Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.


Vegetarian Lentil Loaf

If you are looking for ways to incorporate a plant-based diet into your life this easy vegetarian loaf will be a hit at your dinner table. I'm always looking for vegetarian recipes that can appease my meat-loving sons, this recipe is so flavorful and delicious that even your meat and potato loving guests will ask for seconds. This makes a healthy vegetarian main-entree, gluten-free and loaded with fiber.
You will need a food processor for this recipe. 

1/2 cup dry brown (green) lentils
1 1/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Better Than Bouillon

2 Tablespoon avocado oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Tablespoons garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup traditional oats
3 Tablespoons tahini
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
Tablespoons pure maple syrup
Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare the lentils by rinsing them underwater in a colander and then adding the lentils to a pot with water and the Better than Boullion. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer while covered until all the liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender (about 15-20 minutes).

Pulse the celery, carrots, onions, and garlic in the food processor. Then transfer to a pot with the oil and sautee until onions are browned and carrots are tender. 

Place the remaining ingredients (minus the glaze) in the food processor, add the celery, carrot and onion mixture to the food processor and pulse until combined. 

Spray a 9"x5" loaf pan with oil and fill it with everything from the food processor. 
Combine the ingredients of the sweetened glaze and spread over the top of the loaf. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. 
Remove the foil and turn off the oven but keep the loaf in the oven as it cools for 10 minutes. Allow the loaf to sit outside of the oven for 15 minutes before slicing.

Serve with a side salad and seasonal vegetables.


Instant Pot Cinnamon Applesauce - No added Sugar!

If you are looking for an applesauce recipe without added sugar or sweeteners and yet is still extremely flavorful, I've got the gem of easy recipes to follow. The end result is slightly chunky but not too much chunk if you know what I mean, just enough to make you feel like you aren't six years old. The applesauce is very flavorful and goes well served over oatmeal or plain greek yogurt for breakfast or paired with a frozen yogurt for an easy low-fat dessert. 
This recipe makes a large amount of applesauce, for meal planning folks you can plan out a work week's worth of oatmeal breakfast with applesauce and still have a little left for a dessert or two. :)


- 7 pounds McIntosh Apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup of water
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Place all the ingredients in the instant pot and stir so that the spices are coating the apples.
Cook on HIGH for 8 minutes with a quick release.


Instant Pot Recipe- Carrot Potato Soup (Vegan, Gluten-free, Whole30)

I've only just begun my love affair with the Instant Pot, but I can see why so many people have fallen head over heels for this kitchen gadget. It makes life a bit easier and I'm all for that!
For this recipe, you'll also need a blender or food processor.

This carrot potato soup is absolutely divine and you should make it right away. It will appease your gluten-free, vegan or Whole30 friends and even the ones who aren't any of those things will love it just the same. It truly is a delicious soup!

Carrot Potato Soup - Instant Pot Recipe (Vegan, Gluten-free, Whole30)
Serves 6

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Half of a peeled and chopped large apple
Half of a large onion, chopped
7 large carrots, peeled and chopped into one-inch pieces
3 medium russet potatoes

2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 can full-fat coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Place the first five ingredients in the instant pot under the Soup/Broth setting and adjust the time to 8 minutes, allow it to natural pressure release. Once finished cooking, in small batches, use a food processor or blender to blend the ingredients into a smooth consistency. Pour each batch into a pot, add the remaining 4 remaining ingredients and stir well.
Garnish with a mint leaf and serve immediately.


Blended Families- Making it Work for the Kids

Picture of divorced family sharing a meal, two women and one man and two teenagers

I am divorced.
A long time ago I was married to a man and we had two lovely children together. Fast forward to today....I am married to a woman and together, all three of us, we are raising those children. We are what most people call a “blended family”. The road to where we are today has had moments of turbulence, but we have always made a point to put the children first.
It means that sometimes you have to take the high road, sometimes you have to let go, compromise or learn how to communicate differently. We’ve done family therapy and have had many long email discussions learning how to navigate this terrain together.

