Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Day, Southern Style

SNOW! Yes, it's a big deal when you live in the South. It rarely snows and when it does everything shuts down-- schools, stores and roads. If you're not from South it can be hard to understand the craziness of running out to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk as soon as the weather man predicts snow. We just don't have the tools to handle snow. We have limited plows, salt, brine, etc. Our town's not going to spend money on snow gear if there's only a small possibility we might use it once a year. It's just safer, and of course more fun to just close shop and call it a Snow Day!

The predication of snow, a lot of snow came on Monday. The weather reporters were really talking it up. I was getting winter weather notifications on my phone, 3-5 inches by Tuesday afternoon and then at least a foot by Wednesday morning. Needless to say they closed school on Tuesday with the intent of keeping kids home and not rushing out of school when the snow started falling, getting on the bus, carpool and making it home safe. Have you seen the problems they encountered in Atlanta ? A similar incidence happened in Raleigh about nine years ago- 2005 Snow Storm. Wake County Schools will never let that happen again.

So with snow expected to fall around noon on Tuesday and the kids out of school, we went to the grocery store and stocked up on chicken nuggets and hot chocolate then met our friends at Chick-fil-A for lunch and playtime. The moms and I chit-chatted about all things, it was nice getting out before we got snowed in. The kids eagerly talked about the snow, sledding and when was it going to the snow. The sun even peeked out for a bit making us wonder if it would really snow.

Our playdate came to an end and we headed back home. I put my little man, Liam down for his nap, made a big Crock Pot batch of chili, sat down to write and the waiting began. For the next 5 hours, my oldest son, Aiden kept asking me about every 10 minutes, "When is it going to Snow?" I kept looking at my phone, checking the weather. It kept showing 100% chance of snow at 4 p.m. 4 o'clock came and still no snow. The asking came more frequently and my patience was growing thin. A whole day, no school and no snow-- a major snow day fail.

Around 7 p.m., the snow began to fall. It covered the streets and sidewalks first. It made sledding perfect on our neighbor's sloped driveway. Aiden and I ventured over there for some late night sledding. Our circle sled worked great as we zoomed down the hill across the street and nearly in the other neighbor's yard. We called it a night around 9 p.m. and went inside for a hot shower and P.J.'s.

We woke up Wednesday to a winter wonderland, and needless to say it was a snow day for all. The boys were excited that daddy would be home too. Before we even ate breakfast, we donned our snow gear and headed outside to find the best spot to sled. Our sloped backyard made a perfect sled run. We all took turns sledding before heading in for breakfast. Our day consisted of sledding and intermittent breaks, and after lunch everyone was ready for a nap. After a long winter's nap, we went back outside for our last snow expedition of the day. Our sled had cracked down the middle, so it was time to build a snowman. The snow still had a powdery consistency so we packed a hill of snow, stuck in some stick arms and eyes and Ta-Da, it's Olaf from Frozen.

With frozen noses, hands and toes we headed back inside to warm-up with macaroni and cheese, left-over chili and hot chocolate. We snuggled on the couch and watched The Polar Express. It was a fantastic way to end our snow day.


I would love to hear about your snow day adventure. Comment below and post pics on Instagram tagged #ftmsnowday.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Travel Expert Kendra Thornton: Fit Family, Happy Life

You keep hearing it's a New Year, New You, yadayadayada..., but it's true. A New Year is like a clean slate to start making healthy choices like eating right and exercising. It's probably also why January is Fit Family Lifestyle month.  Today Kendra Thornton, a mom and travel expert, is sharing her tips on merging fitness and family.

