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It’s here! The final home-stretch of my pregnancy! It’s hard to believe really. This started so, so long ago and seemed so far away, even back in June, and now I only have about a week left until my due date. So much is changing in our family’s lives in the next few weeks. New schools with new classrooms for the girls, new baby and new au pair, and of course new routines for all of us. Thinking about the routine changes is in some ways a huge relief and in others daunting. I actually came to appreciate not rushing out of the house most mornings, not caring much what the girls dress themselves in and not worrying about packing lunches! Who hears me on this one?! ;)

But in all seriousness, the routine change will be awesome. I’ve been doing the absolute BEST I can to try and stay motivated to workout this entire pregnancy. But will fully admit it’s been getting tougher over the last few weeks. I can feel my body slowing down but also know that this is when I need it the most. Working out helps me to be my best self. I can calm any anxiety, resolve problems more easily, get better sleep and of course they help me make better food choices. So workouts are my go-to these days in the chaos of change and transitions. My favorites lately have been Stroller Strides, Stroller Barre, and FIT4BABY. I fit in any and all classes when I can. I was excited to see 3 different instructors at classes last week and even get some alone time in for myself. (Tip: Did you know you can go to stroller classes without kids?! You can push an empty stroller, or just leave it in your car!)

So tonight I am planning out my workouts. My bump and me will be at at least 3 FIT4MOM classes this week. Where will I see you?

-Lesley

P.S. I’m already dreaming of taking Body Back Transformation in January! Body Back gives me time to myself, gets my food & nutrition back on track, and adds accountability in to my workouts!

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This month we are celebrating one of the many twin mamas in Our Village, Kristen. Kristen is a mama to two adorable and very, very busy 1 year old twins. She has been a member of our classes for a year and started when the twins were infants. She's a loyal client that comes to Stroller Strides & Stroller Barre, rain, shine, or snow! She's always a friendly face at classes and welcoming to new mamas that join us. Thanks for your awesome attitude Kristen. We're so glad to have you in Our Village!

  • Hometown: Elmhurst (I'm super cool and only moved out of Elmhurst for the four years I went to college.)
  • Tell us about who is in your family: My husband, Tony, 19 month old twins, Gabby and Anthony, and our two dogs, Daisy and Scout.
  • Current/Previous Career: I am so lucky because I am actually still on an extended parental leave from work. Before the twins were born I was an 8th grade Language Arts teacher, next school I will most likely be going back as the librarian.
  • What was your childhood ambition? As a kid, I wanted to be a teacher just like my mom. I played school with my stuffed animals and was such a nerd that I would even fill out a worksheet for each "student".
  • What does motherhood mean to you? To me, motherhood means being willing to step outside of your comfort zone. I think it is important to soak up new experiences and share them with your kids. If we are afraid to try new things the scope of their life will be so narrow and we would miss allowing them to experience so much joy. One major way I have stepped outside my comfort zone is learning how to cook. Before the twins were born I didn't really cook much, but once they started needing dinner each night I took on the challenge of finding recipes and figuring out what I like to cook. Cooking isn't the highlight of my day but I do get really excited when I make a new dish and everyone in the house will eat it! I also force myself to step outside my comfort zone and take the kids places even if I'm a little nervous about how things might unfold. Outings to new places can be daunting, but I have decided we will always give at least give it a shot. This summer that mentality took us on a road trip to Virginia. As much as I stressed about getting there and back it went really well and we had a great time!
  • What is the farthest you've been away from home? In high school I went on a class trip to Costa Rica where we traveled around the country and studied ecology in the rain forests.
  • How did you find FIT4MOM? I saw a FIT4MOM sign at Yorktown mall when I was still pregnant and then once I had the twins I kind of forgot about it. Then I saw the sign again after they were born, checked out the website, and was kind of nervous to sign up. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of not knowing anyone and trying something I might not be good at. Lesley called me and told me so many great things about the class I decided to give it a shot and loved it.
  • How has FIT4MOM changed you life? Do I have to pick one way??? There are a few important ones! I have always been an active person but besides organized sports I really didn’t workout much. This has given me the motivation and knowledge to workout routinely even if I’m not at class. I never really felt like I knew what to do if I wanted to workout by myself, but now I can totally create a full workout using what I have learned in class. Of course, the other reason FIT4MOM is so important to me is all my awesome mom friends I have met at classes. I have moms I can turn to with any sort of question and moms who never mind helping me chase after my wild toddlers!
  • Favorite exercise: Sand volleyball, but at Stroller Strides, I love when we do something totally creative and out of the ordinary like when we went on the football field and ran ladders. I love working out with different instructors for all the variety it offers.
  • Proudest Moment: I think my proudest moment was graduating at the top of my class when earning my master's degree. I was working full time and coaching while I took classes so it was quite a balancing act.
  • Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I auditioned for the movie "Life with Mikey" (with Michael J. Fox) and sometimes still think I would really enjoy acting because I really love making people laugh.
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Wow, mamas... Can you believe summer is over halfway over?! School starts next week for us. Eeek. Time is flying by! And on top of it all, our new baby will be here in (give or take) 3 weeks. I find this time to be bittersweet. I love the summer days with my girls, but I am also looking forward to the routine of the fall. The slightly more predictable schedules and cooler temps are calling my name.