Right now we seem to have stumbled on something that is really working for our teenagers. We have a Family Meeting, once a month at a diner type of restaurant for a weekend breakfast. At this meeting we talk about what is going well for the kids, we listen to any concerns that they might have and we plan together how consequences will be carried out, at both houses, so that we can be consistent. We have a journal where at the end of the meeting I write down recaps of what we discussed and if there are any discussions that we have tabled for next month.

I highly doubt that any of the adults at the table actually look forward to this monthly breakfast. But we put on our kind faces, we share a meal and we talk and most importantly we show the boys that we are a team of parents, we are working together and love them endlessly.
This is what our untraditional, blended family looks like and we are making it work for the kids.


Decorative DIY Door Knocker - Home Decor

We moved to a new house and my in-laws kindly gifted us this beautiful door knocker. One of the many blessings of this new house is that it came with new windows and new doors. I called the company and asked if we installed the door knocker on our door would that impact our warranty? Sure enough, it would, actually it would completely cancel our warranty. I am so glad that I asked! A friend suggested that we attach it to the outside of the house, near the door, but we didn't want to possibly ruin the siding as replacing that is not in the budget right now.

During Christmas vacation together we all talked about doing the 23andMe DNA test. On a whim, we all purchased them and did it and were surprised when my results came back to show that I am 32% Irish. My family has NEVER talked about being Irish so this was a big surprise. After many hours of research on, I discovered where my Irish heritage came from and I love that my in-laws thought of incorporating this into our housewarming gift. I was determined to find a way to incorporate this door knocker into our home.

I purchased a piece of thin wood at Michael's craft store and first painted it a teal color that is used in our living room decor. I wanted it to have a bit more depth so once the teal color was dry, I then painted a darker blue on top by tapping the paint brush up and down on the board rather than coating the paint on the board. This simple technique pulls the color up and shows the teal through the blue ever so slightly.

Using my Cricut Maker I cut out the word F√°ilte (which means Welcome in Irish) and a clover in vinyl and attached it to the board. I chose to superglue the knocker to the board using Gorilla Glue and then attached the board to the wall using 3M strips. I love how it has turned out and every day we think of my mother and father-in-law as we leave the house.


A Birthday Gift that is inexpensive, easy to make and perfect for anyone? Check this out!

Recently we celebrated my wife's birthday and I wanted to make her a little something, maybe a sweet treat or something that she could enjoy for a while after the birthday festivities ended.

Randomly, I came up with this brilliant idea after a trip to Costco while I was putting boxes in our recycling bin. What could I do with cardboard? Then it hit me! My wife was turning 40 in a few days, why not cut out a big four and zero and attach her favorite chocolate mini candies to it?

Thankfully the Halloween candy packs are out his time of year so finding the candy was really easy. And I already have a stash of hot glue sticks in a drawer ready for the next craft project. I freehanded the numbers and then cut them out with sharp scissors. I added a small dot of hot glue to each candy and then pressed it to the cardboard, it was a breeze and would be easy for kids to do under adult supervision. The whole project took less than an hour and has provided much enjoyment for the recipient (my wife) and her co-workers. 

The next time you need a quick birthday gift, run to your recycling bin and craft up this awesome gift! It would be great for all ages.


Family Game Night!

One thing our family really enjoys is playing games together. We've done a family game night since they were little; learning valuable lessons like turn-taking or how to count money by playing Monopoly or learning to deal with disappointment as one child would end up in a puddle tears when he had to slide down the big slide while everyone else was at the top in Shoots and Ladders and then seeing how he could make a come back and win the game. Not only has game night been a tradition in our family but it's also a way for us to connect, to talk, to laugh and to simply enjoy being present together. 
As they get older the games have become more complicated and LONG! I don't understand some of the games we play (Dungeons and Dragons!) and basically just go along for the ride. But this game, Rock Paper Wizard that we recently bought for L's birthday is awesome! 
It’s great fun for a family of 4 or more or for a large group of friends, ages 10+.