Fit Family, Happy Life

Keep moving – that’s what I always do. I can’t help but move with my three busy kids. Being active is just a part of my life. But that’s what gave me the idea to stay fit, whether at home or on the road. I like the way it makes me feel and I like the way being in shape lets me keep up with kids. So, since it is Fit Family Lifestyles this month, I’ve decided to share some of my tips and tricks for staying healthy while I’m out on the road. Incorporating these in your lifestyle will keep you looking great and feeling great:

Fresh Air
Get outside. Plain and simple. The benefits of fresh air are well documented. If you are on the road, make an effort to stop at rest stops and parks. When the kids say they need a bathroom break, take it. Then walk around outside, stretching your legs and breathing in that fresh air that is so good for you. Walking around outside will also allow everyone to burn off some of that energy they have pent up from riding for so long, which will make the next leg of the trip easier… at least for a little while. Even will this cold weather - if you’re traveling to a chilly destination, go ice-skating, snowshoeing, or even try skiing...utilize the outside atmosphere!

Even when you are sedentary, sitting in a car or plane immobile for long stretches of time, your body needs nourishment. Pack snacks, and lots of them. Choose easy to eat snacks that won’t make a mess, like pretzels, bananas, string cheese, maybe even some trail mix – make it yourself with raisins, peanuts, dried banana slices, dried coconut, and some M&Ms… no one said you couldn’t have a little treat here and there!

Don’t Forget the Sneaks!
Amidst all of your pool wear, dinner outfits, sandals, flip-flops, and high heels, pack a pair of sneakers. Who knows when you’ll want to go on a run before everyone else gets up of watch the sunset as you jog.

Set Yourself Up for Success
Babies need their routines to be as close to what they experience at home as possible when they are away. This is not only good for them, but also for the parents! Be sure to bring their pillow with the pillowcase they always use on it, their favorite books, and anything else they might need like a pacifier, noise machine, sleep sack, a special blanket, etc. Ease baby to sleep and get some much needed rest of your own as well.

Plan Your Trip
It’s always good to know what you want to do on a trip. This is especially true when traveling with children. Be sure to include hiking trails and theme parks, even outdoor museums where the kids can not only enjoy themselves, but stay active as well.

These are the things I do and they work wonders for my family. I extend a lot of these ideas to school time also, continuing to pack healthy snacks in their lunch bags and getting them outdoors and active as often as possible. You can get outside any time of year. During this season, my family really enjoys making snowmen and going skiing! What kinds of things does your family like to do?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mommy Valet and and a Learning Super Store

It's not easy being a mom, taxi-driver, entertainer and a teacher, so when a couple of local businesses offer new services to make being a mom a little easier it's worth writing about.

Last summer, a group of moms and I went to Chick-fil-A at Stone Creek Village in Cary for lunch. Each of us had at least 2 kids. Some of the kids ran to the play area, the others wondered around the restaurant, and of course none of them wanted to wait in line to order. Once we all got our trays of food, napkins, ketchup and drink boxes gathered at the same table and the kids corralled back to the their table, we started talking about how much work it takes to have lunch with your girlfriends. My friend Lauren spoke up and told us about a Chick-fil-A in Charlotte that offers Mommy Valet. "What's Mommy Valet?" I asked. She then explained how you place your order in the drive thru and then park, and when you come in the restaurant your food is already at your table. All the moms at the table loved the idea. Then the manager came over to see how our group was doing, and Lauren shared the Mommy Valet idea with him. He asked us if that would be a service we would use, and we unanimously agreed it would. He said he would look into doing it. I hadn't heard anything about it until last week when I was there for lunch and their was a card on the table. The card was advertising the Mommy Valet service. I was so excited that the manager listened to a group of moms and our needs and implemented this service. So if you've had a stressful day, head over to the Stone Creek Village Chick-fil-A, pull into the drive-thru and ask for the Mommy Valet service. Plus they have several delicious salads too.