But I don’t want to rush things! It is still officially summer, with the heat, later bedtimes, and ice cream trucks. ;) One of my favorite memories from this summer was a long family vacation. My husband and I both took two weeks off work to dedicate 100% to family time. We spent as much time as possible together as a family of 4. Our daughters soaked in and lavished in the mostly undivided attention from their parents. A huge contributor to this “undivided” attention was a social media break. I took a 2-week break (!!) from Facebook. I’ve only done this one other time in my mom life. I’ll admit - at first my hands felt a little empty without holding my phone. When I did have my phone around, I kept looking at it to find something to click on and mindlessly surf. But eventually I got used to it and surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly!) I didn’t miss it at all. It was a much-needed break. I watched my girls play in the sand and couldn’t help but think about how our life will soon never be the same. Having another baby is going to be a true joy for our family, and already is. But there is a small part of me that is totally cherishing the present and knows that one day I will miss the times like this, with just the four of us.

Soak up your summer fun, mamas. Let the kiddos get messy, stay up late, and take that extra adventure. Whatever changes life has in store for you – whether it’s a baby, a new house, a new job, or just the kids growing bigger by the day - next summer won’t be the same!

Xoxo

Lesley

PS - If you ever take a vacation to the beautiful Hilton Head, South Carolina, be sure to hire Michelle with Photography by Michelle for some family photos! Thanks for the lovely family photo, Michelle!

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It’s time for a healthy dinner! Well, part of a healthy dinner. Summer is peak grilling season and I don’t need to give you a recipe to grill a chicken breast. Instead, here are a couple new side dishes to liven up your grilled proteins! This month we’re making Mediterranean Lentils and Watermelon Salad.

I don’t know about you, but grilling has never been a “night off” from cooking. My husband manages the grilling, but I’m inside prepping vegetables and making side dishes. One of the best parts of these two recipes is that they actually taste better if they sit in the fridge. I can make these during the baby’s nap and then relax during grill time.

Both of these recipes are full of vegetables (and fruits) and light on processed ingredients. Mediterranean Lentils could be a meal on its own, with all the plant protein lentils provide. Double bonus, both of these recipes are vegetarian, gluten-free, no added sugars, and can be converted to vegan. They’re perfect to bring to a summer party or just keep in your fridge.

Mediterranean Lentils

1.5 cups green lentils

1 English cucumber

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

4 oz (.5 cup) crumbled feta cheese

.5 cup pitted kalamata olives

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 tsp chopped garlic

.5 cup red or white wine vinegar

.25 cup olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Small bunch of fresh mint

1. Cook the lentils according to the package instructions. Make sure you don’t overcook them! Mushy lentils do NOT make a good salad.

2. Put the onion in a bowl and cover them with the vinegar. Toss it all together and let it sit while you prep the remaining ingredients.

3. Chop the cucumber and tomatoes into bite sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Cut the olives in half. Finely slice the mint leaves.

4. Drain the lentils and put them in the fridge to cool.

5. When the lentils are room temperature, add to the veggies.

6. Take 2 tbsp vinegar out of the onions and drain the rest. Add the onion to the other ingredients and toss in the feta.

7. In a small bowl, whisk together reserved vinegar, oil, garlic, and mustard. Gently stir the dressing into the other ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with mint and enjoy!

Quick notes:

I usually cook the lentils a day ahead of time with my Instant Pot (I take a minute off the recommended cooking time, I like them al dente). I have a bad habit of letting beans and lentils burn on the stove. Also, it’s important to use green lentils for this recipe. Brown lentils have a tough outer skin and red lentils don’t hold their shape when cooked.