"Choose your wizard’s spell and cast some magic by repeating one of the hand gestures found on the cards in front of you. Everyone says 'Rock, Paper, Wizard' aloud, and upon saying 'Wizard', forms a hand gesture and points it towards a target/person. Each card describes the spell’s effect, which can push an opponent towards the exit, advance yourself towards the hoard, or manipulate the coins each wizard must collect to win."

I love that it's fast paced, easy to understand and that there are no dice involved. :)
What games is your family enjoying right now?


"Last Call for Alcohol!"- Celebrating 6 years sober.

Today I am celebrating 6 years sober! 

Each year that passes seems surreal, as though it's someone else's life. Six years ago I posted a "last call for alcohol” on Facebook with a picture of all the bottles from our stash lined up on the kitchen counter. I went to bed and had left them there overnight. Fifteen hours went by with only a few friends responding with their desires and requests. I could not tolerate the bottles on the kitchen counter. Hidden in the cabinet out of eyesight was fine, but lined up on the counter and the first thing that I saw as I came into the kitchen, made myself breakfast and prepared my coffee. It was too much. It felt too tempting at 8am, I was newly sober. I felt raw, like an open wound that the doctor tells you will heal quicker if you keep it airing out and exposed but all you really want to do is cover it up with bandages and far away from anything that might hurt it. I began pouring the alcohol one bottle at a time down the kitchen sink.

The first bottle I reached for was a small bottle of Jack Daniels. I couldn’t remember where this came from or how it came into our possession, it's not something that my wife or I would normally drink. Who did we buy this for? Did someone leave this at our house from a dinner party? The strong whiskey scent took me back in time to memories of underage drinking with Billy* in his giant yellow Buick. Billy was eighteen years old and had a drinking problem but he was a good time to be around when he was trashed because he’d let me drive his car. I was fourteen years old, far from getting a license of my own and yet I was his designated driver. At this age, I hung out with older kids and perfected the art of acting more mature for my age so that they would let me still hang out with them. For me, driving was more thrilling than drinking alcohol.

The next bottle was a plastic liter of well tequila. Images of Mad Mex flooded my mind; a restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylanvia. My college friends and I would frequent this local joint because at 10pm the food and alcohol were half off. Not only did their food taste incredible to a bunch of college-aged kids who were living off of ramen noodles but the margaritas, especially the largest size named “Big Azz”, was really why we were there. Every 100-pound girl could get pretty tipsy off of a half-priced Big Azz, and in college, this seemed like a pretty important task.

Then I went right for the jugular vein, Seagrams Seven Crown. I twisted off the cap and this was my moment of wavering. I didn’t actually want to drink it because I convinced myself that anyone who drinks first thing in the morning; unless it’s a holiday, brunch or celebration involving mimosas, a person who drinks before the evening clearly has a drinking problem…an alcoholic. And I was not ever going to be “one of those people”. It didn’t matter that some nights I would consume two bottles of wine, the equivalent amount consumed as the person who started drinking at 9am, only I did it in a record-breaking three hours. None of that ever mattered to me, what mattered was that I drank when I deemed drinking was appropriate, which was in the evening. Keep in mind that at this point, with 24 hours of being sober under my belt, I was not yet admitting to myself or anyone else that I was an actual alcoholic. I only thought of my drinking as "being out of control". Of course, I realize now how ridiculous this train of thought was and with six years of sobriety, I confidently say that I am an alcoholic, in recovery.

A 7 and 7, had always been my go-to cocktail. And my moment of wavering was actually mourning that I’d never taste it in my mouth again. It goes down smooth; you can drink it fast or slow. The bubbles are nice and yet you don’t have that filmy feeling on your teeth from drinking rum and cokes all night. So many memories are associated with this one cocktail. I can recall the conversation with the bartender at the beachfront bar in the Bahamas in 1999. Him teasing me about not liking pineapple juice and over dramatically saying how disappointed he was that I wasn’t willing to try his latest drink invention. As he went on and on about the cocktail, my attention was elsewhere. The waves were crashing into the sailboat we had rented and I sat there sipping my 7 and 7, watching the gorgeous man I arrived in the Bahamas with wipe the salt water from his body. I remember thinking; let me drink a few of these so I will have the courage to tell him how in love with him I am.

