What I Learned, And How I Surprised Myself With My Two Week Cardio Challenge

I woke up this morning and finally felt, for the first time in a long time, that my body was stronger. As I started to take a few steps after getting out of bed, I noticed that everything felt, well… less loose, to put it bluntly.

This wonderful feeling piqued my curiosity and I decided to hop on the scale. I was down three pounds. Three hard-earned pounds in two weeks, and I felt good.

Two weeks ago, I started a cardio challenge that was inspired by a recent bout of anxiety. My anxiety had lead to me taking up running and I could feel my anxiety melting away. This was when I realized that my body and mind craved cardio, something that I had been avoiding for a long time.

Going into the two-week challenge I had three main goals:

  1. To incorporate daily fitness into my routine and help strengthen my body.
  2. To use running as stress-release and to control my anxiety.
  3. To not only set a good example for both my kids and my husband, but to include them in my cardio journey as well.

But the challenge ended up going far beyond these three goals.

For the first few days I found it hard to work cardio into my day. I was constantly pushing it to the end of my to-do list and not making time for it before the day was over. Finally I had an epiphany. I had to make cardio my priority. So I began running mid-morning each day, which was the perfect fit.IMG_3718

It was a great feeling to know that I had got my run in and didn’t have to fit it in for the rest of the day. I also enjoyed breaking up sitting at my computer all morning and getting some fresh air and sunshine… even when a squirrel tried to throw a branch at me.IMG_3678

Next it was time to add my family to the mix. Although we haven’t done any bike rides yet due to some much-needed bike repairs, we have gone on many nature hikes. We even found a pond near our house and have enjoyed watching the frogs hop around.IMG_6450


One realization my husband Mike and I had was to not only bring a double stroller for our twin toddlers, but also a wagon for our older kids. This way they could hop out and explore and run here and there, but when they got tired they could jump back into the wagon. This saved us from lots of complaining and the pushing and pulling added to Mike and I’s workout as well.


When I challenged the kids to races, they thought it was so fun. Our twins couldn’t stop laughing from their stroller as they watched. Apparently the sight of mommy running is pretty rare and funny.


But the biggest surprise for me was this: I became hooked on cardio. Actually so much that I started participating in activities I used to just leave for Mike. My new favourite activity is gardening, and I’m not just taking about pulling a weed here and there, but labour-intensive digging and planting.


There is this feeling you get when you have been doing more cardio. Your muscles ache, but it’s a good, hard-earned pain. Your body feels tighter, you have more energy, your mind is clearer and you have more perspective. This is a feeling that I am going to continue reaching for, way past my two-week challenge.


My entire family stayed hydrated with Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water while staying active. As far as flavor goes, I find the Cranberry Mango Passionfruit tastes like a treat; it’s almost dessert-like. The Cranberry Raspberry and the Cranberry Pomegranate were more refreshing, with the Cranberry Pomegranate tasting a bit more tart.

We each have our favourites, mine being the Cranberry Mango Passionfruit. Beau has become an Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water connoisseur. Her favourite flavours are tied between the Cranberry Pomegranate and the Cranberry Raspberry flavours, or what she calls “the red and purple bottles.”


Knowing that I was only consuming 10 calories per drink was great, and that our whole family was hydrating themselves with a drink that has no GMOs lets me breathe easy.

Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water is a tasty and low-calorie way to hydrate in a more meaningful way. Packed with the power of 50 cranberries, PACt® Cranberry Extract Water delivers unique cranberry health benefits. Visit http://pact.oceanspray.ca to learn more and find out where to buy PACt® water at a store near you.


Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Ocean Spray® via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ocean Spray®.

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.