Soaking the onions in vinegar pickles them little and takes away some of the bite. If you’re not a big fan of garlic, you could add it to the vinegar to get a milder flavor. You could also add some baby bell peppers if you want a little more color in this dish.

Watermelon Salad

4 cups cubed watermelon

3 cups cubed English cucumber (about ¾ of a large one)

2 cups blueberries

.5 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 small jalapeno pepper

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 small bunch mint

1. CAREFULLY remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeno and finely dice.

2. Gently combine the ingredients in a large bowl and stir.

3. Top with finely sliced mint, add salt and/or pepper to taste

Quick notes:

I have to admit, I’m not a big watermelon person, but I like this recipe! If you love watermelon, feel free to adjust the cucumber:melon ratio (I just had a ‘90s Bath and Body Works flashback!). You could also add more jalapeno or leave the seeds in for a bigger kick. I have added a couple tablespoons of olive oil to make this more of a dressed salad, but I don’t see a big difference. Full disclosure, my kids don’t really like this dish. They prefer their watermelon as is, but life isn’t always about them, so I keep making it. You could make this a meal by adding some precooked shrimp, too! I love it next to grilled chicken, though. It really lightens up the meal.

Hope you enjoy these two side dishes! Next month we’re taking a break from dinner to hook you up with some lunch box ideas. If your kids are anything like mine, summer has been one gigantic snack time. That eating schedule ends in less than a month! We need to learn some new ways to pack healthy, filling, and kid-approved lunches.

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We are so excited to announce Dawn as our July Mom of the Month! Dawn has always been an active runner. She joined our Body Back Transformation session in the spring and had truly AMAZING results! She figured out a plan to balance out workouts with her work schedule, prepare healthy meals for herself and family and stayed accountable to the meal plan. She gained strength and friendships in her session. She always has a smile on her face and is an awesome cheerleader for the moms in our classes. Congratulations Dawn! We are so happy to have you in our village.

  • Hometown: Suburb outside NYC
  • Tell us about who is in your family: Between us, James and I have 5 kids, my 3 little and not so little loves are Matthew, Victoria and Aiden
  • Current/Previous career: Former Accountant turned College Math teacher
  • What was your childhood ambition? Hmmmmm, I can tell you what it wasn't. If anyone told me growing up I'd end up being a MATH teacher, I'd tell them to get the heck out you know where, I hated Math because I struggled with it! Maybe that's a good thing in relating to student struggles. I fell on teaching, it was never intended.
  • What does motherhood mean to you? The absolute greatest, most cherished gift I've ever been given and the job I'm most in love with, committed too and strive to be better at every NEXT MINUTE I get!
  • What is the furthest you have been away from home? Australia
  • How did you find FIT4MOM? A back to school fair
  • How as FIT4MOM changed your life? It has taught me that I can work out in a new way, that I don't NEED a GYM. It has been the platform I'd needed to get back to me, to discipline, to a renewed energy and excitement for fitness, friendship, fun and the MUCH needed support we as Moms NEED!
  • Favorite exercise: Running (without the stroller)
  • Proudest moment: Setting the goal in high school to work at one of the "Big 8 Accounting firms" and by the time I graduated college there were 4 and I was working at one of them!
  • Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I was on on the Maury Povich show (and no not for a paternity test!)
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Who likes turkey burgers? Who has accidentally made dry, rubbery turkey burgers? If your answer is “yes” we have the recipe for you in this month’s blog. Zucchini Turkey Burgers are a delicious take on a healthy summer favorite!

This recipe came from a favorite recipe source in our FIT4MOM village, Skinnytaste. I tried a few little tweaks and even made it in bulk and froze some for later. It comes together quickly and you can cook the burgers on a grill or stovetop.

Zucchini makes these burgers perfectly juicy and the garlic and onion give them lots of flavor. I served them on whole wheat buns, but you could make a lettuce wrap, too. We had Greek salad on the side for a tasty, protein and veggie rich meal.

Here’s the recipe.

Zucchini Turkey Burgers

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 lb 93% lean ground turkey

1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, or plain instant oatmeal

1 clove garlic, grated or minced

1 tbsp grated red onion

1 tsp kosher salt and fresh pepper

Olive or canola oil

Use paper towels to squeeze the liquid out of the zucchini.

Combine ground turkey, zucchini, crumbs/oats, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.

Make 4-5 patties, personal preference for size.