The alcohol is slowing coming out of the liter bottle and swirling into my kitchen sink, and I tear up at a memory of being with my wife Lauren before we were married when we were simply friends who were both going through a very rough patch in our lives. We were at a dance club and I stood by the bar watching her on the dance floor with another woman and I felt so sad for myself. At the time I wasn't interested in being with her romantically, I was in the process of finding the courage to tell my husband that I wanted a divorce. I was in awe of her courage of being a lesbian, for being "out of the closet" and proud of who she is. I stood surrounded by people and yet I felt so alone, this was a constant feeling in all aspects of my life. I stared at all the women on the dance floor, dancing happily with each other in celebration as I idling spun my wedding band around my finger. I ordered another 7 and 7 so that I could numb the pain and loneliness that I was feeling and so I could continue to pretend that I was the happy-go-lucky girl, a facade that I used a lot and had become dependent on in my first marriage. 

People use alcohol for many things; typically it is to let go of their inhibitions. To dance on the bar, show their boobs at Mardi Gras or sing a song at the karaoke bar. Some people feel as though they are more fun after a couple of drinks or are able to talk to anyone, letting go of their inhibitions of public speaking or being at a party where they don't know anyone. I like to call it: liquid courage. I’ve never needed alcohol for that. I’ve always been daring, I’m a push-the-envelope type of person. I’ll hog the microphone at any karaoke bar if you let me without a drop of alcohol in my bloodstream. Alcohol served a different purpose for me, it allowed me to remain numb. To numb everything I was feeling so that I didn't have to face my own demons. I wouldn't have to feel my own unhappiness.

For years I used drugs and alcohol as an escape from my life, to pretend that I was happy. I used alcohol to cover up my vulnerability. Like a costume, I would put on the facade of happiness and that I had my life all put together. But inside I was falling apart and feeling very confused. I never hit a rock bottom that resembled something you'd see on a television movie. I didn't lose everything and end up on the streets homeless like some people do. But at the same time, I lost myself. Alcohol allowed me to numb my feelings and stop living for me.

Yoga and meditation forced me to look within and was a powerful tool in my recovery. In the eight limbs of yoga, (the fifth one) Pratyahara is about withdrawing from the outside stimuli and directing our attention inward. Taking the time to observe our cravings and habits that are not good for us. When you are in this place of healing and vulnerability, when you get rid of the distractions of life and tune into your true spirit, lots of emotions will surface. Present struggles along with the past baggage that you've been carrying around with you from place to place. Becoming sober has taught me how to accept who I am. Every morning I wake up and say to myself, "Today I am going to be the best version of myself. I'm not going to pretend that I am someone that I am not."


Old School Paper Planner- Unplug to tune in.

Paper planner with the view of the bay

As an entrepreneur and small business owner, it’s hard to unplug. Especially when you are the person that does it all for your small business to keep it running; marketing, creating the schedule, development of classes being offered, customer service inquiries etc etc. I know that I need to be tapped into my community and commenting and liking posts in order for the computer algorithm to put my posts in front of my customers. But like all things, there is a balance. And I find myself creating similar “rules” for myself like I did when I realized that I needed to stop drinking. Limiting my time on social media and putting parameters on myself in order to not get sucked into the void of scrolling.

I struggle with the Facebook and Instagram temptations every time I pick up my iPhone. EVERY SINGLE TIME! I find myself getting on my phone to check my calendar and then twenty minutes later I am sucked into scrolling through beautiful pictures on Instagram. I laugh with my friends and will say “it’s a problem” but is wasting so much of my time.
I admit that, step one.

So I posted on Facebook :) to see if anyone else out there uses a paper planner. Like old school, a pen to paper monthly and weekly calendar planner and I was surprised by how many of my friends, yoga students, and family members have felt the same way that I do and have gone back in time to using a paper planner. Sixty-five comments later and I was feeling inspired plus I now know about all the great choices of products to choose, research and learn more about.

