Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


Classic Fall Favorites

Baby B reading








Baby Bear reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle!

What do you like best about fall?  The colors, the crisp, the change?  It’s a time to get creative.  The cool air brings on creativity.  And cravings for pumpkin spice lattes.  I don’t get it but I go with it!  Here are some of my fall favorites.  What are yours?  Do you get in the mood to cook or decorate a fall wreath?  Maybe you have the urge to read a new book or try running in a 5k race.  I’m curious how fall or the change of seasons affects people.  Although I get pretty excited about fall, in the back of my mind is the lurking, shadow of an idea that WINTER is coming.  And I don’t like winter.  Well, I get tired of it after two weeks.  But I love fall none the less.  I remember when I was young, summer and winter (really Christmas time) were my favorite seasons.  My mother preferred spring and fall.  Now I get it!  We’ll combat winter blues later, let’s enjoy the FALL!


Veggie chili in the crock pot and healthy too!

Betty Crocker apple crisp because it’s the easiest version I’ve found!


Check out this blog all about wreaths!


I’m making this button snake from Money Saving Mom for a busy bag swap next week!  Here’s another example from Activity Mom!

Also, love these free printables from Making Learning Fun about The Very Hungry Caterpillar – one by Baby B’s favorite books!  In the picture above, he’s ogling the food.  We like to count the food and find the caterpillar on each page.  During snack, we put Cheerios on the caterpillar printout and count out loud.






Inspired Running

At the end of my 10 mile run today, I thought about how I don’t need inspiration to run anymore.  Running inspires me.  Maybe it’s still a little of both.  I used to need lots of gimmicks to get out on a run.  I don’t need them as much anymore but they are still helpful on certain days.  I used to talk myself through an entire run step by step, even the part about getting dressed.  When that voice in my head started talking about why I shouldn’t go, I would argue back.  I would respond by saying, “Just put on your workout clothes and your shoes.”  After walking around the house I’d say, “Well, you might as well walk outside.  It’s so nice out anyway.”  Ounce I was outside walking I’d say, “Just run to that tree and then you can walk for awhile.”  After I’d mastered the motivation to get out and run then I worked on mileage.  Everyone is different.  Some people are very motivate by their pace.  I couldn’t care less.  I even have a watch with a button I can hit to track my “splits” (time for each mile of the run) but I never remember.  I barely ever remember my total time.  I’m off by 10 minutes give or take.  Usually I remember to stop my watch in the shower.  If I want to increase my speed, I just run with my husband.

Running is 98.6% mental.  I spend most of my run wrestling with my thoughts.  At first, it can be aggravating, annoying and even alarming.  Who wants to be alone with their thoughts!?  With practice it becomes inspirational.  You become your own coach and number one fan.  I concentrate on my breathing.  Am I in control of my breathing?  If I get winded, how do I get my breath back?  What do I do when I get a cramp?  I listening to my breathing and I know the sounds of my slow jog verses 3/4 effort run verses hard sprint.  Out of control breathing is scary but in control breathing, during a hard sprint, is empowering and freeing.  Watching your breathing takes concentration and also makes the time and miles fly by.  I coach myself through a run.  I analyze my form and adjust it for improvement.  I remind myself to keep my shoulder relaxed, my hands near my pockets and head up.  I’ve learned that I need at least 20 minutes to warm up.  I’m not afraid to walk at any point during a run and I’m not afraid to eat (before, during, after or the week of a long run)!

Some people listen to music when they run.  Whatever works for you – do it!  I’d rather concentrate on my thoughts.  Is there any mental clutter that can be cleared out?  Am I relaxed or is something bothering me?  Am I giving myself positive feedback or unnecessary negative treatment?  Is it hard to breathe because I’m sad?  I remember one particularly difficult run when I kept stopping to cry!  My husband was running with me and he kindly stopped and walked during each crying spurt.  I also remember our first 10 mile run.  We both wanted to cry at the end!  You can learn alot about yourself on a run.  I also enjoy pondering deep issues on long runs.  I think about life, love, God.  I notice the wind in the trees and go through my gratitude list.  I’m looking forward to running a 1/2 marathon in December.  Fall into early winter is a popular time for road races and marathons.  Happy running!

What motivates you?  Do you like to run or something else?  Swimming, sewing, gardening maybe?

My first blog was about training for a 1/2 Ironman.  You can see my photos at:

Since then, I had a baby and took off almost a full year of competing in any triathlon or road race.  I still cheered for my husband during his races.  This summer my toddler turned 18 months and I finally competed in my first post-baby race – a sprint triathlon.  My next goal is to run a 1/2 marathon in December.


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Montessori in the Home – Toddler Activities 18 months

I have been working on our Montessori playroom for MONTHS!  I did the bedroom first but the downstairs area took awhile.  It took time finding a shelf and desk.  I finally bought the shelf at  I found the Ikea desk and chairs at a consignment sale.  We have been doing activities off the shelf every day now!  Baby B (18 months) loves it and it is so easy to keep neat and clean.  All other activities and toys are stored away and rotated during the night when he’s sleeping.  On the shelf we currently have: a velcro bag filled with ping pong balls, a tray of wooden leaves and small pumpkins, two bottles that are filled with lava lamp oil and have sparkles and beads inside (sealed closed), a small etchy sketchy, a 1/2 size egg carton filled with pom poms, a puzzle, a wooden airplane, a tray with paper and a crayon, a stack of plastic cups, and a basket with colored pipe cleaners (he stick them through the holes).  I also put out a felt board with three fish and the numbers “1” “2” and “3”.  Another favorite is the clean-up basket where I keep a small broom, cloths, sponge, and spray bottle with water.  We practice cleaning up together after he eats at his table, although the dogs get most of it.  He also enjoys his new (used) rocker set up next to his basket of books.  He immediately grabbed a book and started reading while he rocked (it lasted about 2 minutes – but that’s okay!).  We have been working on eating at the small table while fully set.  Usually everything goes okay although it’s messy.  He loves to practice cutting and using the spoon and fork.  The dogs get their fair share of the meal, which they worked very hard for.  Now we just need to tackle potty training!  We just started this week 🙂

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