Indoor cooking: Heat a large nonstick skillet on high heat. Put in a light coat of olive oil. Add burgers and reduce the heat to low. Cook on one side until brown, then flip.

Grilling: Lightly coat grill grates with canola oil. Cook the burgers on medium heat about 5 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the center.

Tips and Tricks

You really do need to get the moisture out of the zucchini. I like to lay a couple layers of paper towels inside a thin kitchen towel, put the zucchini in the middle, and make a bundle to twist.

I use a potato masher to break up the ground turkey and mix the burgers. My son loves to help with this part!

The original recipe called for making 5 equal patties, but that doesn’t make sense for my family. We made burgers sized for our family members, and I started the adult sized burgers about 5 minutes before the child sized ones.

These burgers worked great from the freezer! I tripled the recipe, and formed the extra mixture into patties. I layered those in parchment paper, slip them in a Ziploc bag, and froze them. I pulled them out of the freezer the morning I wanted to use them and let them thaw in the fridge all day. They were still perfect!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! Next month I’ll be sharing some of my favorite summer salads. They’re great as sides or entrees!

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Every summer I have the best intentions to start a “summer bucket list” for my kiddos... Well this is the year! My girls are now 4 and 6 (how did that happen?!) and I finally am committing to accomplishing it this summer! (Could be part of my nesting for baby #3, too? I’m already starting to feel the mom guilt of another baby joining our family so I’m doing all I can to make this one of their best summers yet! Of course, I want it to be one of my best summers, too. ;) )

I thought it would be great to divide the list into 3 sections: activities to do at home, close to home, and a little bit of a drive. I hope my list gives you some new ideas and helps you to feel like this summer is one of your best ones yet, too!

P.S. There is NO WAY we will get to all of these but it’s great to have plenty of options to choose from. Huge thanks to the mamas on my FIT4MOM DuPage County Instructor Team that contributed, too!

At-home Activities:

  • Tie-dye party with friends!
  • Water table play
  • Finger paint on canvas
  • Camp in the backyard
  • Make birdhouses for the yard
  • Catch fireflies
  • Water balloon fights
  • Squirt gun fights
  • Christmas in July: movies, baking cookies, pjs
  • Playing in the mud
  • Baking soda/vinegar volcanoes
  • Homemade ice cream (remember this from grade school? Rolling the coffee cans?)
  • Squirt gun painting
  • Wash cars (umm…my kids LOVE this!)
  • Stroller wash
  • Butterfly transformation
  • Lots of homemade popsicles & snacks!
  • Play in the rain
  • Make S'Mores

Close to Home Activities (around 20 min or less drive):

  • Stroller Strides/Barre at Cantigny! Lunch and playdate after.
  • MORE FIT4MOM classes…
  • Morton Arboretum: find the trolls, tadpoles
  • Bison’s Bluff
  • Itasca Park District Water Park
  • Willowbrook Wildlife Center
  • TONS of parks - Elmhurst Park District, Lombard Park District, Wheaton Park District, & More
  • Sensory playground
  • Splash pads
  • Mini golf
  • Ride the Metra to another town and grab lunch
  • Local Farmers Markets

Farther from Home Activities (20 min or further drive):

  • Visit a farm! (Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana?)
  • Brookfield Zoo
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Santa’s Village
  • Blackberry Farm
  • Strawberry picking
  • Arlington Race Track family day
  • Otter Cove Water Park (St. Charles Park District)
  • Ball Factory in Naperville
  • Cougars Game
  • Cubs Game

I’m sure there are many more fun things I missed! What’s on your list that I should add to mine?

Xoxo,

Lesley

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Alright mamas, whoa! This heat has been CRAZY, right?! We know you have lots of things on your summer bucket list (including our FIT4MOM DuPage County classes!) and want to find some ways to help you stay cool this summer while out having fun. We’ve put together a quick, go-to list of our favorite “keep cool” items for the summer. Check them out below!

And stay tuned for our blog post next week… 2018 Summer FIT4MOM DuPage County Bucket List. We’ve got lots of fun ideas for you and the kiddos to do - both at home and local spots to hit up!

