DIY t-rex costume


Hello and happy November!  Last night we took the kids trick of treating with some friends and had a blast.  I hope you did too!

Today I’m here to share Hunter’s costume with you – a DIY T-Rex costume!


In the past, Halloween really wasn’t a day I was super into.  However, after having kids and getting the joy of making their costumes + watching their excitement for trick or treating has changed how I looked at the holiday.  I love how kids make everything more fun!

This year I made two costumes: a green dinosaur t-rex and an orange butterfly.  The kids picked out what they wanted to be and I ran with it.  It was invigorating letting my creative side come out again and actually sewing after a solid 8 month hiatus (hello third baby!).  I’m so happy with how their costumes came together.  Today I’m going to share Hunter’s t-rex costume and all the parts to it.  The next post with be my adorable butterfly girl Zoe!



There were three parts that helped to create Hunter’s costume: the t-rex paper mache mask, the dinosaur tail and green clothing.

T-Rex paper mache mask

I found a tutorial for this diy paper mache dinosaur mask and knew I had to make it.  I hadn’t paper mache’d in probably close to 20 years, and it was such fun!  I’m seriously thinking about all the things I want to paper mache now.

The mask starts with a construction hat, it is then shaped with cardboard pieces, balloons for the eyes and lots of tape to add more shape.  After that the paper mache is added and to finish it paint is applied.  All in all it probably took me 5-6 hours, but since it was spread out over a week the project didn’t seem challenging or overwhelming at all.

Dinosaur tail

Hunter’s green dinosaur tail with black spikes came straight from this tutorial on running with scissors.  The construction is really simple and the function is fantastic!  The tail has gotten a ton of use and I have more tails I plan to make just for play around the house.

Green clothing

Finding green clothing was the most simple part of the costume.  You can use whatever solid green clothes you have around, or buy solid green PJs which you can then you after Halloween is over too.  Our green top and bottoms didn’t match the mask and tail, but it still worked out great. :)


How was your Halloween?  What was your favorite or most creative costume that you saw?


how to build a meal worthy salad in 5 simple steps


You guys, I have been salad obsessed.  O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D.

build a meal worthy salad

I love food, and I love eating, but I’ll admit some foods make me feel better than others.  Salads make me feel especially good, but don’t always leave me feeling full and satisfied.  I need a meal with some oomph to them, and these meal worthy salads sure do the trick!

For over a month now I’ve been eating filling, delicious and energizing salads for lunch.  I eat them for probably 80% of my lunches.  Those days that I don’t have my big salad, and I choose leftovers because I’m hurried and need to eat, I am left feeling tired right after.  There is something about fresh greens that energizes me.

build a meal worthy salad


I’m hooked on them in the best kinda way.  I hope you can be too!  Here is how I like to build my meal worthy salads so that I’m not bored, they taste great and I get a variety of foods throughout the week.

STEP 1 // Build your base

This is where you choose your greens to create the base for your salad.

Ideas: romaine lettuce, spring greens, kale, arugula, spinach, cabbage or any combination of lettuces

STEP 2 // Add your protein

Typically I use leftover meat from dinners here to keep it simple.

Ideas: chicken, steak strips, taco meat, burger patty, turkey meatballs, shredded bbq pork, roasted salmon, lunch meat, chicken sausage, salami, tuna, sardines, hard boiled eggs, beans and tofu

STEP 3 // Increase the carbs

A salad that is just vegetables and protein won’t hold me over.  I need a good mix of carbs, protein and fat.

Ideas: roasted sweet potato cubes (my fav!), roasted potatoes, cooked corn off the cob, cut and crisped corn tortilla strips, apple or pear, roasted butternut squash

STEP 4 // Make it interesting

This is where you can throw in whatever vegetables you have on hand – freshly cut or leftover roasted veggies work great.  I also like to add nuts, seeds or avocado here too.  Offer your salad some extra textures and crunch that may be missing.