During my recent move as I packed up boxes and unpacked those boxes that you move from place to place that hold “memories”,  I came across the paper day planner that I had the year that my ex and I separated. The year I went back to fundraising for a nonprofit and also the year I started teaching yoga to earn additional money. It was fascinating to see before me all the things I did that year and how I conquered quite possibly one of the hardest years of my life. Of course, at any time I can go back to look at a previous year on my google calendar but as a friend pointed out, on my facebook post, google calendars feel cold and sterile. There is something magical about handwriting, even the crossed out and messiness of what the calendar becomes.

I decided on The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas. I like the flexibility that I can add additional pages and notes to it and/or move things around. I also really like the structure of it, on the weekly calendar views there are three areas to write in so that I can categorize my goals and to-dos based on what aspect of my life that they fit into. I am still getting used to it and getting over the overwhelming feeling of creating a perfect, beautiful planner like the pictures I see on Instagram but like my planner, I am a work in progress.


When I was married to a man no one ever asked me that!

It’s no secret...I use to be married to a man.
And now I am married to a woman. 
Stay tuned for my book (coming out 2019) where I talk all about this transition but for now here are my observations about the differences going from a heterosexual relationship to a gay relationship.

When I was married to a man:
-no one ever came to our house and immediately assumed we were siblings before thinking we were married.
-when hearing that we were married the next question asked was never, “legally married?”
-when someone else was introducing us, that person never referred to my spouse as my “partner”.
-no one ever asked us if our children were biologically ours.
-strangers and associates never asked how we got pregnant.
-no one ever asked if our parents and family were ok with our relationship.
-when we got married, people didn’t stop talking to me because they “disagreed with my lifestyle."

The questions and comments that have been asked or said to me after learning that I am married to a woman reminds me of the days in Sunday school in the Presbyterian church in which I grew up, every year we would start with learning the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12). And so I wonder if we all took that approach would the world in which we live be a more compassionate place to exist? Ask yourself would you like it if someone inquired about the intimate nature of how your child was conceived? Would you be okay with someone questioning the legality of your marriage?

I know it's natural to be inquisitive about things that may seem different than you, but if you don't know people very well, maybe ask yourself how your question might be received before you speak and if you would want the person you are speaking with to ask about your infertility or if you used donor sperm. Also, try paying attention to body and spoken language. Gay couples often overcompensate with language and are forthright from the beginning about their relationship status verbally, take your cue from that and use their language. I always immediately say "this is my wife, Lauren" when introducing her, for example. Oftentimes gay couples also make it very clear in subtle ways that we are in fact a couple, and it’s typically the same ways heterosexual couples do. Leaning in towards the person, using “we” language, etc.

I do believe that when we know better, we do better. It starts with very small changes that are easy to make. My marriages have been very different because of the people involved but both have had many similarities as well. Because in the’s a marriage between two people and the gender of those people doesn’t really matter. Love is love and all marriages are equal. 


DIY Crate Bookshelf

I received many requests wanting to know more about the bookshelf in the picture that I shared on an Instagram post of my office area in the new house. I’ve recreated this bookshelf many times over in many different houses in which we have lived. It's a collection of many things, most are actual crates but there is also an old wooden drawer in there as well. It took a while to gather all these things which meant that it started out small. 
And in 2010 I used the wooden drawer as a side table

Right now I feel it's exactly the size that it needs to be, it doesn't need to get any bigger, for the space that it's in. You could create your own crate bookshelf by purchasing crates at a craft store and painting them or staining them. I personally wanted crates that were painted or stained in various shades and of various sizes so I allowed myself the patience in creating what the end result would look like. It also gave me something to always search for at yard sales and antique stores over the years. As it grew and a new crate was added I was able to recreate the shape by putting it together like a puzzle. 