Products to keep cool:

  • O2COOL Elite Misting Fan - Find it on Amazon or at Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • O2COOL Insulated Water Bottle, Mist ’N Sip - Stay cool on the outside with a mist sprayer while you also stay hydrated! Find it on Amazon.
  • Good old-fashioned spray bottle / Mini Squirt Guns - Have fun and stay cool at the same time!
  • Evaporating Sweat Towels - Get them wet and they get cool! Find them at Target or Amazon.
  • Teething Rings - Be sure to get the ones you can freeze.
  • Hats - Look for ones with a strap so the little ones don’t just pull them off right away!
  • Frozen Baby Wipes - Toss them in the freezer and pull them out before class. Then put them in your stroller and keep cool all through class.
  • PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag - keep yours (and your little) snacks cool at class with this freezable lunch bag. Target or Amazon.

Stroller/Car Seat Accessories:

In addition to these awesome items please make sure you are always wearing a hat yourself mamas, using sunscreen and drinking TONS of water outdoors this summer. Throw an extra bottle in your car for your way home from class or activity.

Happy summer mamas!

-Lesley

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Our June Mom of the the month is Jen. Jen is a HUGE inspiration to all of our mamas at any class she attends. She rocks out a smile no matter what. Jen started with us in Stroller Strides & Stroller Barre then added on Body Back Transformation and is now expecting in FIT4BABY pre-natal. She's a rockstar! We are so glad you're part of our community Jen. Congrats mama!

  • Hometown: I was born in Chicago but grew up in Bloomingdale. I now live in Elmhurst.
  • Tell us about who is in your family: Isaac, my son Banyan who is 2, and our second baby boy will greet us in Sept!
  • Current/Previous career: I use to teach 8th grade science until I had Banyan. Now I am lucky enough to stay home with him and work too many random jobs. At the moment I tutor, work customer service from home for Anthem Off Road, and watch a 10 month old.
  • What was your childhood ambition? My childhood ambition was to be a marine biologist or a farmer. I should have rolled with it because I love gardening and planting.
  • What does motherhood mean to you? To me motherhood means all you need is love. No matter how nuts things get love is the answer. Motherhood has also taught me to really live in the moment. It’s only been 2 years but already time is going so fast. I’ve learned to leave the dishes in order to be present and enjoy the moment that’s is now.
  • What is the furthest you have been away from home? After college I traveled to France and Italy. But I lived in Hawaii for a while which is also pretty far away.
  • How did you find FIT4MOM? I honestly can’t remember how I found FIT4MOM. I’m thinking Facebook. Regardless, I am so happy I did! Life would not be the same without this amazing village.
  • How as FIT4MOM changed your life? After I had my son I had no idea how I was going to be able to work out and get back into shape. I didn’t have access to a sitter and I honestly am not really a fan of giant gyms. Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre made it possible for me to keep moving even with a kiddo. I eventually made my way to a Body Back Transformation session which was beyond amazing and now FIT4BABY. I know that every pregnancy is different but I’m amazed how working out can really change my mind set and energy level for the better. I also can’t be more thankful for the awesome, inspiring, and motivating Mamas I have met who know what it’s like and can just relate.
  • Favorite exercise: Hhmmm favorite exercise well I think I just like the format of the HIIT workouts. I can’t get enough Body Back BOOST. Otherwise I’d have to say Monkeys.
  • Proudest moment: My proudest moment in FIT4MOM was running a mile in Body Back. I dread running but to know I did it 2x and shaved 2 minutes off my time from 8 weeks of hard work brought tears to my eyes. It also made me realize anything is possible.
  • Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I traveled around the US with only a backpack. I ended up stumbling upon the amazing little town of Moab, UT where I was able to become a WWOOFer (world wide opportunities on organic farms). Basically a work trade where I learned all about organic farming. I loved it so much that shortly after I moved to Hawaii with the same backpack to adventure and do some WWOOFing there.
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All right mamas, I’m calling it. I’m overwhelmed. Anyone else feeling this way, too?

I will never call myself an expert at being a small business owner. I have spent a lot of time over the last few years listening to productivity podcasts and reading blogs in hopes of learning some tricks to balancing it all. It’s important to be manage your time well and be efficient in order to get everything done that goes into running a successful business.

Right now FIT4MOM is thriving (cue happy dance – for me and all the mamas in Our Village!) But my personal life? It falls into the maxed-out, completely overwhelmed, can’t-squeeze-another-thing-onto-my-plate category. My husband has been traveling more than ever, school is about to get out for the summer, and I my due date for Baby #3 is quickly approaching. I find myself lacking the energy that I’m used to having. In the past, I have been able to make up work hours in the evening if I chose to spend time during the day checking off items on my personal to do list, but that isn’t happening these days. So instead, on the days I have childcare, I’ve been focusing as much time as possible on FIT4MOM, but then guess what suffers? My personal life. I’m happy to say I’ve still been keeping up my workouts (a good sweat session can save my sanity!) but as for my house? It is one hot mess!