Ideas: cucumber, tomato, broccoli, avocado, bell peppers, mushrooms, cheese, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, bacon

Step 5 // Dress it up nicely

Dressings and sauces make food so much more interesting.  Prep one or two dressings ahead of time and you’ll save time on this step to finish your salad game strong!

Ideas: kefir ranch (we cannot get enough of this), honey poppyseed dressing, lemon vinaigrette, oil and vinegar/lemon juice, a mix of kerif ranch + sweet onion salsa, a mix of kerif ranch + peanut sauce, a mix of kerif ranch + bbq sauce, caesar dressing

build a meal worthy salad

I hope this leaves you inspired to create interesting and delicious meal worthy salad creations!  See more of my salads on instagram as I keep sharing them, and tag me (@fitmamarealfood) if you create your own meal worthy salad.  I’d love to see it and be inspired!

Tell me, how would you build your ideal meal worthy salad in 5 steps? I’ll go first: mixed greens, roasted salmon, roasted sweet potatoes cubes, cucumber, kefir ranch mixed with bbq sauce

And that is how you win the salad game.


the plan that fixed all my laundry folding problems


Can I get a hand raise from the laundry folding haters?

(My hand is WAY up high.)

Out of the multitude of household chores that suck the life out of you, laundry sure is at the top of the list.  To be specific, folding laundry is the troublesome part for me.  I can wash and dry laundry all day long.  In fact, I’m pretty good at it.  Like really good.  But those piles.  Oh those piles just keep getting bigger and bigger and the dirty laundry just doesn’t stop.  I have my moments, very few moments when I am on top of my laundry folding game, but the majority of the time, I am stuck in a losing battle.

The problem with so many laundry folding plans

I’ve tried the suggestion to just fold the laundry once it finishes in the dryer, but that just wasn’t realistic.  It wasn’t realistic because i just wouldn’t do it, then the piles would grow.  Scratch that plan off the list.

I’ve tried telling myself I’ll just fold one load before going to bed, but then I get tired and go to bed.

I then flipped that and tried folding a load first thing in the morning, which actually worked okay for a while, but then mornings seemed to get busy and I hate rushing so it didn’t stick.  Another plan bites the dust.

The plan to have a single laundry day where you wash and fold everything… yeah that one never had a chance.  Just imagining the amount of laundry would be too overwhelming (10-12 loads) plus running out of things that I want to re-wear just didn’t sound ideal.

Sounds like I’m full of excuses!  (I am)  However, I was determined to win this multiple year long battle.

the plan that fixed all my laundry folding problems

The plan that fixed all my laundry folding problems

I am winning the battle because I figured out a plan that has been working for me!  Here is my plan that has made laundry a stress free chore:

I picked two evenings that are my laundry folding days.  For me it’s been working out to be Mondays and Thursdays.  I knew I wanted the weekend to be free from this chore.  I’m also usually pretty tired on those two evenings so it works out that all I want to do is put a show on to watch.  Since I’m watching a show folding laundry doesn’t seem as daunting of a task.  I also put all of mine and hub’s clothes away after folding and then the next morning I put the towels and kid’s clothes away.

Laundry: no more stress!

Once I figured out this plan it was like a weight was lifted.  The stress of having to fold laundry was instantly gone because I was no longer worrying about when to fit it in, now I know that on Mondays and Thursdays I’ll be folding laundry.  It’s just what I do on those nights.  I don’t even do much thinking about running the washer until those days or the night before.  Laundry is no longer cluttering my brain and it’s getting done!

Maybe this plan is for you, but maybe not.  I sure hope it helps somebody out and you get to turn this dreaded chore into just another thing on your schedule.

Tell me, are you in the love or loath laundry camp?  How do you get your laundry folding done?  Share  your secret plan!  Do you think a plan like this would be your solution?


aren’t you a bit chubby for that skirt?

words I never want my daughters to hear about their bodies

I remember the exact moment when I learned I was a chubby little girl.  I must have been somewhere in the 6-8 year old age range, but really that part doesn’t really matter.  We were at a church picnic, I was wearing a demin skirt and having a blast playing all the games that were set up and just running around like kids do.  In just a few seconds of time, my whole view shifted.  An older gray haired lady made a simple one sentence comment that changed how I looked at myself and the world around me.

