Fish Dinners. I had been getting really sick of having chicken all of the time and decided to start embracing more fish in my diet. Fish is already full of flavour so you don’t need to load it up with sauces. It is so simple to cook too!

Fish Dinner

Dinner 1: baked cod topped with salt, pepper and lemon slices. A side of mashed sweet potatoes (only a little skim milk and salt was added) and small garden salad dressed with lemon.
Dinner 2: baked tilapia with salt, pepper and lemon slices. A side of steamed broccoli, fresh basil and cherry tomato salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and a microwaved potato (no butter or sour cream). Tip: I highly recommend investing in an electric vegetable steamer. The steamed broccoli can be switched out for steamed asparagus, carrots, spinach, etc…

Take Out Dinner Option: Sometimes there are those days that our kids have all finally gone to bed, and I just don’t feel like pulling together a meal. I chose one of my favourite local takeout meals from The Works and cleaned it up. I went for their chicken breast hipster burger with a side salad. I switched out the cheese and lost the bun. What was left was a delicious chicken breast with sliced avocado and sauteed mushrooms and onions. Yum!

Healthy Takeout

NOTE: Other than a little taste on the weekend, I have cut alcohol out of my diet, or at least until I hit my weightless goal. I have however kept my two cups of coffee a day. I would probably die without my coffee. I don’t add any sugar and I only put skim milk in it. I am also drinking A LOT of water!

All of these meals are so easy and fast to make. I have found ways to repeat the ingredients but add new twists each time. All of my digestion issues I used to suffer from with my IBS are gone. On the days that the kids have me up a lot at night, I am finding that my energy level is still pretty high. Despite life stresses and all that comes along with being a mom of four, I am feeling pretty fantastic these days!

IMG_7023Grocery List: sliced almonds, apples (I prefer royal gala), large flake oatmeal, skim milk, cinnamon, raisins, ground chia seeds, vegetable pasta, whole wheat pasta, spinach, fresh basil, lemons, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sun dried tomatoes (julienne cut in oil), red peppers, yellow peppers, red onions, walnut pieces, sweet potatoes, potatoes, spring mix pre-washed salad, turkey and chicken cold cut meat, sea salt, pepper, fruit for snacks (kiwi, bananas, plums), nuts, trail mix, fish (cod, tilapia, salmon etc…), vegetables for steaming (broccoli, asparagus, carrots etc…)

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This Is How I Am Successfully Losing The Baby Weight

Successful weightloss after baby 2I have been having a lot of success losing all of the baby weight I put on through my three pregnancies, including my twins that I had 11 months ago. I had worked hard from when my doctor had given me a go ahead to start exercising in September, lost most of the weight and then hit a wall in March, putting back on seven pounds and lost motivation. Since then, I have changed my weight loss mindset to a lifestyle change and the weight has been falling off easily. I have lost five pounds this past week alone and I haven’t been hungry for one second. This is how I have been doing it…

#1 – I have changed how I look at family meals. I had been so stuck on the idea that our family all had to eat the exact same thing and that it would be crazy to cook separate meals. But lets face it, my taste in foods is a not quite the same as my six-year-old, my four-year-old and eleven month old twins. I would fall into this trap of either making them something that I didn’t like, which meant I would pick up take-out after they were in bed. Or I would make this family meal that I knew my kids would eat, but would taste like cardboard to me (see photo below) and I would choke down. Then I would compensate by snacking all evening.IMG_6802I have decided to cut myself loose from the family and go rogue. The “clean” meals include a lot of fruits and vegetables, no sauces and whole grains and complex carbs. These meals are quick and visually appealing which makes them very satisfying. I am also making second, balanced meals for the rest of the family. I think I have been rubbing of on them though. My husband Mike has been eating more like I am and the kids have been reaching for more produce!
Healthy meals for postpartum weightloss#2 – I have been mixing up my exercise routine. I was starting to find my early wake up exercise routine a little mundane, so I have been mixing it up and it has been lots of fun. I have started to try out a lot of different exercises and sports, this week it was kickboxing. It pushes me out of my comfort zone and keeps things exciting. Then, I will grab time most days to do my strength training at home. This is necessary to help sculpt and strengthen my muscles, especially my core, which has been through a lot.Kick boxingI will often grab a walk on my own in the evening after the kids have gone to bed, to just listen to music and unwind. Not only does this enjoyably burn calories, but this is also great for my mental health.IMG_6885#3 – I am eating 3 meals a day and 3 snacks a day. I had lost a lot of the baby weight in the early days by sticking to three meals a day and not snacking. When I was really busy or stressed this would work very well. But when life calmed down even a little I would pig out in the evening thinking “you deserve this.” Then instantly regret it the next morning. By eating three meals plus three snacks a day I never get to that self-sabotage point.

#4 – I am moving every chance I can get. I am a mom of four and when I am not working, I am with my kids. I have made the conscious decision to get out of the house whenever possible during the summer with them. This means lots of walks and trips to farms and splash pads. Many people ask me how I do it with our twins. My answer: I highly rely on our double stroller. Getting Active With The Kids#7 – I’ve cut alcohol out of my diet. I love my wine. I have become a bit of a wine connoisseur in my thirties, including going on wine tours and building my wine collection. I would always love to end my day with a glass of wine. But when you are 5’2″ tall, those calories add up. I have currently cut alcohol from my diet. I am sure once I have hit my weight-loss goal, wine will be the first thing added back to my diet when I am maintaining my goal weight.

#8 – I am drinking A LOT of water. As a busy mom I was often going hours throughout the day meeting everyone else’s needs but mine. I was getting dehydrated almost daily and in-turn, snacking when not really hungry. I am now drinking water all of the time, especially before a meal.

#9 – I am appreciating what my body has gone through, listening to it and being kind to my body. I am constantly in tune with my body and how each food I am eating feels when I am digesting it. I am also being kind to my body, constantly reminding myself about the war it recently went through and thanking it for creating those four perfect people!Weight loss after baby todayDon’t forget to follow Nesting Story on Instagram where I will be posting photos of my progress under the hashtag #mynewbodyafterbaby. I will be expanding on recipes and my weight-loss tips weekly, so make sure you LIKE Nesting Story on Facebook and Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!

Thank you to Oxygen Pilates and Fitness for helping me step out of my exercise comfort zone!