In the mix is, as I mentioned, an old wooden drawer, several authentic milk crates, a vintage Pepsi crate that I found at an antique store, a wine crate from the first time I ordered wine through the mail many, many years ago. The books on the shelves are all mine and ones in which I gravitate to picking up and rereading. In terms of decor because this is in my home office I've chosen items that speak to me personally. A vintage Nikon camera that use to be my father's and when he gave it to me it sparked my love of photography, a wooden dancer figurine which was a gift from a college dance teacher, a glass canister marked "Joy Jar" where anyone is welcome to put their joy on a piece of paper and drop it in, a block with a Buddha quote: "What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create." And a picture from our amazing vacation in South Dakota where we got to go to the top of Crazy Horse! Sitting atop it all is a beautiful stained glass that my mom made for me when I was in college.

I encourage you to find patience in the creating of your home. Allow it to be a reflection of who you are rather than perfectly matched and color coordinated. You aren't living in a showroom, this is your home. Allow it to look like you!


Before & After Pictures of the Old House

We recently moved from a townhouse to a single-family home in a nearby neighborhood, click on this link to read that post. We put a lot of work into the old house and it deserves its time in the spotlight. The before pictures are from the actual listing when it was for sale and the after pictures are from when we almost moved out, I had already started packing up things and then remembered to do this so it's not truly how we lived on a day to day basis but it gives you a general idea of our decor and color choices.


After: updated storm door and front and back doors. 

Before: Front hallway, orange shag carpeting was everywhere! Including closets!
the door directly ahead goes to the basement.

After: Added custom Closet America closet organizing system. Hardwood floors were under all that shag carpeting that my wife and I ripped up ourselves and refinished the floors.

We took down the door that led to the basement.

Before: The kitchen. The oven door couldn't even open all the way because of where it was placed.

After: The layout of the kitchen was an eat-in kitchen and dining room combo. But we found this to be too small for the number of people that we like to host for dinner parties so we decided to put the dining room table in what would normally be the living room and had the eat-in area where the kids' desks were. I was then able to cook dinner and help with homework at the same time. 

The countertops were our favorite feature, quartz with glitter!

Before: Livingroom.

After: Living room area which we used as a dining room.

Before: Each bedroom had wallpaper borders that my mother painstakingly removed for us while we ripped up more orange shag carpeting.


Before: 4th bedroom

After: 4th bedroom. After the disruption of our adoption, we turned the 4th bedroom which was M's bedroom into the living room. We needed this room to have a different purpose. So the TV and sofa lived in this room for family movie nights.

Before: Basement

I forgot to take a picture of the basement before we left. But many of you know that I use to teach yoga classes in our basement. We installed dense foam flooring, new ceiling tiles and LED lighting.
Here are some photos from that time and then after I opened the yoga studio in Roosevelt Center, which is where it is currently, the basement became a kid hangout area.

After the yoga studio moved: Kid craziness!

I truly hope the next family enjoys their time there and fills the walls with laughter and fun!

Moving On: Leaving Behind the Sadness

We recently moved. Ironically we weren't intending on moving but some folks put a flyer in our mailbox and the mailboxes of our neighbors advertising that they would like to purchase the style townhouse that we owned, which there are a limited number of in the community. My wife and I thought it over for a weekend and then said: "why not let them just see the house and then see what happens." And so we did.

The couple came and saw our house on Friday, April 20th and put an offer in of our asking price to purchase it the following Monday. Ten days later we put an offer on a house in a nearby neighborhood. A neighborhood that we didn't really know that well but it had a lot of things we were looking for; single-family house, close to shopping and restaurants, only 15 minutes for me to commute to my yoga studio, 15 minutes to water for kayaking, on a bike trail and had a big backyard with the option for gardening. We moved into our new house on June 10th.

It's been a whirlwind of a time, to say the least. But we are finally settled into the new house and enjoying all the things that it has to offer. Most importantly the fresh start to create new memories. Our old house held a lot of sadness for us. Don't get me wrong we had some wonderful times in the four years that we lived there and made friendships with some great neighbors but there have been some major blows to our family. We waded through the sadness of a miscarriage in that house and then the disruption of our adoption of a boy from foster care. Those walls held that pain and every time we entered we were reminded of the reason why we purchased that house in the first place, the intention to expand our family. It felt like a constant disappointment and we needed a change.

I believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason. The family that arrived on our doorstep wanting to buy our house was a gift from the Universe that we didn't know that we needed. Each step in the process of selling our old house and buying the new house has been flawless, there have been no hiccups. A sure sign that this was meant to be our new journey.

Stay tuned for a Before and After picture post of the old house, we did a lot of work in creating that home, I truly hope the next family enjoys their time there and fills the walls with laughter and fun!


What does Clean Eating for a Family really look like?

I often get asked this question by people who are interested in health coaching but have resistance to it because they’ve done diets before where they felt like they were starving all of the time or they have been burned by people promising to teach them how to eat healthy and then discover that they are required to purchase shakes and bars from that person resulting in a bill that cost hundreds of dollars each month.

When I work with clients in my health coaching business I meet them where they are in their life. I listen and we create goals that challenge them but are attainable and don’t cost a fortune.

I don’t believe in radical shifts to your diet. They just aren’t maintainable. The reality is that you have a family and you work and you don’t have time to do all the things that the radical shift instructs you to do! Instead, I like to encourage small changes. Creating new habits that will become not just a diet but a lifestyle. That isn’t to say that major changes in your diet don’t have a place, there are a time and a place for them. For example when you are trying to figure out what foods are causing you bowel discomfort, allergic reactions or skin problems. I will also happily offer suggestions for supplements and shakes that clients can use, but you aren’t required to purchase them from me. I tell you about products that I have used personally and where I tend to purchase them (hello Costco!).

My health coaching clients learn to create new habits that are maintainable for their lifestyle whether they are overworked, have a long commute or have kids who are picky eaters. Here is an example of what my family dinners look like this week. We have two parents and two kids, the kids each get a say in what will be for dinner. You’ll notice that not everything in the picture is organic and you’ll also notice that one night this week we are having hotdogs! A gasp! Right? Hotdogs is what one of my kids chose for dinner this week so we go with gluten-free turkey franks without nitrates served with a side salad and vegetarian baked beans. This is a perfect example of what clean eating can look like, you can still eat what your family wants. You don’t have to make a total radical shift but instead making small shifts towards healthier choices. Let’s talk about what health coaching would look like for you! Send me an email - Gretchen (at)

Here is what's for dinner at my house this week that I am making out of the items pictured.
Total cost $67.17!
Hotdogs, vegetarian baked beans, side salad.
Ground chicken taco, nacho chip salads with cheese and salsa (not shown).
Tofu veggie stirfry with cauliflower rice (not shown).
Copycat P.F. Changs chicken lettuce wraps 
Leftover Night- salad bowls with a fruit salad.


Afternoon Pick-Me-Up Smoothie

When the 2 o'clock afternoon slump hits most people think that their body is craving caffeine. And that actually should be the farthest thing from your mind. Caffeine can certainly give our bodies and mind a jolt, which we often times confuse for feeling satisfied, but in reality, our body is needing more "fuel" to get through the afternoon. Caffeine won't sustain us till the work is over. That fuel should be a high protein, high fat snack. When my schedule is packed and I go right into teaching evening classes without stopping for dinner, my go-to afternoon snack is a smoothie. If you work in an office purchasing a Ninja blender, to keep at the office, is totally worth every penny. Check with a co-worker and see if they might be interested in splitting the cost with you and then you can both make healthier decisions together and hold each other accountable! Win-Win!

The recipe below I drink on its own with nothing else but it could certainly be a breakfast replacement as well. It will keep you feeling satisfied even if you go to yoga after work or workout before going home to eat dinner. 
(Please note: I do not get anything in exchange for promoting these products, I just personally like them. But if any of these companies would like to send me samples to pass out to my health coaching clients please email me!)


  • 1 banana
  • 1 small apple with skin on, sliced
  • 1/2 cup berries
  • 2 Tablespoons Flax Chia Blend, Carrington Farms
  • 1 scoop Green Superfood, Amazing Grass
  • 1 teaspoon Macca Powder, Navitas
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Creamy Almond Butter


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