Once you and your family are nourished and ready to go, head over to the new Stone's Education Super Store. This locally-owned teacher supply store that was once located on Tryon Rd in Raleigh has moved to the corner of Chapel Hill Rd and Trinity Rd in Raleigh, and now offers a larger selection of teacher supplies, books, preschool toys, and story times. Be sure to "Like" their Facebook page at to make sure you stay updated on their sales, specials, and story times.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Looking back on the Joys of Motherhood

"Be still and know that I am God."- Psalm 46:10

Finally, the journey begins...writing. It has been a bumpy start with writers block as soon as I posted that I was beginning my writing journey coupled with a teething 7-month old. Ahh, the joys of motherhood. Through it all I felt God was trying to tell me something or at least get my attention. My days seem to be consumed with constantly cleaning and playing. It's an on-going cycle with sporadic trips to the grocery store, doctor, etc. It usually takes a sick child that needs me to sit down and hold them to get actually get me to sit down. It's kinda sad when you think about it. Am I constantly going that I forget to stop and be still? Apparently, God was trying to tell me something..."Be still and know that I am God."  Everything else can wait. Laundry, dirty dishes, exercise. Yes, it can wait while I enjoy these quiet moments with my creator. Time will pass you by, but everything else can wait.

-Rachel :o)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's the little things

I've been doing quite a bit writing for my book, and thanks to Mary Kay Andrews I personally refer to it as the friggin book (TFB). Anyway, I got 8500 words, and I just started chapter 4. I love the running angle that permeates the romance, but I also threw-in a beachy, decorating theme in the mix. I can't wait for you to read it.

On the fitness note, I'm super-charging my workout routine. The holidays are over, and I need to get back on track. Target has their bikinis on the floor, and I already picked out a few that will be super cute, but I need to trim and tone a little before the summer. So, I'm pulling out the big-guns and getting down to business. First, I signed up for $100K Transformation Challenge by A chance to win $50,000 plus get in shape, a win-win all the way. Second, I downloaded the Zombie Run app on my iPhone. It makes treadmill running fun, and thirdly new weight lifting gloves.

On the family front, I registered Aiden for kindergarten. On one hand, I'm thinking where did the time go? Then the other part of me is so excited for him to go to school and for me to have more time to write. I'll probably be an emotional mess this July (we're on a year-round schedule). Next week, I register my baby for preschool. Yes, I will definitely be emotional, excited; yet sad.

Staying on a budget was a resolution my husband and I made for the year. I've begun meal planning and maintaining a food budget including eating out. It's like a challenging game for me, buying and preparing foods my family will like plus staying under budget. I'd rather have extras to spend on fun things like races and running shoes. So far shopping at Aldi has been great. I did a huge shop today for only $132. I was referred to emeals, but my free trial expired before I started using it. Oh well, I need to see what I can find on Pinterest.

So, how are you doing? Keeping your resolutions? I hope you're pushing through the business of motherhood and finding time for you. I'd love to hear your resolutions and fitness goals.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Fitness, Faith & Family

I have been writing for over a year. I have seen my readership grow and most importantly I've heard how it has encouraged you to run a 5k, exercise more regularly or eat healthy. It has also challenged me in my workouts, trying new things and seeing amazing results. This year, I want to go deeper in my fitness quest, but also achieve a better balance with family and most importantly my faith. 


My faith in God is the driving force behind everything I do, and this year I want to make it apparent in everything I do, especially my blog. I have been married for nearly 13 years to my best friend and, God has blessed us with two wonderful boys who keep our lives busy with soccer, t-ball, school and everything in between. Sometimes I feel like it's a juggling act keeping all these balls in the air, but it's my faith in God that gets me through. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Philippians 4:13.

To start off my New Year I have resolved to do a few things. Most importantly I'm going to finish the book, "Love on the Run" which I started in October. I'm going to diligently write it nearly every day until it's finished then fervently pursue having it published. It's been a goal of mine for awhile, but this year I'm going to make it happen. So you might see less posts from me for awhile, but I'll be back.

I also resolve to run 3 races this year-- my tried and true Komen race in June and a few others, improve my time and maybe a mud run. I hope to have a large team running with FitTriangleMom for the Komen race and raise lots of money and awareness for breast cancer research and awareness. This cause is so near and dear to my heart with family members and my own scare as well.

I resolve to eat healthy on a regular basis and workout at the gym at least 3x a week.

I resolve to have a better attitude about things and read a Psalm everyday to get me in the praising mood.

I resolve to put faith and family first.

Until next time (I have a book to write).

Happy New Year!

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