So how am I going to make things better? I’ve decided to take it one day at a time and focus on what I can get done vs. what I should get done. I’m going back to what works. Today I’m putting on an out of office response on my email and I’m going to spend a few hours on the most important tasks for work and a few hours on the most important tasks at home. I think if I get my home life cleaned up a little, I’ll feel less stressed and I can start to climb out of this everyday feeling of being overwhelmed.

I believe this is just a phase. That this, too, shall pass. But man, it’s hard right now! I’m hanging in there, and I hope you are too! How are you feeling these days, mama?

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Welcome to the May Healthy Dinner Blog! This month we’re featuring Baked (or grilled)* Salmon and Veggies. It’s plenty of protein with an Omega-3 bonus, in a super quick meal with easy cleanup. Salmon is one of the only meals that EVERYONE in my family eats without any complaint (as long as they don’t see any pepper on their piece, kids!) It’s a staple in our weekly meal rotation, and while I occasionally get complicated, this basic recipe is my go to. It’s easy enough for weeknights, but fancy enough for a special occasion. We made it for Mother’s Day this year!

My secret for flaky, but juicy salmon is foil. We layer veggies and salmon fillets with infused olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon in a foil pouch. The recipe is a take-off on the French method of cooking “en papillote,” where ingredients are carefully folded into a parchment paper pouch that resembles a butterfly. It comes out of the oven looking toasty and fancy, but it’s a pain to get that pouch folded tightly enough to steam the food. Foil works just as well and it’s so much easier!

This is another great opportunity to get the whole family involved in cooking! I prep all the vegetables and then call each person in to choose their own. My son loves helping me build the vegetable foundation for the fish, and it makes it so easy to keep my daughter’s dinner safe from onion (or any other flavors, for that matter, we’re working on expanding their pallettes.) Plus, getting their own packets helps the kids get excited about dinner.

Here’s your recipe:

2-3 medium zucchini

1 medium Vidalia (or sweet) onion

4 pieces of salmon (5-6 ounces each)

1 large lemon

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil (I like a garlic and herb infused one)

4 18 inch pieces of aluminum foil

Start by preheating the oven to 375.

Prep your veggies. Chop the zucchini into 1cm thick rounds and thinly slice the onion. Slice the lemon into thin rounds, as well.

Season your salmon with salt and pepper (you can add another herb if you’re using plain olive oil - I like a pinch of dill)

Start building! Fold each piece of foil in half and put in a layer of 6 zucchini slices. Add a slice of the onion (break it up a little) and then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add a piece of salmon, the top with a slice or two of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.

Time to fold it up! Turn the foil so that the skinny end of the salmon faces you. Fold the bottom and top of the foil in, then bring the two sides over like you’re folding a letter. Give it a gentle squeeze to make sure it holds together, but you don’t need to pinch it too tightly.

Lay the packs on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes (or put on the grill for about the same time).

A few notes:

I’ve tried lots of vegetable with this recipe -- Zucchini works best. You can add mushrooms, but they won’t get delicious and browned since we’re using steam to cook the fish. Bell peppers tend to overpower the fish, as does asparagus. You can definitely experiment if you want, though!

Since we didn’t pinch the foil tightly, you can gently open a pack to check for doneness. I like my salmon a little pink in the middle, but my kids like theirs well done. It’s easy to make everyone happy with this recipe, just pull the packs out as they’re done and leave them sealed until everyone is ready.

I usually add a baked sweet potato or some brown rice to this meal. Salmon and zucchini is delicious, but it’s not enough to keep me full for long. Even with those additions, it’s about as healthy as you can get!

This is a great weeknight meal. The whole thing takes 30 minutes to make, and the dishes are minimal. Just a cutting board and a baking sheet (or even less if you grill it.)

Check back next month for a summer classic: burgers!

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This month we are excited to announce Ashley as our Mom of the Month! Ashley is a twin mom (one of many in our village of mamas) and has rocked out many of our classes. She gives 110% in all of her workouts and always has a smile on her face. She supports other mamas and takes the support in return. Congrats Ashley!