“Aren’t you a bit chubby for that skirt?”

And it couldn’t be undone.  My new world view couldn’t be undone.

I don’t remember if I just moved on or went somewhere and cried, but it was a big moment.  My eyes were opened.  I realized that I wasn’t just normal kid (which I was), but I was chubby kid.  It was now how I looked at myself.  I wasn’t just Heather, I was an active little girl that had some chub on her and apparently that wasn’t okay to that lady.

Now that I’m 29 I can look back on it and see it was just some elderly lady saying what was on her mind, probably with no ill intentions.  But in that moment I was hurt.  That single sentence changed how I was going to look at my body for the rest of my life.

words I never want my daughters to hear about their bodies

I have two beautiful little girls.  Two perfect girls.  It hurts my heart so much to think about them going through a moment like that.  I want their minds to stay innocent for as long as possible.  I want their views of the world and how they look not to be based on what someone else said.  I don’t want the choices they make to be because someone said their body wasn’t good enough.  Dear Lord I sure don’t want that for them.

But I know eventually they’ll hear people talking negatively about their body or overhear someone putting down their own body.  That they aren’t good enough because they aren’t thin/athletic/tall/you-name-it enough.  And that makes me so sad.

words I hope my daughters never hear

But I have hope.  I have hope that more and more people will read messages like this.  That they’ll think twice before they make a comment to young girls or even adult ladies.  You never know how much words can impact a person, so please please please keep your thought to yourself about my daughter’s bodies.  Let them be little sweet girls for as long as possible.  Don’t poison their minds with negative body image thoughts.

I know my past can’t be changed and I’ll always remember that moment, but what I can do it raise strong girls that love their bodies.  Strong confident girls that won’t be affected by a negative comment like I was.  Strong girls that love themselves and aren’t dependent on the approval of others.

Let’s raise up the girls around us, and not tear them down with little comments.  You never know what words will stick.


easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon


easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

I don’t know about your house, but dinner time here can sure be hectic.  With three little kids, someone is sure to get hangry (aka hungry and angry) during that hour or so before dinnertime.  And maybe that someone can be me… I am not perfect.  When we need dinner fast, with little prep and actual hands on cooking, salmon is a go to for me.  I always try to keep a few salmon fillets frozen in the freezer (which I stock up on when a sale hits), so with a little foresight to pull it out of the freezer, I can make dinner in a flash.  Pair it with roasted vegetables and kale chips to round it into a full meal.

READ: the cost of real food + 5 tips to save more money

There are so many reasons why I love this recipe for lemon pepper salmon, and salmon in general.   Cooking a salmon fillet is quick to prep and quick to cook.  The prep work is done by the time your oven is preheated.  Dinner done in no time.

easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

Plus it is delicious!  And so nutritious!  According to the world’s healthiest foods, salmon is high in vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, vitamin B3, protein, and of course omega-3 fats which is one of the reasons salmon is a highly recommended food to eat.

easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

We just love salmon in our house, and I hope you will give this recipe a try and start incorporating it into your weekly rotation too!

easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

Lemon Pepper Salmon

Serves 3-4


  • 1 lb wild caught salmon fillet
  • 1 tsp avocado oil, divided
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (we’ve started using Real Salt)
  • 1/2 pepper
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Pour 1/2 tsp avocado oil on the foil and spread it around to lightly coat the foil.  Place the salmon on the foil and spread the remaining 1/2 tsp all over the salmon.
  3. Sprinkle the sea salt and pepper evenly over the salmon.  Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the salmon and place the lemon on the foil lined baking sheet.  Lay green onions on salmon.  Cut the butter into tiny pieces and spread over the salmon.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through but not dry.  Salmon should be firm to the touch but slightly pink on the inside.
  5. Take the cooked lemon and squeeze the remaining juice over the salmon to serve.

