name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : January 2016


Friday Finds {Vol. 22} - Pineapple Salsa

Since the new year, I have focused more on my nutrition. I KNOW that queso and chips is not a food group (sigh) so I need to lighten up our taco nights. This pineapple salsa was a perfect companion to our grilled shrimp this week. The leftovers were fantastic for a snack the next day.


2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup chopped avocado
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2-3 Tbl chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional if you want some heat)
2 limes, juiced

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Chill for 30 minutes and serve.

At first, I wasn't sure the onion and pepper would pair well with the pineapple, but I loved this crunchy combo. When I was little, my mom would serve pineapple with mayo and cheese. So weird yet so oddly delicious. This salsa brought back that memory - thanks, sweet pineapple, for being versatile :)

Make this for your taco night - the salsa would be awesome on fish or shrimp tacos. You don't have to ditch all the taco night goodies - this salsa gives your dish that unique bite it's been missing.

Happy Friday, friends!


Top 5 Books of 2015

This former English teacher loves to read. But, the busy, tired mama finds it hard to sneak away and dive into a good book. I choose my books carefully - if I am going to invest in the story, I want it to keep my attention. My dad loved to read - he would bounce from one book to another, just digging into the characters and story lines. I'm proud to say he made me a reader.

Reading comes in sporadic waves - I read 2-3 books in a row then I need to give my brain a break. Then, I find another 2-3 and go at it again. This year was no different. Thanks to my wine book club, a new book is always around the corner - just waiting for me to jump into the plot as well as picture the characters, their motivation, and their outcomes. When the day is long and the kids are cranky, put them to bed early, grab a glass of wine, and get to reading. Here are my Top 5 Books of 2015.

We Were Liars by Emily Lockhart

A friend recommended this book, but after reading some heavy suspense, I wasn't sure I was ready for this one. Well, I read it in two days. This book is not a 'feel good' one in any way, but the characters grab you - mainly the lead character who has been through some traumatic event, yet you don't know what the event is. You feel for this character as she struggles yet you cheer for her to find peace from whatever caused her so much turmoil. Read ASAP.

After You by JoJo Moyes

This amazing book is a sequel to Moyes' Me Before You. Louisa is a quirky main character who stumbles upon a relationship with a paraplegic as she becomes his caretaker. The readers bonds with Louisa so you must pick up After You to check on your friend. I met JoJo Moyes, the author, at a book signing, and she is the cutest. I love the stories she tells and the characters she creates.  The relationships Louisa unexpectedly finds in BOTH books are complicated yet beautiful. NOTE: Me Before You - the movie - will be released in September 2016 so hurry and read!

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

After reading The Girl on the Train (see below), it was recommended I read this one. I guess I was on a mystery/suspense kick for a bit in 2015, and this book is no different. A young teacher is kidnapped yet no one knows how, why, or by whom. Each chapter is told from the teacher, her mother, the leader investigator, and by the possible kidnapper. I love when books do this - offer perspectives from different points of view so the reader can make their guesses on what is going on or in this case - who did it and why?

Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

You may need a drink after reading this one - it could be qualified as a saga - not because it is long but because there are so many characters who make up this beautiful, yet painful story. The book begins with someone in danger, but who is it? What is she running from? Slowly, we piece together how a young orphan begins her life on a plantation. She becomes part of a unique family all with stories of their own. What's beautiful about this story is how she assimilates with an unlikely family and how they grow to survive an ugly world together. This story is told from the point of view of many characters and by the end, you are emotionally drained. But, isn't that what makes a book so great?

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Once you are done reading this post, go get this book, find a quiet space, and don't expect to get much done. It's gripping from the beginning - who is Rachel? Why is she so obsessed with strangers she sees while on a train?  And, how does she get involved in their traumatic life? A review described this book as "compulsively readable." So get to steppin' and don't expect to be able to jump out of her world anytime soon. Love. It.

I would love to hear your favorite books from this year. My latest book sabbatical is ending so I need some good ones. And, if you have read any of my Top 5, share your reviews too. We can call it a virtual reading club. Who's in??

You can also find me on GoodReads to see what I'm reading! 


A Fitness Makeover

Off we go on another year - a new beginning. You may have created many resolutions this year as I have. I feel like I keep coming up with something else I need to fix. The bottom line for me is to just BE better - a better mom, wife, friend, sister, and daughter. For all of us who have been through the hard and are still getting up everyday...high five, friends.

You know fitness is important to me - the physical strength I get when working out translates to mental strength. The adrenaline rush after a good workout is fuel for me to get through the day.

Everywhere you turn these first few days of the year, you will hear or see something about fitness. Gym memberships, healthy eating tips, new workouts to try, etc… what some do not tell you is that when you change on the outside, it does AMAZING things for your inside. In fact, on the news today, a personal trainer recommended great fitness tips for the busy mom. I used these tips as inspiration to help makeover your fitness routine.

Stop the Excuses

Excuses weigh more than the pounds you are trying to lose - I can’t get up early, I hate running, my baby doesn’t sleep (that was me), or there just isn’t time. I urge you to throw those excuses out the window. Crossift and the gym may not be options for you; or maybe you like the gym and the escape. No matter what, find what YOU can do. When I stopped feeling down about no time, I just had to make it. It took a LONG time to find my “right” workout. Be patient as you find your fit.

Just Move

Make goals for how you can get active each day or just a few days a week. Shoot for 20 minute workouts 3 times a week then increase as necessary. Go for a walk with your kids, run after bedtime, find a great at-home workout on Pinterest - just GO. When you move more, you release so much that holds you back. In fact, my doctor recommended moving more to help with my anxiety - and he was so right.

Change Slowly

Look at your days and find ONE thing to change each day - park further from the store, snack healthier, drink one less coke or cup of coffee, don’t have that after dinner snack, no carbs after 6 pm, etc. When you make these subtle changes, you will change. Track your food each day too - use My Fitness Pal or another app - or go old school and write it down. I guarantee you won’t want to see Cheetos on paper.

Find Your Time

My daughter did not sleep well from 5-7 months old. Nobody was happy. I knew I needed to find adrenaline to get me going, so I started slowly - 10-20 minute workouts when she would take her tiny cat naps then I proceeded from there. Now, by the grace of God, she sleeps in a bit so I can sometimes work out first thing in the morning. I also had to find my people - enter my beloved boot camp. I set my boot camp “appointments” as does my husband so that time is sacred. When you find and schedule your time (write it down), you will do it. Promise.

I am not offering these tips to make anyone feel bad or to put myself on a pedestal. I fall over and over (hi, weight gained back). I want everyone to feel that rush of a getting your heart pumping - when we are moms, it can take its toll, so why shouldn't we find time to feel like ourselves again?

Exercise brought me back to life; it took my crazy, post-partum experience to a new level. It gave me energy and confidence to be with my kids more. It reminded me that I am a person behind the mom. My hope is that the tired, worn out mama finds some time to feel whole again.

If you have questions about my fitness plan or suggestions, my email is at the top.

You can do this, sister. We can do hard things.

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