  • Hometown: St. Charles, but we live in Wheaton now.
  • Tell us about who is in your family: My husband Noah and I have twin boys, Graham & Logan, who turned two in February.
  • Current/Previous career: I work full time at an advertising agency in the city. But my job allows me the flexibility to work from home twice a week, which has really made it possible for me to balance it all.
  • What was your childhood ambition? I wanted to be an artist. Funny because I’m not very artistically inclined. It was the eighties, so I think I thought it meant I got to wear a cool beret.
  • What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood means having your own personal source of joy, humor, awe, worry, frustration and stress all in one tiny human (or two). One minute I’m belly laughing as their personalities are emerging, and the next I’m wrestling someone into a diaper and we’re both in tears. Motherhood tests your limits of both love and patience. You learn how far you can stretch both. And on the days when I feel I don’t have enough of either, I’m learning to give myself some grace.
  • What is the furthest you have been away from home? This last winter, I traveled to Uruguay, South America for work. It was furthest by distance and also the first time below the equator so seasons were flipped. Bucket list ✅
  • How did you find FIT4MOM? While I was on maternity leave I was searching for fun ways to lose the baby weight. I first read about F4M on a blog, Lucie’s List. Then I searched to see if there was one near me and the rest is history! I started with SS before I went back to work (I may have also taken a day off work right after I went back just so I could go to the Cantigny class). Two years later, I just completed my 5th full Body Back session and I’m already looking forward to #6 in the fall.
  • How has FIT4MOM changed your life? How hasn’t it?! I don’t want to imagine what life would be like without this village and am thankful I found it at exactly the right moment. This group not only helped me lose the baby weight, but it has made me stronger - physically and mentally, has given me something to be passionate about, has given me a new outlook on health and fitness, and has introduced me to some of the greatest women who are both friends AND Mommy support. Not to mention all the product and service recos. ;) Thank you F4M Dupage County!!
  • Favorite exercise: I adore Tabata workouts. Something about those 20 seconds that makes me feel super strong. Favorite individual move might be burpees (shocking, I know!). Not because I enjoy doing them, but because they are an exercise that I have gotten so much better at compared to when I first started and that physical progress is what I love about this group. I’m a mom of twin toddlers and I can do 100 pretty-close-to-proper burpees in a single class. If that doesn’t make you feel like superwoman, not sure what does.
  • Proudest moment: I shared this recently during a BB question of the day, but soon after I went back to work and had officially become a “working parent,” I earned an important promotion. Which meant that not only was I surviving, but I was actually thriving. Any time I second guess myself or my decision to keep working (almost daily - ha!), I think about that moment and it reenergizes me. It’s never pretty, but somehow my husband and I manage to keep both our work families and real families afloat and that makes me pretty proud.
  • Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: For a brief period in 3rd grade, I was a synchronized swimmer. Didn’t quite have the grace - or core strength - to make it big, but to this day I still love to watch it during the summer Olympics and wonder if it could have been me.
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This month we are thrilled to announce our mom of the month, Meagan. Meagan is a FIT4BABY pre-natal client with us. She has the biggest smile on her face during classes and has truly just jumped right into FIT4MOM. This is her first pregnancy and she found us of course on Facebook. ;) Welcome to Our Village Meagan! We absolutely love you and can't wait to meet your sweet baby this summer!!

  • Hometown: I grew up in Lombard! Moved to Forest Park after getting married and we recently bought a house in Lombard and moved back!
  • Tell us about who is in your family: My husband of almost 3 years, Austin and our 1 year old Heeler/Beagle mix named Lenny!
  • Current/Previous career: I am in my 6th year of teaching in Westmont! I have been teaching 3rd grade for the past 2 years and absolutely love it! I have also been a Reading Specialist and taught 4th grade.
  • What was your childhood ambition? I have always wanted to be a teacher. I had a whole classroom setup, complete with a chalkboard! I embarrassingly played "teacher" (with chocolate milk in my mug instead of coffee!) until I was in 8th grade!
  • What does motherhood mean to you? Experiencing the most unimaginable and unconditional love there is. It's a very scary, exciting and fulfilling adventure that my husband and I are so ready to take part in.
  • What is the furthest you have been away from home? We went to Costa Rica on our honeymoon! We zip-lined in the rainforest, hiked, and walked across some very high hanging-bridges!
  • How did you find FIT4MOM? Right before I got pregnant, I saw a post from a friend on Facebook. I took a screenshot and saved it in my phone for when I would be able to join! As soon as I passed 8 weeks, I signed up!
  • How as FIT4MOM changed your life? It is so easy to feel sluggish in pregnancy. This class has helped me remember to still take care of myself, and it gives me that extra confidence I am lacking on my not so great pregnancy days! I have also met some of the friendliest mamas-to-be and experienced moms who have wonderful advice to share. I am so excited to continue with the F4M family and to develop strong friendships!
  • Favorite exercise: I love anything that involves working my biceps and triceps. It's where I feel the most "burn"!
  • Proudest moment: My proudest moment is definitely all the small, daily rewards that come from teaching. I am able to build strong relationships with my students, and I love when they come back to visit! I taught 4th grade my very first year, and they are now freshman in high school. Not only did they attend my wedding ceremony, but they still come back to visit regularly. And some will be babysitters for our sweet baby!
  • Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I have had a yellow Jeep Wrangler since I was 17 years old. I have been to "Camp Jeep" In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to do some extreme off-roading!