Are you a fan of salmon?  What is your go-to way to prepare it?



how to practice being present + lessons learned over summer break

how to practice presence

Tomorrow will officially be the first day of fall.  Hello changing leaves, flannel shirts and scarves!  It also means my summer break is over and I’m back!!

So… HI!  Welcome back!  I’m so glad we are both here!  I hope your summer was judt wonderful and filled with everything you love.

Summer was quite magical.  Magical in the way that it really felt like just a week of time flew by, but in reality it was 3 months of time.  Magical in the way that we crept out of the confines of our home walls and spent mornings playing out in the grass, picking flowers and sampling from our neglected but fruitful garden.  Magical in the way that laying under the magnolia tree, for both big and small people, had a trace like effect.  It was both calming and life giving.  Energy giving.  Watching the leaves move snuggled with a kiddo or two in my arms was one of my favorite places to be in our backyard.

how to practice presence

It helped me to slow down and be more present.  I connected more by being less connected with technology but also some of the business of life.  I did less, but got so much more out of what I did invest my time in.  I spent more time for myself reading and taking in some quiet moments.


Five ways I practiced presence over summer break

  1. I kept my phone away from me more often and made a conscious effort to not pick it up to fill space
  2. I conversed with people in person or on the phone more, which meant less texting too
  3. I prioritized my time by deciding what really needed to be done and what could wait (hint: there’s a lot that can wait, but messes stay around longer)
  4. I said yes to activities even if it didn’t fall into “the plan” of the day
  5. I decided to take in every moment, to not rush and to be okay with imperfect moments

It’s tough to be present so much of the time when my mind is always thinking about all the things that need to be done or things to work on, but practicing more presence has made such a difference on how I view what is most important (connecting and making memories).

During our summer break we slowed down in some ways (less arts and crafts, less teaching on my part, I took a blogging break and my cooking simplified), but picked up in so many more ways (water play, yard work for all, lazing around the yard, more play dates, picnics outside). The theme was definitely all about being outside, connecting and making summer special.

how to practice presence

As summer went on, I had 5 different realizations that became clear.

Five lessons I learned over summer break

  1. I truly missed writing.  I’ve never thought of myself as a writer growing up, but then when I began my blog almost 8 years ago on a whim, I turned into one.  I’ve made great strides and fell in love with sharing my thoughts, life and things I’m learning.  I missed it so much (but forced myself to stay away from the computer over summer) that I started a journal about the kids – just a couple sentences a night about something that happened that day.
  2. I am not the greatest without a schedule.  I thrive on lists and routine and feel relaxed when I know what I need to, or want to accomplish. I can then prioritize and procrastinate less. I’m such a procrastinator by nature that when I have extra free time I tend to accomplish less. I see conflict between my desire to be present but my liking to be scheduled and routine – something to work on.
  3. Three kids 4 and under is a lot of work.  Once Nova passed the calm, sleeping a lot infant stage I felt like I was left with no time to myself.  That is OK, but I just had to take some time to adjust to that. I know the time when they are all so little and love filled is fleeting, and I will eventually get a full night sleep again (right?).  This season of life comes with its challenges, but man it’s pretty darn wonderful.
  4. Connecting face to face with more friends, family and people in my classes has brought me a whole lot of joy.  I’ve learned a lot more about health journeys outside my own little bubble and I’m excited to get back to something I feel so deeply passionate about – sharing knowledge to help people live happy and healthy lives.
  5. Making summer special was really important this year with the kids.  I wanted it to be memorable.  Something they look forward to.  Hunter spent 5 mornings one week at vacation bible school, and it was an absolute blessing for him.  It was also probably the best week he’s ever had.  A month later they are still singing the songs, so I know it made an impact on them.

I need to hear from you!  How was your summer?  Do you struggle with practicing presence?  How do you work on being more in the moment?


summer break


The sun is out, our grass is green and we’re spending the summer playing and having fun!  I just wanted to pop in and let you all know I’ll be back in September.  I’m taking a summer break of sorts to relax and just take a little something off of my plate to give more to these little humans of mine.  I hope you enjoy you’re summer and let’s meet back up in September, mmmkay?


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter (link here) so you get an email when new posts are live!

Have a great one!


let’s start a smiling epidemic


The road to health doesn’t just show up when you take your focus to one area, like what you eat, how you move, or your sleep and how much of it you get.  They are all important, SO important!  But there is another area I like to focus on too, which is equally important.  It is the happiness factor.

IMG_4142I love smiling.  I love smiling at my children.  I love smiling when I’m teaching fitness classes.  I love smiling as I go around shopping and interacting with people around me.  Smiling brings me happiness.

Smiles are contagious, and chances are if you smile at someone, they will smile back at you.  Smiles bring out happiness within you and toward others!


I smile with confidence because I care for my teeth daily.  I brush and floss regularly and eat a nourishing real food diet that not only cares for my body, but my teeth as well.  I know how important oral health is for long-term health.  Strengthening and repairing your weakened enamel from everyday wear and tear can be part of your daily personal healthy lifestyle routine with new Colgate® Enamel Health Mineral Repair Toothpaste.

Just like we eat healthy foods for vitamins and minerals, Colgate Enamel Health Mineral Repair helps absorb essential minerals, such as natural calcium, for stronger, healthy enamel.


To read more about Colgate Enamel Health Mineral Repair Toothpaste check out their website here.



I have a challenge for you.  Go find somebody right now, and genuinely smile at them.  See what happens.  Did they smile back?  Did you feel a wee bit happier sharing your smile with them?

My hope is that we start a smiling epidemic.  I want to see that domino effect of smiles.  I know I see it when I smile at my kids, or when they smile at me.  I can’t help but feel happier and better no matter what my mood is like when one of my kids gives me a happy grin.

Smiles brighten up days.  They bring people together.  Brighten up your day and those around you with your happy, healthy smile.  Share your smiling story on social media with me and use the hashtag #ColgateEnamelHealth for others to read about it too!

Did you look up and find someone to smile at?  Tell me what happened!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


the cost of real food + five tips to save more money


Does eating real food cost more than the typical standard american diet (SAD)?  The short answer: yes it does.  The long answer you’ll get below: it doesn’t have to.  For me, I definitely have some room for improvement.

Today I’m going to share what our budget for food looks like, plus my goals for where I’m striving to take it along with some real life tips I started using to save money on my groceries.

[want to read more about my real food diet?  READ HERE]


How much do we spend on food each month?

I find this such a fascinating question, because food budgets vary so much from family to family.  I know ours has varied a ton over the years.  When it just Jacob and I and we were not really paying attention to the grocery spending, we easily spent over $1,000 a money.  And on what?!  The money just flew out of our wallets.  It was careless spending and not a smart way to be with our money.

Fast forward a couple years from that and I got really good at keeping our food budget between $300-500 a month.  I couponed and shopped all around town for good deals.  I also didn’t have kids then.

Fast forward to now, and I cringe at multiple grocery store stops.  It’s not even the shopping part (I love grocery shopping), but the in and out of car seats for 3 kids, and making sure everyone has gone potty or has snacks or doesn’t need to nurse at that moment.  It is so much work in itself!

We slowly crept our (my) grocery spending back up to that $1,000 mark, but it was different this time around.  Instead of buying lots of snacky foods like we used to and not sticking to a grocery list, now we were feeding more mouths, and my focus on food quality had really increased.  I don’t buy everything organic, but I do really make an effort to buy my high fat animal products (butter, half and half, meats) organically and/or grass fed.  I don’t really buy organic pantry items (unless they are the same price as conventional, then why not), and rarely organic produce, but we still were spending a lot on groceries.

A note on buying organic  – to eat a real food diet you don’t have to buy anything organic.  It’s a totally personal choice, but not a necessary thing.  Eating real foods means choosing them in their most natural form and cooking at home – buying ingredients, not meals already made.