Want to try a pre-natal workout class with us for free? Just fill out this quick form and we'll get back to you ASAP!

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Spring is officially here and summer is on the way! One of the things I love about the changing seasons is switching up my recipe repertoire. My favorite warm weather recipe is chicken salad, hands down. It’s a great make-ahead meal and there are endless variations. Plus, while the traditional version isn’t winning any nutritional awards, it’s easy to make it healthy and filling!

I made three different chicken salads this month. The basic recipe is the same for all. I just change out some of the seasoning and ingredients to create very different flavor profiles. I must admit -- my kids only really like the first variation, but they’ll eat all three.

Here’s our basic recipe:

  • 4 cups of chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2-3 cups of diced veggies or fruit

Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of acid
  • 2 Tbsp natural sweetener
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dump chicken and veggies/fruit in a large bowl. Combine all other ingredients in a smaller bowl and add to the chicken. Stir it all together and enjoy!

Each variation changes out the seasonings and veggies/fruits. I have three for you here, but you can use anything your family likes.

Version 1: Fruity Chicken Salad (my kids’ favorite)

  • 4 cups of cooked chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup of diced onion
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 1 cup of grapes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries

Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Version 2: Curried Chicken Salad (this one is inspired by Coronation Chicken):

  • 4 cups of cooked chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup of diced onion
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/2 cup of raisins

Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Version 3: Tzatziki Chicken Salad (this is MY favorite)

  • 4 cups of cooked chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced

Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tips and Tricks

These recipes serve 6 and come in at about 300 calories each (although the tzatziki version is under 250!). It has plenty of protein and fruits and veggies, so it’s a hearty lunch or dinner, especially with some whole grain bread.

Seasoning this recipe can be tricky. I didn’t give an exact amount of salt, because it depends on how your chicken was cooked. If I’m making this with leftovers, I usually add a little salt. If I’m using rotisserie chicken, I don’t add any.

I usually make this while the baby naps, and I get the big kids in the kitchen to help. They love measuring, mixing, and sampling as we go. Plus, they tend to eat better dinners when they help cook!

Enjoy your healthy dinner!

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Today I’m starting this blog post from a crazy loud dance studio watching my girls practice. I’ve been thinking about some ideas for at least 3 days now, so I’m finally getting focused and putting my thoughts down on paper – or, should I say, computer! It’s hard to believe, but sometimes I find the best concentration in a room full of noise. I think this comes from life as a work-from-home mom. There’s always noise, always distractions, and ALWAYS something changing!

Change seems to be the theme of my life lately. Not only is my body changing (by the minute, it seems!) but everything around me is changing too. When your babies are small, other moms always give you the advice that things are constantly changing. That you will figure out their sleep habits one day and it will change two weeks later. This is absolutely true. For me, this change is still happening but it is so much easier with older girls. I can predict their lives a little better. While sleep is always interesting, they do follow a consistent schedule. I know what foods they like and I know a lot about their little and BIG personalities. :)

As 2018 started, I made a promise to myself to embrace three words: chaos, change and clarity. At the time, I knew I was newly pregnant, but I didn’t know so many other things would change during first four months of the year. I didn’t know my girls would both switch schools in the next year. I didn’t know that we would have an Au Pair joining our family later in the year. And I didn’t know that things in my FIT4MOM franchise would continue to change.

I believe, with all my heart, that all of this change is good. It will be hard, no doubt. It is hard already. But I am embracing the change and finding clarity in the chaos. (I have this statement on repeat in my head some days!) Tell me it’s possible, Mamas?!

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