My personal grocery spending goals

I am good about meal planning, but don’t always look to what I have on hand.  I’ve begun utilizing what I keep on hand a lot more.  My goal is to get our spending down to $800/month for food and toiletries too.  $200 a week is pretty reasonable, especially if I enact this second step – grocery shop at two different stores.

My favorite store I love to shop at is Chuck’s Produce, but the inside aisle items are marked up higher than other stores.  I plan to buy my meats and produce there, because I love the quality of the meats and the produce is typically a great deal especially when I shop off of what is on their ad for the week.  On a different day of the week I’ll buy all the other items to round out our meals – pantry items and bulk bin foods at Winco Foods.  I think that switch will make a big difference, without sacrificing the quality on the items I most care about – meats and produce.


Five tips to save more money on your groceries

Every one of these tips came straight from my grocery shopping trip from last week.  I hope they can help you save some dollars too!

  1. When meat is on sale, fill your freezer (if possible) with enough for the month. I felt so lucky last Friday when I went into Chuck’s Produce in the morning and the meat specials had just been marked down – I picked up 4 whole organic, pasture raised chickens for 50% off!
  2. Buy produce based on what is in season and what is on sale.  When foods are in season, like right now lettuce is booming, the price tend to drop because there is such a large supply.  I’ve been rotating our fruits and veggies around a little more when a certain one is on sale.  Last week broccoli was also on sale, so I doubled up on that and nixed the asparagus I had planned for a meal.
  3. Keep produce prices to $1.50/pound or less.  I made a big effort to do that and it really made me change some produce choices that I was going to purchase, which then impacted my bottom line.
  4. Buy from the bulk bins and only the amount you actually need.  I was out of almond flour, so instead of spending the $9 or so on a bag, I just bought the smaller amount I actually needed for a recipe letting me spend a lot less at the time.
  5. Save your indulgent coffee for the weekends.  We love good coffee in our house, and especially stumptown coffee.  We’re pretty obsessed.  I was buying whole bean stumptown coffee and going through a bag in a little less than a week (we like our coffee strong!).  If stumptown isn’t on sale, it’s $13 a bag – ouch!  That’s a lot, so we decided to switch to whatever local coffee was on sale (there normally is one) for Monday-Friday, then have stumptown on just the weekends.  It’ll make it more special, and we are spending half the amount on our M-F coffee now.

Using these tips I was able to reduce our grocery bill for last week down to $193 between two stores.  The coolest thing is that included 3 extra whole chickens that are now in my freezer!

IMG_3829Bonus tips – don’t go shopping hungry, and especially don’t go to Costco hungry!  Last month fail.

Curious minds want to know, how much do you spend on groceries each month?  Do you have strategies you use to save money?  More tips are welcome!



dear hunter {year 4}

I remember the evening you were born. After a tiring 24 hours of labor, the most beautiful boy was laid on my chest. The instant love for you was strong and just keeps getting stronger. Yesterday on your 4th birthday, I held you close and laid your head on my chest. I told you all about how when you were a baby, even smaller than your sister is now, that you would only sleep on my chest at night. You asked me why you wanted to sleep that way, and I told you it was because you wanted to be close to mommy when you slept.  


After a full and very fun birthday party and day, you had a hard time going to sleep. It’s understandable, you just wanted to keep the party going! After some sad tears, I sat next to your bed and rubbed your back. I listened to your breathing calm down, your body become more relaxed, and then you quickly slipped into sleep. I know you weren’t on my chest, but mommy was close. I stayed there for a little bit, listening and watching you. I can’t believe how lucky we are to have you as our boy. You have the most caring heart, excited energy and curiosity that keeps you constantly learning and challenging yourself.  


All I want is time to slow down so I can keep you how you are right now. But in reality, you just keep getting better. I am so impressed with the boy you are becoming. I love you so much Hunter. I know I am the luckiest mama to have you as my kid. Even though you are getting bigger, I’ll keep snuggling you close to my chest, because it’s not just you that likes to be close to mommy, mommy needs it just as much too.

I love you so much Hunter.